Gary Johnson

How Last Night's Gary Johnson/William Weld CNN Town Hall Was a Disappointment in Libertarian Terms

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The Libertarian Party presidential ticket of former Republican governors Gary Johnson (N.M.) and William Weld (Mass.) succeeded in seeming human, humane, decent, calm, and at least compared to their major party competitors, thoughtful this evening at their second CNN Town Hall.

Johnson/Weld Campaign

But I'm not sure they succeeded in seeming very Libertarian, or selling the Party's position as a distinct outlook on politics and government that someone could grasp and understand.

They often seemed to go out of their way to just seem like a centrist, independent mixture of what someone might see as good aspects of both other parties.

In fact, when host Anderson Cooper would occasionally remind the candidates what the traditional libertarian stance was, often relying on the Party platform, he might have done more to sell libertarianism's unique stances than the candidates.

Herewith, a (not necessarily comprehensive) list of places where a Libertarian might have been frustrated with the candidates tonight, with a few (again, not comprehensive) nods to when they got it closer to right. The emphasis, though, will be on the disappointments, which dominated in my eyes.

  • Weld repeating the notion that they would fill their administration with "the best people from the Democrats…the smartest from the Republicans" though he was smart enough to add his own Party as third in the list. This implies, against evidence, that there are somehow loads of politicians or "public servants" from the major parties that actually understand and can be relied upon to pursue libertarian policies; but he framed the issue as if it were more about bipartisan (or tripartisan) cooperation as a good in and of itself than pursuing a particular vision of what government should do and how.
  • While optimism about the wonders of an even hobbled and restricted market and technology, and cheering the huge moral progress in acceptance of more types of people in the polity, is a constitutive part of a huge strain of modern libertarianism, Johnson saying that "life has never been better" without any specifics about how things might need to improve (while alluding to only one surviving problem, discrimination) elided any chance to explain a core part of the libertarian message: that government does more than it ought to, morally or practically, and that that needs to change. For the most part, Johnson's answer made it sound like he just wanted to be a decent middle-of-the-road defender of an absolutely amazing and never-been-better status quo. This is a complicated issue, and he hit only one (important) side of it.

    Weld made this worse by alluding to that awful bugaboo of every useless "centrist third party" movement in my lifetime, the supposed tragedy of ferocious partisanship "getting in the way of effective policy being made."

  • Weld stressing their tenure as successful Republican governors of states with Democratic legislatures as just about their wonderful ability to "compromise" again does not seem like people even trying to sell a distinct message of government size and purpose, even though Weld did start with his sort-of-inspirational re-quip from 1992 about keeping government out of your pocketbook and your bedroom. (It was also good of Weld to point out the huge tax hikes involved in Clinton's plans.)
  • The best they managed in outlining what was supposed to be a distinctively libertarian foreign policy was being against regime change, which even Trump manages, without any larger sense of what America's mission in the world is and whether any sort of warwaging overseas is either in our interest or just or affordable.

    It was decent of Weld to stress that the actual domestic threat of terror could and should be dealt with as a law enforcement matter, even if he was perhaps too gleeful in calling for how much more spending would be necessary to do so, but it would be worth it. But he was far too casually supportive of the idea that drones would be necessary for those "ISIS training platforms in South Yemen." It didn't sound like Weld's notion of what to do in the Middle East differed in any significant respect from the Obama status quo.

