Gary Johnson Is Winning Over the Libertarian Party, But Can He Win Over The Rest of America?

The former two-term New Mexico governor tries to bring sexy back to the Libertarian Party.

At the Libertarian Party of Florida state convention held this past weekend, former GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson didn’t just win the straw poll; with 42 of the 60 votes cast, he wiped the floor.

If Johnson can replicate that success in other states, he’ll have little trouble getting the nomination at the national Libertarian Party convention in May. Compared to fellow former Republican Bob Barr, who was tied for the nomination through five rounds of ballots at the 2008 national convention, getting the backing of the LP is going to be a cakewalk for Johnson.

But what about the rest of America? Johnson is hoping to poll high enough to appear with President Barack Obama and the GOP nominee in a televised debate, and pull 5 percent in the general election. The former two-term governor of New Mexico, an experienced coalition-builder, is having a hard time coralling people who lean libertarian, but aren't quite. 

Take, for instance, his appeals to marijuana voters.

Johnson’s decision to campaign on legalizing marijuana was based on principle: He’s used it, he thinks it’s safer than booze, and he hates the drug war. It was also based on some hypothetical math: “100 million Americans have admitted to using marijuana,” Johnson told me two weeks before the Florida straw poll. “If they all gave me a dollar, that’s a hundred million bucks.”

In theory, it was a swell plan. In practice, Johnson has “done so many events with marijuana. So many marijuana events. Basically, nothing comes out of it other than for an enthusiasm for what I say. No money comes out of it.”

That’s not to say that marijuana policy reform advocates are broke, or cheap. Progressive Insurance founder Peter B. Lewis has donated half a million dollars this election cycle to Prop. 66, which would reform California’s onerous three-strikes law, and another $159,000 to the Drug Policy Alliance Network Committee. (Lewis’s deep pockets also made the Marijuana Policy Project what it is today.)

But what weed money there is, isn’t flowing to Johnson. So he’s going back to the basics: Cutting the size of government. But even that can prove difficult. In a 2012 election in which Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is promising to cut spending by $1 trillion, Johnson is still searching for a way to earn media attention.

“‘How do you differ from Ron Paul? Ron Paul’s proposing a $1 trillion reduction!’ people say. Well, I’m proposing a $1.4 trillion reduction.” Johnson seldom puts it that way, though. Instead he calls it a 43 percent cut in government spending.

Over dinner, I asked Johnson how to make that message...sexier.

“How do you?” he replied. “We talk about this all the time. That’s kind of the crux. It’s not a sexy message, but if we don’t cut Medicare by 43 percent, there’s not gonna be any Medicare.”

Reducing the size and scope of government is not a new mantra for Johnson. He vetoed bills with abandon while governor and left New Mexico with a budget surplus. His struggle to get traction at the national level occasionally makes him wonder what’s changed.

“I mean, how did I get elected in New Mexico in the first place? And get re-elected? I mean, I’m questioning that these days. How did that happen?”

Identity crisis aside, Johnson is upbeat about his chances with the Libertarian Party. Due to his profile, he’s not just the odds-on favorite for winning the nomination, but the party’s best chance for getting coverage in the general election.

“They did a poll [in Florida] a couple weeks ago. The names were Gary Johnson, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney. Those 3 names. I was at 9 percent,” Johnson said. That’s pretty good, I replied to him. “It is. And not so much that it’s me, but just any third name, right? Any third name. But there’s a potential here to be at 15 percent. I think there’s a real potential. [It’s not going to be] Ron Paul who people are galvanizing behind. Who are they gonna galvanize behind?”

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  • ||

    The former two-term governor of New Mexico, an experienced coalition-builder, is having a hard time coralling people who lean libertarian, but aren't quite.

    He's going to have a hard time coralling pro-life, pro-border-control, anti-gay-marriage libertarians too.

  • ||

    Why would he want to corral Republicans? I'm assuming your use of "libertarian" was a typo.

