Gary Johnson

Can Gary Johnson Keep Rising By Not Stinking As Bad As the Other Two?

He's not a major party candidate and so he doesn't have the luxury of vagueness

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A Fox poll yesterday showed that Gary Johnson's support has hit 12 percent – a two-point gain in the last month. This is unprecedented for a libertarian in presidential

Gary Johnson Vote For Me
Gage Skidmore / Foter

elections and demonstrates just how disgusted ordinary Americans are with the Evil Party's stupid candidate and the Stupid Party's evil candidate. But that doesn't mean that Johnson can put himself on autopilot and have a respectable showing in November. It'll take more than a message whose sum total seems to be "I don't stink as bad as the other two" to get ordinary Americans to make a schlep to the polls on election day – rather than stay at home and watch The Hunger Games to get used to what's to come.

Purity is not possible in politics, I noted in The Week. But there seems to be no method to the kind of capitulations Johnson so far seems to be making. He has stated, for example, that he'd have no trouble requiring Catholic bakers to service gay weddings. Not only does this statement violate the bedrock libertarian commitment to religious liberty, but it also alienates religious conservatives desperate for an alternative, without gaining any MSNBC viewers.

But that's not Johnson's only problem. He lacks a fleshed out agenda with mass appeal. Vague formulations lacking specifics work for mainstream candidates, but, "just as many women would attest that they have to be twice as good as the next male to get ahead in many workplaces, Libertarians have to be twice as good as major-party candidates to win the hearts of mainstream voters."

So what should he do?

Go here to find out.

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  1. “He has stated, for example, that he’d have no trouble requiring Catholic bakers to service gay weddings.”

    He chose a guy who is a gun grabbing, eminent domain loving, EPA loving Obama supporter. What a disappointment.

    Who exactly is he trying to appeal to? He has lost many libertarians and libertarian minded conservatives. Is he trying to get the liberal vote? What the hell?

    1. Libertarians are toxic to the Gary Johnson movement.

      1. Best I can tell, this was a reach for the BernieBros, and not for the #NeverTrumps!

    2. “He has stated, for example, that he’d have no trouble requiring Catholic bakers to service gay weddings.”

      He chose a guy who is a gun grabbing, eminent domain loving, EPA loving Obama supporter. What a disappointment.

      C’mon Suthen’ quit being such a purist. I mean nothing says your political movement is about nothing but weed and buttsex like putting up candidates that don’t really differ from mainstream candidates except regarding weed and buttsex. Even then, he’s only really good on those issues as far as “I told you so.” goes.

      1. You forgot the Messicans and open-boarders…

        1. I know you’re speaking Ukranian or whatever these days, but that’s a Johno-level tyopo.

          1. T’was intentional, and I specifically remember John making that, ahem, “tyopo,” Mr. Joe’z Law….:-D

            1. Actually, it’s an RC’z Law where a typo unintentionally makes the comment either hilarious or even more accurate than the original word.

              1. It just seems like John owns that one so much, it should probably be named for him.

              2. Correct, joez law is that when correcting someone else you will make a similar type mistake.

                So, while being a grammar nazi, I will use then a instead of an, for example.

    3. I think he’s trying to get the “centrists dissatisfied with both options” vote by coming off as the sane, reasonable option.

      That said, I’m not a fan of the Weld pick and think he could have reached out to that group without alienating as many libertarians and NeverTrump conservatives who could have potentially voted LP this year.

      1. the sane, reasonable option.

        being some middle-ground between two equally awful positions isn’t by default “Sane” or “reasonable”

        Compelled speech IMO qualifies as neither.

        1. I’m talking about how he’s trying to come off. What a middle of the road voter views as sane or reasonable isn’t necessarily the same as what libertarians think it is.

      2. So alienating all seven libertarian voters by trying to pick up a few million centrists is a bad strategy?

        1. No it isn’t (at least from an electoral POV), but Weld also alienates a lot of NeverTrump conservatives who could potentially be a large portion of Johnson’s potential voter pool this year. And I don’t know if he was a necessary pick to capture very many centrists (and he’s nowhere near left enough to convince any significant number of left-leaning people to vote LP).