  • Good of Johnson to stick to the idea that trying to ban semi-automatic weapons would be hopeless given their wide presence, but would have also been good of him to hit on how it would also be pointless toward solving any actual national problem, and very, very wrong to boot.
  • Johnson continues to awkwardly meld his winning dislike of discrimination, and even his winning dislike of associating libertarianism with bigotry, but again continues to miss the point that there is a difference between not wanting to discriminate and punishing people legally for their associative choices, and leaning on "existing law" isn't a sufficiently smart way through the problem.
  • Johnson's talks about research into CBD and whole-plant pot as medicine was interesting, but drug warrior woman Diane Carlson (and more importantly the audience) needed to hear more about why criminalizing pot has been a national disgrace and nightmare, not just the possible scientific benefits of varying approaches to the plant as medicine. Again, an opportunity to talk distinct principle was dribbled away.
  • A total bouquet to Johnson for following through on something he promised in an interview with me back before he won the nomination: that he'd be willing to tell the American people that government just cannot guarantee that terror attacks won't occur domestically and can't promise to eliminate them.
  • A half-bouquet to Johnson for a stumbling but in the right direction answer to Sanders supporter Robyn Summers on the differences between redistributive equality (bad) and equal opportunity to succeed and how the political system can muck up the latter.
  • Weld went out of his way to give an unlibertarian answer to the question of what he thinks of Black Lives Matter, and even flagged the point himself, saying we must "concentrate the power of government to make sure there are jobs available" and that that is a "national emergency to which government has to respond, libertarian or no libertarian."
  • The prostitution answer was a perfect set up for some basic libertarian philosophizing, which they messed up badly; Johnson by saying that in his opinion the "victims" in prostitution are the prostitutes themselves (while also giving lip service to Nevada's legalization and claiming to believe the L.P. platform's bold statement against victimless crimes when Cooper read it) and Weld outright saying that in his prosecutorial experience, and I don't really know what he meant exactly, that it's "far from victimless"and that the public's the loser and we "can't see the crime being committed when it happens." [UPDATE: I've read others interpret Johnson comment far more charitably than I did, insisting he meant that in the current environment where it is illegal that prostitutes are victims, presumably of the law. This is possible, though I didn't read it that way and not sure every viewer would.]
  • When Cooper congratulated Johnson for his willingess to say he might be wrong and hedge his observations with "perhaps," a more consistently thoughtful libertarian could have spun that into an opportunity to talk about the fatal conceit (not necessarily using that egghead term) of big government and its pretense to understand how to make all the right choices for us and use force and other people's money to back up their hubris. Johnson did nothing close to that.
  • Johnson muffed a chance to make a point about government's proper role by praising Michelle Obama's diet busybodyism and promising to "lead by example" in a way that an uneducated watcher would assume that Johnson totally believes it's part of government's job to worry about our weight.

The two governors mostly seemed thoughtful, humble, decent, not aggravating control freaks or rampaging ids. They did not seem like bold representatives of a distinct philosophy and practice of government, one with a well-developed philosophy about what government is for, and why.

NEXT: Johnson/Weld Come Out of CNN Town Hall Looking Like "a sensible alternative to the two main options."

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  1. this is a shitty article, Brian.

    1. Dude, give him a break.

      He wrote an extensive (shitty indeed, but extensive nonetheless) article late at night!

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    2. Actually this was the most accurate and detailed summary of the Townhall anyone anywhere will ever do on the subject, and echoes all of the complaints made by people who listened to every question in the prior thread.

      I have no idea why you would say that… and challenge you to explain why/how you think it falls short.

      1. I watched the whole interview. Near as I recall, Johnson outlined that prostitution was safer in Nevada because it is legal there. And unless my feed just jumped at that moment and I didn’t notice it, Weld’s response was in reference to corruption, not prostitution. He was addressing the idea of victimless crimes, not prostitution. Weld said enough stupid big government shit without all of this inventing things and misrepresenting things.

        Over and over, people are furiously spinning the answers to say shit that wasn’t being said. Many of you people are purposely interpreting the entire campaign in the least libertarian way possible, just so you can jerk off to your libertarian bona fides by playing the “he’s not a libertarian!” game.

        These comment threads always devolve into whining and crying and bitching and moaning about how unfair Reason is being towards Donald Trump, and the same people come on here and fucking invent their own interpretations of what Gary Johnson has to say. Over and over and over and over. His answer about the cake thing was as clear as it could possibly be ? he stated that according to the law, if you sell cakes you have to sell them, but that you don’t have to take the step of decorating them or putting any message with them. And that’s a fact. That is in fact how the world works. If you want to die on the hill of putting black people back at separate lunch counters, that’s the only way to face that issue down.

