Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson's 27% Showing in Another Military Poll Is a Warning Shot to Smug Interventionists

While civilian political elites police imperial manners, the boots on the ground are being mugged into libertarianism.

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But what is A-LEPP-oh? ||| Military Times
Military Times

Last week Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families released another presidential poll among active-duty personnel, conducted Oct. 12-14. Donald Trump was the first choice among the nearly 2,500 respondents, at 41 percent (in the ballpark of his 39 percent or so nationwide), followed by Gary Johnson at 27 percent, Hillary Clinton at 21 percent, and Jill Stein at 2 percent.

The results show some slippage for Johnson from a month ago, when the same survey had the race 38-37-16-1, placing the Libertarian in a virtual tie with the Republican. But the fact that a third-party candidate with no particular foreign policy expertise is outpolling the likely next president among active military while exceeding his national averages by more than 400 percent should give Washington's default interventionists pause.

Instead, judging by this condescending Christian Science Monitor write-up (subhed: "A new poll shows Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson beating Hillary Clinton by 7 points among active military personnel, despite his proposals to cut military spending and a lack of foreign policy knowledge"), the only people that the political class deem ready for a re-think are the troops themselves. Don't these rubes understand that Johnson lacks the necessary sophistication?

[I]n an increasingly unconventional and divisive election with historically unlikeable major party candidates, some have chosen to shift from their partisan ties and jump to the other side of the aisle or put their vote toward a third party candidate.

But when that third party candidate has revealed a lack of knowledge of foreign policy, a surge in support for him becomes more difficult to expound.

"It's a little hard to explain, actually," Matthew Dallek, a professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, tells The Christian Science Monitor.

"There's no kind of rational basis."

Nothing "rational" about the tip of the U.S. spear preferring a commander in chief who is less eager to go to war? Hard to explain the military polling success of a candidate who wants clearly defined missions, "peace through strength," and a reorientation toward actual defense? Methinks some professors and journalists should get out more.

Military support for politicians who are less hawkish than the Washington establishment is nothing new. As Brian Doherty pointed out in July, "back in the heart of the 2012 race in late February, Ron Paul was raising twice as much money as President Obama from active military and defense workers, and more than four times as much as the entire rest of the GOP field at the time." Turns out that seeing first-hand how D.C.'s perpetual game of Risk translates in the real world makes one susceptible to radically different ideas about how American power should be projected.

Over the years I have met dozens of young veterans who came to the ideas of libertarianism through the process of becoming skeptical about the War on Terror's overall mission. It is a far more common path, in my anecdotal experience, than, say, the fiction of Ayn Rand. Most were attracted at first by the words and presidential runs of Ron Paul (though you'll hear an occasional Rand Paul or Gary Johnson thrown in, as well as Reason magazine), and all share a searing intensity and intellectual curiosity as they seek to learn more and figure out how they might act on these ideas either in the service or out.

It should be a cause of sober reflection, even alarm, that as of less than a month before a presidential election, a third-party skeptic of intervention who's polling just north of 6 percent nationwide is nonetheless in a virtual tie for the lead among active-duty military officers. Instead, the political class mostly offers up warmed-over snickers about "Aleppo," mixed with digs at the troops' endemic sexism.

We should be clear-eyed about recognizing AleppoMania for what it is: A chance to avoid, not defend, foreign policy "seriousness," while aggressively marginalizing an admittedly flawed candidate who would dare challenge Washington's decades-long addiction to no-fly zones, "smart" war, and historical amnesia.

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  1. Nothing “rational” about the tip of the U.S. spear preferring a commander in chief who is less eager to go to war?

    Maybe it’s the reasons we are getting into conflicts? Maybe people in the military notice that we are getting into meaningless conflicts, more than non-military people notice, and that’s sort of demoralizing to them?

    Whatever it is, it looks like they prefer Trump or Johnson over Hillary by a large margin. They know she’s going to double down on more of the same.

    I’ve seen several articles recently that say that many of the polls, such as WaPo, are oversampling Democrats to skew the polls in favor of Hillary. Not sure that’s true, but with all the other stuff Democrats are being caught doing, like attempted voter fraud, I wouldn’t doubt it. If Trump beats Hillary, there’s going to be some epic pants shitting from the media.

