Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: Meet the libertarians — the #NeverTrump movement’s last hope

Gary Johnson waiting in Utah
Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson waits to speak with legislators at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on May 18. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Meet the libertarians — the #NeverTrump movement’s last hope

By Matt Welch
May 19, 2016

Get over it, #NeverTrumpers. No amount of praying for a political unicorn to inhabit Bill Kristol’s www.renegadeparty.com can overcome the cruel logic of the electoral calendar, with its expired filing deadlines and hopelessly uphill signature-gathering requirements. There’s only one non-Republican or Democratic entity likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states come November, and that’s the Libertarian Party, which selects its presidential nominee in Orlando next weekend.

Politico reported Wednesday that an unnamed anti-Trump schemer (I’m guessing rhymes with “Shill Pistol”) said there was “a 50-50 chance” that one of either Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Wyoming), or Mitt Romney would agree on an independent run by maybe some time next week. When that Hail Mary inevitably fails, the Libertarian Party will have already popped the first corks on what promises to be its most intensely scrutinized convention in the party’s 45-year history.

For the majority of non-Beltway Americans who prudently maintain unfavorable opinions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the Libertarian candidate is certain to advocate several welcome policies that neither major-party nominee will touch with a 10-foot pole. In a political year that has broken one precedent after another, the Libertarian Party may well shatter its previous record of 1.1% of the vote.

Fiscal conservatives anxious about the country’s $19-trillion debt will be happy to hear that all three leading Libertarian contenders — former New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson (who was the party’s 2012 nominee, pulling 1.0%), antivirus software designer John McAfee and 35-year-old libertarian media entrepreneur Austin Petersen — want to eliminate large swaths of the federal government. Those alarmed by Trump’s cavalier approach to the Constitution will notice Petersen waving around a pocket-sized copy while Johnson talks up repeal of the 17th Amendment.

Progressives who dig Sen. Bernie Sanders’ opposition to drug prohibition and military interventionism — issues on which Clinton has been awful for decades — can rest assured that the Libertarian Party embraced these positions decades ago. Johnson as governor in 1999 became the first major American politician to come out for ending the drug war; McAfee’s core message is that “our bodies and minds belong to ourselves,” and Petersen dreams of a world in which “gay married couples can defend their marijuana fields with fully automatic machine guns.”

Please finish the article here.

53 thoughts on “Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: Meet the libertarians — the #NeverTrump movement’s last hope

  1. Andy

    Most of these Never Trump people are not even remotely libertarian, and we should not allow them to co-opt the Libertarian Party.

  2. Greg Jones

    “Most of these Never Trump people are not even remotely libertarian, and we should not allow them to co-opt the Libertarian Party.”

    ^ Says a Alex Jones/Lew Rockwell type, 9/11 troofer anarchist allegedly purist extreme libertarian with some light Trumpster sympathies. I’m a NeverTrump longtime libertarian Republican (now done with the GOP) in favor of incremental change in a libertarian direction across a broad spectrum of issues. I’m socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and far more of a non-interventionist than a war hawk. You claim that makes me a “statist,” not even remotely libertarian, and a suspected government agent. Meanwhile, you think actual authoritarian Trump who backs massive increases in government power in a vast variety of areas and wants to cut government virtually nowhere, is “not as bad” as other Republicans.

  3. ATBAFT

    What percentage of the vote levels are necessary to achieve permanent ballot status for 2018 and 2020 in states that currently cost the LP lots of petitioning time and money? We know we won’t win so this would be a reasonable prize to try to achieve in 2016. Or we can go all “pure libertarian” and give non-libertarians absolutely no reason to even give us a longer look.

  4. AMcCarrick

    ATBAFT, 2%-5% depending on the state. New Jersey and Virginia are off the table for keeping ballot access as they don’t permit parties to retain access via the presidential election.

    NJ is 10% of the general assembly only and Virginia is 10% of the gubernatorial race only.

  5. Richard Winger

    If the Libertarian nominee gets at least 5% in every state, the LP would gain qualified status in these states in which it has never before polled enough votes to stay on the ballot: Arkansas, Connecticut (for president; each office is separate), Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.

