Gary Johnson

Johnson/Weld Campaign Manager Ron Nielson Talks Campaign Strategy, Activist Complaints

Campaign aiming for 15 percent in national polls while also targeting specific states; ready to begin rallying; and asking patience from would-be volunteers.

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"The immediate goal is still to get 15 percent [in the polls] and then beyond," says Ron Nielson, campaign manager for the Gary Johnson/William Weld Libertarian Party presidential campaign, in a telephone interview yesterday (before the CNN Town Hall) about current campaign strategy and tactics. (The 15 percent in five national polls is key to getting in the presidential debates, which Johnson has always said is key to success.)

The key to that is going to continue to be what it has been in the two months since the team won the L.P. nomination: earned media, in the campaigners' parlance, which means: getting on TV and in the papers and news sites.

Ron Nielson Facebook

However, the campaign is also beginning to roll out rallies as a tactic, started with one in Reno on Friday and then Salt Lake City on Saturday, with others planned soon in other targeted states. "The rallies will involve coalitions of groups, getting support from other organizations interested in helping," he says. "That is very important to us."

Nielson says they are getting in more polls, which he says is "a direct result of Gary showing well in the polls" he's already in. "Anyone who wants to have a scientific poll really needs to include Johnson and Weld," he says, noting their occasional 10 percents and above in polls they are included in.

The campaign will continue to use social networking as a prime communication strategy to supporters and likely supporters, though he says they are going to be rolling out a national radio buy as well. (Previous internet campaign videos, Nielson says, have all spread organically, not through paid placement.) The campaign now has 42 paid staff, Nielson says, around 35 fulltime volunteers "and probably hundreds if not thousands" of part-time volunteers.

Most of them are concentrated in running ground game out of state offices. In an interview earlier this week with Deseret News, Nielson listed the states where they think they can have the most impact as:

On the Democratic side, that means Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, with Oregon, Minnesota and Iowa as more possibilities. On the Republican side, it's Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and both Dakotas.

While some have wondered how a "concentrate on certain winnable states" strategy matches with the immediate-term need for 15 percent in polls nationally, Nielson says they are pursuing both goals simultaneously.

I ran a couple of observations/theories I or people in my communications network had about how the candidates themselves seem to be strategizing based on their own words and actions: that they are either deliberately trying to appeal to disaffected Democrats far more than Republicans, and/or that they mostly want to just sell themselves as non-ideological decent experienced successful politicians without the overwhelming personal negatives of Clinton and Trump.

Nielson didn't agree with either idea, believing that his candidates are in different ways trying to "pull from Clinton supporters, and in other parts trying to pull from Trump, but the truth is there is a big section of independents, a lot of voters forming allegiances to neither Clinton nor Trump" who he thinks his guys can capture.

As to the second point, while he mentions "we had a little fun with the slogan 'Make America Sane Again,'" he thinks it's less about the flaws of their competitors as "pushing the message that these two governors were both successful, developed great leadership skills, were respected by the people who elected them and liked" and those qualities might "provide some security to voters."

On the fundraising tip, although William Weld said last night on CNN's Libertarian Town Hall that he was having million-dollar days working the phones for the campaign, Nielson only spoke proudly of a $360,000 haul over just the two days prior to our conversation. A "money comet" promotion they did last month pulled in around a quarter million.

I asked Nielson about a rather wide variety of complaints I'd heard directly from activists and which can be found all over Reddit about disappointment over a lack of a working store for merch on the website and lack of response to those who signed up on the site as volunteers, among other complaints.

"We launched a new store tonight," Nielson says, hoping any problems with ability to obtain campaign swag will fade moving forward.

"As far as people contacting the campaign to volunteer, that is wonderful and we thank them for doing it," Nielson says. "But I ask that they be patient. We weren't expecting quite the magnitude of support, it's been kind of overwhelming and we have been having a tough time responding to every person. But we don't want people to go away, and we hope they keep coming and we will find places and things for everyone to do." He says they and volunteers have been and will continue to organize phone banks to promote Johnson/Weld.