    1. I’ve seen speculation by people I regard as generally rational that Hillary might actually want a major war. The evidence is convincing in “That’s the effect” but very murky in the “why?” camp.

      1. The why is pretty simple: She and Bill would stand to gain financially from it.

        Now, I don’t know how they would, but you can guarantee that if she is agitating for something, she’s going to make money off of it (or the effects of it).

        1. I suspect there is also the attraction of being a “wartime Commander-in-Chief”. It will be far easier to sweep away what little constraints still exist on presidential powers. And I think she even harbors visions of being worshiped by future generations in the way that Lincoln and FDR are now (wrongly IMHO but that’s a different discussion), as the Great Leader Who Saved Our Country.

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          3. “Lincoln and FDR are now (wrongly IMHO but that’s a different discussion), as the Great Leader Who Saved Our Country.”

            That might be it, you know.

            FDR did his damnist to openly provoke Japan into going to war, but now he’s generally regarded as the guy who was just responding to foreign aggression and seen as a great wartime leader…

            Clinton sets up a no-fly zone in Russia.
            Shoots down some Russian planes justifying it as “enforcing” the no-fly zone.
            Russia declares war.
            History writes Russia as the aggressor in the conflict.

        2. She would never do that! She just loves the children like always she’s fought for the children. Didn’t you see her campaign ads? I mean, she would never get into a conflict that gets little children killed! Didn’t you hear her talk about that poor little kid in Syria who was left an orphan by that conflict she helped start?

          1. Toddlers killed by unlocked guns don’t grow up into proper cannon fodder.

        3. Perhaps she just wants to prove that she can be as tough as any man can?

          1. I’d be willing to put her on the front lines of an invasion of Syria so that she can prove it. I want it televised, and please send her buddies John McCain and Lindsey Graham with her.

      2. The fucking elitist assholes who wanted the wars in the last 40 years don’t have to serve. Why not send others to their death. The crappy VA will take care of them.

      3. I’ve seen speculation by people I regard as generally rational that Hillary might actually want a major war. The evidence is convincing in “That’s the effect” but very murky in the “why?” camp.

        Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell

        She wants to achieve regime change in Russia.

        Hillary Clinton’s ambition ? made explicit by her own and her close aides’ statements about Libya in emails at the time ? is to gain her place in history as victorious strategist of “regime change”, using open and covert methods (“smart power”), thus bringing recalcitrant regions under control of the “exceptional, good” nation, the United States.

        1. At least she didn’t call anybody fat or try to kiss a porn star.

      4. “The evidence is convincing in “That’s the effect” but very murky in the “why?” camp.”

        Follow the election donations of military weapons manufacturers and defense contractors. That’ll give you the reason for the “why”. There’s only one industry that would actually benefit from war with Russia, and it’s in bed with the Clintons.

        And regardless of whether or not she actually wants one:

        Declaring that you will shoot down any plane that enters a space where Russia regularly flies their planes is a declaration of war. Intentional or not, her policy is “let’s go to war with the Russkies.”

        If she wins, the history books of the future will look interesting. There’ll be an over 20 year “pause” to the Cold War before it suddenly becomes inexplicably Hot.

        1. *I say “inexplicably” because future historians will undoubtedly not point out the obvious “the US elected a crazy warmonger” reason for the Cold War escalation.

    2. “I’ve seen several articles recently that say that many of the polls, such as WaPo, are oversampling Democrats to skew the polls in favor of Hillary.”

      It’s not impossible, but this is literally the exact same thing Republicans said in 2012, and the polls ended up underestimating Obama’s margin of victory. Party affiliation/identification isn’t static and there’s not always an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. And the degree to which they’d have to be overestimating Democratic identification relative to Republicans in order for Trump to be close, let alone win, is very large. Trump needs a last-minute game changer or it’s very likely he’s going down by a good-sized margin.