        1. I’m all about freedom of association, but it’s time we get real here. If you can’t tell a black person to go fuck themselves because they’re black, you’re not going to be able to tell a gay person to go fuck themselves because they’re gay. That’s the reality, that’s what he said from day one, and the lies and misrepresentation continue.

          Libertarian hate the Libertarian candidate because Libertarians won’t stop justifying their preconceived notions long enough to actually listen to what he has to say.

          You should all quit pretending to hate liberals so much, you behave and argue exactly like them. This board has turned into a couple dozen Tony’s, question-begging and selectively interpreting their way through the election.

          1. Any law that says you have to sell a cake to or make a hire of anyone you don’t want to is not libertarian, and IS despotic. Yes – you have the right to to not enter into any association or economic transaction you don’t care to do.

            1. Again, I’m all about freedom of association. But recognize the world you live in. If you’re going to make that argument, you’re going to have to make the argument that black people can be denied service for their skin color. That’s suicide, politically, largely because of the actions of 400 years of government.

        2. No, Johnson just kind of sort of hemmed and hawed about prostitution in Nevada, he didn’t bother to explain why banging a prostitute in Nevada is safer than banging some Craigslist hooker. Or explain why Nevada hookers are less exploited than hookers in the other 49 states.

          Make it legal. Have the hookers go in for STD tests every six weeks. Give them Yelp reviews, “I got the clap from Sindy. 0/5 stars, would not visit again.”

          He could have just said, hey, it doesn’t make sense to make illegal what it’s OK to do for free. Or he could have just pointed out that that he’s running for president, and the feds don’t usually handle hooking charges.

          Those are all arguments he could have made, and he made none of them. Whenever Johnson’s asked about any sort of controversial libertarian position, he just stalls for time, rather than admitting that he has any actual position about the controversial issue.

          1. Gov Johnson did say that prostitution is a state-level thing, so you’re making Tulpain’t’s point

    3. Agreed

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  3. he just wanted to be a decent middle-of-the-road defender of an absolutely amazing and never-been-better status quo

    Yep, mealy mouthed reformers who are either total liars hiding a more radical agenda (which their opponents will not exploit and will not upset voters) or promise just more of the same.

    Weld made this worse by eluding to that awful bugaboo of every useless “centrist third party” movement in my lifetime, of the supposed tragedy of ferocious partisanship “getting in the way of effective policy being made.”

    I thought “useless centrist third party” was the goal of the LP in this campaign?

    1. I thought “viable alternative to the crazy Trump or the crooked Clinton” was the goal of this campaign.

  4. Many missed opportunities. I don’t know if it’s because they are not practicing, or because they are intentionally trying to stay middle-of-the-road to avoid controversy to get into the debates. But either way whoever is running their campaign strategy should be fired.

    1. I hear this theory from LP shills all over. “They don’t really believe what they’re saying, they’re just trying to get in the debates.”

      Do they drop the “act” and start acting like libertarians as soon as they get in the first debate? If libertarianism is so toxic that to speak it means political death, wouldn’t they just get kicked out after the first debate then? If it’s safe to act libertarian then, why would it not be now?

      Or are they going to continue to peddle this center-left bilge all through the debates? In which case, why did the LP even bother nominating a candidate at all. They couldn’t even claim they were educating the public on libertarianism.

      Rather than go after a very vulnerable segment of Republicans who hate Trump, they are going after the Democrat vote, which is much less likely to go against Hillary.