  • ||

    Haha, I KNEW someone was going to say that. Thank you for springing my trap, I'm especially glad it was you. Prepare to be rhetorically disemboweled.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Do we HAVE to sound like Tony, on the issue of gay marriage?

  • Disinterested Observer||

    When Tony's right, Tony's right.

  • MrGuy||

    Correction: When Tony's right, it will be the first time.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Oh man I have no idea what's goin' on...

    Wanna get high?

  • ||

    Reverend Blue Towel?

  • ||

    High profile Republicans are switching to the Libertarian Party. There has been press on it in the last 24 hours. So, yes, it can and is happening.

  • BelowTheRim||

    Just because Johnson is pro life does not mean he supports subisidies for infanticide.

    Just because he wants open borders and hates the idea of a wall doesn't mean he doesn't want boots on the ground.

    Libertarians don't have a problem with getting governemnt out of the marraige business meaning that gay marraige shouldn't be disparaged by libertarians on a policy level.

  • BelowTheRim||

    ***Pro Choice...Johnson is pro choice...but anti subsidy I believe.

  • ||

    Just because BTR is a fan of moving the goalposts doesn't mean he supports Canadian football.

  • Fetus = Infant? LOLOL||

    Stupid Libertard

  • Nazi||

    Jew = Person? LOLOL

  • ||

    Especially since Rockwell/Raimondo are telling all of those pro-life, pro-border-control, anti-gay-marriage libertarians that Johnson is a neo-con mole in the movement.

  • Zeb||

    I have at least one liberal friend who I think I will convince to vote for Johnson. So that's something.

  • Joe||

    I thought this article would be about GJ's toned lats and sculpted traps. Fortunately, my imagination made up for where the reporting failed.

  • ||

    I think it's hard for people to get their heads around the idea of there being more than one libertarian to support.

    So long as Ron Paul's still running, he's only going to get so much support.

    Good luck to Johnson, though. I'd vote for Johnson over Paul, no doubt, regardless of what party nominated him.

  • BelowTheRim||

    I like where your head is at. People will start understanding that Libertairan politics runs deeper than RP (even though I love Ron Paul). I'm almost sure now that I will be voting for Johnson as RP gets no mainstream respect at all. Even though in delegates he is absolutely in the mix to win.

  • DK||

    The 2nd best thing that could happen at the Republican convention - Ron Paul gives his concession speech:

    End the Fed, non-interventionism, bla, bla, bla... oh, and by the way, I endorse Gary Johnson for president.

  • ||

    I think he wants to eventually hand his support organization over to his son--within the Republican Party. ...and I don't think he can keep that support within the Republican Party if he endorses another party against them to split what the Republicans consider Republican support.

  • ||

    Rand is already pissing off the GOP by putting a hold on that "synthetic drugs" ban bill in the Senate.

  • DK||

    I think the blowback against Rand will exist no matter what Ron Paul does. Admittedly, the intensity will increase if Ron goes nuclear; but that might hasten the demise of the current structure of the GOP.

  • Jumbie||

    Also, don't forget the recent post here by Sullum(?) on how Paulites are taking over Republican party machinery all over the country by mere fact of turning up and participating.

    If Paul feels he's got enough claws into the establishment structure, he's more likely to try co-opting it for Rand than destroying it to prove a point. Paul's shown a lot of long term strategy so far.

  • ||

    Agreed. Paul's already more than doubled his support from 4 years ago, that's real progress.

  • ||

    If it's easier to take over an existing party than build a third party, then effort should go towards taking over.

    There's enough bias in state laws towards established parties that it's a good strategy.

  • ||

    While it is easier to garner support by operating from within one of the major parties, I'm worried the message gets convoluted. Right now, when people think "GOP" they're thinking about neocons and the moral majority; they just wind up assuming that Ron Paul, and by association all Libertarians, spread the same message as Rick Santorum.

    I think it would be better in the long run if Libertarians would throw more support behind the LP, rather than allowing Republicans to continue to dillute Libertarian Philosophy.

