Election 2012

Gary Johnson Pulls One Million Votes, One Percent


Gary Johnson

Sad to say, the best-qualified presidential candidate in the race, this year — Gary Johnson — pulled just a bit more than one million votes and around one percent of the vote. "Best qualified" I say, since a succesful and popular two-term governor strikes me as having a better resumé than a single-term governor or a half-term senator who put in a piss-poor performance in the White House. That said, Gary Johnson has pulled the most votes in raw numbers of any Libertarian presidential candidate and, as I drain a bottle of truly mediocre shiraz, just shy of the high-water 1.1 percentage of the vote won by Ed Clark in 1980.

As I check Google's election results (far more comprehensive than any offered by the traditional media, by the way), Johnson has 1,012,617 votes, and exactly one percent of the vote. That's in contrast to Barack Obama's 52,796,274 and 49.6 percent of the vote, and Mitt Romney's 52,197,635 and 49.0 percent of the vote.

You'll note that the victor, Mr. Obama, has so far won a plurality rather than a majority. If that holds, and we can attribute it even in part to Johnson's vote total, I'd say that's a victory of its own.

Update: Unfortunately, the plurality turned into a very slight majority overnight. Team Blue members rallied sufficient numbers around their chieftain to push him over 50%.

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  1. It’ll be interesting to check the final numbers to see in which states the Johnson vote was comparable to the margin of victory.

    1. It’s also worth noting how contiguous the red states are in the electoral map…Except for two blue states, New Mexico and Colorado, where a spokesperson like Johnson might’ve helped Romney out.

      1. Under what circumstances would Gary Johnson have become a Romney spokesperson?

        1. Of course, I don’t know specifically how they would accomplish this. But it seems strategically foolish to marginalize a popular Republican governor from a key swing-region (the New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada triad).

          1. Colorado and Nevada went for Bush in both 2000 and 2004, and New Mexico went for Bush in 2004.

            These are also places that an effort to appeal to Hispanic/Latino voters should have been made.

          2. Of course, I don’t know specifically how they would accomplish this.

            You probably should before you go running your mouth like that.

            Imagine how well Romney would have done if Obama were his spokesperson!

            1. We’re talking about strategically working states. We know that Johnson is popular in New Mexico. I’d venture a guess that popularity spills over to Colorado. Both of those swing-states went for Obama, so I’m just saying that Johnson was an under utilized asset.

              Could they have swayed Johnson to being a supporter for Romney? I don’t know, perhaps not. Did they even try? Emphatically no. That’s my argument.

          3. Johnson marginalized himself by running on the Libertarian ticket.

            1. Johnson was marginaled when he got invited to only one GOP debate.

              1. s/marginaled/marginalized.

                1. Yes. Look how the GOP party has treated Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.


                  1. remove “party”

      2. Hey, not everyone voting for libertarian never-in-a-million-years presidential candidates are splitting the *Republican* vote. I was raised a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, and vote predominantly Democratic, and I still chose Johnson over Obama. I’m hardly alone in this.

        I don’t know what the percentage breakdown of those that actually voted 3rd party looks like, but if you talk to Johnson supporters online, you’ll find an even mix of I-hate-Republicans and I-hate-Democrats. Just because other 3rd party candidates have split the vote in the past doesn’t mean all libertarians can only appeal to radical conservatives – Johnson’s pro-choice and in favor of gays having equal marriage rights, for chrissakes.

        1. I will never, never, never vote for a candidate who’s as pro-war as Mitt Romney is. So he didn’t lose any votes from me.

          1. America was very anti-war in the 30s. It encouraged the thugs.

        2. Yep. I voted Clinton, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama … and Gary Johnson. If you put a gun to my head yesterday and said I had to pick between Obama and Romney, I’d have said Obama. If I lived in a battleground state I MIGHT have held my nose and voted for Obama and vomited afterward. But I was happy to vote for a candidate who understands that habeas corpus is not some fuddy-duddy formality. Well done on that 1 million, Gary.

        3. I’m one of these. I voted for Gary Johnson with a clear mind. I would have voted for Obama while holding my nose if Gary Johnson wasn’t on my ballot in Ohio.

    2. Ya, GJ getting something resembling the margin of victory in a few states is the only positivish result I can see here.

      1. Looking at the results on google so far, it doesn’t look like GayJay would’ve swung the vote anywhere, even assuming that all his supporters would’ve otherwise been in the Romney camp.

