Gary Johnson

'Is 2016 the moment Libertarians have been waiting for?' Matt Welch Asks at CNN Opinion

'Johnson may not have maximized his opportunity last night, but the fundamentals he brought, which have placed the party on the threshold of success, remain firmly in place'


Was last night's somewhat awkward performance by Gary Johnson fatal to the Libertarian Party's prospects in 2016? Not so fast, I argue at CNN Opinion. Here's how the column begins:

Like teenagers on New Year's Eve, libertarians are conscious enough about their shaky social status that they tend to become over-invested in individual moments.

Watching your long-marginalized political bloc step out blinkingly into the national spotlight, as former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts governor William Weld did Wednesday night at CNN's Libertarian Town Hall, can be fraught with expectation and not a small amount of dread.

Johnson's halting performance last night had many party faithful lunging for the panic button, almost certainly prematurely given this year's unprecedented opportunity for and interest in the country's leading third party.

But his often defensive posture in the face of challenging questions stems from an intra-Libertarian divide that the ticket is going to have to address more forthrightly if it wants to meet the 15 percent polling threshold to get into this fall's presidential debates.

Read the whole thing here.

Previous Reason coverage of the Johnson/Weld town hall:

* "Nice Guys Finish Third: Gary Johnson's Awkward Night," by Matt Welch

* "Gary Johnson/William Weld: 'Skeptics' of Intervention That Will Involve Congress in Decisions on Military Action," by Ed Krayewski

* "Drug War Ringer Pushes Johnson to Explain Reality of Prohibition," by Scott Shackford

* "What Gary Johnson Should Have Said About Heroin," by Jacob Sullum

* "Gary Johnson: The Presidential Candidate for Non-Crazy Americans," by Robby Soave

* "As Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson Was an Early Advocate for School Choice," by Tyler Koteskey

* "Gary Johnson on Tonight's CNN Town Hall: 'It can't be bigger. I mean, really, this is really, really big,'" by Matt Welch

* And "CNN's Libertarian Town Hall in 3 Minutes," by Zach Weissmueller & Justin Monticello: