Gary Johnson

Thank You, Gary Johnson, for Being the Best Thing in 2016!

The LP candidate didn't make the debates and didn't crack 5 percent. All he did was launch the beta version of 21st-century politics.

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Before we completely flush 2016 down the memory hole, let us pause to remember Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who generated a record number of votes as the Libertarian Party's candidate for president. If there was anything good that happened in 2016—a year filled so much awfulness that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought—it was @govgaryjohnson's ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.

In the end, of course, there was a lot of disappointment. He didn't crack 15 percent in polls to route around the bullshit criteria created by the two major parties to keep people like him off the stage; he supported the inalienable rights of gay Nazis to force homophobic Jewish bakers to make German chocolate cakes in the shapes of swastikas; he spaced out while talking to recidivist plagiarist Mike Barnicle on Morning Joe and asked, What is Aleppo?; and so much more. Yeah, yeah, I get it. In fact, as a professional libertarian, I was there for lots and lots of it, including a year ago when he outlined his bizarre and quickly walked-back comments about banning burqas in America. I read all the crocodile-tear complaints about from conservatives and liberals who said that GovGary wasn't libertarian enough for them and from the "thin libertarians" who said they bailed on him the minute he refused to start every answer to every question with a recitation of the non-aggression principle. Bloomberg View's Eli Lake called it in August, pre-"Aleppo Moment," when he said that Johnson "is a gangly ball of nerves who exudes the charisma of Don Knotts from his Three's Company years" and that Americans couldn't see him as a commander-in-chief. Then there's Bill Weld, the governor's running mate who infuriated almost everyone (except me, tbh) with his charming and idiosyncratic riffs on all sorts of non-libertarian ideas before semi-endorsing Hillary Clinton just before Election Day….

Mediaite, MSNBC, screencap

To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you.

Gary wasn't perfect and I still don't really comprehend anything about that tongue-thing while talking to NBC reporter Kasie Hunt, who was understandably all like, Get me the hell out of here. But in the end, Johnson pulled almost 4.5 million votes (3.3 percent of the total), compared to 1.3 million votes (1 percent) four years ago. Of course, all of us who voted for Gary Johnson wanted him to do better still, but the world exists to disappoint us believers in small government.

I choose instead to focus on what I think were two major themes that Johnson introduced into national politics that will have a very long shelf-life. He might have scratched out tiny numbers in the final tally, but the little acorns he planted in November will grow into might oaks over the coming years, as confidence in government continues to fade, the nation's finances continue to deteriorate, and we all realize that we need a different approach to the size, scope, and spending of government.

First, he was the first politician in forever who had the temerity to say what we all know to be true: That most Americans are socially liberal (or tolerant) and fiscally conservative (i.e. responsible). Libertarian purists will denounce such a formulation as lazy or incorrect or insufficiently Misesian or Hayekian or Randian, but the way that Gary put it is exactly right in political terms. Most Americans have no problem with immigrants (except that we seem to be attracting fewer and fewer of them), legal or illegal. FFS, a majority of Republicans favor some sort of legal status for illegals. The same is true about marriage equality, pot legalization, and abortion rights. Alt-right jackasses be damned! Growing majorities are OK with living in a more-cosmopolitan, more-globalized America where you're free to travel, work, and mix with whatever people, food, and music you want. It's not simply coastal elites who are dining out more; goddamn Kroger stores in Ohio have sushi bars in the produce sections. If Texas is the near-future of America, the one thing you can say about it is that it's pretty comfortable with all sorts of mixing. And yet, somehow neither this reality—or the idea that people want a government that does less and costs less—isn't represented by either major party. Indeed, according to Gallup, 54 percent of us agree that "government is doing too much" while just 41 percent say the government should be doing more. What's more, for the first time, Gallup data shows that libertarian is the single-largest ideological bloc at 27 percent, bigger than conservative (26 percent), liberal (23 percent) or populist (15 percent). That was the essential message of the Johnson campaign and if it got drowned out somewhat by various gaffes and world events, it isn't going away any time soon.

Second, and more controversially, I think, Gary Johnson incarnates what we will come to expect from politicians and presidents. Hillary Clinton was imperious and hyper-credentialed to a fault, Donald Trump was simply a bullying blowhard, and Jill Stein an unconvincing bullshit artist (she's still at it, actually, improbably attributing the New Year's Eve attack in Istanbul to climate change). Johnson presented himself as experienced and competent—he had a great run as a two-term governor of New Mexico and had built two successful businesses—but also relentlessly human. He didn't pretend to know everything (including some things he absolutely should have had down cold) or to be all things to all people. As the government is inevitably scaled down due to financial constraints, we will also want to scale down the people and the personalities that operate it. We don't need louts like Donald Trump or distant technocrats like Hillary Clinton or rhetorical masters such as Barack Obama any more. One of the most-attractive things about Johnson to me was that he didn't need to own every room he walked into, didn't need to be a super-genius or ultra-coiffed glibmeister with a canned line about everything in the world. Rather, at his best, Gary came off as a motivated and capable everyman, the sort of person you would trust to do right by you, own his mistakes, and move forward in the best faith possible.