  • Tom ||

    I agree! The problem is we have trouble getting libertarians to join the Libertarian party. We need a stronger Libertarian party as an alternative to the GOP and Democrats. Joining the GOP creates mixed message to the public about libertarianism.

  • ||

    Johnson is going to be in limbo until the Republicans sort themselves out. A Santorum win would give GJ a big lift.

    Johnson could also use some management. If he wants mainstream voters to take him seriously, less pot-talk, more spending talk. We get it, the drug war is bad - now move on to how we are going broke instead of reminiscing about how great weed is.

  • ndelc||

    Johnson isn't really talking about it that much, but that's what the MSM seems to focus on much, perhaps as a way to attempt to marginalize him to conservatives. I've been a big supporter and followed his campaign very closely, and his biggest focus has been on the economy.

  • D.D. Driver||

    Yes.

    If you want to see Johnson do well, I think you have to (at least secretly) hope Santorum gets the nomination.

    If that happens, I think Johnson easily gets his 5%.

  • ||

    Unfortunately a Santorum nom means Obama will do very well too. Enough to claim a mandate.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Unfortunately a Santorum nom means Obama will do very well too. Enough to claim a mandate.

    Not if it's 50-35-15, or something like that.

    And who cares? If the GOP wants to be An Echo of Obama, I don't need them anyway. They can keep obstructing The Anointed One in Congress.

  • ||

    They did their best obstruction when the Democrats had super-majorities in both houses of Congress.

  • Croesus||

    @Old Soldier
    Considering what they Dems passed (stimulus, bailouts, Obamacare), I don't think that's the proper way to characterize it. They had more solidarity when the Dems had a supermajority, but the GOP has been doing a better job at obstruction (actually blocking stuff, not just putting up a fight) with one house securely in their grasp.

  • Old Man With Candy||

    If the Senate goes R,and the House remains so, having Obama in the White House is the best of the realistic choices. Gridlock is the libertarians' best attainable friend.

  • ||

    +1000

  • JCinPV||

    If ever there was a time the country needed a president like GJ, it is now. Unfortunatly, unless he has a shot at actually WINNING, I am going to vote for whoever the R is, in the simple hope they will do one thing and thats repeal Obamacare. I dont think simple stalemate will cut it. Que commenters who will tell me that the R is the same as O, blah blah blah. I get all that. i just ask myself, would I have been happier with McCain now versus O ? Warts and all, yep...

  • ||

    OS, your first paragraph is spot on.

    Second paragraph, yeah, but I'd guess that most mainstream voters are only vaguely aware of the existence of libertarians, and probably view us as fringey so it doesn't matter.

    Will be interesting to see what 2016 brings.

  • Muad Dib||

    “If I’m the nominee and if I get 5 percent of the national vote, the Libertarian Party gets $90 million in federal matching funds.”

    What is this? Many libertarians are ready to endorse not just any libertarian candidate, but one that takes an ideologically consistent stance. How could they then turn and accept 100 m in stolen funds?

  • ||

    For the same reason they use the ROADZZZ?

  • Muad Dib||

    I'm sorry but that argument is defunct. The "ROADZZZ" you refer to represent the exact same scenario. In this case the fed extracts money directly from the consumer, takes their cut and distributes as needed to the states in order to buy votes. "ROADZZZ" can be built privately without compulsion and be of better utility to all sans federal interference.

    If your intent was not to attack I apologize, but I only comment to fuel real discourse.

  • Joe||

    I took his comment to mean that you can oppose something, but still use it without being a hypocrite. Maybe I'm wrong.

  • ||

    Libertarians have paid taxes that support Democrat and Republican campaigns for decades. If Johnson wants to be pragmatic about it I don't have a problem with that. Dismantle the funding structure later.

  • ||

    Lighten up, doc. RC looms large here.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I am uncomfortable about that as well. I guess that money is going to be wasted anyway, but it doesn't help the image of the Libertarian party. If your taking government money you are going to look hypocritical bashing big government spending.