      1. Maybe Johnson & Weld do these things because they actually believe these things . . . And I’m cheered by their transparency as I decline to vote for them

      2. The LP picked the wrong candidate.

        1. Yes I imagine CNN would have hosted a town hall for Petersen, Perry or McAfee. Get real.

  5. Johnson didn’t rise to the occasion?

    1. He went soft when a hard thrust was necessary

    2. Plenty of pot but no Viagra makes Gary a soft boy

  6. Let’s start with the fact that no individual vote is going to decide any election. Now, we can go further and point out that, since I live in CA, my presidential vote has an absolute zero effect on the state electors. Nor am I alone.
    We can also presume the chance of a Johnson/Weld ticket winning is close to that of a diamond pipe opening under Obo as he sits on the can tomorrow, albeit with differential preferences on my part.
    No, I didn’t watch it; I read about it second hand from the commenters. Seems they didn’t scream “TAXATION IS THEFT!”, nor “END SOCIAL SECURITY”, nor “REPEAL O-CARE”, all of which we here (I think) would prefer.
    But then go back to the first paragraph; J/W might be plowing the field to grow term “libertarian” for those who find it toxic.
    You don’t find them pure enough? OK, neither do I, but were they purer yet, they prolly wouldn’t get even this air-time.
    My vote will likely be for that ticket; enough ‘protest’ votes and the MSM might take notice. My I have no illusion that mine will ‘push ’em over the top’.

    1. Why not move to where your vote will matter? Perhaps your life will be more pleasant, as well.

      1. Where might that be? I see no place where that is true, and where I would like to live.

    2. I live in California too. So why not vote Trump if it is a “protest vote” you’re after?

  7. The two governors mostly seemed thoughtful, humble, decent, not aggravating control freaks or rampaging ids. They did not seem like bold representatives of a distinct philosophy and practice of government, one with a well-developed philosophy about what government is for, and why.

    Hell… I’ll settle for that.

    1. Except you won’t get it because they have 0 chance of winning.

    2. Yeah, would hate to seem like an aggravated control freak by saying people should be free to do what they want.

  8. The village idiot is a better choice than Lucifer or Satan. It may not be the most exciting vote to cast… but it will let me sleep at night knowing that I didn’t help grant legitimacy to either of the frightfully awful anti-freedom-in-almost-every-instance candidates.

    1. I understand voting for a candidate who can block the greater evil. I can understand voting for the candidate you agree with. I cannot understand voting for a candidate who you don’t agree with and who can’t block the greater evil.

      1. This, aftertouch, is by and large what I think of the whole thing. I guess an argument could be fashioned that if a third party or candidate – no matter what it was or what it stood for – received enough votes at the same time as our political duopoly was selfimmolating, it could help to fatally damage one or both of them. But it seems a bit like clutching at straws for a reason to bother to vote for J/W.

      2. You’re assuming Johnson can’t win, even though he represents the largest slice of the electorate. The only thing holding him back is habit.

    2. ^exactly.

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  10. “While optimism about the wonders of an even hobbled and restricted market and technology, and cheering the huge moral progress in acceptance of more types of people in the polity, is a constitutive part of a huge strain of modern libertarianism, Johnson saying that “life has never been better” without any specifics about how things might need to improve (while alluding to only one surviving problem, discrimination) elided any chance to explain a core part of the libertarian message: that government does more than it ought to, morally or practically, and that that needs to change.”

    Whew! That may be the longest sentence I’ve read in the last ten years.

  11. I have now watched the interview twice. Compared to the first outing this was night and day. He came off humble, bright, and actually coherent this time. Unlike previous Libertarian forays into the presidential field of battle we have a perfect storm. For the first time in history the two major party candidates are completely detested. We need to be the sane voice in the fray. Talking about making sweeping changes to the federal government is a great way to have people dismiss the cause yet again. Tell the truth but don’t shove it down their throats.
    This country is sick and tired and it’s not going to be easy to heal what has been done to it. Right now people are scared and the last thing you want to do is hit them with the same thing Trump did. Hillary and Trump feed off fear. We need to encourage and let people know they are more like us by not shouting out the differences. They will come to know us better if we talk to them from an angle they can understand.

    1. +1.
      orders of magnitude better this time than round 1.
      still work to do in getting the message across, but the trend is encouraging.

  12. Listen, nobody is going to question Brian Doherty’s passion or ideological purity, given that he’s spent his entire adult life working in pursuit of Cato and Libertarian ideals. Good for you, it’s a noble cause. The platform is solid and has great end states fully developed.

