The Libertarian Party has recognized two new candidates seeking its 2016 presidential nomination. Four time presidential candidate Robert Milnes of New Jersey and 2006 Congressional candidate Mike Shannon of Michigan were added to the list of candidates at LP.org.
Ahead of IPR’s Libertarian Party presidential preference poll, which will begin tomorrow, the two candidates were asked to answer the same questions asked in IPR’s recent Libertarian Party presidential candidates questionnaire.
Below are their responses:
- Do you consider political correctness a problem in the United States today? Why or why not?
Robert Milnes: Yes. But it is a social problem and should be addressed socially.
Mike Shannon: I am familiar with the Independent Political Report. If one reads the comments section as I have, it becomes immediately clear that free speech is 100% alive and well – as it should be. The first amendment protects free speech, and so do I with every ounce of belief that I have.
However, the first amendment does not guarantee the degree to which our free speech positively influences others outside of what is an insular, intellectual, and irrelevant political Party.
I believe that Libertarians are, and tend to want to demonstrate that they are, smarter than most other people. We must ask ourselves: if we make other people feel like we are smarter than they are, how smart is that?
We cannot purport to believe in the free market and then at the same time disregard the very clear message that the free market has been sending Libertarians for 44 years – as long as I have been alive. When we only get 1% of the vote, we are not a political party. At best, we’re a think tank or a lobbying group or a family or a church – but not a political party.
My message: “the two-party system is broken,” is designed to reach common ground with the overwhelming majority of Americans who would otherwise fear the Libertarian Party as too radical.
- What are your thoughts on jury nullification?
Shannon: Libertarians tend to be very adept at intricate policy details and policy debates but tone deaf to politics. Our party has too many secret handshakes that make it more like an exclusive club rather than an inclusive, open-door political party. There are hundreds of millions of people just like me who would join the Libertarian Party if we didn’t accost them with such intricacies and inquiries of policy debate.
Honestly, no one cares what Libertarians think of jury nullification or what pastries a bakery should bake or what bathrooms transgender folks should use, if any. As Libertarians, we cannot influence policy without influence.
Step one is creating a political party that suburban families in middle America can see themselves joining.
- Should immigration to the US be unfettered even if those entering the country are inclined to “vote away” fundamental rights?
Milnes: Immigration to the U.S. should not be unfettered.
Shannon: When I ran for Congress ten years ago, I predicted that the U.S. Congress was unprepared to address the immigration issue. This is what I wrote in 2006 and it still applies:
“I promise you that the U.S. House of Representatives will not reach a compromise/solution on this issue. Consistent with my hypothesis that the two-party electoral system is broken, I believe that the constructive dialogue necessary to address the immigration issue is counter to the rhetoric necessary to actually get elected in almost all legislative districts.
The immigration debate has gone down a familiar road as other major strategic challenges (long-term structural deficits, U.S. relationship with the larger Arab/Muslim world, etc.). Each party has distracted the electorate by focusing attention on each other, continually demonizing. Each party has condensed the entire discussion into a concise catch-phrase. Rather thanhaving the issue discussed for the benefit of Americans, each party hijacks the issue for the purpose of capturing/retaining power in the next election. And nothing gets accomplished. Best system in the world?
My interest regarding immigration is a thriving US economy, more parity between economic opportunities outside America vs. inside (in places like Mexico), and a protection against our national borders being compromised by those who would do us harm.”
- What individuals would you nominate to the Supreme Court and/or what will you look for in an individual before nominating anyone to the Supreme Court?
Milnes: My Supreme Court nominees would be screened from those recommended by my consultants as qualified.. I would be inclined to select the most radical, probably a radical progressive first, libertarian second.
Shannon: I would appoint a former Assistant US Attorney, prosecutor, author, and law professor to vet potential candidates. My interest is to examine the relationship between existing Supreme Court mandates and the way Republicans and Democrats collude with one another to draw legislative districts to protect each other in “safe” seats in the U.S. Congress.
- How will you appeal to the #NeverTrump voters?
Milnes: The same way I would try to appeal to all other voters. A general appeal. I have insufficient information to determine whether targeting certain voters might be more effective. That could change with research.
Shannon: I almost lost my wife to Donald Trump sixteen years ago – and I am just as determined not to lose my country to him.
First, let’s differentiate: my grandfather didn’t run a brothel in New York, he worked in a factory on the Mississippi River. My father didn’t give me $100 million loan to play with when I turned 18 years old. He gave me an invoice for rent due at the end of the month to live in his house. It was the same invoice his father had given him. I have been in real fistfights – not made-for-TV pretend fights for wrestle-mania. I digress…
For over a decade, I have been a tireless fiscal conservative and campaigner against the two-party system and its inability to address a public debt crisis that younger/future generations are facing. Donald Trump is not a fiscal conservative by any stretch of the imagination.
Trump has also promised to expand the U.S. military and spend “whatever it takes” to dominate the world militarily. Such cavalier spending will only exacerbate the debt burden that will smother younger Americans with a debt burden they cannot service. It would also enflame the failing relationship between the Western/free world and the Arab/Muslim world.
Incidentally, I would also attract former Bernie Sanders supporters, as I am the only candidate in any political party who has never accepted a campaign donation in my life from anyone.
- If you do not receive the nomination, will you remain in the Libertarian Party and support its candidates including its 2016 presidential nominee?
Milnes: Yes. I did not NOT support Johnson/Gray and did in fact vote for them. However as I have publicly stated I was so disgusted by Barr/Root that I did vote for McCain/Palin in protest. I almost voted for McKinney/Clemente.
Shannon: Yes, but unlike most Libertarians, I speak the language of voters. It is a language that the Libertarian Party has struggled with for its entire existence. The other candidates, their slogans, and campaigns translate to crazy-talk in that language of voters. I will support the eventual nominee, but Gary Johnson and Austin Petersen would each get approximately 1% of the vote (again).
- Do you ever read the Independent Political Report website? If so, how often do you read it?
Milnes: Yes, I read IPR quite often. I visit that website somewhere around 10X/day.
Shannon: Yes, a friend of mine turned me onto it some time ago. I do not read it often, because I have a full-time job, I have a wife and family, I own a small business, and I’m running for President of the United States.
- What is your favorite song?
Milnes: I like Oldies but Goodies. Imagine, Woodstock, Give Peace a Chance top 3.
- What is your favorite movie?
Milnes: I mentioned this at the debate in Swarthmore in 2011. Slaughter-House Five.
Shannon: “Rudy,” “Hoosiers,” “Breaking Away,” – I like the underdogs.
- What is your reaction to this video?
Milnes: It reminds me of what happens when you shake a soda can then open it.
Shannon: Hilarious –this is exactly the type of candidate that scares suburban parents away from joining a political party/movement and renders good-intentioned political movements to be impotent – like sails with no wind.
If you ever get a chance to hear me speak, I don’t refer back to notes for every sentence like this candidate. My message is authentic – not read from some piece of paper that I typed up the night before.