Gary Johnson

Wall Street Journal Editorial Page: Johnson/Weld Is an 'Honorable Alternative' to Trump/Clinton

Mainstream media sympathy for the Libertarian Party ticket


Reporting for duty. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

The lead editorial in today's Wall Street Journal is headlined "The Libertarian Alternative: An option for the many Never Trump, Never Clinton voters." After throwing cold water on "the mooted third-party campaign from within the GOP," the Journal makes its case:

The Libertarians will offer a policy alternative to both candidates on free trade, and perhaps on taxes if Mr. Trump doesn't clarify his position on taxing the rich. They'll also contrast with the Republican on immigration. Mr. Johnson could help himself by reassuring voters that he isn't one of those libertarians who thinks the only defenses we need are anti-missile batteries and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Mr. Johnson isn't likely to win a state, but he can still play a useful role by reminding the major party candidates that they aren't the only choices. Mr. Trump seems to think he can say whatever he wants because millions of voters are repelled by Mrs. Clinton. The Libertarians give these voters an honorable alternative if Mr. Trump makes himself unacceptable.

Your next president, with the First Fiancee. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Also editorializing positively was The Springfield Republican of Massachusetts, under the headline "Can't stand Trump, Clinton? Libertarian Party offers choice." Sample: "if the Libertarian Party is ever going to get a real look from voters, this has been lining up to be the year…. Johnson and Weld will have been successful if they manage to get some libertarian notions into the conversation over the next five months."

On Friday, Scott Shackford reported that Google Trends had recorded more than 650 news articles the previous seven days referencing the Libertarian Party. That number as of today, according to Shackford? More than 2,000. And quite a bit of it positive, too, as in this Washington Post headline: "This year's Libertarian ticket has remarkable political experience. Now will it matter?" Yahoo! Finance offers up: "The Libertarian Johnson-Weld Ticket Is Bad News for Donald Trump." More respectful treatment can be found at the Boston Globe, Bloomberg View, and on and on.

At Forbes, John Zogby makes the intriguing case that Snake People Millennials could be ripe for the Libertarian pickin':

They will decide the outcome in 2016. Donald Trump's support is miniscule among this group and Clinton does not generate any enthusiasm among younger voters because she appears to many to be a combination of too establishment and too disingenuous. Even though Bernie Sanders most likely will endorse and campaign for Clinton, as will President Barack Obama, who received a large percentage of support among young voters in 2008 and 2012, they still may not vote in significant enough numbers. To be sure, many will hold their nose and vote for Clinton because of their fear of a Trump victory. But the real question is will there be enough excitement to get Millennials out to vote. While early reports on the Libertarian ticket of former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld suggest that they may draw votes away from Trump, I think they may actually hurt Clinton even more. […]

Johnson and Weld just may have the most compelling message for Millennials. They are running as fiscal conservative purists and can draw from a group that is deeply concerned about both college debt and unparalleled public debt. And they are social libertarians: pro-choice, anti-government meddling in matters of personal privacy, decriminalization of most drugs, and they oppose United States meddling in foreign adventures and war. These young people are America's First Global generation and they are diverse and less inclined to see other peoples and cultures as the "other."

One source of perhaps-unlikely support is coming from hawkish Washington Post conservative Jennifer Rubin, who is arguing not for voting for the L.P. nominees, but for the media to give them an appropriately robust level of coverage:

1. Johnson-Weld should be included in all major polling, especially since 15 percent in national polls is required to get into the presidential debates.

2. In figuring out how to balance air time, the media rightly complains Hillary Clinton is not available nearly as much as Trump. That excuse, however, does not wash with Johnson-Weld who should be interviewed on a regular basis.

3. In treating Johnson-Weld as normal candidates the media should press for positions on key issues. What do they plan to do about the Islamic State? If they cannot get a flat tax, what sort of tax reform do they favor? If they disband the Education Department, should federal funding for schools disappear? What drugs would they legalize? In other words, treating them as serious candidates requires serious questions.

More in that vein here, including this kicker: "The least the media can do is not prejudge the result nor prevent two perfectly qualified, accomplished governors from making their case to the voters."

Has there been some negative press? Oh, you betcha, as Nick Gillespie has previewed, and which I'll get to more in a later post. But as Gary Johnson pointed out during the Libertarian National Convention, the amount of press attention the party has received these past two weeks has been unprecedented. And not just in terms of quantity.

NEXT: Canadians Get Interested in Gary Johnson

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  1. Everyone chant with me:


    1. L. M. A. OOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!1!!!!!!1!!!

  2. “Fighting and defeating ISIS wherever they are is not “intervention”. It is stopping violent jihadists whose stated objectives are to kill Americans, wipe Israel off the map and destroy the very freedoms ? including religious ones ? upon which our nation is founded. It is protecting us from those who would and are doing us harm.” ?Gov. Gary Johnson


    1. SFed the link.

      1. Suppressing information, eh?

        Have an archived version then:

      2. Reason, unfuck the URL parser plz.

          1. This looks life-changing, thank you.

  3. Shorter WSJ,

    If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary, at least get out of the way and do what you can do to get her elected.