      3. Exactly. And the “centrists dissatisfied with both options” is 10 times larger than the libertarian vote.

    4. This is just who and what he is, dude. A former fake republican who has now become a full time professional fake libertarian. This is why all his fellow professional fake libertarians here at Reason love him so damn much!

      1. It is if, at the end of the day, he won’t get much of the centrist vote. The truth is, “centrist” as a political label is vastly overused. It covers a wide swath of positions from the aggressively unprincipled to the out-and-out authoritarian to the just plain uninterested. A third party run, especially a third party run promising less free shit is rarely going to capture much of that vote.

        1. “Aggressively unprincipled” may be a cute way to describe the anti-ideology tendencies of voters in the USA. A lot of voters in this country in particular are suspicious about ideology per se, so when a politician takes stances that make it look like no particular principle is being followed, that could be attractive to them.

        2. “Aggressively unprincipled” may be a cute way of identifying the anti-ideologic tendency of voters in the USA.

        3. “Aggressively unprincipled” may be a cute way of identifying the anti-ideologic tendency of voters in the USA.

    5. This sort of echoes some of my thoughts on the topic, only better said. I keep hearing “No purity Tests!” Yet the same people saying that are saying the LP mustn’t “sell out” to the GOP.

      Well, here’s a position where the LP wouldn’t even have to “sell out” to the GOP. Even the straight libertarian position could be made to appeal to at least some conservative voters. Instead, Johnson seems bound and determined to alienate them, differing only from purity where it would actually piss off conservatives.

      1. I saw the article about GJ’s talk show appearance, and he spent the entire time sticking his thumb in the eyes of the GOP. It was bizarre how much his obsession with degrading people on the right has come to dominate his rhetoric.

        The only possible explanations I have for this “strategy”:

        1) He is just genuinely pissed about how the GOP seemed to treat him- or how his attachment to the GOP made life difficult as a governor of a Blue state.

        2) He thinks that his votes are going to come from leftists who hate hillary and conservatives who hate trump, and he thinks the people who hate hillary are an easier target.

        I guess I can understand the strategy- show younger people that they can feed their natural bias against conservatives without “selling out” to yet another establishment candidate. I understand, but I just don’t think he is right.

        1. From an earlier interview I saw with him, I’m inclined to think it’s the former. I think he genuinely dislikes social conservatives. The answer to that should be “So what?”. If you believe in liberty, you believe in their liberty, as well. But, he’s got the nomination. Now let’s see how he does.

    6. He may lack a fleshed out agenda with mass appeal, but Johnson has fleshed out appeal with a mass agenda.

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    8. as i have said before, i am personally in agreement with the baker thing (not actually “forcing” them to bake the cake, but acknowledging their implied public contract, and letting tort handle any harm the breech of contract causes). where i think he loses those religiously minded, is in not clarifying the limitations on who his opinion applies to. he does often come off sounding like it could apply to anyone, anywhere. he referenced public accommodation when he explained it, but it’s not clear that public storefronts are where he draws the line (plus… burqa banning).

      this is one of those issues that gets a lot of single issue votes for the left, but the religiously sensitive have a whole list of issues… this being just one part. he makes no friends with the religious conservatives on this, but they may still give him a chance…. where those on the left would see the opposite position as a deal breaker.

      plus, the ones who want to cling to bigotry as a key issue… are already gonna vote for trump, so they can get that wall…. these are not votes we can win. the rest of the party is just sticking with it, because they don’t want to see Hillary win. if they saw a third party get past that “wasted vote”/”actually a vote for Hillary” threshold, then many of them would bolt the GOP. i think that’s the plan… pull enough from the left to look viable, let those who hate trump see us as viable alternative

  2. So what should he do?

    Hit the bong?

    1. Or should he tell you that he’s not a role model?

      1. Are any politicians role models?

        1. I’d suggest Massie is pretty close to being a great role model.

          1. Mmm. Yes. Massie, Amash, and Rand Paul.

          2. Massie, Amash and (maybe) Rand. 3 out of 535.

            We are the (less than) 1 percent!

