Gary Johnson Now Supports TPP

In an interview with Politico published today, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says he supports the controversial and secretive “free trade” agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which potentially restricts free speech by expanding criminal punishment for publishing “trade secrets” and violating copyright.

“It is my understanding that the TPP does advance free trade,” says Johnson, “Is it a perfect document? Probably not. But based on my understanding of the document, I would be supporting it [though] in a perfect world there wouldn’t be a document like that, there would just be free trade.”

This comes just two weeks after Johnson told Politico that TPP is “laden with crony capitalism.”  And that the “Free market really is the answer.”

Johnson is the only one of the leading four presidential candidates who supports TPP.  According to Politico, this decreases his appeal among the supporters of likely Democratic presidential runner-up Bernie Sanders.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein all oppose TPP.

79 thoughts on “Gary Johnson Now Supports TPP

  1. Bondurant

    I don’t know enough about TPP to comment on the bill itself but am most curious as to why Johnson would come to this sudden about-face. Was he misquoted? Did he do more research over the past 2 weeks? Is there any Weld influence?

  2. Jim

    I’m not sure this could be described as an about face. He was kind of on the fence about it in both of them, leaning slightly one way, then slightly the other. In both interviews he’s weighing crony capitalism against free trade, breaking down trade barriers, and reducing tariffs. In both interviews he said that these kind of agreements shouldn’t be necessary. This statement was not an unqualified endorsement of TPP and I think it’s fair to say that this isn’t the kind of agreement he would advocate as President if he were starting from scratch. The question he’s struggling with is what to do with an already crafted agreement that may have equal amounts of good and bad?

  3. Andy

    Uuuuugggggggggg!!!!!!!! It was bad enough that William Weld came out in support of these bogus “free trade” deals like the TPP and NAFTA, but now Gary Johnson is pushing this bullshit. Murray Rothbard must be spinning in his grave over this.

  4. natural born citizen

    Bondurant — the shift in position is because Weld is talking to the money people and telling Gary what the big-money people want. And what Weld’s Bushite bankster cronies want is global government with the “laws” written by banks and multinational corporations.

  5. robert capozzi

    aj: Murray Rothbard must be spinning in his grave over this.

    me: Yes, GJ doesn’t justify his pro-choice stance on the belief that fetuses are “parasites.” GJ is not an anarchist. GJ would probably like being called a low tax liberal.

    The plumbline deviations are mounting!!!

  6. George Phillies

    The statement has consequences for pursuing Sanders voters.
    Not positive consequences, but consequences.

    TPP – an opposite of free trade.

    And Happy Juneteenth to all!

  7. Andy

    Any big money people to whom Weld may be talking are NOT libertarians, so anything they say should be disregarded. I’d tell them to go fuck themselves and to cram their fiat currency up their New World Order asses.

  8. langa

    …the shift in position is because Weld is talking to the money people and telling Gary what the big-money people want. And what Weld’s Bushite bankster cronies want is global government with the “laws” written by banks and multinational corporations.


  9. Darcy G Richardson

    Wow, simply wow. So Gary Johnson — the pot-addled and unprincipled catch-as-catch-can candidate — is now carrying Wall Street’s water. This truly has to be a new low for America’s minor parties.

  10. Election Addict

    I think it shows anyone can influence him. “Gosh, sure, why not, I guess it has something to do with my philosophy. Nobody’s perfect!”

  11. Be Rational

    Anyone here actually read the TPP agreement?

    Has anyone in the world actually read the TPP agreement?

  12. robert capozzi

    GJ: “It is my understanding that the TPP does advance free trade,” says Johnson, “Is it a perfect document? Probably not. But based on my understanding of the document, I would be supporting it [though] in a perfect world there wouldn’t be a document like that, there would just be free trade.”

    me: I’ve not read TPP, or NAFTA, but GJ’s position here seems OK by me. It’s unenthusiastic, but it’s his understanding it would be a net positive. If somehow he actually wins, he leaves room in this statement to change his understanding, and signals that such trade agreements would be negotiated differently (if at all) under a GJ administration.

  13. Whakatemarangai

    Fuck him. He is now as horrible, dangerous, and corrupt as Clinton and Trump are.

  14. Andy

    The TPP is 5,544 pages long. I doubt that anyone has read the entire thing, including the team of people who wrote it, as they know their part, but probably not the entire thing.