  • ndelc||

    That money has already been taken and it is being used to benefit the Republicans and Democrats. The only way any Libertarian could change that is to use it to help defeat the other two parties. Principles and pragmatism do not always go hand in hand, unfortunately.

  • ndelc||

    Besides, aren't those Federal Matching Funds donated willingly? That's the check box on your tax return that is optional if you WANT TO contribute, right? I don't know if that funds 100% of it, but that is what that optional donation is for.

  • Muad Dib||

    That may be true, and if it is it should certainly be explained up front. I understand that "The Party" takes the money, but that is no justification.

  • ||

    Really? Obama's hundred-million-dollar war-chest came from Federal matching funds? Not to mention free everything while he runs. His speeches are campaign events.

  • Derek||

    This is predicated on the belief that tax is EVIL, despite the fact that not all libertarians think such. Not even all Libertarians.

    That said, pointing out that the funds are voluntary is misleading. The checkbox doesn't change your tax, it just acts as a citizen earmark. It could be a separate part of the budget altogether, I don't know.

  • ||

    but don't those matching funds come from voluntary checkoffs on tax returns?

  • Wesley||

    “I mean, how did I get elected in New Mexico in the first place? And get re-elected? I mean, I’m questioning that these days. How did that happen?"

    1. He ran in a major party, not a debate club with a political party structure.
    2. He didn't talk about pot all the time. He never even came out for legalization until his second term. A majority of Americans support legalization, but for most of them it's a really minor issue. If you make it a major issue, it will marginalize you.
    3. He didn't run against a more popular candidate that shares most of his more popular views.

    I'll probably vote for him in November, but it's easy to point out where he went wrong.

  • ndelc||

    Technically, he's not running against Ron Paul yet.

  • BRM||

    1. He ran in NM at a time when the Dems were in disarray.
    2. He ran in NM, a state that while predominantly democrat, it is also fairly conservative/libertarian.
    3. He didn't have large, well organized money machines lined up against him.
    4. KOB-TV is easier on it's interviewees that any national media outlet, so he didn't come off looking like a giant D-bag everytime a camera was pointed at him.

    I was thinking of voting for him, but he just has that look about him that tells me that he couldn't crawl out of a wet paper bag with a step ladder and instructions. He was told the stop talking about pot a year ago. The only thing that stopped him was the absence of TV interviews.

  • ||

    "He was told the stop talking about pot a year ago."

    Yeah, that's what I want in a president. Somebody who does everything he's told.

  • Wesley||

    Rick Santorum ads are showing up for me on this page. Does he know how bad he's wasting his advertising dollars?

  • ||

    You say that like it's a bad thing, Wes.

  • Jumbie||

    If you click on them it costs him more money and also the ad program will send more Santorum ads our way to be wasted.

  • ||

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Trig||

    Excellent point!

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    That's nothing. The Elizabeth Warren moneybomb was the new orange around here for a day.

  • ||

    It would be a true miracle if he could pull five with how little coverage he has received. On a side note I think most liberals are still under Obammies trance. Jon Stewart on Letterman was just pathetic. Yes Jon we get it, Bush was stoopid and Obama is so much smarter then everyone that has ever lived it's OUR fault his administrations been such a train wreck.

  • Old Mexican||

    But what weed money there is, isn’t flowing to Johnson.


    That may be because many anti-drug war people are not really libertarians and do not subscribe to Gary's (or for that matter, Paul's) hands-off policy when it comes to the government and its purported power to right imaginary wrongs.

  • Steven||

    We would be better off if he ran for a Senate seat. We need more libertarians in congress.

  • death panelist||

    surprised not to see this here yet...

    Leaving The GOP: Roger Stone Edition

    BY Celeste Katz

    After all these years, the Republican Party can kiss Roger Stone goodbye.

    Yes, the Original Dirty Trickster, that jackanape of the GOP, is hanging up his registration and moving over to... The Libertarian Party.