Nielson does anticipate as fundraising proceeds that there will be some "paid media, which will be different for the Libertarian Party, and we'll see how that affects the support base. When doing advertising, we will stand by our opinion that a majority of Americans support the same ideological orientation of Team Gov."

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  1. I thought “complaints from activists” meant such things as ignoring the Bill of Rights and the LP platform.

    1. He doesn’t want to talk about THOSE boring, inconvenient details.

      1. I’m making over $16k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,… Copy This Link inYour Browser…. http://www.Trends88.Com

    2. thought “complaints from activists” meant such things as ignoring the Bill of Rights and the LP platform.

      I have no doubt that you did. But which activists, the pro-liberty ones? The hand-on activists working in their communities all across America … with $40,000-50,000 in local elected office … forming and leading issue-based movements?
      .
      Or the anti-gummint ones who cause the libertarian brand to be rejected by 91% of libertarians (Cato) … the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, never achieving anything at all?

      The difference matters this time.

      1. the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, never achieving anything at all?

        Unlike the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, having once placed last in the race for local dog catcher.

        Johnson would be wise to scoop up the wisdom from the latter. CATO! RON PAUL! 91%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

        1. More of Pat(PM)s raging hatred and pathetic lies.

          the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, never achieving anything at all?

          Unlike the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, having once placed last in the race for local dog catcher.

          That was a statewide race for Washington Insurance Commissioner. I did finish last (gasp). It was a united party effort to gain Major Party status, which we achieved!

          We contested every statewide race for the first time, and each of us pledged at least two weekends campaigning at events statewide, also a first.

          Prior to that, I had been the first PAID Director of a State Party, working with county chairs from my experience as a corporate trainer. I’d been elected in two different states and launched a winning tax revolt.

          Repeat:the ones who piss and moan in an online ivory tower, never achieving anything at all?

          What have you done except spew hatred and personal attacks?
          (puke)

          (my tone and attitude in defense of repeated aggression by a thug and liar)

          1. Very well done Michael! Thank you for the great work.

            1. Why are you no longer a Democrat? How much was fiscal issues?.. How much personal issues?
              Are you unique, or do you have ideas how we can pull more of them in?

              1. No specific issues to speak of.

                But personal experience led me to look for answers.

                For instance, numerous policies that Democrats pushed through were supposed to help the middle class. Nonetheless, the cost of MY education and healthcare kept going HIGHER.

                I always thought the R’s always gave money to the rich donors, and they did. I thought the D’s wouldn’t do such things. But of course the last 8 years proved me wrong.

                Then I learned from Milton Friedman’s lectures from 4 DECADES ago!

                It is one of the hardest questions to answer. The “How”. How do we get more people to understand?

                I don’t have an answer to that, but I think we could start with 1 basic principle: Do not confuse ‘Intent’ with ‘Result’; and some basic facts.

                Facts:
                1. Government involvement has pushed up the cost of education and healthcare
                2. Government involvement in wage control has decisively discriminated against racial minorities and economically disadvantaged
                3. The bigger the government, the more corruptions

                For me, it was difficult to relate “Liberty” and “Freedom” to my day to day living.

                1. Yeah, Friedman may have been the very best communicator we’ve ever had. Going all the way back to his 1980 (or so) PBS series, “Free to Choose.” My faves are dozens of short-medium length videos on Youtube. He seemed to enjoy mixing with the people instead of an ivory tower. In my mind, mixing with the people is the best way to learn. In most of his videos he’s taking questions, which is also a learning experience. What do people care about, and why?

                  Re your number 2. (not THAT number two!) Very explicitly, the single largest victims of wage controls and the like are …. young black males. Within the Dem coalition, blacks get screwed on everything, simply because they’re at the end of the line.. Even inner-city schools which are captive to the teachers unions, which KEEPS them on the plantation.