The tragicomedy of America is that we mostly get the government we demand. For all his faults, Johnson articulated the broadly felt desire for government that does less and costs less and personified a down-to-earth politician. In doing so, he prototyped what the politics and politicians of the future will be like. Gary, we hardly knew ye, but we will, and sooner than most of us think.

Here's a flashback to a Facebook Live video Matt Welch and I did with Gary Johnson during last July's Democratic National Convention. Take a look at the future:

NEXT: Megyn Kelly Flees Fox for NBC, GOP Drops Ethics Office Battle, Trump Children Descend on D.C.: P.M. Links

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  1. All he did was launch the beta version of 21st-century politics.

    “A beta is a male who, instead of being alpha and manning up, completely bitches out.”

    http://www.urbandictionary.com…..?term=Beta

    Sick burn, Nick.

  2. … and from the “thin libertarians” who said they bailed on him the minute he refused to start every answer to every question with a recitation of the non-aggression principle.

    Gillespie’s talking about you, people.

    1. Did he even answer a sizeable minority of questions with recitations of the non-aggression principle?

      1. “And what is the non-aggression principle?”

        – Gary Johnson

    2. Make no mistake, that’s a very obamaesque strawman statement by the author.

    3. He answered most questions with a contradiction of the non-aggression principle, actually.

      1. Outside of the gay nazi wedding cake issue he was pretty good about libertarian principles. The problem was that he always sounded like a stoned guy who just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time and had to struggle to think of an answer to any policy question, no matter how basic.

        Now Weld on the other hand needed someone with taser to remind him that he was running as a Libertarian. It might have taken Johnson a while to figure out what he was saying, but at least he was usually in the right direction, but Weld was a kneejerk statist.

        1. “Now Weld on the other hand needed someone with a taser to remind him that he was running as a Libertarian.”

          Heh! That is truly funny.

          All in all, I am grateful to Gary Johnson (and even Bill Weld), whose ticket, for all its flaws, was head and shoulders above the major party candidates. A perfect libertarian candidate he was not, but getting libertarians to agree on anything is like trying to herd cats. I voted for the man, and I’m glad I did.

          1. Completely agree. I met Johnson at a fundraiser and spoke with him for about 15 minutes. He was exactly the same guy you saw on TV or Facebook live. He was unpretentious, sincere, and optimistic. He ran his campaign like he meant to win.

            Maybe next time we contribute enough money to make our candidate viable. That would scare the shit out of the duopoly.

    4. Thanks, but I don’t vote for politicians who pander to progtards and put Hillary Clinton moles on their ticket.

      If the Libertarian Party wanted my vote, they shouldn’t have run a liberal who consistently botched simple interview questions. Gary Johnson had the opportunity of a lifetime and he completely blew it. And frankly Trump since the election looks more like a libertarian than Johnson ever was…and increasingly seems more competent than Johnson to boot.

    5. Speak for yourself, kemosabe. I’ve long said the biggest obstacle to furthering libertarian ideas is big “L” Libertarians, the “Chock Full O’ Assholes” of political groups.

  3. “Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake called it in August”

    When he said he listened to the Cure every waking minute in order to draw inspiration?

    1. (Note to Mr. Lake’s attorney: Did I mention that I was joking?)

  4. “Growing majorities are OK with living in a more-cosmopolitan, more-globalized America where you’re free to travel, work, and mix with whatever people, food, and music you want.”

    Really? You want to go there?

    Johnson *wasn’t* OK with people associating with whatever people they want, providing, or declining to provide, food to whomever they want.

    1. you’re free to travel, work, and mix with whatever people, food, and music you want.

      Ya know what’s weird? I, and everybody else in this country, have been free my entire life to travel wherever I want, work wherever I want (so long as my employer wanted me), socialize (“mix”) with whoever I want (so long as they want to socialize with me), eat whatever food I want, and listen to any music I want.

      I don’t see a “growing majority” in favor of these things; that’s been pretty much the default for decades. To the extent anybody wasn’t free to do those things, the repeal of Jim Crow pretty well took care of that, didn’t it? What world does Gillespie live in where any of this is under threat, other than at the margins from the proggy left’s eternal search for more restrictions on freedom of association and contract? In fact, if anything, I suspect its a shrinking majority who truly believes in these freedoms, and will vote to protect them from the incursions of the proggy left?