      1. I’m reasonably sure that she could drown a kitten on live tv and my prog friends would still vote for her.

        1. This is why I hate lefties more than righties. On occasion you’ll see righties acting on principle and conscious (IE see all of the anti trump Republicans – both politicians and “citizens”)
          By contrast, you can’t find one Dem pol who isn’t backing hillary.

        2. I Hillary Clinton drowned a kitten live on TV, my prog friends would see it as conclusive proof that Donald Trump is a racist.

        3. It would have to be a white kitten in a cop outfit. I can hear the cheering now…

    3. To the military people on here, can you address my guess that it’s the rules of engagement that is the main reason for your “disillusion”?

      1. No.

        Short of turning the ME into a parking lot, the “war” on terror is unwinnable. Hell, it’s even worse than that. They (civilian leadership) can’t even define what winning is. So it’s deployment after deployment with no path to victory and no reduction in the “threat”. One could even argue the “threat” is worse now than it was prior to invading.

        16 fucking years of war… I think if we just stay the course and hang in there for another 30 years or so, we’ll have em’.

        Any idiot who has been to Squadron Officer’s School could tell you that you cannot win a war without definable, achievable objectives. Yet these moron politicians sit around and wonder why what they are doing isn’t working.

        So to answer your question, no, it’s not ROE. Nobody wants to kill innocent people, which is what the ROE is designed to avoid. Bottom line. If you can’t define a clear, achievable objective (what constitutes victory) and have a thought out exit strategy PRIOR to going in, you have no business waging war.

        1. Thx. Makes sense.

        2. Excellent comment. I would add that the Middle East has resisted all of the U.S. government’s attempts to “fix” it for decades. It’s just not something that any outsider can “fix”. The various peoples who live there have long standing grievances that they can’t let go of. There won’t be any peace there until enough of the people who live there decide they want it more than they want payback for something that happened hundreds of years ago.

        3. 16 fucking years of war… I think if we just stay the course and hang in there for another 30 years or so, we’ll have em’

          Hell, 26 years if you count Desert Shield/Storm and the subsequent no-fly zone enforcement. Just imagine a world where Bin Laden doesn’t have an excuse to plan 9/11 because we got the fuck out there in the spring of 1991.

          1. I date the start to, at the latest, 1953. Granted most of the time has been spent in a sitzkriegesque state.

        4. Any idiot who has been to Squadron Officer’s School could tell you that you cannot win a war without definable, achievable objectives. Yet these moron politicians sit around and wonder why what they are doing isn’t working.

          Part of this is also the current and prior administrations stocking the upper echelons of leadership with butt-sniffers and sycophants who’d run over their own kid with their car rather than tell the civilian leadership they’re full of shit and risk that sweet post-retirement lobbying paycheck.

        5. Unfortunately, the way you win wars on foreign soil is to kill a shitload of civilians. The North couldn’t reliably defeat R.E. Lee on the battlefield, but won the war by burning down Southern cities and terrorizing the civilian population. The Allies won WWII by destroying Axis cities; without that, we’d still be over there fighting the damned Wermacht and hopping around the Pacific islands. You can win defensive wars by defeating the enemy’s military, but offensive wars, like the ones we are conducting in the ME, do not work that way — never have.

          Most interesting part of the poll to me is that officers are more likely to support GJ than the enlisted. I would have thought the opposite to be true due to the age gap. It looks like the education gap the is more significant factor. Who would have thought?

          1. Obviously those officers are not getting a proper education. This is just yet another sign that we have to do something about our failing educational system.

            Seriously though the support among officers is great to see. This poll gives me a shred of hope that there is still hope for our nation.

      2. I’m not current military but I have several of them on my facebook feed and other places I frequent and I have yet to see a single one of them complain that the ROE are too strict. They all get that going in there and acting like a bunch of roided up Chicago cops is counter productive to their mission

      3. Look, this happened before. Military votes for Repeal and Bonus payments was on the front page of the Ludington Daily News Sep 16, 1932, almost exactly 84 years ago. The exact same asset forfeiture Bush used recently, Herb Hoover had used then to destroy the economy so veterans had no jobs. Many wounded POWs had been dosed with morphine in German camps. Beer was a felony enforced by dry killers. You can read it on Google News Archives. It was more about repeal than anyone daring to risk a war with These States.
        The soldiers occupied old Treasury buildings scheduled for demolition. Dry agents used violence to evict them and the “Bonus Riots” materialized with no mention in the press of the dry agents drawing first blood. Sound familiar?