    And yes, the WSJ totally deserves that. This is not a question of them having any principles. They are about as Libertarian as tony. They are just terrified someone insufficiently committed to US involvement overseas and indebted to the chamber of commerce might get elected.

    1. Sooo … in your mind, an article saying people should consider voting for Johnson and not Hillary or Trump is basically the same as voting for Hillary?

      1. Because, you see, all those people who, hypothetically, would vote for Johnson instead of Hillary would vote for Trump. So Johnson is “stealing” the votes of #NeverHillary voters from Trump. It makes sense, if you don’t think too hard and pay no attention to the Green Party and other 3rd parties in the corner…

        1. There are only two teams!!!

    2. I first subscribed to the WSJ in 1979, and thought its editorial page to be pretty libertarian and its news reporting to be pretty good. Sure, its foreign policy perspective was interventionalist in an anti-communist sort of way back then, but so most libertarians were sufficiently anti-communist to turn a blind eye. Or, at least, I was. The the Cold War ended, and it was still interventionalist. I quit subscribing when it went full-throttle neo-con after Iraq War I and the Murdock acquisition.

      1. The WSJ has waxed & waned in that regard, and not just on their editorial page. In 1979 they were more libertarian than they’d been in 1969, but not as libertarian as they’d become by 1989. But they became less libertarian in the 1990s.

    3. Here’s how I know the “voting for Johnson is voting for Hillary” argument is laughable bullshit: I have had just as many people tell me “voting for Johnson is voting for Trump.” So which is it? Could it be that maybe, juuuuuuust maybe, voting for Johnson is…just voting for Johnson?

  4. In funnier news, Bernie Sanders has been declared a white supremacy communist:…..0567417859

    1. That guy’s twitter feed is awesome.

      His latest tweet

      Yes Obama praised Bush by ending his Aids Experiments the second he got into office. ~RB @DiveConLFP @pmarreck @DimDioxide @Snowden

      1. Good times.

        Must be a friend of Kamau Kambon.

    2. Look what else this person said

      Real Brother Radio ?@RBNet12 6h6 hours ago

      @PaulMWilliams5 @bootisyou @b_mullaney Bernie set up Hillary’s e mails. You hate me cause I’m gay.

  5. now that i have the journal’s blessing, i feel better about my vote.

  6. The media may, in fact, be an ally in this race. If they perceive that GayJo will take votes from Trump, they might just be inclined to give the LP some attention.

    1. I think the Trump-leaning media is scared shitless. So they are talking smack and ridicule. I heard a local talk radio host …who said nice things about Rand Paul…mention the Libertarian ticket today. He said “The Libertarians are killing themselves. One of their candidates for president did a strip tease down to his g-string on stage.” No mention of who is on the ticket.

      1. One of their candidates for president did a strip tease down to his g-string on stage.

        I defy you to think about one of the candidates not from the LP doing a strip tease down to his or her g-string without throwing up in your mouth a little bit.

        1. *stifles vomit*

          Nope, can’t do it.

        2. I believe he was a candidate for chair, not president.

        3. Sarah Palin?

      2. One of their candidates for president did a strip tease


      3. I thought that bit was hilarious. People need to lighten the fuck up.

    2. Until they start to see that he also “takes votes” from Clinton as well. Then they’ll go back to pretending the LP doesn’t exist.

      1. Until they start to see that he also “takes votes” from Clinton as well.

        I think it’s likely they will. But I’m not sure the media will ever accept that as a possibility.

  7. Never Trump and Never Hillary is a false equality. Has any sitting Democratic congressman or senator joined the ranks of Never Hillary? Any major Democratic constituencies? Any prominent Democrat with a microphone trying to find a third party candidate?

    1. They don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of Her Worship.

      1. For some reason I read that as “Her Horsewhip.”

      2. the wrong side of Her Worship.

        You misspelled “Her Worstship”, and I don’t see what Nikki has to do with this.

      3. They don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of Her Worship.

        Or the wrong side of the Styx.

        I keed, I keed.

    2. Which makes some of Johnson’s strategy a bit silly. The voters up for grabs by the LP this year are Republicans. Yet, the issues on which Johnson and Weld differ from Libertarian orthodoxy (gun control, freedom of association) are issues that are designed to appeal to the left. They’re alienating themselves from the voters who are actually in play.

      1. A lot of Democrats’ votes will be up for grabs too once Hillary exits the race?although probably not as many as there’d be if she stayed in it.

      2. I’m not sure this is Johnson’s strategy. I think it’s just the way he is. I doubt he’s thinking either in strategic terms or as liberty-seeking analysis.

        You may say it’s the LP’s strategy in nominating them, though.

        I think the exit polls in Nov. will show Johnson-Weld to have drawn votes about equally away (“Who would you have voted for if they hadn’t been running?”) from the Democratic & GOP tickets. If Johnson & Weld get more than 2% of the popular vote, though, I think the excess will come mostly from the Democrats. This presidential election is going to scramble the usual party lines; whether it has an effect on the major parties in subsequent elections, esp. down-ticket, remains to be seen. I do know that the Conservative & Republican nominee for US House in Crowley’s district (Bronx & Queens) this year is a Trump supporter & much in the mold of Trump both in being a successful entrepreneur (Elevator mfr. & repair?get the Trump cx?) and a protectionist.