    In the meantime, we have two governors with solid track records and a centrist/pragmatic approach who are actively trying to sell a “generally mainstream liberaltarian” ticket to the american people, many of whom have little to no understanding of what Libertarianism is.

    We’re never going to have the first Libertarian President show up with the Doherty-Pure platform. Such a creature couldn’t hold a Senate or Governor seat, and certainly couldn’t pass the American electorate in the next 3-5 cycles.

    What we COULD have, however, would be a ticket of decent human beings with some executive experience who are willing to be flexible and adjust the message to be an iterative improvement of the status quo. That will set the groundwork for more libertarian ideas in further iterations of the executive, and hopefully legislative and judicial branches.

    With all its truth and honesty and purity, this article is, at the end of the day as much a pissing in the wind as my own dumb layperson’s opinion on anything. Keep up the good fight, and sorry we won’t see the revolution you dream of in our lifetime.

    -A 20 year veteran of LP voting, loud opinions, and trying to help people understand what the LP stands for.

    1. They can’t win, can’t stop a worse candidate from being elected, and they’re not advocating libertarianism. Why should a libertarian bother voting for them?

      1. This is my problem too. I really yearn to vote libertarian this year, but alas I cannot bring myself to color in a circle with “Weld” (especially) next to it, given that he has never met a gun control policy he didn’t love.

        Johnson’s problems with religious liberty/forcing people into contracts with which they disagree are also very irritating to me, even though I’m agnostic-at-best.

        So, that leaves me wondering if I want to vote for the worst libertarian ticket ever in order to publicly show my disgust with the worst democratic and worst republican tickets in modern times, but my general allegiance to libertarian and constitutional ideals?

        I’m really scared that if Johnson/Weld get an unprecedented percent of the vote that the oversimplification of “fiscally republican, socially democrat” will become the new standard platform.

        1. And if you start trying to defend libertarianism, then your opponents will be able to reply with a quote from “YOUR OWN CANDIDATES!” and show that you’re extreme even for an libertarian.

        2. Voting for Clinton does not help the cause. Voting for Trump does not help the cause. Not voting does not help the cause.

          One cannot get from point A to point Z without first getting to point B. Making it just that far is progress that should be seized at every opportunity.

          1. 4 months of a perfect storm provides only so much time to enlighten the 2-party beholden.
            Seize the moment as the sensible alternatives to Clintrump and have 4 years of Johnson at the helm to further the cause in a meaningful way.
            4 years of ClinTrump furthers the cause in a rock-throwing at the burning embers way, but only if you prefer rock throwing to actually trying to fix anything. Rock throwing is fun

    2. Maybe it’s just me, but I find a delicious irony in the notion that libertarians detest all loyalty oaths except their own.

  13. Weld outright saying that in his prosecutorial experience, and I don’t really know what he meant exactly, that it’s “far from victimless”and that the public’s the loser and we “can’t see the crime being committed when it happens.”

    Weld was making an analogy to public corruption cases that he prosecuted. He said that those corruption cases were also called victimless crimes, but they were far from victimless because the public was the loser and we can’t see the crime being committed when it happens.

  14. Thanks for the article. Doherty’s continual praising of Libertarians with faint damns is distressing to many. That he is thought of as a ‘purist’ is surprising to many as well.

    Johnson and Weld are doing what the LP was created for by principals the LIO (http://www.libertarian-international.org ): Help promote libertarian-direction (more federal/local) centrist policies, calm, and discussion on the theme of less government/more freedom, and give a means where people can express concerns and discover libertarian dialogue. CATO was created for libertarian-oriented (democracy) issues.

    A Trump/Clinton administration with a 7% Libertarian vote will be very, very different from one without such a vote. Fans of the non-partisan Libertarian International work for their own ‘Gary Johnson’ teams in every country, and have created a group for libertarian-direction parties worldwide at: http://www.IALP.com As people get familiar and more conversant with Libertarian eco-tools and themes, in due course we will see strict LIO Libertarian, and increasingly strict libertarian-direction, and at least one liberal/libertarian-oriented troika of teams/parties in every country.