                  Thanks for the thoughtful response. As an ex-Democrat you may appreciate one of my own slogans. We’ve had two New Deal Presidents. The first one put US citizens into concentration camps and seized their property, all with no trials and not even charges. (Japanese-Americans if you didn’t know)

                  The second one KILLED citizens, also with no charges or trials. So much for compassion,eh?

    3. Not merely ignoring but contradicting!

  2. I wonder if this guy maybe fitted Johnson and Weld with shock collars and zaps them when they get distracted during the daily strategery briefing or if they start to agree on something.

  3. OT: Gross hypocrisy.

    How’d that furener get here?

    Holy mother of fucking hypocrisy. How do you get here from never questioning anyone’s immigration status, ever?

    1. The Left has as many Truther/Birther Types as the Right.

    2. I love the first line of the article.

      Newly published nude photographs of Melania Trump, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have raised questions about the story of her immigration to the United States…

      Ok, so seeing her nude made you immediately think of her immigration status. All rightie then.

  4. The campaign will continue to use social networking as a prime communication strategy…

    Yes! Let’s get Johnson hitting his enemies with some Trump-style twitters out there on the Instagram everyone is Facebooking to each other these days.

    Gov. Gary Johnson
    ?@GovGaryJohnson
    Slippery Hillary and Crazy Trump are two sides of the same sleazy coin. Sad! Time to look for the edge, America. #SlipperyHillary #CrazyTrump #JohnsonInYourFace

    1. Being a total dumbfuck like Trump doesn’t seem very bright.

  5. Maybe GayJay’s destiny is to be the John Anderson of 2016. Running unsuccessfully as an independent Republican and siphoning off votes from a disliked Democrat.

    1. I’ve said a few times that it could be deliberate. I mean, I hope for his sake that it is deliberate. Piss off Republicans so they waddle back to Trump, try to attract Democrats as a centrist progressive without the corruption and other baggage, and try to hit 15% in polls.

      1. If Trump wins a close election maybe he’ll have GayJay to thank..with an appointment as Ambassador to Libya!

        1. Except it has been demonstrated numerous times this election cycle that Gary is siphoning more votes from Hildebeast than Trump. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just released their latest poll of Georgia (and, yes, I realize all polls are bullshit, but we need some kind of metric). Clinton is actually beating Trump by 4 points (yes, Georgia is turning blue) in head to head, but in a four-way race, Clinton is only leading by 3 points. Gary is pulling 11% in 4-way, with Jill a distant last with 2%.

  6. This is where it’s so frustrating that you need some big bucks fast to buy a campaign team that can compete with the Dems and the Repubs when you simply don’t have the grassroots network and the funding they have – but who the hell’s going to cough up the quid unless there’s a pro quo involved somewhere? How you gonna buy off all the civic and social and community-involved thought leaders by promising them nothing in return for their get-out-the-vote support? You gotta pay those people, and there’s a lot of them.

  7. “I ran a couple of observations/theories I or people in my communications network had about how the candidates themselves seem to be strategizing based on their own words and actions: that they are either deliberately trying to appeal to disaffected Democrats far more than Republicans…

    Or perhaps some Johnsons leave us limp …

  8. Independents would surely be their prime audience, and Rs and Ds would be somewhat secondary I imagine.

  9. The libertarian purity drones are PISSED that Johnson/Weld is polling so well.
    Their time is ending, and with it their destruction of libertarianism.

    1. Yes, Gary is well on his way to employing the Hihn strategy of losing in last place with under 1% of the vote. 91%! CATO! RON PAUL!

      1. The libertarian purity drones are PISSED that Johnson/Weld is polling so well.

        Yes, Gary is well on his way to employing the Hihn strategy of losing in last place with under 1% of the vote

        The wackiest ones deny the polling entirely.

        j 91%! CATO! Yes, the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians, per a survey commissioned by Cato and conducted by a top pollster, Zogby. Thanks for reminding everyone.

    2. They’re not polling well given the circumstances. The suckitude of both major party candidates is DOMINATING the national discourse this time around, and those pathetic fucks can’t even break 12%.

