Gary Johnson

More than 900,000 People Tuned In to Watch This Week's CNN Libertarian Town Hall

Libertarian ticket still introducing itself.

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Reason TV

Nearly a million people tuned in to CNN on Wednesday night towatch a town hall with Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate William Weld, with 320,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, about twice as many viewers as CNN got in the same slot the night before, when it aired a Chris Cuomo (also the host of the town hall) special on the Paris attack investigations, according to Nielsen ratings, but 100,000 viewers less than the regular airing of Anderson Cooper in that time slot the Wednesday before.

The town hall was an opportunity for Johnson and Weld to introduce the Libertarian ticket to a general political news audience. "It can't be bigger," Johnson told Matt Welch before the town hall. "I mean really, this is really, really big." Google searches for Johnson, Weld, and the Libertarian party spiked the night of the town hall. Welch wrote of the town hall that Johnson tried to be "likeable" and "pragmatic," undercutting the latter by going for the former. "Johnson spent too much time communicating his values defensively, sometimes confusingly, while failing repeatedly under cross-examination to draw clarifying distinctions between the theoretically ideal and the politically plausible," Welch wrote.

There have not been any polls taken fully after the town hall. Johnson averages 8.6 percent in three-way match-ups with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and 7 percent in four-way match-ups that also include presumptive Green party presidential nominee Jill Stein.

Watch Reason TV's "CNN's Libertarian Town Hall in 3 Minutes" below:

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  1. 900,000 saw Johnson embarrass himself, then.

    1. 900,000 Unimpressed By Floppy Johnson

      1. But in all honesty a candidate hewing to pure libertarian principles would scare off a lot more voters than he’d attract. We are not going to win this in one stroke; there must be incrementalism. And incrementalism means that somebody will have to be in the back of the line. Sorry, that’s reality.

        1. I know, but i’m not one to let ideas i agree with get in the way of a cheap joke.

    2. That’s OK. Probably 600,000 now know there’s a choice. Wait til Hillary and Donald actually go negative. That strategy works well – but only if there’s no third way out.

    3. How much of that is hospitals, airports, TV displays and other waiting rooms?

      I bet corrected for that the only people watching voluntarily were named Johnson and Weld.

  2. “Libertarian ticket still introducing itself”

    It’s a ticket of wealth and taste. It’s been around for a long, long time. So have some respect.

    1. That last sentence should have been “led many a vote to waste.”

  3. I like Ed’s positive spin of ‘nearly one million.’

  4. Yeah, I think Johnson blew it. No polish, no firm answers, and terrible delivery. He seemed more confused than the audience.

    After that debacle, I had to remind myself why I was going to vote libertarian. It was rough.

    1. I stopped watching after the would you vote for Clinton or Trump question. At least Johnson said he knew a libertarian would be on the ticket so neither, but Weld… that fucker… without even thinking says Clinton.

      This is probably the best opportunity the libertarian party has ever had, and they put forward Johnson and Weld as torchbearers. Who is the stupid party again?

      1. Better than the other options. This is what we get.

  5. So rounding up to 1,000,000 viewers for easier math, that means 0.3% of Americans saw this.

    Assuming all viewers will vote in the election and that the number of voters this election will be comparable to the last, that’s 0.7% of voters.

    Assuming no people who voted Libertarian last election watched this and that everyone who watched it was converted to Feeling the Johnson, this means Johnson will get 1.7% of the votes this year.

    So with a bunch of generous assumptions we’re like most of the way to 2%!!

    I’m not really even trying to be cynical but when I look at the numbers you are citing it just… doesn’t seem promising.

    1. Actually, saying it like that makes me feel better. At first I saw just the size of the number and was like, Shit! that many people saw that train wreck. but you make me more optimistic

  6. Johnson ? while failing repeatedly under cross-examination to draw clarifying distinctions between the theoretically ideal and the politically plausible,” Welch wrote.

    Why would the VIEWERS give a fuck? Only anti-gummint wackos are confused on that.

    Gary REALLY blew the Fair Tax, which also appeals only to anti-gummint libertarian cyborgs. When Gary was asked if it wouldn be a massive tax cut for the rich, who now pay 39%, Gary punked out by saying Cuomo was “into the weeds.” If Gary says anything so stupid in a debate, if he gets there, he’ll just “prove ” that libertarians are wackjobs.