    Also the LP would be qualified in these states, where once in the past the party polled enough votes, but did not do so in this decade: Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington. Also the LP would be back on the ballot in D.C., where the party met the vote test in 2012 but not 2014.

    States in which the LP still wouldn’t be on are: Alabama (vote test is 20% and furthermore the LP nominee won’t have the party name on the ballot so votes don’t count toward retention); New Hampshire (only the vote for Governor & US Senate counts), New Jersey (vote test is 10% and can only be met in odd years), New York (only Governor counts and it isn’t up this year), Ohio (unless we win either of our lawsuits and get our party status back before the election, because otherwise the nominee would not have the party label so the votes wouldn’t count), Pennsylvania (because registration of 15% is the only way to stay on, unless the law changes, which it might), Tennessee (because the nominee will be on as an independent), and Virginia (because the vote test is 10%).

  6. Greg Jones

    True, but you did say he was better than other Republicans, Andy, which was what I said you said.

  7. Andy

    I said that other Republicans in the field, with the exception of Rand Paul, are as bad or worse than Trump.

    This does not mean that I trust Trump, or that I expect him to be some great savior, or that I advocate that people vote for him.

  8. Richard Winger

    Virginia does permit a party that gets 10% for president to become a qualified party. That is how the American Independent Party became ballot-qualified in Virginia in 1968. It was on the ballot as a party in the 1969 gubernatorial and legislative elections. Also, that is how the Democratic and Republican Parties retained their qualified status in years such as 1968 and 1980, years when president was the only statewide office on the ballot. Before 1991 the vote test had to be met in every statewide election, not every other one as the current law provides.

  9. Theresa Brex

    So, do you want the never trumps to vote libertarian? Or not?

    Do you want only people who agree with 100% of the platform? Or do you have room for differences?

    I would think that from now to November that LP would serve its self well by reaching out to the disenfranchised of both parties. Ramp up your social networking. Make noise. Get heard. Get the votes. Even if it is only for this election.

    But I am just a never trump, never Hillary.
    And if djt becomes actual nominee in July I absolutely will be voting LP in November. Just saying.

  10. Andy

    I would like everyone to vote Libertarian, assuming that we have actual libertarians on the Libertarian ticket.

    Voting for LINO (Libertarian In Name Only) candidates does not really accomplish our goals.

  11. Theresa Brex

    Then it seems that at least in this election you all are safe. Basically there is no time for never trumps, never Hillary to throw your primaries.

    Therefore, please chase down the votes. At least become the opposition vote for the those left behind by their parties.

    Who knows, maybe we will stay after.

    Best of luck, God speed, get a high % of the american peoples votes!

  12. George Whitfield

    Welcome Theresa Brex! You are refreshingly pragmatic and practical. I like your perspective.

  13. Mike Shannon

    FYI – Libertarian Party is having a ballot access crisis in Illinois, so I jumped in to help.

    Here’s the script:

    “Excuse me sir, if I told you ‘The two-party system is broken,’ would you agree with that statement?

    “Definitely, yes.”

    “Would you sign a petition for a third party to be on the ballot in November?”

    “Yeah, sure.”

    ———- NOT A MENTION OF LIBERTARIAN, WHICH HAS NEGATIVE BRAND EQUITY ——————————-

    I’ve been able to collect ~30 signatures per hour using the above strategy.

    Then, for kicks, I tried:

    “Excuse me mam, ‘Be Libertarian with me? Sign our ballot petition?”

    A woman literally gave me the jerk-off gesture/motion with her wrist…

  14. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    So, what’s your point, Mike Shannon? Am I supposed to be embarrassed to be Libertarian?

    I would venture to say most of us who identify as “Libertarian” are used to being a bit off the beaten path.

  15. George Phillies

    Mike,

    Excellent ideas here! One local has tried a variation that seemed to work:

    “Want a choice this November, not Clinton or Trump?”

    “Just sign here. It commits you to nothing.”