    Stone tells me he decided to make the jump on Friday.

    Florida, where Stone votes (and where I caught up with him at a Mitt Romney rally in Miami-Dade before the primary), "allows you to register as a Libertarian Party member. There are 25,000 of us. Yes, I have changed."

    Why?

    "The GOP has become a party of big Government, big Business and social oppression. Romney? Yecccch," he says. "Libertarians are for smaller government, less spending, cutting debt, ending the war in Afghanistan, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage equality and pro-marijuana legalization."

    In case you're wondering, Stone voted for Ron Paul in the Florida primary, but plans to cast his ballot for Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico.

    And as to whether this party switch makes it a little awkward to be running around with a giant portrait of Richard Nixon famously inked on his back, "I guess it's like having a tattoo of an ex-girlfriend," he says. "I'll live with it."

    See also...

    GOP trickster Roger Stone defects to Libertarian party

    The Grand Old Party has lost Roger Stone. The once-golden (if wild) child of right-minded Republicans has broken ranks — and left his past behind.

    “On Monday, I left the Republican Party changing my Florida voter registration to the Libertarian Party,” he wrote Wednesday on his “Stone Zone” blog. “. . .To put it bluntly the Republican Party is hopelessly [expletive] up...”
  • cw||

    Gary Johnson Is Winning Over the Libertarian Party, But Can He Win Over The Rest of America?

    C'mon, Riggs. You already know the answer is a resounding "NO."

  • WWNGD?||

    Libertarians:
    Image Link

    What about Virgil Goode seeking the Constitution Party's nomination?

  • ||

    Who cares about another anti-trade, anti-immigration, anti-social-freedom party?

  • Old Mexican||

    But even that can prove difficult. In a 2012 election in which Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is promising to cut spending by $1 trillion, Johnson is still searching for a way to earn media attention.


    He will not receive it unless he douses himself with gasoline and sets himself on fire... and maybe not even then.

    Paul has received a lot of media attention but mostly to attack him and to label him a kook. That hasn't really worked and so the Media resorts to ignore him. It is the same with Gary, who has even less of a name recognition than Paul.

    Paul has treaded the path for more than 30 years. Gary is pretty much just starting. Paul knows it will be difficult to roll back amost 100 years of Progressivism, but has never wavered. It is up to Gary and any other that follows him to show the same dedication and determination.

  • Joe M||

    Paul has treaded the path for more than 30 years. Gary is pretty much just starting. Paul knows it will be difficult to roll back amost 100 years of Progressivism, but has never wavered. It is up to Gary and any other that follows him to show the same dedication and determination.

    Great, so by the time Johnson has paid his dues, he too can be dismissed as an old kook. Don't forgot Johnson is already 59, and has really been trumpeting libertarian values since his first term as governor back in the late 1990s.

  • Thomas O.||

    What Gary and the LP needs is a huge cash infusion (we're talking nonuple-digits) and an aggressive, clever ad campaign aimed at college students and 20- to 30-somethings. I'd like to think that he'd benefit a lot (as in 20% or so) from a Santorum nomination.

  • Realist||

    "Print|Email|Single Page
    Gary Johnson Is Winning Over the Libertarian Party, But Can He Win Over The Rest of America?"
    You're kidding....right? Is this a trick question?

  • ||

    Seems to me like they know what they are doing alright.

    www.anon-dot.tk

  • ||

    Here's the thing. As a registered Libertarian, I really don't want the LP being known simply as "The Party of Pot". Legalizing drugs is just a small piece of the party platform and ideology that I prescribe to. Johnson making this a priority just seems over-kill. There are bigger fish to fry in this country besides legalizing marijuana. I appreciate his effort, but I'm sticking with Paul to the end.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    It depends on your philosophy, KK. If you think marijuana is the thin edge of the wedge in getting people to recognize the basic philosophical premise that adults own their own bodies, then it's not "marginal" at all: it's revolutionary.

