Meet John Jay Myers, Texas Libertarian For U.S. Senate

San Antonio—John Jay Myers, the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, is sitting in the shade of a booth at something called Activist Appreciation Day in downtown San Antonio. Somebody on the stage is complainingly, loudly, about the drug war and Myers is sweating after playing a couple songs on stage with his staff. Of course, everyone is sweating because it’s 101 degrees in the early afternoon.

Before we start the interview Myers motions to one of his five volunteers, all young men in their early 20s.

“You want to do to this in the AC of the RV?” he asks.

With my ice-cold New England blood not agreeing with the extreme dry heat I gladly retreat to the cool comfort of the rented campaign vehicle that Myers has been traveling around the state in. Myers and Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson are on the second to last day of their swing through the largest cities of Texas: Odessa, Dallas, Waco, San Antonio, and Houston. Myers is Johnson’s opening act at every event, warming up the crowd with a stump speech against foreign intervention, social conservatism, the drug war, and corporate welfare.

Johnson passed on the San Antonio event in favor of local media appearances but that did not stop Myers, the owner of a restaurant and a printing business, from going on his own. Myers is convinced that his two opponents in the race, former Republican Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Democratic State Representative Paul Sadler, are really just big-government conservatives. The most recent poll between Cruz and Sadler had Cruz up by 10 points. Myers won the Libertarian Party nomination for U.S. Senate on the first ballot at the state party convention in June.

 He thinks that his libertarianism can attract disaffected Texans from across the political spectrum.

“I sat at the Green Party table and talked about my issues. They were like ‘Those sound like our issues’ and I am like, well they actually are. The only difference between our issues and their issues is I don’t believe you should ever force someone to take someone else’s stuff and give it to them,” he said, as we walked to his RV.

Myers thinks of himself as the opposite of a Wayne Allyn Root libertarian.

“At a time when we should be embracing the Ron Paul ideology and sticking to that, along comes this guy toning down our message,” he said, referencing Root’s 2008 rise in the party.

“We obviously shouldn’t be toning down our message. Toning down the anti-war message is a huge mistake for this party. Until drugs are legal, they’re a big issue. Until people are allowed to live their lives as we see fit, it’s a big issue,” said Myers.

Fiscal issues matter to Myers but he’s uncomfortable with people that try to make them more important than social and foreign policy matters.

“I didn’t join this party to be a Republican. If I wanted to be a Republican I would have joined the Republican Party,” he said.

Having run for local office before, Myers has some electoral experience under his belt. But he is in for a tough fight. Many libertarians who would be a natural fit for his candidacy have flocked to Ted Cruz because of his endorsements from Ron Paul and his national political organization.

“The real problem with Ted Cruz is he’s a social conservative, not a libertarian,” he said.

Myers thinks Cruz’s position on immigration doesn’t make any sense either.

“You couldn’t immigrate from Mexico to here if you tried. Ever. His parents couldn’t have, he couldn’t have. You just couldn’t. His entire position is hypocritical and it will never work,” Myers said, adding that he favors a more relaxed national immigration policy.

Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother.

Myers recognizes that his odds of winning in Texas are slim but he thinks he wins even if he loses.

“It’s not my job to win the race. All I’ve got to do is be right,” he said, noting that Ron Paul didn’t win his two bids for the presidency but he still did more to spread libertarian ideas than anybody in decades.

During his stump speech Myers emphasizes his belief that the campaign is a vehicle to educate people about libertarianism.

 “We have to end corporate welfare and the only way to do that is limit what government can do. Every ounce of power you give government, you’re giving them more power to do something to you,” he said, moving quickly to focus on social issues and the drug war.

“I am a libertarian, a real libertarian. People should be able to live their life as you see fit. You should be able to do whatever you want with your life. You should be able to smoke what you want, drink what you want, eat what you want, drink whatever size object you want,” he said, speaking fast with Cosmo Kramer-like mannerisms, as he has throughout this Texas trip.

Despite the tough odds, Myers is optimistic.

“We get a lot of emails from people that say, they’re voting for Cruz in the primary and voting for John Jay in the general,” he said. 

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  • BakedPenguin||

    Myers thinks of himself as the opposite of a Wayne Allyn Root libertarian.

    Well, that would be enough to get me to vote for him.

  • ||

    Beat me to it. "[T]he opposite of a Wayne Allyn Root libertarian" can only be a good thing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Whatever flaws Gary Johnson has, he's a former governor. Of an actual state. That lends instant credibility to the LP and may help get them some more libertarians from the other parties, primarily the GOP.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    A former governor. Of an actual state. A GOP governor in a very BLUE state. Who was re-elected to a second term. Who held the line on spending and left his State's balance sheet in the black. One might think that such interesting facts should cause people to sit up and take notice. But that would, apparently, be wrong. Strange, very strange.

  • ||

    And I frequent his restaurant in Dallas. Really nice guy.

  • SistahLiberty||

    Great to see some media coverage for the Libertarians...a breath of fresh air in the stagnated two-party system. Both Gary Johnson and John Jay Myers are deserving of a closer look.

  • EdK||

    Full disclosure: John Jay Myers is a personal friend.

    He also happens to be the best possible next Senator from the state of Texas. He is also anti-war and anti-WAR!

  • ||

    But the question is, is he anti-GWAR?

  • Penis Carrot||

    If only Root were just about toning down the message. Toned down libertarianism still beats the heck out of advocating for Romney the way he does.

    If you walk into a room of pro-drug war folks who agree with the majority of the rest of the message, lead with the rest of the message and bring them around to the drug issue. No need to kick voters in the nuts. Sometimes the 'real libertarians' are more interested in self-serving than really spreading the libertarianism. JJM walks this line in a wobbly fashion.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    "With my ice-cold New England blood not agreeing with the extreme dry heat..."

    Usually, the heat in San Antonio is anything but "dry." Spend a few days in SA and then go directly to Phoenix. You'll feel the difference. The dry heat in the latter place is powerful, but tolerable to a point. The ultra-humidified heat in SA, on the other hand, is just punishing.

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