        1. One interesting note: Gary Johnson finished third in every state except Michigan, where Jill Stein finished third. As has been said before:

          FUCK MICHIGAN!

          1. Also worth noting: Gary Johnson, on average, pulled a greater percentage of the vote in states that broke for Romney.

          2. Johnson wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan. Though I guess they still deserve criticism for their stupid ballot access laws

        2. Florida is pretty damn close. The current margin of victory (98% of precincts reporting) is 0.7% and Johnson got 0.5% of the total vote.

        3. Shit – that sucks. I wanted to be called a spoiler. He did, however beat the margin of difference nationally.

          1. No, he didn’t. Obama won the west coast states convincingly and most of their votes haven’t been counted yet. His margin will be well over a million votes.

  2. I was hoping the American people would have a sudden case of common sense and give Johnson 400 Electoaral votes. Maybe next time.

    1. Maybe the Republicans in the House will read the Constitution and realize that have the power of the purse and use it to balance the budget and kill Obamacare right now.

      Just kidding

      1. Just kidding

        I know, you didn’t have to tell me. Geez, do you think we’re idiots around here or something?

        1. Probably smart to disclaim that. Poe’s law has particular strength in text comments.

  3. Congratulations to GJ, although if I HAD to choose between a LP candidate, I would have narrowly picked Ron Paul.

  4. 1% should not be surprising to a site that constantly reminds us that our votes are useless. Hate to say it, but this fatalistic mindset within the libertarian community, combined with the number of libertarians who “strategically” vote Republican in defiance of rational statistics is only the reason why Johnson couldn’t get 5%.

  5. I’m done with Libertarianism.

    The two party system is here to stay for a very simple reason: the parties are coalition parties that will change and adapt their positions to continually corner the market. A third party is essentially pointless.

    I’m registering as a Republican and I hate them. Why? Because our only hope is to drag that party, kicking and screaming, to the principles of liberty.

    I’m tired of losing my liberty bit by bit. I’m going to vote for the MOST libertarian candidate in the primary and If that candidate loses, I won’t vote for that office.

    I’m tired of Libertarians sitting on the sidelines, savoring moral victories. Moral victories are for losers and in American politics, we’re the biggest losers of them all.

    We have the better ideas and all we do is sit around blather in our echo chamber. We need to be warriors, activists, and teachers. Not the irritating, condescending, political snobs that we are.

    The reality for me is this: join me in fighting for the soul of the Republican party or you are my enemy.

    1. Count me as Republican Enemy #1 then

    2. Dude, dude. This is silly stuff. If you’re going Republican to run for political office as a libertarian, good for you. I’ll vote for you.

      Otherwise, your post doesn’t make sense. Unless you buy the same stupid delusion as everyone else that your vote could be the determining factor if you beat the 1 in 100 million odds. If you don’t buy this delusion, you should keep voting for the best candidate, because voting Republican will give you no more or less influence over the final outcome than voting Libertarian will.

      1. I’m not “voting republican.” I’m registering as a Republican so that I can have influence in the only place that counts: the primaries.

        In the general, all bets are off.

        The problem we have is that if we fight in the Republican primaries, we can get a libertarian candidate who actually stands a chance of winning.

        If that exact same candidate runs as a Libertarian, we lose horribly. It’s the difference between Gov. Gary Johnson and Gary Johnson – one percenter.

        1. I think registering libertarian and then voting Republican or not is probably more effective.

          Registering libertarian probably says more to Republican pollsters than voting one way of another in the primaries.

          When you register Republican they already assume you’re in the fold. When you’re registered Libertarian, that means they have to earn your vote.

          1. But he said,

            I’m not “voting republican.” I’m registering as a Republican so that I can have influence in the only place that counts: the primaries.

            Actually, he’s got a good point.

            How well it will work I don’t know. But registering libertarian at this stage of the game is a waste, there’s no enough of them for the Republicans to care — and face, there’s never going to be.

        2. Did you forget how they treated the Ron Paul delegates?

      2. I agree with what he’s saying. Register Republican to vote for libertarian or libertarianish candidates in the primaries , and if they lose, don’t vote in the general. I think it makes sense as long as you don’t blindly vote for Team Red

        1. You can still vote libertarian in the general if your preferred R doesn’t get nominated.

        2. Agreed. I should have re registered to vote for Paul in the primaries.

          Ultimately it has to be a movement built from the bottom. We need to get kid libertarians, I will do my part to raise them. It it is for the chiderens,

          1. It it is for the chiderens,

            Okay now you’re talking. Even if you can’t spell.

