As Donald Trump Falls, Will Gary Johnson Rise?
Almost certainly, especially now that he's honed his foreign policy chops.
Above: Gary Johnson's new video on foreign policy.
What is Aleppo! I'm having an Aleppo moment! #Mowmen! Haw haw, we all get it: Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president who's averaging around 7 percent in national polls, is a joke, especially when it comes to foreign policy, right? He couldn't even name the dictator of North Korea or any foreign leader! He's a Libertarian, and those guys have nothing to say about American power abroad, other than to withdraw into an insane isolationist position, amirite.
Well, no. As Anthony Fisher has noted, Johnson laid out a sane, coherent, and skeptical foreign policy last week at the University of Chicago. Alone among candidates who are on the ballot in all 50 states, he has the temerity to point out that America's 21st-century wars haven't gone so well, either for us or the people we're liberating, droning, or otherwise bombing the shit out of.
With Donald Trump tanking due to a seemingly endless procession of assault revelations, Johnson stands to benefit greatly. Not only has he addressed missteps on foreign policy, he's also talking up the Wikileaks emails that show Hillary Clinton to be a two-faced pol at best, a brazen B.S. artist at worst. From a new Daily Beast column that's based on my recent interview with Johnson:
"Hypocrisy is the one unforgivable thing—saying one thing and doing another," Johnson tells me, pointing toward both Trump and Clinton as prime examples. "I've always lived by the credo that if you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. You acknowledge mistakes and there's no quicker way to fix them by acknowledging them."…
"Show me an America with less debt, greater economic strength, and robust trade relationships across the globe, and I will show you a safer, more secure, America," said Johnson in his [University of Chicago foreign policy] speech. "Terrorism and the threat from extremists are real. But our approach to those threats must be real as well. The notion that we will someday celebrate V-I Day, Victory over ISIS, is both naive and misleading. It won't happen. What must, and I believe, will, happen is that we focus our resources on isolating the extremists, containing them, and starving them of the funds and support they must have to mount large-scale attacks. Tens of thousands of boots on the ground won't do it. Dropping bombs on the other side of the globe won't do it. And pretending that some military-style Global War on Terror will bring about a clear victory is not realistic."
Whether such an approach allows Johnson to pull Republican voters disgusted by Donald Trump's generally unhinged behavior on the one hand and ongoing revelations about Hillary Clinton's policy hypocrisy on the other is an open question. But there's little question that the Libertarian has followed his own counsel, owned his mistakes, and put forth a set of proposals worth taking seriously.
Listen to my interview with Gary Johnson by clicking below.