      1. Somewhere a gay couple might not be able to buy a wedding cake at every store in town and a trans man might have to use the men’s restroom. Don’t you see the inherent oppression in the system RC?

        1. “mix with whatever people, food, and music you want”

          And somewhere a christian baker is forced to make a wedding cake for that gay couple

        2. In 1963, black people had to spend all day looking for a hotel or a restaurant that would serve them.

          In 2016, gays and lesbians had to spend all day looking for a baker or photographer that wouldn’t serve them.

          So you see, they ARE the same thing.

        3. Well, it is a big deal to Johnson voters. I’ve heard Johnson voters squat when they pee.

      2. RCD,
        I wanted to make the same points, but would not have done so half as well as you did.

      3. Well, as long as you didn’t want to travel to Cuba or North Korea or Iran and didn’t want to mix with anyone on the wrong side of a national border, that is true.

        I happen to agree with Nick that more social tolerance is a good thing. But that’s really neither here nor there if you are talking about a “libertarian moment”, at least politically.

        1. Zeb,

          I am pretty sure the Iranians, Koreans and Cubans have a lot to say about that. So if your biggest bitch is you can’t turn yourself into a hostage in Iran or North Korea, I don’t think you have much of a point here.

          I happen to agree with Nick that more social tolerance is a good thing.

          Are we really more socially tolerant than we were 20 years ago? Or are we just more tolerant of groups you and Nick like but less tolerant of groups you don’t like? How many pizza joints were nearly run out of business because they didn’t toe the popular line on some social issue 20 years ago?

          I think we are much more intolerant society today than we were even 15 years ago. Today thanks to the internet and the hoards of “tolerant” people Nick loves so much, you can see your entire life ruined for voicing a single unpopular opinion. How is that socially tolerant?

          1. I said what I said, not what you assume I meant.

            We are more socially tolerant in some ways and less so in others than 20 years ago.

            1. Overall we are less so by any objective measure.

              1. pots legal down the west coast.

        2. I happen to agree with Nick that more social tolerance is a good thing.

          Well, depending on what is being socially tolerated, sure.

          My problem with Nick (and the “cultural libertarians”) is that he conflates “social tolerance” with “freedom”. They are not the same thing. Social tolerance is “Most people don’t really care if I do X”. Freedom is “The state doesn’t really care if I do X”. The problem arises when you are not free to be socially intolerant. That is a reduction in actual freedom, even if it results in more social tolerance.

          1. Spot on.

        3. I happen to agree with Nick that more social tolerance is a good thing

          And this is exactly the wrong thing to want.

          People tend to forget that ‘tolerance’ means to put up with something you dislike.

          MORE social tolerance means that people dislike more things that they feel they just have to put up with. That they can’t do anything about.

          And THAT is not good at all.

          The thing you want is acceptance. And you can’t get that with force.

      4. eat whatever food I want

        Unless you happened to want to eat a pot brownie…

  5. Those mighty Libertarian oaks are about as likely as cold fusion and peak oil being just around the corner.

  6. “he supported the inalienable rights of gay Nazis to force homophobic Jewish bakers to make German chocolate cakes in the shapes of swastikas”

    And we were solemnly informed that this was Gary being “pragmatic” and simply accepting reality. It was 3D chess to appeal to the moderate, socially liberal instincts of the American people!

    1. Eddie, you’re the bravest person I know for refusing to compromise, forget, or ever decline to comment on the single most important issue of the previous election cycle. if there were a God, you would be doing His work.

      1. Look, Huge Ashul, suppose Johnson was giving a speech about fiscal policy, and halfway through he interrupted himself to say, “of course, we need to punish people who play sexist video games.”

        Wouldn’t you pause and say, “wait, did he just trample over key libertarian principles?”

        Or would you shush and discussion by saying “oh, well, it’s only a minor issue of concern to a few neckbeard sexists, and I don’t play video games anyway, and I’m sure that other than that deviation Johnson is totally sound when it comes to liberty!”

        1. Let’s explore this even further…

          Would you shrug and say, “well, with all the restrictions of free expression which we have today, bans on sexist video games are simply inevitable and not worth fighting over, and anyway, Johnson is showing his pragmatism”?

        2. Naturally the answer to that depends on whether the audience was comprised of elves or orcs. You know I can’t engage in your kinky little fantasies without the relevant details.

        3. We have anti-discrimination laws and they are pretty popular.

          We don’t have anti-sexist video game laws, and I don’t hear many people clamoring for them, outside of SJW echo chambers.

          It’s about picking the battles you can win (if you think winning is on the table, which I honestly don’t, which is why I didn’t vote for anyone).