    Our current main dialogue is this: A libertarian-interested 7+% national vote everywhere in a world of peaceful sister Floridas of no income tax/localism, and increasingly legal Libertarian eco-homes/-communities will not be a bad thing.

    RE: https://reason.com/blog/2016/08…..am-weld-to

  15. I’ve never looked at voting Libertarian before. But knew I couldn’t vote Hillary, so Trump was my only other option. But he’s just pissing off too many people that he’ll need to be able to work with. He said he could act presidential when the time came. I think that time started at the convention. I now don’t think he’s capable of acting presidential. So what’s my other option? Johnson/Weld. I don’t really care if they are pure Libertarians. I looked up Johnson here – http://www.ontheissues.org/Gary_Johnson.htm – the things he supported while governor are a good match for me, regardless of how pure a Libertarian he is. And while they may not be the most polished speakers, they at least seem somewhat sane, reasonable, and like people who will do the least amount of harm, and maybe even be able to get some good changes made. There’s nobody else running that I can say that about. So in that respect, they pulled me in the Libertarian direction, even if they are not pure Libertarians. I don’t even know what a pure Libertarian is. But what I take away from the way J/W want to do things – reduce Fed govt, move some things back to the state, which are better left there for the local needs (min wage, edu, etc…), and let people make their own personal decisions on things that don’t harm or affect others in bad ways.

    I want the govt less a part of my life, and this election cycle is a good example of why. Hopefully J/W can help move things in that direction.

    1. excellent post, gthomson

  16. Gary Johnson’s position reminds me of libs who call ISIS a “right wing” organization because they’re religious, ain’t down with gays and “oppress women”.

    He’s focusing entirely on superficial overlap between libertarian and socialist / populist causes and ignoring the ideology’s core values. Gay marriages and non interventionism (in a vague sense) is already in with the national mood. A socialist who cries out against wars would empower the government “intervene” elsewhere. Venezuela isn’t fighting in the middle east.

    Ron Paul was uncompromising to a fault, but his dedication to limiting the size of government was unmistakable. He wanted to shut down “Departments” of a lot of things, close military bases, and reduce federal workforce by 10% He voted against foreign aid, expanding hate crime laws and affirmative action. He made a lot of enemies on the left and the right.

    Gary Johnson is like….. the exact opposite. I see a centrist republican who tries to have it both ways. You’re down with SSM, but you (apparently) still think prostitution is icky, even though they’re both acts between consenting adults….. OK. That’s understandable for moderate, but not libertarian.

    Ron Paul wanted to END medicare at one point. Gary Johnson will probably insist that “we can make it work with the free market”. Reprieved!

    1. I think they are trying hard to be a Trojan horse. Let’s get in and then we can abolish a bunch of BS. And while the pundits and media start freaking out, in 4 years, we’ll be re-elected in a landslide because some of these issues (like BLM) instantly get better when LESS government is involved. Pre-election, every time you hear “Libertarians believe …” it is a pejorative. They are not wanting to hear our philosophy – they are handing him rope to see if he hangs himself. To that extent, this Town Hall was great. (No heroin overdose question.) And while I would have liked a better answer to the prostitution question, the fact that they went a little into political correctness was smart. They still gave it a wink with Nevada’s laws, agreement with LP platform, and suggesting that the victims were the ones afoul of the law, not the partakers of the act. For every one of us shaking a fist at the screen yelling, “Come on!” there were probably 1,000 watchers forming their first thoughts on it.

      1. I read in a book once (and thus it must be so) that “Americans vote based on candidate attributes (personality, image, authenticity, vibe), not issues. Americans would rather have a candidate with genuine common sense as their leader than almost any other attribute.” I think it was something like a 75/25 split between the candidate’s persona and the candidate’s stance on issues.

  17. For every Libertarian screaming at our screens, there were 1,000 voters who saw two adults compared to the other children. It was a conversation, without screaming, without condescension, without pretense. I didn’t agree with many of their answers, BUT those answers were still as-good-or-better than any other answers we could get in 2016. I am starting to think of Johnson/Weld as popping the cork on Libertarian champagne: Once the country has a taste, they aren’t going back to the swill that the other two teams are slinging down the bar. If it makes a generation Liberty Curious, then I might not even have to move to Singapore.