  15. Be Rational

    So, if you haven’t read it, you don’t know what’s in it, so it’s hard to know which parts are bad, which are good, or if it is a net positive or negative overall.

    Such complexity itself signals danger, but best to get someone to read the thing before deciding.

  16. Andy

    Does one have to read the thousands of pages that are The Affordable Care Act (aka-“Obamacare”) to came to the realization that it is a bad idea? Note that The Affordable Care Act is about 20,000 pages long.

    Really, any bill that is so long that nobody can reasonably be expected to read it in its entirety ought to be voted against for that reason alone.

  17. Steven Berson

    Andy – To be a stickler for accuracy – the PPAHCA is actually 906 pages – you can read them all here –

    What is way more extensive pages is Federal and State government regulations tied to PPAHCA – those do extend into the thousands.

    Regarding the original post and GJ’s alleged new support for the TPP – I would like to see this further verified – but seems Weld’s strong support for it has swayed GJ now if this is true. This issue might be a deal breaker for me regarding my own vote for him as what has been leaked shows an extremely negative undermining of local self determination along with patent cronyism in many of its regulations. I personally am going to wait for more information beyond this single interview to cast final judgment in this regard though.

  18. robert capozzi

    aj, agreed, one need not read the whole doc to take a view. One view by Cato is here:

    Sounds like a close call, but understandably supportable. In the off-chance GJ becomes prez, there’s wiggle room for him to change his “understanding,” which is good.

    This is pretty much of a non-issue for me. GJ says free trade is good, ideally better as non-managed free trade, but in politics, one needs to play it as it lays.

    I believe DJT and HRC are against TPP for the wrong reasons, so on its face I like the differentiation politically.

  19. Andy

    The TPP is not a legitimate free trade bill, and Johnson and Weld are making the party look bad by supporting it.

  20. robert capozzi

    aj, you’d need to elaborate to persuade me. Per Cato, it certainly has positive aspects and some mixed ones.

    Or are you making the perfect the enemy of the good? Clearly, GJ’s statement suggests he doesn’t find it to be perfect, either.

  21. robert capozzi

    sb, the IP section might be bad. It might be SO bad that the good sections are more than neutralized.

    If that’s your view, perhaps GJ’s understanding can be adjusted.

  22. Andy

    Robert, I believe that the deal is a net negative, therefore I do not support it.

    I am willing to support proposals that i do not fully support if I believe that they are a net positive, as in if they do more good than bad. I do not think that this is the case here.

  23. Andy

    Any legislation that is so long that nobody can reasonably be expected to read the entire thing should probably be rejected for that reason alone.

  24. robert capozzi

    AJ, that’s a fine standard if it works for you.

    Then there’s the question of how many demerits you give a candidate for holding positions you oppose. In this case, GJ hasn’t quite taken a position, but if he did, would one anti-AJ position be enough for you to not vote for a candidate? Or could there be several, perhaps weighted?

    If the election were held tomorrow, would you vote for GJ WW? If not, who?

  25. itdoesntmattermuch

    There is not a single “big money” person who thinks the LP has any shot of winning anything, Johnson/Weld or not. Say what you will about unprincipled pragmatic political cronies, but I don’t think delusion is one of their biggest faulty traits. So, the conspiracy seems pointless. Unless you think the goal is to push Hillary to support TPP. In that case I think there would be more efficient and direct ways toward that goal.

  26. itdoesntmattermuch

    I’m voting for GJ and am curious to see if he will break 1% and maybe 2-3%.

  27. Andy

    I do not plan to vote for Johnson / Weld this November. They have too many demerits. I will not blindly vote for candidates just because they have the Libertarian Party label next to their name.

    I will vote for the down ticket Libertarian Party candidates who appear on my ballot.

    The last time I voted for the Libertarian Party presidential ticket was in 2004 when Michael Badnarik was the nominee.

    I cast a write in vote for the ticket of Ron Paul and Gail Lightfoot in 2008 (they had official write in status in the state where I voted, California).

    I wrote in None Of The Above for President in 2012.

  28. Andy

    I will probably write in None Of The Above for President this again this year, unless a good write in ticket emerges.

  29. robert capozzi

    aj, totally respect that. Personally, when the L candidate is too fringe for me, I stay home, which I did from 92–04. I think I voted for Bergland — arguably the fringiest ever — out of loyalty. Unlikely to repeat that.