      1. (laughing) When less than 40% of the voters have heard of them yet.
        YOUR version would poll less than 1% — and is rejected by 91% of libertarians (Cato/Zogby survey)

  10. However, the campaign is also beginning to roll out rallies as a tactic, started with one in Reno on Friday and then Salt Lake City on Saturday

    Lol. Zodspeed, Gary. Does this tool have any sense of optics at all? You might want to give them a few days at least to forget the fact that you just got done trashing 60% of the state’s population. “Hello Salt Lake City! And holy fuck are those Mormons a bunch of bigots, amirite?”

    1. The libertarian purity drones are PISSED that Johnson/Weld is polling so well.

      Yes, Gary is well on his way to employing the Hihn strategy of losing in last place with under 1% of the vote

      The total wackjobs deny the poling entirely. Like Birhers and Obama
      As even worse denial:

      91%! CATO!

      Yes, Cato commissioned a Brand Preference survey from a top pollster, Zogby. It found that 59% of Americans would describe themselves as libertarian (fiscally conservative and socially liberal) … but 91% of THEM rejected the libertarian brand.

      And ridiculing me for mentioning a fact will somehow change reality!!!l

    2. Pat (PM) again reveals hatred-spewing tribalism., here shamelessly distorting the facts on Gary Johnson and Utah Mormons. Gary talked about balance between religious liberty and non-discrimination, in last year’s Utah Compromise in his Deseret News op-ed.

      Gary praises LDS leadership for working with the LGBT community on a deal that gave both sides a victory (the wedding cake shamtroversy). To me, the ultra-conservative Mormon Church blew away the self-righteous Christian Taliban with … the tolerance taught by Christ (gasp)

      This is how libertarians govern, but you never hear about us in the libertarian establishment.

      Gary notes, correctly, that “religious freedom” here is more anti-homosexual than pro-religion. No shit. Ron Paul and his “rogue judges” on marriage equality. The deal is that LGBT was added to Utah’s non-discrimination on housing and employment — identical with blacks and no more, plus every County Clerk is ordered to issue wedding licenses equally. Religious organizations got stronger protection for free speech and association.

      Tribal ideologues (red/blue/lib) will likely piss and moan, but this is a voluntary agreement between a dominant church and the LGBT, so they can suck eggs. Gary even credited it to earlier faith-based bigotry against Mormons. Perfect.

  11. Perhaps Libertarians will have the chance to fall flat on their faces after they get elected. Until then, they can watch from the peanut gallery as HRC or DJT fall flat on their faces after one of them (most likely the dumb bitch) gets elected. But its all a sideshow. We’re screwed.

  12. Gay Jay and the libertistas:

    We’re number three
    WE’Re Number Three
    WE’RE NUMBER THREE!!

    1. Ron Paul and the Paulista Cult.
      We’re number ten
      WE’RE Number Ten
      WE’RE NUMBER TEN!!!

  13. Why don’t you just ask for Ran Paul supporters to help out setting up the volunteer base?

    Why not hiring the IT folks from the Cruz campaign?

    My sense is that the technology folks and speech writers from the Democratic side are superior, but I doubt they will work for Johnson/Weld

    1. Few Rand Paul supporters would support what Johnson/Weld are saying on the campaign trail.

      1. I was not aware of that. Please elaborate.

        1. I wasn’t a huge Rand fan, but I consider him far more libertarian than these two Republicrats.

      2. Few Rand Paul supporters would support what Johnson/Weld are saying on the campaign trail.

        True, Johnson/Weld aren’t calling for nationwide tent revivals, sucking up to the Christian Taiban. They don’t lie about the Constitution. And Rand ran perhaps the dumbest fucking Presidential campaign in the past 100 years.

        He goes to Berkeley to pitch civil liberties and non-intervention. Good so far. Then he fucks it all up entirely, calling for nationwide religious tent revivals to protest marriage equality!