            1. And yet with just a mere 2 House members and 1/2 a senator, we have been to blame for every shortcoming of the Obama administration. Just imagine if we had 5 house members and 2 senators, or even – dare I dream – the same number as the Congressional Black Caucus. It would be a fast road to Libertopia.

              1. Kind of like the way Democrat super-majorities in California are always somehow being thwarted from achieving Utopia by the tiny handful of Republicans. The two-minute hate serves a purpose.

              2. It would be a fast road to Libertopia.

                I assumed there were no roads. You either consume a spice derivative and bend space with your mind in order to get there or have you man-servant fire up the orphan-powered dirigible.

                1. You climb aboard the Super-Cycle and grab the electron road! – Kevin R

          3. Massie is pretty close to being a great role model.

            For Hobbits?

    2. “The last thing we want is a pot-smoking slacker in the White House!”
      – Barack “Choom Gang” Obama

  3. In fairness, aren’t we where we are because too many politicians had fleshed out agendas that they did their best to implement?

    I’d like to hear a pol say “I don’t have a clue. I’ll just do nothing so I don’t make things worse”

    1. “Fuck if I know. I’ll let you know once I have a chance to dig into it. Next question.”

    2. You know who else made things worse?

      1. Postrel’s missing sense of humor?

        1. [hearty applause]

        2. This is why Postrel said that we’re jerks.

        3. That’s not funny.

      2. Boss Tweed?

      3. Murphy?

      4. My ex-wife?

      5. Hey Citi-X, per your “Not today” comment in the lynx – Syrio?

        1. That seems unlikely.

        2. If Syrio is alive, I will cream my pants.

          1. That’s an official HBO still for the next episode. It sure looks like his shadow.

      6. Muhammad?

    3. As summed up by Homer Simpson’s brilliant campaign slogan, “Can’t Someone Else Do It?”

  4. Great, so Ms. Dalmia is Reason’s point person for having Johnson reach out to conservatives.

    Seriously, Ms. Dalmia, I respect that stance, which is all the more impressive since, with all due respect, on many issues you have kind of a knee-jerk left-wing thing going.

    1. There isn’t a chance in hell that dipshit scumbagetta is voting for Johnson. She’s voting for the Hildog. Ditto for many of her fellow fakers.

  5. Do you know what Johnson is missing? Yes, that’s right: ALT-TEXT.

    1. We already skip the articles, why would they bother embedding text in the pictures?

      1. Because it would be deeper and more thoughtful than anything Dalmia writes.

        1. And she’s too haughty to call Alt-Text support.

    2. Johnson should have alt-text IRL and when you Ouse over his head, you get an actual libertarian answer.

      1. Mouse

  6. demonstrates just how disgusted ordinary Americans are with the Evil Party’s stupid candidate and the Stupid Party’s evil candidate

    I’m not a fan of Dalmia’s writing, but this line is pretty flippin’ good.

    1. It’s not a new one, but it’s a good one. My wife asked me who was who, which was a slow-moving softball allowing me to reply, “Your pick, they both apply.”

    2. Every so often, the sun has to shine on a Dalmatian’s arse sometime…-D

    3. I disagree.

      I think the Stupid Party chose a stupid candidate and the Evil party chose an evil candidate.

      But YMMV.

      1. Are the GOP the stupid? i think i agree.

        1. That was what I was going for.

  7. Johnson and Weld are both Republicans who were uncomfortable with the coalition of neo-conservative extremists (“Bomb, bomb, bomb/Bomb Iran”) and socially conservative statists (who equate vices with crimes) that hijacked the GOP. So Johnson hijacked the Libertarian Party to run against extreme neo-conservatism and socially conservative statism under the slogan “socially liberal, fiscally conservative”.

    With the right definitions of “socially” and “liberal” and “fiscally” and “conservative”, that slogan perhaps roughly describes the policies that a pragmatical libertarian politician should advance in the unlikely event that he got elected. But, if these four words are left undefined, it is both vague and ambiguous. Each of its four words have a variety of meanings, and some of those meanings have blatantly anti-libertarian effect. E.g., “socially liberal” can reasonably be interpreted as expanding the reaches of “social justice” and the welfare state, both of which have adverse effect upon individual liberty. After all, that’s social program of American liberals. “Fiscally conservative” can reasonably be interpreted to mean raising taxes to pay for it all since a genuine conservative does not want ever expanding deficits.