  30. Jim

    TPP has serious problems, but it is no where near as bad as supporting the 2008 bailouts (which Trump did), supporting corporate welfare like ethanol subsidies (which Trump does), supporting the Kelo eminent domain decision (which Trump does), or supporting a 20% across the board tariff, 35% tariff on auto imports, and a 45% tariff on imports from China (which Trump does.)

  31. Andy

    William, what about voting for Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party candidate? If he does not make the ballot in your state you could write in his name.

    I’d say that if you feel compelled to vote for somebody, Castle is a better candidate than Trump.

  32. William Saturn Post author

    I will consider Castle very closely. He’ll likely be a write-in option in TX and I did choose that option with Baldwin in ’08. At this point, I don’t know enough about him so I need to do more research. However, I see Trump as a true outsider like Ron Paul and Ross Perot. He’s like a sledgehammer against political correctness, which is a major problem today. And his foreign policy is the most non-interventionist for a Republican presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater, possibly earlier.

  33. Jim

    Trump’s “non-intervention” is a myth promulgated by a certain sect of libertarians whose primary concern is not foreign policy, as they like to proclaim, but rather immigration.

    The truth is, Trump has supported attacking at least five countries, although he has flip-flopped on a few.

    Trump’s non-intervention on Iran –

    “America’s primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped – by any and all means necessary.” 2011 Time to Get Tough

    Trump’s non-intervention on North Korea –

    [In a Trump presidency], North Korea would suddenly discover that its worthless promises of civilized behavior would cut no ice. I would let Pyongyang know in no uncertain terms that it can either get out of the nuclear arms race or expect a rebuke similar to the one Ronald Reagan delivered to Ghadhafi in 1986. I don’t think anybody is going to accuse me of tiptoeing through the issues or tap-dancing around them either. Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?” 2000 The America We Deserve

    More Trump non-intervention on North Korea –

    [Trump] “I would get China to make that guy [NK leader Kim Jung Un] disappear, in one form or another, very quickly.”
    [Reporter] “Do you mean assassinate him?”
    [Trump shrugging ] “Well… I’ve heard of worse things.”

    (Note that this gives NK a strong incentive to strike first, in November, if Trump is elected.)

    Trump’s non-intervention on Syria –

    [Moderator] Mr Trump, more troops?
    [Trump] “We really have no choice. We have to knock out ISIS….”
    [Moderator] How many…?
    [Trump] “I would listen to the generals, but I’m hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000. We have to knock them out fast.”

    Trump’s non-intervention on Libya (From 2/28/2011, before Gaddafi was killed) –

    “Gaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage and that’s what it is: It’s a carnage. You talk about things that have happened in history; this could be one of the worst. Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick.”

    Trump on Libya now that it has turned into a playground for ISIS –

    “I never discussed that subject. I was in favor of Libya? We would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now.” 2/25/16

    Trump’s non-intervention on Iraq before the war –

    “After each pounding from U.S . warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don’t even know for sure if they’ve laid their hands on that yet. That’s what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.” 2000, The America We Deserve

    More of Trump on Iraq before the war –

    [Howard Stern in a 2002 interview. Note also the implied support for the first Gulf War] “Are you for invading Iraq?”
    [Trump] “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

    Trump turned against the Iraq War in August, 2004, a year and a half after it began, and he turned against the Libya mess early this year. That somehow makes Trump a non-interventionist, even though he was a supporter of both at the time they began.

  34. Steven Wilson

    Does Gary Johnson have a history of setting policy and stance in stone? Why would this be the straw for LP convention goers?

    The back is not broken. It is yellow and slowly rotting away.

  35. natural born American

    An illegal global government out to crush free speech is indeed worse than ethanol subsidies.

  36. Jim

    TPP is not going to crush free speech any more than already occurs in the US. It’s unlikely you’ll even notice a difference from current policy. We’ve past the point where it’s possible to impose widespread limits on free speech in the US. Attempts to do so are rapidly circumvented.

    So I would say that ethanol subsidies are worse than TPP. We pay for ethanol subsidies every day. But, Kelo was the worst transgression on that list.

  37. tylor

    I believe in ballot access and that is pretty much is the only reason I do stuff like help Sawant (very very little bit) in Seattle, and will help Castle get on the ballot this year in Washington State. I believe in helping people even if I don’t agree with them.

    I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, but if he supports tpp there is a good chance I won’t be voting for him.

  38. langa

    And his foreign policy is the most non-interventionist for a Republican presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater, possibly earlier.

    Goldwater did not campaign on a non-interventionist foreign policy. Trump is not campaigning on a non-interventionist foreign policy. (See here:

    Of all the Republican Presidential nominees in my lifetime, the one who came closest to campaigning on a non-interventionist foreign policy was GWB — and look how that turned out!

  39. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    langa: Of all the Republican Presidential nominees in my lifetime, the one who came closest to campaigning on a non-interventionist foreign policy was GWB — and look how that turned out!

    There was good reason to believe that Bush was sincere, in that both he and his opponents agreed that Bush was a non-interventionist. Bush said he wanted a “humbler foreign policy.” Progressives and Democrats complained that Bush would be a “do nothing president.”

    Today, progressives forget that in 2000 they were attacking Bush for being too non-interventionist.

  40. Gigi Bowman

    When I looked like a crazy woman screaming about William Weld and his ties to the CFR and the fact that he was chairman on the North American Union Commission, I got a lot of flack from Libertarians….

    Well, case closed. This is the Weld influence. Globalism has walked into the door of the Libertarian Party.

    Meanwhile John McAfee is making strides all over the universe on cyber-security….taking to the press daily. He’s also helping Libertarians get elected –something he doesn’t have to do, but his team is making it work.

    I rest my case. That is all.

  41. Heather Brenner

    LP leadership, you need to remind him that the LP is a party of principle– and phony, freedom-reducing, corporate welfare, unfreeze trade agreements do not fit into the libertarian framework.

    Otherwise, one must assume the LP has been co-opted by the neoconservative, and those of us who love liberty must start a new party

  42. Afi Keita Jamesa

    Jill stein has sold out to the evil corrupt UN

    so that leaves Darrel castle constitution party.

  43. Ralph Fucetola JD

    I think the article is misnamed. Johnson couched his “support” with so many qualifying statements, including that in an ideal (meaning “free”) world there would be no TPP, that it hardly counts as “support.” A better question might have been whether, if a member of Congress, he would vote the TPP down. I see Johnson/Weld struggling with a need to balance libertarian positions with the highly unusual circumstance of the LP candidates being the “moderates” in this election. Not an easy road, but one with great potential. I oppose the TPP but understand why Johnson wants to hedge his nuances…

  44. Michael Kelley

    The TPP is completely not American. This is exported slave labor! I thought American stood up against slavery during the civil war. Apparently not, crony capitalism has finally got to the last one viable canidate, Gary Johnson. It amazes me that Gary Johnson doesn’t see the hypocrisy in his view. Libertarians are supposed to uphold liberty not slavery. This will make American working wages compete against slave labor wages. The doesn’t sound like liberty for Americans or Asian countries. Looks like I’m sitting out of this presidential election unless Gary Johnson changes his position.

  45. hassan

    “Hillary Clinton, and … all oppose TPP.”

    Really? Her mob wrote the damn thing.

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  47. Charlie Davenport

    For those who “do not know enough about the TPP”. I can’t really believe you are so fucking ignorant. You have Google, don’t you?

  48. cromagnum

    Does it seem clear to everyone else who’s seen this that he hasn’t even read it?
    What a douche.

  49. LS Carrozzi

    For everyone who has NOT read anything about the TPP. I would encourage your to do so. This bill is literally going to be the worst thing to happen to America since the signing of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913!

    There is plenty of information on the Internet for you to read, but the key points are:

    – 6 sections are about trade
    – 24 sections are about expanding corporate power
    – The TPP will allow international corporations to sue governments if they think that those governments have “unfairly” cut into corporate profits.
    – Corporations will be allowed to ignore or override national laws (like environmental regulations and labor protections)
    – Corporations can refuse to pay damages for disasters and put the burden to pay for the operations on the local taxpayer. (Cleanup for the next oil spill will be paid by YOU, not Exxon!)
    – Corporations can force American workers to work for the same pay rate as slave shops in Vietnam and Thailand. (The goal is the complete destruction of labor unions.)
    – Unelected corporate tribunals will make determinations on following national law. (Effectively handing control of our government over to banks and corporations.)