        1. Forgot to mention his name: Frank Spotorno, 14th CD. I was part of the committee screening him for the Conservatives. Interesting that I see now he’s making a play for the Hispanic vote?not that I had any reason to believe he was against them, but you know what people think about Trump.

    3. A selection of Bernie supporters, the group that Trump is also chasing.

  8. Gary Johnson: Because nothing says “Libertarian” like “Bake the Cake!”


      You’re only saying that to keep him down. Oppressor! Tool of the patriarchy! What difference, at this point, does it make anyway?

  9. Fuck it, I may vote for them. Depends how I feel that Tuesday, but I’m at least going to make sure I’m all properly registered and have the option on the day.

    1. you should probably get drunk first. all my best decisions start that way.

  10. the intriguing case that Snake People Millennials could be ripe for the Libertarian pickin’:

    Did Mr. Lizard write this? Was it written for him, specifically?

    /Icke rears his head again!

  11. OK Johnson is the ‘grown-up’ now he needs to start acting like it. He needs to ban the words ‘fringe’ and ‘crazy’ from his vocabulary. Not every statement he makes must be a joke and chock full of irony. Just stick to the basics: fiscally responsible, socially liberal. It’s painful to watch the guy sometimes. Weld is scratching his face off in discomfort.

    1. Weld is scratching his face off in discomfort.

      You sure he’s not just on meth while Johnson is stoned on weed?

  12. OT: Lawyers for former Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, the State Department, and a conservative group tangled repeatedly on Friday as Mills testified at a contentious deposition in a lawsuit relating to Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account and server

    Mills’ attorney, Beth Wilkinson, objected to a variety of questions that she said intruded on Clinton’s attorney-client privilege by asking about Mills work for Clinton as a private lawyer after serving for nearly four years as Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department.

    Sweet. Vast attorney-client conspiracy!

    1. At least 11 attorneys were on hand for Mills’ testimony, not including the witness herself, who is a former deputy White House counsel under President Bill Clinton.

      Mills’ testimony was videotaped, but last week Sullivan issued an order putting those videos under seal indefinitely.

      Wow and wow.

      Related from earlier this year, and I hope this was a topic: Report: Clinton Aide Lost Blackberry that Contained Classified Emails

      Records obtained by The Daily Caller through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show Mills revealed that she lost her Blackberry in a March 20, 2010 email she sent to Bryan Pagliano, the State Department IT staffer who managed Clinton’s private email server.

      “Somewhere b/w my house and the plane to nyc yesterday my personal bb got misplaced; no on [sic] is answering it thought [sic] I have called,” Mills wrote from her personal email account to the address Pagliano used when he worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

      Only the best and brightest.

      1. Hopefully Pagliano at least remote wiped it.

  13. RE: Wall Street Journal Editorial Page: Johnson/Weld Is an ‘Honorable Alternative’ to Trump/Clinton

    Oh my God!
    A major newspaper gets it right.
    It must be fifty below zero in Hell.

    1. If Johnson/Weld can’t make the WSJ uncomfortable about cronyism, then they aren’t doing a very good of spreading libertarian economic ideas and there is a big risk that they throw LP under the bus on that

  14. “Mr. Johnson could help himself by reassuring voters that he isn’t one of those libertarians who thinks the only defenses we need are anti-missile batteries and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.”

    A higher priority goes to extending the Mexican Border Wall to Queens, to prevent any more Trumps from escaping.

  15. Given that we’ve got two Republican ex-governors and the GOP has a Democrat specifically running against the GOP as its standard-bearer, I’d say Trump is the alternative candidate.

  16. I was listening to “They Might Be Giants” when I opened this article and saw the second picture, which of course reminded me of one of their videos (you should skip to the 30 second mark if you are unfamiliar and/or impatient).

    Timing, et cetera.

  17. Wall Street Journal? Oh. Ok. *jerking motion*

    Wake me when the Washington Post says something similar.

  18. “This year’s Libertarian ticket has remarkable political experience.”

    Remember, this is supposed to be a compliment.

  19. For what it’s worth, I’ll remind everyone who dislikes Trump that any attention makes him a stronger candidate.

    It’s no mystery why Trump’s enjoyed so much success. Ours is a nation overrun with people who’ve shirked responsibility for their troubles. Instead of working to make better choices, millions have claimed victim status that entitles them to blame others. Trump knows it, and he’s stepped up to tell people who they should blame and that he’s going to fix all their problems. And there’s no shortage of boogiemen who want to stop him from doing that. Any publicity that attacks Trump, therefore, feeds a narrative of vague powers that be bent on keeping helpless victims down and out.

    In this light, it’s entirely counterproductive to air these breathless accounts of Trump’s flaws. One audience (tired of hearing about it) already agrees; it’s preaching to the choir. Another (increasingly large) audience, however, only receives even the most damning evidence as a vindication of their faith in Trump’s virtue.

    1. Damn, accidentally posted to the wrong article. Disregard.

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