            Truth is, the libertarian message needs a serious repackaging job. Do that and work to inject it into at least some part of the Republican Party, and maybe there’d be some hope.

            The idea that the Libertarian Party is ever going anywhere is a step beyond Full Retard.

        3. That’s what I did. Registered repug so I could vote for Ron in the primary and then voted for Gary yesterday.

          1. That’s what I did too. I was a Republican for about three weeks.

    3. You don’t know me, and you want me as your enemy? Practically begging for it? That’s stupid.

    4. This^

      Wont matter though. The Republic is lost.

    5. I’m a Republican. I voted Johnson. In Illinois.

    6. We could always start a fiscally conservative, socially liberal centrist 3rd party, instead of working on the outer fringes. G-Money went more for this mode, and did twice as well as the previous recent LP candidates.

      A new party without the LP baggage and fringe reputation might do very well.

  6. A million is a lot of people. It’s a lot more than the paltry amount who moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project.
    Seriously, why can’t we just agree on someplace to live and go live there? *

    Either a big city or a small state would work. **

    * I’m sure this would please both blue team and red teams, so they should facilitate it.

    ** Actually, it might end up being Colorado or Washington after tonight. They practically voted on secession, or as close to it as we’re gonna get in the 21st century.

    1. How about Philadelphia? Weed is already decriminalized for an ounce or less. I don’t want to move to New Hampshire because it seems really boring there.

      1. Dude, it’s Philadelphia.


        1. True that

    2. Seriously, why can’t we just agree on someplace to live and go live there? *

      Colorado may not be interested in the war on drugs, but the war on drugs is interested in Colorado.

      You really think they’re going to let you get away with creating an enclave?

    3. Any libertarian city in a decidedly non-libertarian state would wind up being run from the state capital. You’d need a good fraction of the state lege, at least, to run interference.

      As a matter of political strategy, the logical “takeover” move is, and always was, moving to Wyoming, with an initial target of taking over the state Democratic Party. It would be easy to get a critical mass in the WY Democratic Party (which means some elected officials to help move the state Legislature and some delegates to the quadrennial Dem convention) with only a few thousand people willing to move there and then make an effort, and you might catalyze an in-state realignment that goes even further.

      But, of course, you’d have to find even a few thousand people willing to move to Wyoming and make an effort.

      1. Wyoming is fine by me. I’m in. Who else?

        1. I’m game.

    4. A million is a thousand times a thousand, the number of FSP movers so far. Too bad the vote didn’t go to Wyoming, where 10K would have been the equivalent of 20K in NH.

  7. Proud to be part of the 1%.

    1. I’m proud to be part of whatever % that doesn’t vote. Fuck democracy, what a retarded way of doing things.

      1. “In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former.” – Lysander Spooner

  8. Say it with me: we are the 1%!

  9. The attitude of just not voting is never going to change anything. Sorry to say but 100 million people didn’t vote. They didn’t let their voice be heard, they enjoy others making decisions for them, and they really don’t care. I vote Libertarian because I care. I vote because I care. If you don’t care, then you lost your voice.

    1. If those 100 million others had voted and made their voice “heard”, odds are very high that Obama would have won by a much larger margin.

      Relatively, there are always a lot more poorer people than richer people, and they’re going to vote for whoever the fuck promises them free shit.

      Like, for example, Obama.

      1. There are poor and rich republicans and dems. One might assume the people who don’t vote are of a libertarian or objectivist mindset, and don’t care for politics because of how shit it is.

        These people need to not be told to not vote.

        1. One might assume the people who don’t vote are of a libertarian or objectivist mindset

          Highly unlikely.

    2. This, basically. The only reason to not vote is because all the choices are shit. Gary Johnson was on the ballot and he still did terrible. Reason magazine does libertarians no favors presenting libertarian cases for non-libertarian candidates, and telling everyone not to vote.

      1. But on this I agree with you.

        My opinion, Reason puts out a lot of messages that aren’t doing The Cause any good. But there isn’t much out there that’s better to pick from either.

        They do get some things right too, giving credit where it’s due.

        1. They get it right the majority of the time, but when it comes time for the hard sale they go full wimp.

        2. That’s because Reason kind of tries to blend in with the mainstream political culture a little too much. That’s the criticism that they got from the Murray Rothbard influenced libertarians who tagged them ‘cosmolibertarians’. They don’t go as far in denouncing the state in general as someone like Ron Paul. But nobody’s perfect & I still appreciate their work for the most part. But the heart of libertarianism in my opinion is the Mises Institute.