    The more Johnson speaks, the more I am convinced that he is almost as bad of a leader of the Libertarian Party as Trump and Clinton are of their respective parties. Of course, he’s still the best candidate whose name is going to be on the ballot.

  8. Speaking of the other two, damning report on Clinton email shenanigans, and the story isn’t in National Review, RedState, FreeRepublic, the Daily Beast or the WeeklyStandard.

    Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.

    The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics…..d=39710624

    1. More so than the election itself, the fact that Hillary likely will face no consequences for her brazen criminality – and will likely be elected president – is what is most depressing. This is a woman of no particular achievement, whose place in the spotlight derived from who her husband is, and who has consistently shown for decades that she hasn’t the slightest scrap of decency or honesty.

      As someone said in another thread, even banana republics sometimes manage to put their most corrupt officials on trial, but not us.

      1. Well, that really sums it up nicely. I guess I picked a bad time to stop sniffing glue.

      2. But she’s done so much:

        http://whatthefuckhashillarydone.com/

        I found that on a blog of a person who linked to that website as a serious recommendation for HRC.

        1. I particularly like the reference to how many miles she traveled as SoS. I still don’t see why her supporters cite that as an accomplishment.

          1. Hey, you think it’s easy to fly around the world on cushy government jets and stay in five star hotels?? She’s sacrificed, man.

          2. Because they confuse activity with action. She looked busy; therefore, she was busy and, ergo, something got done.

        2. Secured a policy change that would “take into account” a country’s LGBT human rights record when distributing foreign aid.

          Directed the State Department to “champion a comprehensive human rights agenda” that included protection of LGBT human rights.

          Made the promotion of equality for gay people a core value of U.S. foreign policy.

          I’m seeing two trends here. (1) LGBT factors into all three. (2) Nothing concrete is being accomplished.

          So long as you are an LGBT person/ally who doesn’t care about results, Hillary is your candidate.

        3. They also cite her support for the Libyan intervention as an accomplishment.

          No mention of the Russia re-set though…

      3. “There’s too much money in it” shows where her mind is all the time.

    2. the story isn’t in National Review, RedState, FreeRepublic, the Daily Beast or the WeeklyStandard.

      Well, they all want Hillary to win, so…

      1. Hillary would be so good for conservatism, you wouldn’t believe it. She’d make your head spin.

        1. She would be YUUUUGE!

        2. Hillary will make head spin again?

      2. Well, they all want Hillary to win, so…

        This sounds ridiculous but I think you’re right.

        1. Why? Or rather, why shouldn’t they? Trump has little enough appeal for conservatives, and his tenure would almost assuredly sink the party. Hillary can be controlled to an extent, and she would equally bad for Democrats.

          Dems should be praying for Trump in November.

          1. Hillary can be controlled

            Because this. They would rather have a Democrat they can control on some issues than a Republican they can’t control on any issue.

            1. But they can’t really control her. They share an enthusiasm for interventionist foreign policy, though.

    3. The following emails were obtained by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act, and were provided to ABC News.

      BTW, has anyone noticed that in the olden days, ABC news would have discovered this, but in this day and age, it’s a partisan conservative group that discovers it, does all the footwork and investigation, then hands it to the media organization.

      Can you imagine Woodward and Bernstein sitting at their desk playing CandyCrush, waiting for outside groups to tell them “Hey, something fishy going on here…”

      Jesus, reporters, show some fucking initiative.

      1. What they don’t know can’t hurt her.

        1. They are trying so hard not to know. A great song, by the way.

      2. I was always amused when Snowden received criticism for using Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald has a ton of faults, but it is not like there are many journalists with balls and initiative. But dammit, there are many who are good on Twitter.

        1. I was always amused when Snowden received criticism for using Glenn Greenwald.

          huh, I never heard this. What was the beef with using Greenwald?