      4. Rules of engagement x Finding out the “real” reason we’re occupying foreign soil x Following orders for an unjust cause.

      5. No, not at all. From the perspective of being an active duty officer and civilian defense worker, I say that the disillusionment goes much deeper than that. 50 years of geopolitical f*ckery in the middle east and elsewhere, culminating in 15 years of trying to export democracy to unwilling recipients, with no clearly articulated strategy for (or even definition of) victory outweighs any frustration in short-term tactical considerations like ROE in any theater.

    4. Most the Marines I know are not-Hillary people as opposed to Trump fans. I think the libertarian view makes a lot of sense because at its core is the “don’t mess with me; I won’t mess with you mentaility” is something everyone can instinctively grasp.

      Also, I think the neocon world view has slipped away as we all realize that there is no end, and there is no win.

  2. “A new poll shows Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson beating Hillary Clinton by 7 points among active military personnel, despite his proposals to cut military spending and a lack of foreign policy knowledge”

    Despite? Wouldn’t military personnel be the ones who would see the waste most clearly?

    1. I don’t know about military waste, but the more I see of government, the less in favor I am of it.

      1. * so it would make sense that a similar pattern could hold true for a different segment of government as well.

      2. Don’t you work in Albany? *shudder*

        I actually contemplated a city job in IT once. I snapped out of it.

        1. Yes, I work and Albany, and you made the right choice.

          1. Ugh. Albany makes buffalo look like Miami.

    2. I certainly did. “Hey Captain, we need to spend all of our GWOT dollars this month or else we won’t get more. Go buy some more $80k Base X tents that are smaller than the GP Mediums, but make me look like an awesome Commander because I’ll have a TOC that NASA would be jealous of.”

    3. The general public would be well-served to know that “military spending” is not synonymous with military pay, mission-essential training and logistics, or quality of life. In fact, the two seem inversely related of late.

  3. Military support for politicians who are less hawkish than the Washington establishment is nothing new.

    Which is why Trump leads with 41%.

    1. Hillary is a known neocon war monger. Trump definitely on paper, which is all we have, looks dovish in comparison.

      1. Trump looks “dovish” compared to Gary Johnson.

        1. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

          Dude! Your reality distortion field isn’t powerful enough to pull that one off.

      2. That’s what really gets me about the people who think Trump is some unique danger. I wouldn’t trust him not to do something reckless or dumb, but we know for sure that Hillary will keep stirring shit up with Russia and get us involved in as many new “interventions” as she can.

        1. Every thing “bad” about Trump applies to Hillary in spades. All his bad policy ideas are ones she has advocated for. She *has* started wars, and it’s still not clear whether Libya was motivated by a desire to loot rebuilding dollars or by a simple desire to blow something up and say “I did that!” She has repeatedly shown extremely poor judgement.

          If one thinks Trump sould be a shitshow and Hillary wouldn’t, one is suffering from suffering from a significant case of cognitive dissonance.

  4. I’m shocked some in the military would not want to breathe toxic fumes while side-stepping landmines as they once again try to re-take the city of Mosul.

    1. Which Hillary thinks is on the border with Syria. Odd that the know-it-alls in the media didn’t jump on that.

      1. And she can see Russia from there.

  5. My takeaway is that over two thirds of them want more of the same old thing. Some people are just incapable of learning from experience.

  6. I know this is just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be great if Johnson won New Mexico, AND McMillan won Utah? That would be about the best we could hope for this election.

    And also, I know people tend to support third parties in polls, then go back to the major parties on election day, but I really don’t that’s going to happen as much this time. There are just so many people who hate both candidates.

    1. I was hoping somebody would come in and drop some real money on Johnson, but I’m doubtful that’s going to happen. The major parties have successfully turned him into a national joke.

  7. We should be clear-eyed about recognizing AleppoMania for what it is: A chance to avoid, not defend, foreign policy “seriousness,” while aggressively marginalizing an admittedly flawed candidate who would dare challenge Washington’s decades-long addiction to no-fly zones, “smart” war, and historical amnesia.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much blatant hand-waving from the media in an election. Was reading the other day about how Reagan surged ahead of Carter at the last minute thanks to shenanigans in Iran. Can you imagine that happening today? The American voter could not give two shits about the Middle East anymore or how many Americans are being held hostage there or bombing weddings there or becoming cannon fodder there.

    1. After 15 years of that kind of thing happening continuously, it does kind of become background noise.

    2. Is Aleppo one of the 57 states?

      1. It will be when the people not killed there are settled in a town near you. I also think that a new state made out of part of VA and part of MD named ‘New Honduras’ will be created soon.

      2. Can you imagine the comic gold that would have been created out of that if a Republican president would have said it?

    3. Reagan winning 49 states in 84 i thinkle still amazes me. The most hated conservative since Nixon won ny, mass, nj and cali?

      1. What amazes me is that the Repubs only picked up 16 seats in the House, and actually lost 2 in the Senate that year.

  8. Where are our troops getting their crazy notions? I’m assuming military rags like Stars and Stripes can’t do endorsements.

  9. So, officers like the Johnson more than enlisted…

    1. There’s a “man in uniform” joke in there somewhere.

      1. *preemptively narrows gaze*

  10. Instead, the political class mostly offers up warmed-over snickers about “Aleppo,” mixed with digs at the troops’ endemic sexism.

    Maybe, just maybe, the troops don’t particularly care for the idea of their lives being put increasingly on the line in more and more foreign adventures with more resources being funneled into social justice projects than actual troop preparedness.

  11. I suspect that it’s not just the interventions themselves, but also how poorly they’re done. The first big push I got toward libertarianism was serving in the Navy in the ’70s and ’80s. I was part of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force in Beirut in the summer and fall of 1983, and even before the Marines’ barracks was blown up at the Beirut International Airport we enlisted men could tell that the Top Men had no clear plan and just plain didn’t know what they were doing. Having your life placed at risk by somebody with his head wedged firmly up his ass tends to make you less likely to believe that the Top Men are as omniscient as they would have you believe.

    1. I can explain why things were such a mess.

      The first version of Powerpoint wasn’t released until 1987. Three years too late to benefit the Marines in Beirut.

        1. *emphatically joins Swiss in Citizen-Kane-style applause*

  12. Ron Paul was able to provide more lucid answers to the media’s foreign policy geographical and trivia questions. While criticism of GJ foreign policy can now end with a soundbyte GJ not knowing what Aleppo was, civilian war mongers in the press had to be more stick-to-it, mis-characterizing Ron Paul’s more informed non-interventionist position as ‘isolationist’. Sean Hannity had to say, “I agree with Ron Paul on EVERYTHING but foreign policy.”

    The tragedy of the Aleppo moment was the lost opportunity for GJ to point it out as a typical example of blow-back resulting directly from our action of arming terrorist rebels and fomenting regime change in yet another corner of the unstable ME. But even if he did get off that easy lay-up, the neoconservative commentariat would have still swat it away as “isolationist”.

    1. And “blowback” is a very triggering term for many of them.

      1. I think they prefer the term suckback.

      2. In more ways than one… some of the guys prolly miss being assigned to Prohibition Enforcement (proper military behavior under the looter Kleptocracy) off the coast of Colombia. Surely they don’t turn ALL that forfeited asset over to the soft machine reelection committees… Now, if it were legal, they wouldn’t have to worry.

  13. I think Hillary’s secret email shenanigans are tough to sell to people who’ve dealt with classified information and know the consequences for regular people.

    1. Not a single one of my former military mates has stepped up to defend Clinton on her email crap, and there are plenty of lefties in that mix. If they don’t think it’s a big deal, they’re keeping it close to the vest, probably because people like me would ask them what the hell they’re smoking after working together in SCIFs during our enlistment.

  14. If those so-called military geniuses don’t want to be used as political pawns, they should just go work at 7-11.

    1. They need an Indian accent for that!

      /Joe Biden

  15. I’d like to see somebody ask Hillary if she agrees with Madeline Albright about these things, like her saying that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it” or “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

  16. Well, like a good libertarian johnson is advocating no reductions in their compensation while saying he won’t deploy them. Who doesn’t like getting paid in a government job with reduced risk?

  17. “While civilian political elites police imperial manners, the boots on the ground are being mugged into libertarianism.”

    … or maybe the armed forces are composed of people who think their mission– “protecting the country” (whatever that means!)– justifies their paycheck while other public employees (teachers, for example) aren’t doing important jobs. I’ve seen a lot of that reasoning here.

    1. To National Socialists, the government is Nanny and Fanny, not there to protect individual rights against the initiation of force, but rather, to be the initiator of deadly coercion. It’s a pity we didn’t hang all of them in the 1940s…

  18. Hillary will have to prove she is the Nasty Woman(TM) who can do a man’s job of making war.

  19. Head of State Rule One: Never, ever, piss on your praetorians.

    1. Are you kidding? Maybe throughout most of history that was true, but in modern America, the military are ALWAYS the first ones that get shit on, and they get shit on over and over again.

  20. Thank you for this. I want leaders who have good judgement, solve problems, and who listen carefully, with wisdom. Any president is going to lack experience and expertise in the minutia of government, so that’s why they listen to advisors who are expert. I want my candidate to be able to say, “no,” no matter how many stars they have on their uniform, and I want them to have shown they can figure out what the truth is.
    Gary Johnson has done that as governor, and he knows a heckuvalot more than the establishment candidates about the cost to buy groceries and the rest of the economy. Number one: I want a person of good character and humble ambition not focused solely on themselves and their cronies.

  21. Hillary Clinton is a bigger war monger than Dick Cheney
    She is also a Chicken Hawk.

    https://imgflip.com/i/yv3mq

  22. Kaine says Clinton would seek updated war-making powers!!!

    http://tinyurl.com/grqjbdb

    Obama’s 1st day in office = WAR
    Obama’s last day in office = WAR

    Clinton’s 1st day in office = WAR

    1. To be fair no matter who wins 1st day in office = WAR

      The question in my mind is who is less likely to = WAR on day 1460?

  23. Well, isn’t this like police preferring to wait for hostage situations and mass shootings to resolve themselves rather than rushing in and risk their own lives?

    I mean, yeah, it’s understandable. But that’s kind of their whole job

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  26. Maybe, just maybe, some crazy whacked out politician should actually go back to congress for a “full and frank” discussion and legislation on use of force in the middle east and other places that terrorists may lurk. You know, acknowledge that if we choose to engage, we are in conflict with a religion, not a nation-state. Does that involve a full scale crusade? Is it a military solution, or a massive law enforcement issue? (remember the “police action” in Korea?) What is the role of Islam? Is it the problem because those now referred to as radical extremists are actually correct, or is the problem that the true followers are not true enough to their beliefs to arrest, try, convict, and execute apostates who use violence?
    Should we consider the 100 year history of the other religious conflict involving two factions of a major religion? (hint: Ireland) Should we consider the thousands of years this has gone on, or just the part where it inconveniences us? What about the next conflict, where Islam may not be involved? What rules of engagement there?
    And so forth. You know, maybe involve the American public in the process for a change. Crazy, I know, but this entire election cycle has been crazy at its best.

  27. Got any straws left to grasp, Matt?

    Johnson can’t even win the military? He’s losing ground everywhere. He never had a shot at the presidency, the best he could hope for was to cover the gap between Clinton and Trump and thereby have an effect on the 2020 election. With his virtually incoherent statements about the economy he has managed to fall from 9% to 3% and destined to match his 2016 total, if he’s lucky.

    I won’t listen to anything he says anymore because it keeps boiling down to the same platitude – “fiscally conservative, socially accepting”. That’s meaningless and I won’t risk destroying my flat screen if I hear him while I’m cleaning my Ruger. The only reason he’ll get my vote is because in my state there are several initiatives worth voting against and the extra effort involved in checking his name is minimal.

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