    Another that sometimes works is “Please help my friend get on the ballot”

  16. Andy

    “Mike Shannon
    May 19, 2016 at 20:18
    FYI – Libertarian Party is having a ballot access crisis in Illinois, so I jumped in to help.

    Here’s the script:

    ‘Excuse me sir, if I told you ‘The two-party system is broken,’ would you agree with that statement?

    ‘Definitely, yes.’

    ‘Would you sign a petition for a third party to be on the ballot in November?’

    ‘Yeah, sure.’

    ———- NOT A MENTION OF LIBERTARIAN, WHICH HAS NEGATIVE BRAND EQUITY ”

    I have no idea who Mike Shannon is, but I have working on petition drives for 16 years in 33 states, including 5 times in Illinois, 3 of which were for the Libertarian Party, and on 40 Libertarian Party ballot access drives, in 20 states, and I can assure everyone that this is just flat out not true.

    I almost always say the words Libertarian Party when I am gathering signatures for the Libertarian Party, and I still get plenty of petition signatures.

    Last fall when I was in Oklahoma, which is a more difficult state for petition signature gathering than Illinois is, I had a day where I gathered 520 signatures in one day at a festival (I worked approximately 10 hours, so I averaged about 52 signatures per hour), and I used the words “Libertarian Party” EVERY TIME I asked people to sign.

    I have petitioned in Chicago, Illinois, and I once gathered around 300 signatures in one day there, and I used the words “Libertarian Party” every time.

    I also once gathered 400 signatures in 4 hours at two events (about two hours each during the same day) for the Libertarian Party in Pennsylvania, which means that I averaged 100 signatures per hour for 4 hours, and I used the words “Libertarian Party” EVERY TIME.

    A few years ago I gathered 450 signatures in one day for the Libertarian Party in North Dakota (I would have gathered more if it had not been raining in the morning, and if I had not sat in the motel waiting for it to stop raining), and I used the words “Libertarian Party” EVERY TIME.

    I’ve actually found that a lot more people know the word libertarian now than did when I worked on my first petition drive, which was for the Libertarian Party in Pennsylvania, 16 years ago, and I have found that most of the name recognition is positive, and for the people who know who we are and do not like us, they are mostly people who will not sign a petition for ANY minor party or independent candidate anyway.

    Have I ever used a more vague or generic sounding pitch like the poster used above for a Libertarian Party / Libertarian Party candidate petition? Sure, on rare occasions if I am in a hostile crowd, or if the petition is for a Libertarian Party candidate who is running as an independent (one example of this was Gary Johnson in Alabama in 2012, as he had to use the independent candidate petition to gain ballot access, and the petition did not even mention the word Libertarian on it, although I did still use the word Libertarian sometimes even then, especially when people would ask questions about the candidate).

    There have been other times where I have named the candidate if there is the name of one candidate on the petition, but even then I still often times throw in the word Libertarian.

    When I worked on the Joe Kennedy for US Senate petition in Massachusetts back in 2009, I mainly sold it as put Joe Kennedy on the ballot, or put a third party or independent choice on the ballot for US Senate, due to the fact that even though Joe was a Libertarian Party member, and had been nominated by the LP of Massachusetts, he was technically running as the Liberty Party candidate due to some quirks in Massachusetts election law that would have made it more difficult for him to qualify for the ballot under the Libertarian Party label. This was a bit much to explain to people, but if anyone asked what his party was or what his views were I said Libertarian (note that there were ballot initiative petitions that I was working on at the same time as this as well).

    Sometimes I will tie in an issue that Libertarians support, like legalizing marijuana or gun rights or something else, by saying something like, “Sign to put pro-marijuana candidates on the ballot.” or, “The Libertarian Party wants to legalize marijuana, sign here.” or, “Sign to put pro-gun Libertarian candidates on the ballot,” or whatever other issue.