  18. I sympathize with the approach that they are taking. I know it’s easier said than done. This is why I miss Harry Browne.

  19. Would someone delete this article? This is not three fighting kids on a playground we’re fighting the biggest most powerful most wealthy people in the world, we can’t have people writing this crap, just hurting ourselves. SO disappointing

  20. Say what you will about the purity of the platform but at the end of the day, we’re a bunch of mostly old white men splitting hairs on the platform for the last 20, 30, 45 years. Yes our statist, self-service, too-large government sucks. Yes, our personal freedoms have been diluted. But not a one of you has addressed the crux of the political issue: How do we get there from here? And my point stands: it may not be Johnson-Weld, but from a credentialism and polish standpoint, they’re our best hope yet. To get to a plurality you must first have a recognizable majority.

    1. “recognizable minority,” rather. Sorry, no coffee.

      1. How do we get there from here? I have to go with “Not look or sound like assholes” as step one. Johnson-Weld pushes in that direction, but the “movement” (if there is such a thing) needs an influx of rank-and-file non-assholes as a counterweight to the mostly old white men who have been spanking their monkeys to Rand and the Austrian School for decades. If Johnson-Weld can’t blow through 15 percent with two of the most odious candidates for political office in recent memory, hey, it just ain’t happenin’.

        1. The millenials are coming. TeAm red millenials are very libertarian and have always been. We played in the red sandbox as it was the only option to legitimacy but the sand is now orange. Johnson is beAting trump in this demogrAphic–and these aren’t former team blue kids (they are going for Jill). Trump being nominated is the best chance to move this party forward. The SJWs are also pissing off a lot of young White males to this direction too so there will be some younger ones arriving Shortly. Every late 20s republican friend I hAve has moved here at least for now.

  21. A disappointment in Libertarian terms? The Town Hall discussion had zero impact on the political landscape or the national races currently underway. Reasonable discourse quickly devolved into ideological hairsplitting, pedantry, and general boorishness.

    Isn’t that the gold standard for the LP? 🙂

  22. The one thing that bugged me was the black lives matter comments. I think there is a middle ground that doesnt piss off either side. Instead he took one side with a vague response that pissed off a lot of potential no Trump Republicans.

  23. If i could bitchslap the author right now i would. I’m pretty sure everyone here wouldn’t need to ask me why or decide it was a bad idea. I’m not even going to mention why i would do this as it is more effective to leave it in silence while they contemplate what they are doing here.

  24. I don’t think we can shift this country immediately over to Libertarianism, unless by small degrees at a time. They are far more Libertarianish than any other office holders in history, so that is movement in the right direction, even if they are far from a core Libertarian.

  25. As a lifelong libertarian, a regular Reason reader, and a proud supporter of the Johnson-Weld campaign, I immediately rolled my eyes at this article. It appears Mr. Doherty is acting as another purist who would kick out the baby with the bathwater just because the candidates didn’t say everything he wanted to hear, exactly how he wanted to hear it.

    This, over just about any other reason (no pun intended), is why libertarians have struggled to become a successful party: the rejection of our own, by our own, simply because they aren’t 100% dogmatic in their approach or beliefs. You can’t build a party, much less a revolution that way.

    So what if the candidates didn’t speak to the purists of the party? They spoke to the general audience by which their message was going to be heard. CNN isn’t ReasonTV or some fringe YouTube channel. Give these guys a break and perhaps approach the article with something like: “here are my pointers on how they could have done even better!”

  26. There is nothing libertarian about William Weld, not a goddamned thing.

  27. Bill Weld, or how not to choose a running mate.

  28. There is no path forward at the federal level without first converting millions of citizens to libertarian philosophy. And I would rather spend my little time on earth doing something more rewarding. As such all we can do is take a page from John Galt and stop enabling them.