    Let’s see, the rich subsidize 40% of the entire tax burden for the middle class, because of progressive tax rates. So what happens if the progressive rates are repealed? DUH

    Oh wait, make it a consumptions tax! What kind of retard doesn’t know that the rich consume a tiny share of their income? So we’re gonna slash rates on the rich AND tax fewer of their dollars!!!! (OMG)

    The effective income tax rate for the core middle class ($40k-100k) is …. 8.8%. So a 30% consumption tax does WHAT? Yes, it’s 30%. The Fair Tax hucksters say 23% … of the total, after-tax price. So on a $100 after tax price, the tax is $23 … BUT the selling price is (100-23=) $77. A $23 tax on a $77 purchase is … do the math, I’m laughing too hard.

    This is why the libertarian brand is rejected by even 91% of libertarians. (Cato survey)

    1. WTF?

      $77 purchase is then taxed at 23%, which is $17.71, for a total of $94.71.

      A $100 after-tax purchase does not have $23 in tax associated with it if it’s taxed at 23%, but an $81.30 purchase with 23% tax equals $100 after-tax. A $123 after tax purchase had $23 in taxes if it’s taxed at 23%.

      100% agree that we should shut down the department of education because libertarians clearly cannot do math.

      I’m laughing too hard too…more like mocking.

      1. That isn’t how the Fair Tax works. It’s an inclusive sales tax. According the Neal Boortz’s The Fair tax Book it’s 23% of a total retail sale. If you buy a $100 widget, 23% (or $23 in this case) would be handed over as the consumption tax. If you work backwards and convert the tax to an exclusive sales tax ($23 on a $77 item) it would be approximately 30%.

        The point of the Fair tax is to remove all the taxes already embedded in the prices we pay, and replace them with a single tax on consumption. In theory this would reduce compliance costs and increase transparency to consumers who ultimately bear the burden of paying most taxes.

        This may be out of date since I haven’t looked at the fair tax in years but, the system calls for monthly prebates on taxes you would pay if you bought $36,000 in merchandise over a year. Using their 23% tax figure that would come out to a monthly prebate of $690 per month ($8280 per year). This kind of works like a negative income tax for the lower income tiers.

        Looking at a family with $40,000 in income who spent their entire income on retail purchases their effective tax rate when considering the prebate is only 2.3%. For example: $40,000 x 23% = $9200 – 8280 (the annual prebate) = $920. Divide that by the $40K annual income for a tax rate of 2.3%.

        Obviously the higher a family’s income the more they will pay in taxes both as a total amount and a percentage (assuming all income is spent).

        1. Nihil,
          A massive tax cut for the rich. The average effective tax rate for over $1,000,000 is 28% … on ALL their adjusted gross income. Do you realize they consume a tiny portion of their income, so they’d pay a lower tax rates on a FRACTION of the currently taxed dollars?.

          You realize they’re “prebating” taxes which may have never been paid?
          And that the prebate is ONLY on ESTIMATED taxes up to the poverty level. Do you realize how tiny that is? So your $8280 prebate is impossible, and the 2.3% is … no comment.

          Bullshit for suckers.

          1. My final sentence is correct since I clearly noted it required full consumption of all income. Whether that is the case for someone or not is irrelevant. The maximum tax someone would pay under the Fair Tax would be approximately 23%. I agree people who do not spend their entire income could have a very small tax burden. I don’t consider this as a problem.

            I thought the prebate was based on $36K in annual spending and thus $8280 per year. I figured it would work similar to a guaranteed minimum income or negative income tax. Fair enough, I can admit to a mistake.

            Judging from the numbers I could quickly find it looks like the annual prebate for a couple with 7 children would be $12,112 and the minimum prebate for a single individual with no children is $2,707. That would put Federal tax rate on $40K somewhere between -7.28% and 16.23% (assuming all income is spent on retail sales).

            I’m not a fan of the Fair Tax. It isn’t nearly as simple as its advocates would lead one to believe. The numbers clearly show the middle class (and especially the lower middle class) would shoulder a larger tax burden. The prebate program itself would be the largest social program ever. There are plenty of reason to not like the Fair Tax without resorting to confusing inclusive and exclusive tax rates.

            1. Judging from the numbers I could quickly find it looks like the annual prebate for a couple with 7 children would be $12,112

              That’s WAY above the maximum prebate, You don’t believe me. Here’s from their website.

              Fairtax prebate

              The FairTax provides a progressive program called a prebate. This gives every legal resident household an “advance refund” at the beginning of each month so that purchases made up to the poverty level are tax-free. The prebate prevents an unfair burden on low-income families.

              So it’s limited to the spending at the poverty level, to shield low-income households

              1. That’s WAY above the maximum prebate

                Wrong.

                See Page 2 of this document from the Florida Fair Tax Education Association using 2014 information.