          1. He’s an activist, he is adversarial, he’s not a real journalist, etc.

            1. All of which is true. Doesn’t mean he didn’t do us all a valuable service with Snowden, though.

              1. I know. My point was: which other journalists would have stood by Snowden and defended the story the way Greenwald did? I’m sure they exist, but they are certainly not plentiful.

            2. If only he’d given his info to Ezra Klein, so the geniuses at Vox could write an “explainer” for us little folks about how there’s really nothing to worry about and that the government really has only your best interests at heart when it spies on you. That’d be the “respectable” thing to do.

    4. Oh, and of course the press is tiptoeing around this Laureate University story. Bill Clinton makes $16.5 million as their “honorary chancellor” at the same time as Hillary’s State Department gifts them with $55 million in grant money. Laureate is also a sponsor of the Clinton Global Initiative and their CEO is a major donor to the Clinton family slush fund – I mean, the Clinton Foundation. Bill steps down right before Hillary announces her candidacy, and in the meantime she’s prattling on about the evils of for-profit colleges.

      I dunno, maybe a major media outlet might want to do a little more than a brief, pro-forma article about that?

      1. I dunno, maybe a major media outlet might want to do a little more than a brief, pro-forma article about that?

        Not gonna happen. The John fucking Birch society is going to have to do all the footwork and hand it over to the large media organizations with a ribbon on it. The days of reporters discovering political shenanigans– especially on the Democratic side (yeah, I said it) are long over, if they were ever there.

  9. It strikes me he is trying to play the adult in the room. “Look at Trump and Bernie, you guys! They’re extreme, whereas I’m reasonable!”

    What we know about such candidates is that

    a) They will likely favor expanding or even creating new government initiatives
    b) We have no idea what those will be.

    Did anyone who voted for Bloomberg predict he would declare war on soft drinks? Of course not. But he has confidence in his own capacity for reason, he saw a problem and felt he had the solution.

    If Johnson is elected, what happens when there is another Sandy Hook? Sure, he’s pro-2A now, but what if he gets an idea for some sensible gun reforms in the face of tragedy?

    Johnson is famously weak on religious liberty. He once thought we should ban burkas. He doesn’t seem to anymore, but what other limits on religious expression will he have the bright idea to impose in the name of reason? Would he require churches to employ homosexuals in the pastorate? Would he surmise single payer healthcare is the most efficient economic choice, and therefore the best one? There is no way to know.

    Is a Bloomberg-style loose cannon a better bet than Trump or Hillary? Probably, but we should be able to do better.

    1. If Johnson is elected, what happens when there is another Sandy Hook? Sure, he’s pro-2A now, but what if he gets an idea for some sensible gun reforms in the face of tragedy?

      Well, sure, but we know what Obama and Clinton will do (and have done).

    2. “What if he’s lying or just going to change his mind later?” is an argument that can be applied to anyone, anytime, over anything, and is unfalsifiable. Of course it’s still something that’s important to keep in mind, but unless you’re here to argue for total anarchy (not that there’s anything wrong with that) it’s not a very useful point.

      I think the best thing that can be said for Johnson on this stuff is that, as the whole episode about that burka question showed, he’s open to reasoned arguments and can admit when he’s wrong, and equally important, he’s not famous for being a slimy cronyist like *both* of his opponents are. If he chooses his advisers well, he could do a lot of good work.

      I wish we lived in a universe where the correct answer for a presidential candidate to give to a question about burkas or cakes was “That has nothing to do with the Presidency, nor is it a federal issue in the first place, so of what import is my opinion on it?” but that seems quaint in this brave new world of pens and phones.

      1. It can, but he is on the record taking outlandish positions, abandoning them, taking positions at odds with the platform and the ideology. That’s exactly why people are rightly worried about Trump.

        It’s easy to admit you were wrong on the campaign trail. No damage done. Once disastrous policies are implemented, they tend to stick.

    3. Whatever he did I’m sure it would be less-bad that whatever any of the others would do.

      1. And if the Republicans keep the house and Senate then I doubt there would be anyour gun control law even getting to the white house

  10. Can Gary’s Johnson Keep Rising By Not Stinking As Bad As the Other Two?

    I dunno. Maybe Warty’s biographer could weigh in on the subject.