      2. The fact that supposedly “libertarian” organizations love to spit on the LP is disgusting and pathetic. There are plenty of enemies of liberty, but the Libertarian Party isn’t one on them…

    3. Seriously? By the time that 100 million idiot finishes voting, we’ll have the government paying social workers to wipe poor people’s asses. What was it Heinlein said? Something about when the masses found out they could vote themselves bread and circuses, it was all over.

  10. Gary Johnson ran a TOTALLY CRAP campaign.

    He should of done this.

    Will Gary Johnson take an idealistic ideological approach which won’t see him move beyond his current circa 7% polling?

    Will he continue to say, vote for / be a Libertarian for just one election and let me show you what I can do? Which will not find any resonance with ordinary voters and will not gain him any traction.
    (Just like Ron Paul’s campaign language never gained him even one percent during his campaign in the Republican primaries.)


    Will he take a more practical / pragmatic approach that WILL appeal to ordinary voters?

    Will he tell the voters “what’s in it for them” if they vote for him, in language they WILL understand?

    Will he tell them about more job creation, more wealth for ordinary people, more opportunities, being safer by not making enemies?

    Will he tell them about zero income taxes being the “greatest job creation policy in HISTORY” (according to Stephen Moore – senior economist and editor at the Wall Street Journal).
    Will he ask Stephen Moore if he will give his opinion on Gary Johnson’s tax policies?

    continued at :-

    1. It’s kind of hard to run a good campaign when you have to spend all your time in court fighting to get on the ballot, your base can’t decide if it wants to vote or not and all the money has been spent before you even start.

    2. Totally agree. I was expecting a much more pragmatic, effective campaign from him than from previous libertarians because he’s run a state, and connected with enough people to be elected twice in New Mexico. I thought he did a better job of this when he was running in the primary–maybe his aides should have told him that he wasn’t allowed to use the word libertarian in any speeches or interviews. I hope he runs again, this time with a campaign manager.

    3. How can you say that Ron Paul never got beyond 1 percent when he finished second in New Hampshire and third in a bunch of places?

  11. The word “shiraz” on a bottle label is a guarantee of mediocrity. Geez, JD. you oughta know better.

  12. 1%…yeah, it’s not winning, but whole percentage points and 6 figure totals are pretty credible.

    1. 7 figure totals!

  13. Rubio/Johnson 2016? Vote for the first non-shithead presidential candidate in 30 years?

    1. Then get rid of Rubio.

  14. If the vote totals in the article are correct, then Johnson came is under 1% I hate journalists that can’t do simple arithmetic.

      1. Johnson received 0.95% of votes cast for president. Less than 1.0% and especially not exactly 1%.
        Fucking grade school dropout.

        1. But which rounds to 1.0% by the normal objective standards, so there.

  15. While I really appreciate the concepts of Libertarianism and think a lot can be gained in our political conversation from it, it’s conversations like this that make it impossible to take Libertarians seriously. According to this post and comments, there is no serious effort to become a part of the system. There is no serious plan to affect policy. There is nothing here. Nothing at all. All that is going on here is a bunch of, mainly guys, hanging out and yapping about how things should be. Screw the real world. Oh yeah, legalize marijuana. that’s the most important issue of the day.

    Reason and Hit and Run has for years been masturbating over its cool ideas that would be neat if tomorrow the power fairy showed up and put them in charge. It doesn’t work that way fellows and you’re beginning to really get annoying with your empty and meaningless claptrap.

    Libertarianism will always be a fringe group with no power as long as it’s leading publications are so devoid of gravitas.

    1. Sadly, true.

      Making things like gay marriage and pot your biggest platform planks is pretty stupid, but we seem to spend a lot of time on those two issues around here.

      Libertarians utterly refuse to contemplate a foreign policy rational enough to give them any chance at all on the main stage.

      They have no intentions of doing anything but sit around and bitch.

      You know what I’d like to see? First step in the right direction, and I don’t give a damn whether it’s done for/within the libertarian or republican parties: start a serious, sustained, hard effort to work on packaging libertarian ideas in a format that might actually sell on the national stage.

      Why is economic liberty good for everyone — and especially the poor?

      Why does too much government regulation hurt us all — and especially the poor?


      You realize, it’s much easier to hit the Democrats, because while they claim to champion the poor, near-everything they do actually hurts the poor.

      Why the fuck aren’t libertarians telling the poor about this? Because we don’t know how.