                See this Wikipedia article using 2015 data.

                Here is a Fair Tax calculator. Enter some numbers and see how much a person or family would receive.

                I expect your retraction will be forthcoming.

                1. I cite the national parent website. And you screwed up publicly again.
                  No, I was not born in Kenya.

                  1. The document I linked was prepared by the parent organization. Try again.

                    1. For a family of seven, who spends all their income on consumption … and NOTHING on housing, groceries, utilities. (OMG)

                      the system calls for monthly prebates on taxes you would pay if you bought $36,000 in merchandise over a year.

                      BULLSHIT … per your own link! How many times can you change your story when called out?

                      An even bigger lie to assume ANYONE exists paying NOTHING for housing, groceries and utilities. Not everyone is so easily flummoxed.

                      The document I linked was prepared by the parent organization. Try again.

                      The exact opposite of their own website??? (LOL)

                      looks like the annual prebate for a couple with 7 children would be $12,112

                      A FAMILY OF NINE??? Only if they spend $52,000 PER YEAR above the cost of necessities! (OMG) Every one of your bullshit links assumes spending nothing on necessities!! WHY ARE THEY CALLED NECESSITIES.?

                      No, I was not born in Kenya.

                    2. I already addressed the $36,000 comment – reread the messages.

                      As you already pointed out the prebate is a formula based on the federal poverty limit and not straight consumption: “You realize they’re ‘prebating’ taxes which may have never been paid? And that the prebate is ONLY on ESTIMATED taxes up to the poverty level.”

                      No, I was not born in Kenya.

                      “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” –Queen Gertrude, Act III, Scene II of Hamlet

                    3. the system calls for monthly prebates on taxes you would pay if you bought $36,000 in merchandise over a year.

                      BULLSHIT … per your own link! How many times can you change your story when called out?

                      And now he reverses himself!!

                      As you already pointed out the prebate is a formula based on the federal poverty limit and not straight consumption: “You realize they’re ‘prebating’ taxes which may have never been paid? And that the prebate is ONLY on ESTIMATED taxes up to the poverty level.”

                      Which is WHY your $36,000 statement is bullshit. (snicker)

                      No, I was not born in Kenya.

                      “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” –Queen Gertrude, Act III, Scene II of Hamlet

                      Umm I assume you are a Birther. That sailed over your head too!

                      You keep running away from the fraudulent tax rate of 23% … and the batshit crazy assumption that people at the poverty level spend 100% of their income on consumption! WHY do you insist they spend NOTHING on housing, groceries and utltities????

          2. The average effective tax rate for over $1,000,000 is 28% … on ALL their adjusted gross income. Do you realize they consume a tiny portion of their income, so they’d pay a lower tax rates on a FRACTION of the currently taxed dollars?

            Is this a problem? Does the government somehow deserve that money more than the person who earned it?

            The money is still being productive somewhere. It can be placed in a bank and used to fund loans, invested in a new business, given to charity, or simply spent (some rich people do go broke).

            Why do you want the government to have the money?

            1. A massive tax cut for the rich. The average effective tax rate for over $1,000,000 is 28% … on ALL their adjusted gross income. Do you realize they consume a tiny portion of their income, so they’d pay a lower tax rates on a FRACTION of the currently taxed dollars?

              Is this a problem? Does the government somehow deserve that money more than the person who earned it?

              You asked that in public?

              I thought the prebate was based on $36K in annual spending and thus $8280 per year

              Which is what I corrected.

              Why do you want the government to have the money?

              You asked that in public?

              How do they offset the massive tax cut on the rich — who now subsidize 40% of the entire share oof taxes for the core middle class ($40,000-10,000)? If the middle class is no longer highly subsidized … what happens?

              This is almost as wacky as Ron Paul’s repeal the income tax and run 98% of the entire government on FICA taxes. So he’d start with a quarter-trillion dollars LESS than Social Security and Medicare get now …. PLUS another trillion that he refuses to describe.

              No, that does not mean government is entitled to their current revenue. It says I can’t be conned.

              1. You asked that in public?

                Yes. Would you care to explain why you believe the government has a stronger claim to the income than the people earning it?

                How do they offset the massive tax cut on the rich — who now subsidize 40% of the entire share oof taxes for the core middle class ($40,000-10,000)? If the middle class is no longer highly subsidized … what happens?

                I’m not interested in defending the Fair Tax. I have already provided reasons why it isn’t a good plan. But, I’ll give answering your question a shot once you answer my question above to my satisfaction.