    1. Oh, God, please no.

      1. You know, that would be a great opening line….

  11. “He has stated, for example, that he’d have no trouble requiring Catholic bakers to service gay weddings.”

    I believe he said this in the context of existing public accomodation laws.

    1. he did. many purists do not agree with that application of public accommodation.

  12. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And remember that the major parties both hate us. Look for these comments to be flooded in the coming months with nay-sayers, doubt-spreaders and other people with negative outlooks.

    1. I agree (in this case). However, it is just as important to not let the good be the enemy of the perfect, WHEN THE PERFECT IS OBTAINABLE.

      It happens every now and then. Once the true goal is within the Overton window, fuck incrementalism and go for broke.

      In this election, good is good enough.

    2. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      Don’t let the modestly less unknown be the enemy of the ideal?

      Garnering “12”% of the vote from historically unpopular, unfit, and criminal candidates somehow doesn’t jive with the description of ‘good’ to me.

      1. And that 12% is illusory.

        1. That’s what I mean by “12”%. Maybe it should be “12”%*.

          * As reported by Fox News Polls months before anyone has to think about actually dimpling a chad.

  13. Johnson articles are more tiresome than Trump and Clinton’s. With the latter there’s at least an element of schadenfreude in seeing the two parties sinking into the murk.

  14. I honestly don’t care about Nazi cakes and if you are a baker who is ‘forced’ to bake one then contact me and I’ll do it for you. Johnson’s problem isn’t Nazi cakes. He needs to articulate Libertarian ideology in simple terms, but beyond “Uber everything”. That just sounds chaotic. “Socially liberal, fiscally conservative.” Flesh it out – lower taxes and regulations, more freedom, end of drug war. Start proposing simple but well tested policies of the past. Don’t create ‘brilliant’ new schemes to solve all our problems. Acknowledge the importance of the rule of law and especially the Constitution and Bill of Rights – people love that.

    1. Focus on maintaining an even keel for the country – stability. People are scared. Also talk about the unintended consequences of entitlements, social services and regulations. If you had to go out on a limb, promise to phase out the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. That horrible abortion of social engineering is at the heart of 30 year mortgages and their impossible-to-value derivatives that tanked the economy. But say “It’s up to Congress to go along with it” so you don’t have to take all the blame. But yeah, not wedded to that one, but a man can dream….

      And no need to demonize Trump and Clinton – they will do that to each other. Stay above the fray and don’t get baited into jumping in. Be the adult in the room. OK I know this is asking a lot. (Don’t be afraid of Hitler analogies either. But it’s the difference between “I can hear the glass crunching” vs “The man is Hitler!”)

    2. He needs to articulate Libertarian ideology in simple terms, but beyond “Uber everything”. That just sounds chaotic. “Socially liberal, fiscally conservative.” Flesh it out – lower taxes and regulations, more freedom, end of drug war.

      I agree with this. It’s too catch-phrasey.

      Make a real proposal about how you could de-regulate a major sector and not cause chaos and the zombie apocalypse. You’re going to be accused of it by the state-power-loving media anyway, so make a detailed case for it an let voters decide.

      1. Catch-phrases are what get votes. There are rational voters, just not many of them. It’s going to be a big stretch to get people to vote outside their party preference. I bet if you surveyed voters you’d find at least ten percent who probably think they’ll get in trouble for voting for candidates whose affilitation does not match the voter’s party registration (for states that require you to register an affiliation).

        1. Catch-phrases are what get votes.

          As the article alluded to, it’s true for main stream candidates, not so much with outliers like Johnson. Plus, if your goal is media attention, it definitely works with the major party candidates, but doesn’t fly with 3rd party types. The media suddenly gets very serious about your proposals when you’re an unknown. But when you have a larger-than-life personality and provide your own entertainment by merely being covered, soundbites are fine.

          1. the sad truth is, that we need a bit of both. we can’t live on catch phrases, because we are a minor party… but we can’t drone policy all day either… or they glaze over, and never get the message.

            policy is not what gets you the free press… even among actual libertarians, the biggest boost for people talking about Johnson is the “Nazi cake” thing.