    Note that I have seen some instances where a petition circualtor pitched a Libertarian Party / Libertarian Party candidate ballot access petition as if it were a ballot initiative, which I think is disingenuous. The first time I ever encountered a non-libertarian mercenary petition circulator was on my third petition drive, which was to place Harry Browne on the ballot as an independent candidate for President in Arizona (due to a split in the LP of Arizona). Myself and another Libertarian petitioner were gathering signatures in front of a gun show in Phoenix when a non-libertarian mercenary showed up and jumped in front of us (which is considered to be bad etiquette and a violation of the general rules of petition circulator conduct for the industry – note that the event was not really busy enough to merit having 3 petition circulators there), and this person was telling people that the petition was to, “Stop gun control in America,” or to, “Protect gun rights.” Now these statements were true in regard to the platform for Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party, however, she (it was a woman) never mentioned that the petition was for a candidate, or who the candidate was, or what their party affiliation was, unless somebody asked, which most people did not. Myself and the other Libertarian petitioner that was there found her approach to be on the misleading side. We, on the other hand, proudly proclaimed that the petition was for Harry Browne, and that he was for gun rights, and that he was the candidate for the Libertarian Party, and we handed out Harry Browne for President and general Libertarian Party information to lots of people while we were there.

    I’m not saying that there is necessarily anything wrong with the vague/generic approach used above (although I think that it is better to get the word “Libertarian” out to the public as much as possible), as the person did not say anything that was false, but there is really no reason to be afraid to use the word Libertarian, at least in most instances. I almost always use the word Libertarian and still get plenty of signatures. Like I said, for the most part, the people who will not sign because of the word “Libertarian” will generally not sign for any minor party or independent candidate.

  17. Andy

    “but I have working on petition drives for 16 years in 33 states,”

    Should read, “but I have worked on petition drives for 16 years, in 33 states…”

  18. Bondurant

    @Theresa Brex

    There’s a difference between welcoming others to join the LP and vote for our candidates and gutting our philosophy to appease people.

    We want more people and welcome all who see the benefits of freedom. We don’t want to cater to gun control advocates, Bush II champions or those that support eminent domain (all characteristics of Weld).

  19. Jay Wildwood

    “I said that other Republicans in the field, with the exception of Rand Paul, are as bad or worse than Trump.”

    Yes, which is what Greg said that you said. It’s also colossally idiotic, since Trump is far, far worse from a liberty perspective.

  20. Andy

    “Greg Jones
    May 19, 2016 at 23:37
    Theresa Brex sounds very sensible and intelligent.”

    Probably another troll, along with Greg Jones. It would not surprise me if they are the same person, probably posting from one of those government trolling centers somewhere.

  21. Andy

    It is a fact that they are pathetic little obedient statis bitches out there who get paid to post government propagenda online out there.

  22. Jay Wildwood

    I’ll take your word for it. You seem to be an expert on the subject.

  23. Mike Shannon

    The Libertarian Party has negative brand equity. It is less of an asset than a liability.
    Don’t take my word for it. Please reference that 99% of voters have voted NOT Libertarian for 44 years.
    To clarify, I do not want to change LP policy interests. I just want to view them through a lens of inter-generational equity – meaning how has liberty eroded between generations.
    That simple shift can change us from being perceived as radical/fringe to being perceived as relevant.
    Oh, and I also want to change the brand name.
    That’s what we do in the private sector when investors, employees, or customers have a negative experience. We change, relentlessly improve, re-tool, re-brand, and re-release.

    I have a coffee cup on my desk that reads, “To achieve great things, two things are required: a plan and not enough time.” We have both.

    Start thinking of new names for your party…

    Mike Shannon
    “The two-party system is broken.”
    http://www.unrepublican.com

  24. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    What are some ways we can change our brand? I’m of the belief that Wayne Allyn root did damage that we haven’t recovered from yet.