                1. You asked that in public?

                  Yes. Would you care to explain why you believe the government has a stronger claim to the income than the people earning it?

                  You asked that in public? Tell us what causes you to make such a wacky assumption. Be specific/

                  How do they offset the massive tax cut on the rich — who now subsidize 40% of the entire share oof taxes for the core middle class ($40,000-10,000)? If the middle class is no longer highly subsidized … what happens?

                  I’m not interested in defending the Fair Tax.

                  (laughing) Then why are you?

                  once you answer my question above to my satisfaction.

                  Ummm, it’s a stupid question which has nothing to do with what I said.

                  One more time: The rich subsidize 40% of the entire income tax for the core middle class. What happens to that subsidy when they get a MASSIVE tax cut???
                  (Will he still refuse to accept that the rich spend a tiny share of their income on consumption? Will he still insist massive tax cuts don’t have to be paid for? Why would he massively increase our federal debt?
                  Liberals are bamboozled by free stuff. Conservatives by free tax cuts

                  1. You must have a learning disability if you think I’m defending the Fair Tax. I corrected your characterization of the tax itself. As it was originally proposed the proposal would have been an inclusive form of taxation. An amount of 23% from the final bill would be collected as tax. The price of goods would already include the tax. Someone buying a widget priced at $100 would only pay $100. The tax of $23 would be collected and paid to the treasury by the business. While the tax is the same as a 30% exclusive tax, no one would be adding tax to anything they purchased. There wouldn’t be a $77 widget that would ring up as $100 after taxes. You were muddying the waters and I was trying to correct that.

                    As far as tax cuts go, you are literally arguing against a point no one is making. What I find interesting is you are hung up in how to pay for these phantom tax cuts. Yet never seem to think about cutting government. If letting people keep their money, and running a leaner government isn’t an option you are implying the money is better off with the government.

                    I have no doubt that government is highly inefficient, and the easy access to more revenue through taxation or borrowing perpetuates the problem. Maybe starving the beast would curb its appetite. Maybe it would cause a global economic catastrophe as the government goes on an unsustainable borrowing spree. Either way I would get what I want: a smaller and less invasive government, or delicious global chaos.

                    1. You must have a learning disability

                      (snicker) They ALWAYS go trash mouth when called out. And now he sctews up AGAIN!

                      What I find interesting is you are hung up in how to pay for these phantom tax cuts. Yet never seem to think about cutting government.

                      1) That’s your fifth lie
                      2) THEY say it’s revenue neutral!! http://fairtax.org/faq

                      AGAIN, WHY DO YOU DEFEND THE FRAUDULENT 23% TAX RATE … AND INSIST THAT PEOPLE BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL PAY NOTHING FOR HOUSING, FOOD AND UTILITIES?

                      REPEAT: WHAT HAPPENS TO MIDDLE-CLASS TAXES WHEN THE RICH ARE NO LONGER SUBSIDIZING THEM?

                      (Will my trashmouth stalker continue making a public fool of himself?)

                      P.S. Here’s a detailed explanation of how wacky you are, with charts and tables, from those crazy llberals at ….. FORBES!
                      (walks away laughing harder)

                    2. The price of goods would already include the tax.

                      You again contradict fairtax.org. Which is totally meaningless anyhow.

      2. (laughing)ANOTHER GOOBER Cannot do simple division.

        $77 purchase is then taxed at 23%, which is $17.71, for a total of $94.71.

        (lauging harder) THAT’S WHY THE RATE IS NOT 23% !!!!

        A $100 after-tax purchase does not have $23 in tax associated with it if it’s taxed at 23%

        THAT’s WHAT I SAID! The tax is 30% ! !

        I’m laughing too hard too…more like mocking.

        Does he realize he made a total fucking ass of himself? For anyone else who cannot divide 23 by 77, the FairTax website.

        http://fairtax.org/faq

        I know the FAIRtax rate is 23 percent when compared to current income taxes. What will the rate of the sales tax be at the retail counter?

        30 percent.

        A tax “plan” for goobers.
        (I just peed my pants from laughing so hard)

  7. Just saw this on demand last night. My take: Cuomo, B-. Aside from the BLM crap not too bad. Johnson, C+. Ron or Rand could articulate this stuff better and they’re not Libertarians. Constantly deferring to Weld, also not a Libertarian. Overall sounded like a moderate republican who hasn’t read the party platform. Weld, F. Incessantly bragging about his career as a statist insider. His endorsement of Clinton as “qualified” to be president was pretty astonishing.
    I’m not a big L libertarian but I’ll probably still vote for these clowns. Lesser of the 3 evils.