  29. It’s very simple, Trump seems to be an idiot in public. People say he acts normal in person . He had my vote but not sure anymore. Hillary is so crooked even the Democratic Party agrees she is but will still vote for her even knowing she lies . I watched the town hall last night(most of it) I did not agree with some of what was said but that being said . They acted like adults so I am giving them a closer look. I have always felt like its a wasted vote but I think the two other party’s have left this universe and are out in la la land so it might be time.

  30. I have yet to find a political party or it’s representative that meshes perfectly with my positions. The same can be said of friends and girlfriends, for that matter. The goal for me has been to maximize the compatibilities while (attempting) keeping an open mind about resolving the differences.

    After over 30 years of voting, I find Johnson/Weld to be the closest fit to date. They are certainly more congruent to libertarian sensibilities than any *viable* presidential ticket in my memory.

    To label their performance as a, “disappointment” because it failed to meet criteria for the ideal libertarian position is, in my view, overly harsh and detracts from the momentum the candidates are building.

    I’d be sleeping on the couch most nights if I described my “less than ideal” (aka: real-life) spouse as a disappointment.

    And deservedly so…

  31. I’ll come back to the party when it comes back to its senses. Even after the Barr fiasco, they never learn. Calling Clinton a wonderful public servant? I wish Johnson would have just passed out from the weed before anyone heard him speak. I won’t be surprised at all if they decide to add him to the debates, regardless of whether he makes it to 15%, just to prop up Hillary, while simultaneously torpedoing the LP for decades to come.

  32. weld said, weld commented, weld clarified – I have a feeling I’m glad I didn’t watch if the guy that supported gun control and eminent domain was doing most of the talking on actual policy. I’ll give $10 to any average lay person who can tell me a single thing Pence has said on behalf of the Trump campaign or that Kaine has said on behalf of Hillary.
    Maybe if Johnson would grow a pair, we could actually have a viable alternative candidate.

  33. They might get fewer votes than if they had just run as libertarians. At least then libertarians and small government conservatives could register a protest vote.

    Backing this card wouldn’t be a protest vote—that would take ideological consistency and a message libertarians actually believe in.

  34. i get Paid Over ?80 per hour working from home with 2 kids at house. I never thought I would be able to do it but my best friend earns over ?9185 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    Heres what I’ve been doing,……… http://www.CareerPlus90.com

  35. Christ, even in an election with trump and clinton we can’t get a decent, coherent nominee out there.

  36. Good article, I think Brian nailed the missed opportunities and misstatements of libertarian goals and policies. I’m not going to condemn a strategy of libertarian-lite when it’s clearly geared toward getting a foothold on the ladder, rather than moving a few listeners a few inches closer to acceptance. But on the other hand, I’m not motivated to “pay” for it unless I first see results. So if this is your tack, get in the debates, THEN I’ll get out my checkbook. Otherwise I’ll just keep explaining to the curious that these guys aren’t the real deal.

  37. They often seemed to go out of their way to just seem like a centrist, independent mixture of what someone might see as good aspects of both other parties.

    Almost as if they are running to win, against 2 extreme and unlikable candidates.

  38. I’m not sure they succeeded in seeming very Libertarian, or selling the Party’s position as a distinct outlook on politics and government that someone could grasp and understand.

    Browne and Badnarik did that pretty well, and got 0.4% of the vote.

  39. Well they seemed disappointing for a very simple reason, they are not Libertarian. Having said that I am a Libertarian and I will vote for Johnson and Weld because there is no choice. On one hand you have a man running on the Republican ticket that has a screw loose and on the other hand a woman running on the Democrat ticket that has a major trust issue, which one do you want to have their finger on the nuke button?

    I’ve been a Libertarian since ’92 and ever since then I have been tell people please stop voting for the lesser of the two evils because no matter which one wins, you still wind up with evil. But this time I am asking people to please vote for the lesser of the three evils. Just hold your nose and vote for Johnson and Weld and don’t refer to them as Libertarian.

    They are far from perfect but far better than what we have now and better than the other two that are on the ticket.

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