  25. Mike Shannon

    1. A surprise candidate at the top (Mike Shannon)
    2. A message that 80% of Americans agree with: “The two-party system is broken.”
    3. An intellectual discussion with America about why the two-party system has failed (primarily because legislators draw their own legislative districts to predetermine election results between Urban centers and vast Rural areas, mandated by the Voting Rights Act). In other words, Republicans and Democrats actually rely on each other and collude “safe” seats for their collective job security, resulting in gridlock for America and squeezing out Libertarians to the purely ideological space (thus, my inarticulate buddy’s comments about space pants).
    4. A new party name (Jefferson, Founders, Allegiance, etc.).
    5. A clear path to challenge Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which compels/mandates legislative districts be drawn to encircle “majority minority” communities to ensure they can send one of their own to Washington called Democrats. When you do that, you inadvertently create a protected class of rural, white Americans called Republicans.
    6. I may be the only candidate in America who can say this, because my wife is African American and agrees with me. In her words, “we are already segregated enough as a society. We don’t need our congressional maps to further segregate us.”
    7. “And result in gridlock,” I always add.
    8. View freedom and liberty through the lens of inter-generational equity in order to be perceived as objective. We can objectively measure the erosion of freedom and liberty over time. For example, we can measure the rate of return that a 70 year-old will get on social insurance programs if he/she lives to the expected life expectancy and had the median income during his/her working years. Then we can do the same thing for a 15 year-old, who can expect a negative rate of return. In other words, he/she will put more money into social insurance programs in the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind than he/she will get back in retirement.

    Mike Shannon
    “The two-party system is broken.”
    http://www.unrepublican.com

  26. Richard Winger

    The statement that 99% of the voters have not voted Libertarian is way, way wrong, unless he meant to confime that only to president. In 2014 alone, the LP got 7.65% for US House in Alaska, 6.36% for Land Commissioner in Arkansas, 6.19% for Attorney General in Colorado, 7.59% for shadow US House in Washington DC, 3.75 for Florida Governor, 31.67% in Georgia for Public Service Commission, 4.07% for Idaho Governor, 4.76% for Illinois Comptroller, 4.81% for Indiana Treasurer, 3.39% for Iowa Treasurer, 4.33% for US Senate in Kansas, 3.41% for Maryland Attorney General, 8.98% for Michigan Supreme Court Justice, 19.72% for Missouri Auditor, 4.19% for US House in Montana, 24.81% for Nebraska Secretary of State, 3.75% for US Senate in North Carolina, 6.40% for North Dakota Tax Cmsr, 4.77% for Ohio Auditor, 3.09% for Oregon US Senate, 3.29% for Rhode Island Lt. Gov, 23.55% for South Dakota School Cmsr, 13.34% for Texas Judge of the Criminal Appeals Court, 3.96% for Utah Attorney General, 4.38% for Vermont Governor, 3.02% for Wisconsin Attorney General, 10.84% for Wyoming Sec. of State.

  27. Mike Shannon

    Yes, I am referring only to every Presidential race over the past 44 years.

    Individual races for local dog catcher have their own circumstances, of course. In remote areas like Wyoming, for example, there is often no Democrat, (because Democrat has evolved to mean Urban over time).

    Everyone in America expects the LP to nominate Gary Johnson. If you do, you will guarantee a return trip back to 1% and back to irrelevance in the minds of Americans.

    Or you can shock the nation and shock the world by nominating a newcomer with a new message that 80% of Americans agree with: “The two-party system is broken.”

    http://www.unrepublican.com

  28. Gene Berkman

    We can nominate Gary Johnson and get at least 1%, or nominate a total unknown – like almost everyone else running except McAfee – and get a tenth of 1%, since about that many people vote randomly.

    Seriously, people have suggested changing the brand name before, but that misses the essential point. Also complaining about the voting rights act misses the essential point.

    Politics is about distributing goods from those who produce to those who are connected to the politicians in power. Yes, some wealth is transferred to low income people, in order to get votes from them or to hide the real redistribution from the working class and middle class to the crony capitalists and the bureaucrats. When business owners contribute to a Republican or Democrat officeholder, it is either to get influence to get access to the wealth of others, or it is an attempt to influence the government to not take their wealth. Contributing to a party that has power is an investment.

    Contributing to The Libertarian Party is a sacrifice, since our candidates do not promise free stuff to the voters. In recent years, thanks to the technical revolution, there are many self-made wealthy people; many can afford to contribute to a principled campaign without expectation of immediate reward. We need candidates who have credentials and the ability to articulate a message of freedom. And we need to raise money from the many wealthy tech entrepreneurs who see that government is more likely to interfere with them than aid their progress.