  15. How Libertarians Can Capitalize On The GOP’s Implosion

    Decent article echoing what Tonio wrote above. I liked this:

    Just saying “reduce government” and “increase liberty” is more easily said than done. Lots of folks support reducing government, until the part of government you want to reduce is the part that benefits them. More liberty in one policy area may alienate those who want liberty in another. What is popular in one state might be anathema in another. The broad idea sounds great, but the application is tricky.

    The answer is the same as it has been since the start of the republic: federalism. In a country as big and diverse as ours, there are few occasions for a one-size-fits-all policy. While certain powers, like making war and setting tariffs, are rightly granted exclusively to the federal government in the Constitution, most other issues could be solved just as well (if not better) through state or local governments. Better yet, from a Libertarian point of view, they might be left to the people themselves.

    I’ve found that I’ve made more progress with lefties by focusing on local decision-making. The fuckers are all about ‘buy local’, ‘think globally, act locally’ and other silly horseshit, why not ‘govern-locally’?

    1. why not ‘govern-locally’?

      Because racism.

      1. Not that I disagree with the assertion/premise. But, IME, you can run for miles on local government and the instant anybody even smells racism, you can just reel it all back in.

        1. Ah, but where I live people claim to smell racism even where there is none. The mistake most people make is responding to those charges; it’s a sticky trap, ignore and move on.

          Sure, government welfare is anathema to libertarians, but touching that is suicide. For local races we focus on corruption, fraud and abuse of existing programs, and pare down the truly non-essential. Art. Bicycle sharing (privatise), etc.

          1. Ah, but where I live people claim to smell racism even where there is none.

            HazelMeade is your nighbour, Tonio? My condolences…

            *hands Tonio finest 40 year old scotch*

            1. Thanks, doc.

      2. Because control-freakery.

        1. That’s the real issue, but you can’t stampede the cattle as well and specifically against state and local-level power with ‘control!’ the way you can with ‘racists!’.

    2. Lots of folks support reducing government, until the part of government you want to reduce is the part that benefits them.

      First, we need to prioritize. As I said the other day, things like municipal parks are so far down the list of things to cut that they won’t be an issue for years or decades. Libertarians do a really crappy job of (not) explaining that people can buy their own art, build their own schools, etc. The example of how crowdfunding did a better job of funding art than NEA/NEH needs to be hammered.

      1. Louisville recently (this decade) built a large network of “private” parks. The city/state/feds threw in some money, hence the scare quotes, but it is mostly funded and maintained with donations.

        I think the city turned over a park to fill in a gap, and to reduce their maintenance costs. The feds provided road funds (McConnell made this happen) and the state provided some money.

        Far from a libertarian project but still a good example that it can be done.

        1. 21st Century Parks raised more than $120 million in its Capital Campaign in order to acquire land and construct the park system. This includes $70.5 million from private sources and $49.5 million from public sources. The public money includes $38 million from the federal government, $10 million from the state and $1.5 million from Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. The annual funding of The Parklands, expected to be about $4 million per year, will be supported by annual membership, private donations, in-park revenue and an endowment. The Parklands will not receive tax-payer support for annual operations.

          1. You don’t have a good link by any chance do you? I’d like to share.

            /not Bernie Sanders.

  16. demonstrates just how disgusted ordinary Americans are with the Evil Party’s stupid candidate and the Stupid Party’s evil candidate

    Which one is which? Clinton is most definitely not stupid, and I though the Republicans were the Stupid party.
    It’s more like the Stupid Party’s stupid candidate and the Evil Party’s Evil candidate.

    1. Clinton is most definitely not stupid

      Polite disagree. IMO, at least 50% of HRC’s lack of popularity is her inability to recognize when she’s got the muzzle pointed at some part of her own anatomy. If she were half as socio-politically graceful as her husband, she’d have made any one of her opponents in this election look foolish.

      Or maybe you were insinuating that Hillary *must* be the evil one?