        Seriously, does anyone with an IQ above 50 believe that civil libertarians would support the Christian Taliban and shit on the Bill of Rights? (laughing)

        But we should be grateful to Rand, for proving that his dad’s weird coalition of Bible thumpers, bigots, anti-constitutionalists and conspiracy nuts CANNOT be expanded. For anyone who needed such proof.

    2. Why don’t you just ask for Ran Paul supporters to help out setting up the volunteer base?Bigots, extreme socons, anti-constitutionalists and conspiracy freaks have nothing to offer.,

      Why not hiring the IT folks from the Cruz campaign?> Same as above.

      My sense is that the technology folks and speech writers from the Democratic side are superior, but I doubt they will work for Johnson/Weld

      None of what you listed would. And your own 2% isn’t worth caring about.

  14. Again, please let Gary Johnson do a series of well-written, well-staged Major Policy Speeches. Make him look Presidential. Get him more coherent talking points and stump speech material instead of the confusing mess he is using now – “crony capitalism is alive and well” etc. Let surrogates, including Weld, handle more of the tv interviews. Present Johnson as a figurehead of a broader movement.

    1. How should he best address the 59% of voters who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal?

      He has no policies to work with, not a one. Not his fault, The libertarian establishment focuses on slogans and soundbites — tax cuts for only the rich (donors) and anti-gummint ranting for the goobers,

      1. Johnson could start with a speech to explain the difference between constitutional limited government and “anti-gummint ranting”, the difference between equal opportunity under rule of law and government picking winners and losers.

        1. Nobody gives a shit, This is an election not a seminar in political theory.
          Those issues are best dealt with … as issues … and policy solutions describing how the policy would work better, for more people, and why.

          1. Well, that is why I called for “Major Policy Speeches” in my original comment.

  15. From CNN: Compared to CNN’s first Libertarian Party Town Hall (6/22/16), last night’s event was way up by +74% (1.612m vs. 929k) in total viewers and increased +101% (642k vs. 320k) among adults 25-54.

    That might encourage other networks to increase their coverage too. Ratings sell candidates to networks

    1. Worked for Trump. Thanks for the data,

  16. (The 15 percent in five national polls is key to getting in the presidential debates, which Johnson has always said is key to success.)

    And when they get in the first debate, are they going to continue spewing the center-left shit they’ve been dishing so far, or are they actually going to be libertarian? If the former, I don’t see the point. If the latter, then either the public will react badly and they get kicked out of the rest of the debates; or the public reacts well, which means they should have been libertarian from the getgo.

    1. aftertouch,

      It will be a slow process to entice people to think Liberty.

      One thing that is worth pointing out is that the D and R candidates are the results of their parties. The party’s platforms gave them their candidates. Yes, we can argue that there were a lot of ‘leaning’ by high-ups in the parties, but ultimately, they won the vote counts.

      There are a lot of dissatisfactions, and people are searching for answers. It will take a lot of time and effort to explain why the R and D platforms give us terrible societal outcomes over time, hardly something you can do in an one-hour “town hall”.

      1. It will take a lot of time and effort to explain why the R and D platforms give us terrible societal outcomes over time,

        It would also be a massive waste of time. Anyone who ever took Sales Training learns that the very first day.

    2. spewing the center-left shit they’ve been dishing so far,

      (smirk) Libertarians have been socially liberal for nearly 50 years. One more extreme socon who doesn’t know what Libertarianism is.

      are they actually going to be libertarian

      You’ve just shown you have no clue what libertarianism is. Give it up. They ain’t gonna promote your theocratic agenda. Or chase your 2% of the electorate.
      59% of the voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. (Cato/Zogby) Deal with it.

  17. Total Hihn THREAD FUCK!

    Wow TGIF

    1. One more act of aggression by a thug (yawn)
      Shout down all dissent, like Hitler’s brownshirts.

  18. Hudson . although Henry `s article is flabbergasting, last thursday I bought a brand new Buick after having earned $7028 recently an would you believe ten-grand this past-munth . it’s actualy the most-comfortable job I have ever had . I began this 4 months ago and practically straight away started making a nice at least $83.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

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