  8. His endorsement of Clinton as “qualified” to be president was pretty astonishing.

    He never said that., Go to 0:56 in the video.

    1. He says it later in the interview in answer to an “if you had to pick Trump or Clinton” question if memory serves me. In any case he’s an arrogant ass in my opinion.

      1. “if you had to pick Trump or Clinton” question if memory serves

        I appreciate your retraction.

        1. Transcript: CNN Libertarian Town Hall moderated by Chris Cuomo

          QUESTION: Hello. If you have the choice, Trump or Clinton, which one would you pick? And who do you think is going to be like a better president?

          WELD: Well, I think Mrs. Clinton, no matter what you might think of various economic policies, is very well qualified to be president of the United States. I would not say the same of Mr. Trump, with all respect.

          I expect your retraction and an apology to Gaear immediately.

          1. He retracted it, Sparky. Stay with making an ass of yourself on the Fair Tax.

            You lied about the question

            CUOMO: All right. But I’m saying – I think the question – and, again, I always like to – feel free to tell me I’m wrong, it happens all the time – but if you had to say that one of these is more qualified than the other, who should be president?

            That’s not an endorsement. (lol)

            1. You’re being mendacious. Nothing was retracted. Gaear Grimsrud corrected you after you pointed to the 0:56 mark in the video clip. This was clearly not the portion of the event to which Gaear originally commented on.

              Endorsement was implied. But I understand how that might be a difficult concept for you to understand.

              1. You’re being mendacious.

                You lied about the question.

                Nothing was retracted.

                Pay attention. I’ll dumb it down, if I can. I even quoted him.

                “if you had to pick Trump or Clinton” question if memory serves

                Do you know what “had to” means? That’s the part you lied about. How convenient.

                Now you’re full of shit again

                Still stalking me?

                This was clearly not the portion of the event to which Gaear originally commented on.

                Clearly BEFORE he speciified?

                Endorsement was implied.

                Do you know what “had to” means?

                1. Just for the record, I was not retracting my statement. I was not referring to the statement at 00:56
                  above I was referring to the statement that Nihil posted above (Thanks,I was too lazy to find it). Whether Weld’s statement is an explicit or implied endorsement seems like hair splitting to me but if you gotta win every time I’ll formally retract the word “endorsement” and replace it with “implied endorsement”.

                  1. Just for the record, I was not retracting my statement.

                    So YOU don’t know what “had to” means either.

                    Whether Weld’s statement is an explicit or implied endorsement seems like hair splitting to me

                    Hair-splitting has been the excuse of exposed bullshitters wince the beginning of time. Like your support of Nihil lying about the question.

                    I’ll formally retract the word “endorsement” and replace it with “implied endorsement”.

                    (laughing) If your ego needs that.

          2. Hello. If you have the choice, Trump or Clinton, which one would you pick?

            Jeez. It’s simple.

            The Johnson/Weld answer to this question should always always always be:

            “Neither. I don’t think ether Clinton or Trump is nearly as qualified as Johnson, and given that both of them have negative ratings, most voters really agree with us.

            “My running mate and I aren’t in this just to show. We want to be elected, and if you guys in the media would get serious for once, and ask questions on the issues, I think we’d have a chance to win Then we could pull the U.S. out of the mess that both Republicans and Democrats have put it in.”

            1. The question you quoted lies about the question which was asked.
              And libertarians have a long history of incompetence in politics — one reason that the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians. (per Cato)

              Gary gave the perfect answer by refusing to indulge in attacks or personalities.
              Weld then did the attack, which is the role of VP candidates. It’s how a ticket portrays the top as the unifier a President must be, but still gets the negatives out. Common knowledge among the knowledgeable.

              If one is honest about the question they responded to.

              It’s also why Trump’s negatives are 70% and he got less than 40% of even Republican primary voters. But the goobers here are PISSED that Gary doesn’t talk like a partisan asshole…..at a time when Americans are disgusted by tribal partisanship.

  9. There is indeed an arrogant ass here. How would Trump get his agenda through Congress, when they’re all morons? How do we know ANYONE is qualified to be President?

  10. 900,000 watched the GayJay debacle? That doesn’t bode well for the LP’s vote percentage come November.

      1. Why would it?

        1. Why would it?

          Dumb assumption by my stalker.

          1. I’m just trying to keep you busy. As long as you’re here, I know you’re not out wandering the streets. It isn’t safe out there for senile people. I just want you to stay safe.

            1. I’m just trying to keep you busy

              Dumb assumption followed by an even dumber comment. Why do you alway blame me when you fuck up (so often)?

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