    There is NO WAY IN HELL that a true Libertarian would back the TPP. So either this article is total bullshit, Gary Johnson has no idea what he is backing, or Gary has completely sold out his values.

    Signing the TPP and TTIP into law is INSANE and don’t believe Hillary Clinton for one fucking second! She will back and pass the TPP into law no matter what she is saying right now. Only Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are against the TPP. Donald Trump CLAIMED to be against the TPP, saying it was “a total disaster”, but the running mate he picked is about as corporate as you can get, and Mike Pence definitely supports the TPP.

    Hope that helps!

  50. Henry Chinaski

    Is this Bizarro World whereby Shillary the Big Shillary McClintock “opposes” the TPP by helping pen this treasonous rag? GTFOHWTBS Gary a traitor to the Constitution if he says he would sign off on it. #StillSanders

  51. Joseph

    I used to bring Trump voters to Gary Johnson, because he was Anti-TPP. Now that he’s pro-TPP, I’m going to stop sending them to GJ. Gary Johnson needs to dump the TPP and get rid of Weld, or he’s never going to even come close to getting to the debates. GJ is looking less and less like a Libertarian and more and more like a Republican.

  52. robert capozzi

    Joseph, sounds like you’re a single-issue voter. With that as your litmus test, your perspective is understandable.

    I am not a single-issue voter. I take an all-things-considered perspective. For me, this will be the first time I’ve voted for prez where I thought there was even a longshot chance of winning, and that my candidate — whom I disagree with on a few issues — could actually do the job.

  53. Chris

    All you libertarians need to educate yourself on the ISDS chapter of the TPP then tell me again why it isn’t so bad. You are talking about a court system outside of our own that will supersede our legislation. Local laws will mean nothing when a large national corporation has the right through the TPP to recover lost perspective future profits from your tax coffers. You won’t even be able to take them to court because the ISDS chapter settles it in a tribunal with industry paid arbitrators. I can’t think of anything that flies in the face of libertarian ideals more than that. If you can I’m all ears. I’m surprised to see even mild acceptance of it in your group.

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  55. Jimbob

    Well, god damn it all anyway!!!!!!! There is absolutely no one to vote for now! This country is just so butchered by the plutocracy, it’s all over! I have now lost all hope of ever getting our country back. I guess it’s time for a revolution… AGAIN, only this time, I think it will be even bloodier than the last, and who knows what the hell we will end up with.

    The elite are so powerful, and have so much power, they even control the outcomes of revolutions as they happen! I look forward to the day, that mother finishes off mankind, and starts over with something new! Mankind SUCKS!

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  57. Bill Woolsey

    Perhaps Johnson is paying attention to the leading libertarian think tank?

    The mis-named Constitution Party opposes trade agreements on paranoid-conspiracy grounds as well as support for trade protectionism. Their platform calls for varying tariffs so that foreign producers never have cost advantage.

    Most libertarians are not believe that there is an influential secret conspiracy seeking to impose one-world-socialist government and so do not see TPP as a dangerous move forward by” the establishment” (read conspirators.)

    The Green party opposes trade. (period.)

    Libertarians, on the other hand, oppose government restrictions on trade, even across national boundaries. The arguments from the left and right that trade restrictions are necessary or desirable to protect the environment or the standard of living of workers are mistaken.

    Opening trade in all countries is best, so this creates a rationale for international agreements regarding trade. Giving up on that and allowing U.S. households and businesses to buy where ever they want, is the least bad position favored by many, if not most, libertarian economists. That doesn’t required complicated trade agreements. Requiring foreign countries to impose costly regulation in exchange for allowing them increased exports to the U.S. is bad. This is what the left demands in trade agreements. So, the actual trade agreements that can get majority support are a mixed bag.

    I support the TPP as an improvement.

  58. langa

    Libertarians, on the other hand, oppose government restrictions on trade, even across national boundaries. The arguments from the left and right that trade restrictions are necessary or desirable to protect the environment or the standard of living of workers are mistaken.

    Yes, and the TPP imposes numerous new restrictions on trade. That’s why the LP (and its candidates) should oppose the TPP. The TPP (and all other managed trade agreements, like NAFTA) are similar to the “Fair Tax” — they are thoroughly statist proposals, dressed up in libertarian rhetoric.

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