  • Zuo||

    Yep, marijuana is the wedge issue that libertarians can use to smash the democrat party, by stripping away the young voters.

    There are a number of deregulatory and spending cut pushes that can similarly by used to accelerate the inevitable demise of the lying hypocrit Republicans as well.

  • N8||

    You are assuming voters are rational and consistent. Unfortunately, they are mostly idiots who don't bother to research or question their own preferred candidate du jour. See in particular the rise of Gingrich and Santorum, and the staying power of Obama. It's all pathos.

  • ||

    The Democratic Party has done well with the pot vote, with or without libertarians running, for pretty much 70 years.

    They don't give a shit about that issue, they'll let the Libertarian nominee talk about it all day long...

  • ||

    The Democratic Party has done well with the pot vote, with or without libertarians running, for pretty much 70 years.

    They don't give a shit about that issue, they'll let the Libertarian nominee talk about it all day long...

  • @AgoristDon||

    Is Gary Johnson a Threat to the Two-Party System?

    http://tirelessagorist.blogspo.....party.html

  • BlueBook||

    It’s not a sexy message, but if we don’t cut Medicare by 43 percent, there’s not gonna be any Medicare.

    You're not cutting 43%, you're saving 57%. Which is 100% more than will be saved if you don't cut.

  • johnc||

    Shouldn't we not cut it then? Get rid of it, so we can all be better off?

  • ||

    Multitudes of voters from the two party system are taking a hard look at the Libertarian Party. The national figure of 9% behind Ron Paul will no doubt go to Gary Johnson. When fresh polls look at the final pre-election line-up Gary Johnson will have an astonishing percentage. People want a candidate with integrity. They want Obama out and they're not excited about milktoast Republicans. Gary Johnson will invigorate this election in a way not seen since Ross Perot, but this time, the outcome may be surprising.

  • ||

    "He's going to have a hard time coralling pro-life, pro-border-control, anti-gay-marriage libertarians too."

    People with those anti-freedom views are not libertarians. They belong in the idiotic theocratic Constitution Party.

  • ||

    It's very possible to be pro-life and pro freedom if you consider abortion to be murder.

  • ||

    It's quite possible to be a lot of things + pro-freedom if you're immune to cognitive dissonance. That's why there's a Republican Party.

  • johnc||

    If you consider abortion to be murder there's no possible excuse not to monitor women's wombs, which are ripe for miscarriages and more dangerous to children than coal mines.

    Of course if you don't consider abortion murder, there's no reason to consider such a ridiculous position.

  • ||

    Abortion is safer than giving birth. Should government mandate greater risk to the mother?

  • ||

    Abortion is a legal medical practice in the US and many other countries. Murder is not legal in any country.

  • tautology||

    Murder is not legal in any country only because murder is a legal definition. So that doesn't exactly make your point.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I see I still have more pimping to do for my idea...

    The third-party candidates (inc. Johnson if the LP anoints him) should get together and schedule a debate. They should invite the major-party candidates to show up, but if they don't, they should invite popular celebrities to advocate on behalf of Obama and the Republican. These celebrities would hopefully want the exposure, so they might ignore the hysterical demands of party leaders to "OMG don't legitimize those fringe parties!"

    So you could end up with a lineup like this:

    "Welcome to PRESDebate 2012, the only *comprehensive* presidential debate. We welcome our panel: Candidates from the Libertarian, Constitution, Green, Modern Whig and America Elects parties [give names]. Making the case for Barack Obama is Megan Fox. Making the case for [Republican candidate] is Ted Nugent. Now, our first question is about balancing the debt with a tax on marijuana..."

  • Thomas O.||

    Don't forget the Rent Is Too Damn High Party! :P

  • Ricardo||

    This article ignores 3 key facts:
    1) The LP is fighting a battle against GOP moles intent on using candidates toi line their pockets with matching fund money...while destroying the Libertarian message and purging legitinate Libs. That's what happened in Florida, and a lot of other states with pathetic Convention attendance by GOP moles bussed in. His call for 90 MM in stolen taxpayer funds show the real agenda.