      1. Hillary is OBVIOUSLY the evil one. Trump is modestly evil too, but mostly stupid.

  17. Being serious. I think Gary Johnson should run as a moderate centrist libertarian. That means focus on issues where there is a broad libertarian consensus in the electorate, such as marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform, asset forfeiture reform, and eminent domain reform. But also try to back moderately libertarian economic policies, like balancing the budget, tax reform, and entitlement reform. Be serious about appealing people as a “fiscal conservative social liberal”. Don’t run off into the weeds about libertarian theory. Don’t die on any hills like gay wedding cake.
    Focus on putting together a moderately libertarian platform that will appear to be sensible to the majority of the country.

    1. That means focus on issues where there is a broad libertarian consensus in the electorate, such as marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform, asset forfeiture reform, and eminent domain reform.

      I think marijuana reform needs to be put at the back or rolled into a larger narrative about “Wars on anything”. Not that I don’t want to see weed legalized but, as has been pointed out, the deregulation doesn’t need to have explicit popular approval. Also, since it’s becoming conditionally legal anyway, isn’t the same defining libertarian issue it once was.

      Additionally, I think the “War on Terror” is a real and specific lynchpin where the “No Wars” narrative could better GayJay from non-libertarian candidates.

      1. could better distinguish

      2. Remember when gay marriage crossed the threshold of popular acceptance? That’s when ever two bit moron had to compulsively signal their support for gay marriage on social media.

        When MJ legalization hits that point, you WANT to be the person who is publicly backing MJ legalization.
        You don’t case the issue aside. you profit from every idiots need to switch to your side.

        1. When MJ legalization hits that point, you WANT to be the person who is publicly backing MJ legalization.
          You don’t case the issue aside. you profit from every idiots need to switch to your side.

          I don’t think it will ever reach that point and/or is a different issue entirely. Twitter is already chock full of people who support MJ and/or legalization or are ambivalent and, unlike gay marriage, we’re like three (or more) ‘I may have experimented with illicit substances’ Presidents in at this point. I don’t think there’s enough anecdote/zeitgeist to make MJ an oppression vs. identity issue the way it was done with homosexuality/gay marriage. Or rather… there’s plenty of ammunition demonstrating that MJ is an intrinsically oppressive issue and people regularly choose to portray the oppression in a race/identity light and this is something that GayJay isn’t intrinsically superior at (racially/victim-wise or politically).

    2. You can be either a libertarian or a moderate. Not both.

  18. Ok, question for Libertarians. Are any of you SERIOUSLY going to fucking vote for Trump over Gary Johnson, because you’re too much of a purist for Johnson?
    If so, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

    1. They’re natural enemies, like Libertarians and the English, or Libertarians and the Irish, or Libertarians and other Libertarians. Damn Libertarians, they ruined Libertopia!

      You Libertarians sure are a contentious people!

      YOU just made an enemy FOR LIFE!

    2. I suspect anyone here who’s voting for Trump is doing it because they fear a Hillary presidency more. Then there’s the very few that will vote Trump merely for the Lulz.

      1. How could Hillary really be any worse than Trump?
        You know what prevents third party candidates from breaking through? The fear that the “other side” of the two-party battle will win. We’re forced to choke down whatever the two parties offer us, year after year, because they’ve got us trapped in this cycle of believing that the other party is so horrible that you must do anything, even vote for Donald Trump, to stop them. As long as they can keep us on that fear treadmill, they never have to change anything. Opt out.

  19. The Week’s article was weak. Johnson won’t win by trying to woo the few so-cons and neo-cons who won’t vote for either Trump or Clinton, or by chasing the 0.5% hardcore Libertarian vote. His only chance to win is by being more centrist, sane, experienced, and trustworthy than Trump or Clinton, which honestly, isn’t that hard.

    1. This. This election year, you don’t have to play with demographics. You don’t want to try to woo the defectors from anyone’s “base” – those people are all psychos. Just try to be the only honest, sane, and reasonable candidate on the ballot and get the independents and swing voters. Besides, he probably has no chance at all, so why not try it?

    2. Whats the point of winning the election if our nominee is not libertarian?

      Johnson is a republican who hates religious people.

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