    Running somebody with no credentials and no political experience but an ability to state a reasonable message in a gratuitously extremist tone is not likely to make The Libertarian Party a viable political vehicle for liberty.

  29. Mike Shannon

    @Jill, yes, I could start a political party – but not in time to be on the ballot for this election, which is the one and only opportunity for the Libertarian Party to become relevant.

    I have a pyramid of success – from BELONGING (a place for like-minded individuals to belong) to RELEVANCE (minimum 10% in a Presidential Election) to INFLUENCE (actually having an influence on policy) to CONTROL, when we kick ’em all out.

    @Gene – you’re right of course – there is more than one dimension of wealth transfer occurring. I focus primarily on wealth transfer not from wealthy to poor but from young to old, because it’s something that can be measured objectively over time – across generations – and give us legitimacy.

    But absolutely, wealth is also transferred from the private sector and producers to the cronycrats. It is no accident that the costs of education and healthcare have increased in direct proportion with the degree to which government/agencies have been able to wedge themselves as intermediaries between producer and consumer (physician and patient, for example).

    Where we disagree: if you want to legitimize the current system, then vote for Gary Johnson with his two-term governor resume.

    If you want to de-legitimize the current system, then vote for me.

    I am trying to re-define the traditional political spectrum; not between left and right but rather between generations!

    You want experience? There is no one in this election more experienced than I at disrupting elections. You can ask Republicans in Illinois when I embarrassed them for not fielding an opponent against Barack Obama in 2004. Check out my website, when I hijacked a Congressional race for 11 months in 2006 and actually got myself on the ballot as a DISRUPTER.

    I am trying to blow the lid off of this system under which we are mere subjects. I am a revolutionary, and I want a revolution…not a two-term governor with a resume. Are you kidding me? There is revolution in the air. I can feel it. Americans want a NOTA vote.

    No, I don’t have experience in the current system. It is rigged for incumbents of both stripes to win, and I am glad that I am not soiled with experience swimming in the sludge pool of nepotism, cronyism, etc.

    “The two-party system is broken.” That’s what Americans want to hear, and that’s what they’ll vote for in November. They’re mad as hell. Don’t give them goofy Gary Johnson all over again. He’s a proven 1%.

  30. George Phillies

    “We can nominate Gary Johnson and get at least 1%, or nominate a total unknown – like almost everyone else running except McAfee – and get a tenth of 1%, since about that many people vote randomly.”

    Claim is idiotic. We could choose by lot two eligible convention delegates, and almost certainly we would get 0.4% of the vote or better. Our base is bigger than 0.1%.

  31. NewFederalist

    I wonder if Mike Shannon has the endorsement of the Pope as one other contender once proclaimed?

  32. Jebediah Nimrod

    Mike Shannon

    “I have a pyramid of success”

    I have been given to understand that Austin Petersen does as well.

  33. Andy

    “Jebediah Nimrod
    May 20, 2016 at 21:40
    Mike Shannon

    ‘I have a pyramid of success’

    I have been given to understand that Austin Petersen does as well.”

    LOL!!!

  34. robert capozzi

    I heard GJ make a remark about the 17th Amendment that Welch referred to, and my gut reaction was: Why waste bandwidth on this issue? Is this not maybe #100 on the list of salient issues, or am I missing something?

  35. langa

    Andy and Bondurant are absolutely right. I want people to vote for an LP candidate who actually campaigns on libertarian ideas, not some fraud who campaigns on watered-down statist garbage.

    If the only goal were to maximize votes, publicity, and so on, with no regard for ideology, we should simply offer our ballot line to Ted Cruz, or even Mitt Romney. They could get at least ten times as many votes as any other LP candidate ever has! Wow, wouldn’t that be awesome?

  36. langa

    The sad thing is that Greg Jones, Jay Wildwood and all his other split personalities probably love that idea.

  37. Kareem Caliente

    The LP should have nominated Mitt Romney in 2012. Newt Gingrich would be your best shot to win in 2016.

  38. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    People who will vote LP because they hate Trump/Clinton will likely vote LP regardless of who the LP runs.

    This 10% is mostly an anti-Trump vote, not a pro-Johnson vote. Johnson is mentioned by name, because the mainstream media assumes he’ll win the LP nomination. But most any LP candidate would get the same 10% (or whatever Johnson will eventually get).

  39. Darcy G Richardson

    “The sad thing is that Greg Jones, Jay Wildwood and all his other split personalities probably love that idea.” — langa

    That made my night. Thanks, langa.

  40. Darcy G Richardson

    “This 10% is mostly an anti-Trump vote, not a pro-Johnson vote. Johnson is mentioned by name, because the mainstream media assumes he’ll win the LP nomination. But most any LP candidate would get the same 10% (or whatever Johnson will eventually get).” – Root’s Teeth Are Awesome

    Precisely. To the overwhelming majority of the electorate, including the 10 percent who indicated a preference for him in the recent Fox News poll, the mediocre former New Mexico governor is still, “Gary Who?”

    Mark my words. Once voters who can’t stomach Hillary or Trump become more familiar with Johnson — and unlike 2012, he’ll receive some scrutiny this time around —they’ll start looking for other alternatives.

  41. Darcy G Richardson

    “In recent years, thanks to the technical revolution, there are many self-made wealthy people; many can afford to contribute to a principled campaign without expectation of immediate reward. We need candidates who have credentials and the ability to articulate a message of freedom. And we need to raise money from the many wealthy tech entrepreneurs who see that government is more likely to interfere with them than aid their progress.” — Gene Berkman

    I’m not disagreeing with anything you stated here, Gene, but does it concern you that Gary Johnson — the party’s presumed frontrunner and a guy with precisely the kind of credentials that you mentioned — was only able to raise a relatively paltry $69,000 in the month of April, according to his latest monthly filing with the FEC?

    That’s not even pocket change in a presidential campaign. Based on his mismanaged, debt-ridden 2012 campaign, it’s little wonder donors have been so reluctant to contribute to his current campaign.

    That fact alone ought to give party activists some serious pause.

    And why would you describe his catch-as-catch-can candidacy as a “principled campaign,” particularly in light of his 2012 effort? Darryl Perry or some of the party’s other aspirants this year might reasonably be described that way, but it’s a stretch to describe Johnson’s campaign in those words.

    Gary’s supporters, moreover, can hint all they want about Super PACs and potential Koch money, but at this stage in the campaign it’s all wishful thinking — more pie-in-the-sky promises for a party that has already been subjected to more than its fair share of such nonsense in the past few election cycles.

    How do you know he’s just not taking you for another ride? Politicians have been known to do such things, particularly ones desperately looking for a “second act.” Remember Bob Barr?

    Delegates in Orlando should also keep in mind that Johnson still owes the U.S. Treasury $332,191 — almost as much as he’s raised in the current election cycle — in misspent federal matching funds stemming from his 2012 campaign.

    That, too, ought to gravely concern party activists.

    I’m sure Gary is a nice guy — he certainly comes across as a more amiable and disarmingly appealing individual than Hillary or The Donald — but c’mon. There are some serious concerns here.

    I’ve always respected your opinion, so I’m more than a little curious why you personally think Gov. Johnson, a guy who clearly lacks the kind of wit and wisdom exhibited by earlier third-party candidates for the White House, deserves a second bite at the apple.

  42. robert capozzi

    dgr: only able to raise a relatively paltry $69,000 in the month of April, according to his latest monthly filing with the FEC?

    me: Were I a donor, I’d wait til June, and I suspect many/most donors to such a longshot effort feel similarly.

  43. Greg Jones

    All misrepresentation aside, I do want Libertarians to pick libertarian nominees, broadly speaking – fiscally conservative social liberals. Johnson and Weld are within the libertarian quadrant, and have been described by many observers as the most libertarian Governors in the country in the last few decades. Both have had some past involvement with the LIbertarian Party many years ago, even if Weld’s did not go well at the time. Within that framework, of generally minimizing government on both social and economic issues, at home and abroad, the traditional criteria of major government or executive experience – General or Admiral, CEO of a large company, etc – still apply.