    2) Johnson doesn't get Libertarianism. His focus on cutting spending instead of tax rates (or better yet, moving to voluntary contributions) shows it. He thinks it's a form of conservatism.

    3) The guy has serious baggage. Death penalty for kids? Screwing his suppliers? Meanwhile, affiliates are in an uproar as his guys (or people saying they're his guys) fresh from the GOP come in to 'endorse' him (against LP rules) and purge members.

    REASON--make a few phone calls and do some actual reporting on the destruction of the LP by these moles and their chump candidates like Barr and Johnson.

  • ||

    2. The focus SHOULD be on cutting spending, you don't get to cut taxes until you cut the spending. Or you are being irresponsible.

  • robc||

    I agree in general, but if on the backside of the Laffer curve, cutting taxes at the same time as cutting spending isnt a bad idea.

  • ||

    Fair enough, but at 35% top rate, how far down the backside of the curve do you think we are?

  • ||

    Republicans are all about cutting taxes. Johnson's approach is "cut current spending to match current revenue" as a start. He's a proponent of the fair tax. Not sure I'm a fan of it, yet.

  • robc||

    Im not a fan of the fair tax as long as the 16th amendment exists.

    The LP wont always be in power.

    ^^^weirdest sentence I have ever written. Now if I could say it for reaz some time, that would be awesome.

  • ||

    If Ron Paul is not the GOP nominee
    then I will vote for Gary.

  • ||

    The Libertarian Party needs to disband. Us libertarians must blend into the D or the R Parties and take them over. A 3rd Party will never work. The Free State Project is also a great idea.

  • ||

    The great enemy of all third parties is the primary system of the major parties. It is almost impossible for
    a moderate or libertarian to get to a position for a possible win. Only electoral reform involving something like approval voting will work. Convincing the populace of that and getting them to FORCE the entrenched politicians to change electoral laws is
    required.

  • ||

    I was sad to see Gary Johnson drop out of the Republican Party. I think he made a mistake. The only way I think he can pull his decision out of the black hole is to get Ron Paul as his VP, if Dr. Paul does not get the RP nomination. I hope Gary re-joins the RP after he crashes in November. Good luck to you, Mr. Johnson.

  • ||

    The anti-choice on every personal decision and pro-corporate welfare Republican Party?

    Gee, I really hope Governor Johnson goes back to *that*.

  • ||

    I'm happy to see Gary Johnson enjoy the welcome he received in Florida. I look in on his campaign site just about every other day and noticed some key endorsements within the Libertarian Party, 2008 VP candidate Wayne Allyn Root among them. If the Statist Establishment wing of the GOP get their way in Tampa by maginalizing Ron Paul Gary Johnson will certainly get my vote in November.

  • ||

    Gary Johnson will inherit a lot of Ron Paul's support whether or not Ron Paul acknowledges him. Libertarian voters are nothing if not very well informed.

  • Craig D. Schlesinger||

    Great stuff Mike! I covered last night's online town hall with Johnson and Michael Strong for Examiner.com, check it out here: http://www.examiner.com/libert.....r-anniston

  • smartass||

    ...But Can He Win Over The Rest of America?

    Nope.

    Next question.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    My knee jerk reaction was, "Libertarian candidate - well that will give us 4 more years of Obama".. then I thought a bit.

    Given that the Republitard party is choosing between Mitt the RINO, Santorum the Christain Caliphate and Gingrich the, uh, Gingrich; All the while dissing the only candidate with a real fiscal plan - Paul; And the Tea party proving to be no better than the police-the-world, Christian-Sharia-Law wing of the party - Well, perhaps the Republicans deserve to lose, given their apparent hatred for all things Libertarian.

  • ||

    Yep.

  • smartass||

    If they run RumNuts and he wins, they R's will decide that's the magic formula and take a huge step to the left. Then the D's will go even lefter-er than they are now. Then we'll have become a true western European zombie state.