      We don’t know how to package our arguments in a form that the poor can understand. We just know what we tell ourselves, within the confines of our own echo chambers.

      Rhetoric matters people! And rhetoric is where it has to start.

    2. For info on Libertarian strategies.progress and long-term focus, see the Libertarian International Organization at http://www.libertarian-international.org

      Condidering REASOn began as a photocopied zine, I would say REASON is doing well.

    3. Reverendcaptain| 11.7.12 @ 9:07AM |#
      …”According to this post and comments, there is no serious effort to become a part of the system. There is no serious plan to affect policy.”…

      I’d bet I’m not alone, waiting with baited breath, to hear how this might be accomplished.
      Exactly how do libertarians “affect policy”?

    4. Legalizing marijuana is not a fringe position though — it’s a majority position, one that makes sense from both utilitarian and moral angles.

  16. I voted for Gary Johnson in CT, the first time I’ve voted for a non-Democrat for President. It wasn’t that brave of a decision as the chances of CT going to Romney were next to nil but it was still an important decision.

    I am not a libertarian, in fact I’m sure most of you would consider me a socialist on economic issues. And I”m not entirely unhappy with Obama’s first term. I just believe the two parties have become calcified and are hurting us all. Too many critical issues are being ignored or pushed in a direction that doesn’t fit with what the general public wants.

  17. Team Blue members rallied sufficient numbers around their chieftain of dead voters, brain dead “gimme free shit” assholes, and progressive fucksticks to push him over 50%.


    1. They just figured out that if they can get the blacks and/or Mexicans to vote, it’s an unstoppable electoral steam roller.

      I don’t expect they’ll miss that little detail, but you never know.

    2. They had competition though. Props to Jill Stein for bravely proposing a new Civilian Conservation Corps to run around and install weatherstripping on everyone’s home. God almighty.

  18. For info on Libertarian strategies and long-term focus, see the Libertarian International Organization at http://www.libertarian-international.org

  19. I always thought I was part of the 99% but now that I’ve voted for Gary Johnson, I guess it makes me part of the 1% after all.

  20. It is amazing that any Libertarian can even get 1%. In fact the more true they are to the Libertarian belief in volunterism in the economy or in society helpfulness the more they can not win. Because they can not promise anyone anything for free, less entitlements, less crony capitalist contracts, less regulation that benefits your railroad in North Dakota, less Obama phones, less free money for tuition to private schools that teach marginal value, less help for people who have bought homes they can’t afford and knew it, less free money for banks who pushed those loans. You can’t win that way in America today because WAY too many people believe that they can live off thier neighbor. There are many other side reasons but the main one is you can’t promise voters something for nothing, you can’t win.

    1. Lots of LP free stuff: less income taxes, less national debt, less senseless regulations, less criminal prosecution for vices, etc.

  21. offered by the traditional media, by the way), Johnson has 1,012,617 votes, and exactly one percent of the vote. That’s in contrast to Barack Obama’s 52,796,274 and 49.6 percent of the vote, and Mitt Romney’s 52,197,635 and 49.0 percent of the vote.

  22. offered by the traditional media, by the way), Johnson has 1,012,617 votes, and exactly one http://goo.gl/XOSlg percent of the vote. That’s in contrast to Barack Obama’s 52,796,274 and 49.6 percent of the vote, and Mitt Romney’s 52,197,635 and 49.0 percent of the vote.

  23. Johnson needed 5% though. Where’s the victory?

    1. The victory is that over a million people voted for a Libertarian candidate despite the mainstream media.

      1. So we’re the real 1%. Not bikers and billionaires 😉

  24. Actually, some states don’t count their absentee and military ballots for another three weeks, so we won’t know the final numbers until then.

    1. Yeah, I wonder how many write-in votes Ron Paul got. He had 2 million votes in the primaries.

  25. The Libertarians shot themselves in the foot. While I admire their passion, if the party truly wanted to rip control out of Obama and the socialists, and save our Republic, then Gary Johnson should have swung his votes towards Romney. 1 million votes would have gone towards Romney. Instead the libertarians allowed their passion for idealism to cloud the proper strategy necessary to save our nation. Then, continue to work within the current structures, until a HUGE groundswell would even make a third party candidate viable. This is wisdom. 3M GOPS stayed home, instead of voting. Same goes with Ron Paul. We’d have Romney in office, not Obama, and our nation would be on the road to real recovery. Thus, accomplishing one of the Libertarians’ goals

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