    If you are interested in a party that runs only 100% libertarian candidates, stop asking people who are not 100% libertarians to join, contribute to or vote for your party. Discontinue the deceptive advertising that suggests you seek to create a broad coalition party representing the entire libertarian quadrant, including its more moderate portions. Unless and until you do, please stop bemoaning when people take you at your word and join your party – perhaps even to run as candidates. For the rest of the world that doesn’t inhabit tiny political sects on the fringes, politics is not about finding tiny cadres of malcontents who agree on everything or whose disagreements are meaningless outside their sect, it’s about creating large coalitions of people who have major differences with each other but find their party/candidate to be less bad than the others, assembling enough support to get a seat at the table and actually influencing the course of public policy decisionmaking.

    It seems that the Libertarians have a schizophrenic approach that simultaneously works hard to attract the broader coalition of libertarian quadrant support and at the same time to repel that support with purity tests, insistence on extreme positions and toeing the line on every issue, open suspicion of outsiders being infiltrators, etc. You all need to make up your minds which you value more highly – broad public appeal or keeping your party out of the hands of the impure. Until that happens you are pulling in opposite directions simultaneously and wasting a great deal of effort and potential.

  44. George Phillies

    More nonsense from Johnson advocates.

    Johnson’s 2012 campaign served primarily to transfer money from his donors to his campaign managers. Worse, his spending outran his income, so his campaign ended up more than a million and a half in debt to a series of attorneys, fund raisers, and others. Is this Libertarian fiscal prudence? At the time of the 2012 convention, his campaign failed to reveal the size of its actual debts, which were over a million dollars , not $150,000. How honest of him.

    Johnson continues to claim that his “1.4 million” debt is owed only to his campaign management firm, a claim that is proved false by the Johnson 2012 debt settlement plan as filed with the FEC. It is impossible to tell whether Johnson is lying, or whether he simply has no clue about what his 2012 campaign did.

    For Johnson’s full 2012 campaign finance record, read free download Surely We Can Do Better? at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/629941

    Johnson’s record as governor includes a rapidly growing state budget, major increases in state debt, state execution of criminal, asking to try 13 year olds as adults, and drug criminal pardons only for those who had served their time.

    Weld is a gun grabber who supported the assault weapons ban and other anti-gun legislation. He recently endorsed Governor Kasich, who used various schemes to take our Ohio party off the ballot. He lied to our New York Party when he briefly took their gubernatorial nomination. He supported the Atlantic Yards abuse of eminent domains. After his first year in office, His Massachusetts budgets pushed state spending up up up. He paid off the legislature with a 55% pay increase in order to get other legislation through.

    To give credit where it is due, Weld did manage to wreck up the Massachusetts Republican Party. As a Massachusetts Libertarian, I am grateful. Alas, like the vampire Nostradamus, the MA GOP seems to keep coming back. We should not give him a chance to repeat the experience.

  45. George Dance

    “Delegates in Orlando should also keep in mind that Johnson still owes the U.S. Treasury $332,191 — almost as much as he’s raised in the current election cycle — in misspent federal matching funds ”

    Will the delegates be able to keep the whole story in mind; for example, that:

    1) These ‘misspent federal matching funds’ were actually private contributions Johnson2012 raised for and spent in the general election?
    2) The FEC determined that federal matching funds were ‘misspent’ (ie, spent in the general election though given only for the primary) simply be deciding that both source of fundraising – though kept in separate bank accounts – were ‘commingled’.
    3) Johnson2012 is of course allowed to appeal that FEC ruling – which came down just this month, and is.
    4) In fact, until a judge rules on it, it’s simply a matter of FEC opinion (not fact) how much Johnson2012 actually owes. (The campaign has agreed it owes $1,200-odd).

    My own suspicion is that the delegates won’t keep any of those facts in mind, because no one will bother mentioning any of them.

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