    Given that a D or an R is going to win, I figure my vote is best used in whatever way insures another four years of the The Big O-Boy.

    I can't believe I just said that.

  • smartass||

    btw,

    and Gingrich the, uh, Gingrich

    That's Grinch. You know, the one that tried to steal Christmas once upon a time.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    Actually, I was trying not to insult the Grinch

  • smartass||

    Somehow I didn't get that part.

    But I was trying.....the only Republican candidate I don't consider worthy of insulting is Ron Paul.

  • Cody||

    Am I the only one who notices how unintelligent the Libertarian party can be sometimes? This is why I can't "identify" myself as Libertarian, If I'm asked I just say that I'm "Independent".

    We have a problem being we're not Republican or Democrat. There is a two party system whether we like it or not. Now, whether you agree or not with all of Ron Paul's ideas (which, I don't agree with him 100%), he's the best candidate for the Libertarians. Personally, I'd rather see Gary Johnson in office myself. The problem is, if Ron Paul does win the Republican Nomination, I can't vote for Johnson... That's a waste of a vote. This is another problem I have with Libertarians. While I respect your stern beliefs in identifying yourselves as Libertarians, many of you refuse to rally behind someone who isn't in the Libertarian party.

    It all boils down to this. If you truly want a chance to prove that Libertarian ideas work, you have to infiltrate a party. The Republican party is the party that has been chosen. Libertarians need to register as Republicans and get behind Ron Paul. His ideas will bolster Austrian Economics, Social Freedom, and various other aspects of Libertarianism. Does he believe in complete open boarders? No. But how does this compare to his plan of dismantling our world empire, abolishing multiple departments, freeing the market, and various other concepts of importance?

    The Libertarian party needs to quit nitpicking candidates and try to get someone in the white house who will do their best to promote most of the ideas.

    Gary Johnson doesn't have a chance, but Ron Paul does.

  • ||

    I'd like to support Gary Johnson, but its hard to take him seriously as a candidate when his campaign can't even put together a functioning web site. If someone has any connections to the campaign, please tell them its time to hire a new programmer and get some faster servers.

  • ||

    If Santorum wins the nomination any person with a conviction for smaller government, civil liberties, and/or a more restrained foreign policy would have to be deluded to vote party line. Milton Friedman did some good work in the GOP alongside the tolerable William Buckley. Reagan was a tolerable compromise though he certainly was a ways from the ideal. Look around now, is there really intellectual room in the big tent for theocrats, neo-cons, and libertarians post cold war? They think they can kick out the libertarian wing and it will be as painless as when they denied the fundamentalist 700 clubers. We need to prove them wrong.

  • ||

    If Santorum wins the nomination any person with a conviction for smaller government, civil liberties, and/or a more restrained foreign policy would have to be deluded to vote party line. Milton Friedman did some good work in the GOP alongside the tolerable William Buckley. Reagan was a tolerable compromise though he certainly was a ways from the ideal. Look around now, is there really intellectual room in the big tent for theocrats, neo-cons, and libertarians post cold war? They think they can kick out the libertarian wing and it will be as painless as when they denied the fundamentalist 700 clubers. We need to prove them wrong.

  • ||

    The pro-pot agenda is a buzz kill for the vast majority of voters - and I mean 98% of them. And the potheads who support this guy are too stoned to donate to his campaign after the rallies he holds because they're too stoned to remember why they attended!

  • Gail K Lightfoot||

    Since I have yet to meet or hear Gary Johnson, you can hardly say he has won this LP Delegate over. Personally, I am more than a little tired of other people telling me what I think. It might make your Republican subscribers happy but the Libertarians who have been reading Reason since day one might prefer to make up their own minds. Free Minds and Free Markets, remember.

  • ||

    Youre kidding right? The guy believes that Wall Street bankers committed no crimes! In my mind that makes him guilty by association.

    You want a real libertarian-Bill Still is the guy.

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