          1. We have anti-discrimination laws and they are pretty popular.

            Extending them to gays and trannies isn’t popular. Yet, reason walks away from that issue constantly. Moreover, even though they were warned that gay marriage would inevitably result in gays being covered by these laws, Reason still supported gay marriage and viewed that as a regrettable result but one still worth paying for gay marriage. The choices were say no to gay marriage until the public accommodation laws were reformed or say yes to gay marriage knowing that without reforming the public accommodation laws would do untold damage to religious freedom. And they choose game marriage. Why? Because they didn’t care about religious freedom. It was a price they were willing to pay to get gay marriage.

            That is fine. We all have to make choices. But how dare you come in here and spit on people who do care religious freedom’s faces and try to claim they didn’t make that choice and really do care about religious freedom.

            1. But how dare you come in here and spit on people who do care religious freedom’s faces and try to claim they didn’t make that choice and really do care about religious freedom.

              I don’t know because I didn’t do that. I favor complete religious freedom and freedom of association.

              Politicians all suck. Johnson included. I’m not shitting on those who like religious freedom. I was disappointed in Johnson when it came to that. But I don’t think that disqualified him from being by far the best candidate.

              1. I can understand someone voting for a candidate who can’t win, because they agree with him on all the issues.

                I can understand someone voting for a candidate they disagree with on the issues, because he has a chance to win and stop another candidate they disagree more with.

                I can’t understand someone voting for a candidate who can’t win and with whom they disagree with on the issues.

                1. I voted for Gary Johnson, but the 0.00000003% probability that he’d win then die making Bill Weld the President did give me pause.

      2. No one is refusing to compromise Hugh. Everyone compromises. What you are willing to compromise on says what you think is important and what you don’t think is important. I get it, you are happily willing to compromise on guns and religious freedom because you don’t care about those issues and that is Fusionists point.

        1. Actually, I don’t know whether Hugh is indifferent to these freedoms or whether he’s simply annoyed at my throwing them in Johnson’s face, but I suppose the bottom line is the same.

          1. He is absolutely indifferent to them. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be so okay with Johnson walking away from them.

            The reason staff is the same way. None of them care about religious freedom or gun rights and view defending them as something that is embarrassing.

            1. The Reason staff believes in Uber and their most extreme libertarian position is porn. That’s about it. They talk a big game, but then fold when confronted by a rich white liberal. That’s why Johnson was their favorite candidate. He was a sellout, like them.

              1. They are great at caring about the liberty of people who are popular with their social group. When it comes to taking a stand for an unpopular group, they suddenly see the need to be more flexible.

              1. None of them. All of those are qualified defenses. And none of them show any willingness to sacrifice on the issue. What you are giving there Zeb is the lip service they pay. Paying lip service is not the same as caring.

                1. How to you measure someone’s level of care objectively?

        2. Who said anything about guns?

          I think you need to be practical about choosing your battles. Public accommodation anti-discrimination laws are very popular. I think they are terrible law, but it’s a foolish hill to pick to die on.

          1. I think you need to be practical about choosing your battles.

            Sure you can. But what you are willing to fight for and not willing to fight for says what you really think is important. You don’t really hate those laws. You say you do but do you really? What would you be willing to give up to repeal them? If you could repeal one set of laws in this country, would it be those? If not, how far down the list would those laws be? My guess is pretty far.

            The truth is what it is. Libertarians as a group support religious freedom in theory but they generally loath actual religious people, except Muslims of course, and view defending religious freedom as about the lowest priority. That is the truth.

            1. Nobody except libertarians cares about religious liberty besides their own. Only in a libertarian society where nothing that doesn’t directly harm another person is prohibited can there be real religious liberty.

              But you are right about it showing what people find important. You still read too much into it, though.

              1. Nobody except libertarians cares about religious liberty besides their own. Only in a libertarian society where nothing that doesn’t directly harm another person is prohibited can there be real religious liberty.

                That is completely untrue. Lots of religious people care about other people’s freedom. No Christian denomination but Catholics objects to birth control, yet many Christians and Jews stood up for the little sisters of the poor and did so in much more forceful ways than reason ever has.

                You saying that no but Libertarians care about other people’s religious freedom is an example of the casual hatred and slander that goes on among Libertarians that I am talking about.

                Further, mouthing support and then always being willing to walk away from it when the opportunity arises, is not really showing support. Unless you are a Muslim, Libertarians could care less about your religious freedom.

                1. Maybe “caring” is the wrong word. But only libertarians want a government and society where religious freedom is possible.

                  A lot of people claim to support religious freedom, but are perfectly OK with a court being able to tell you if your religion is real and sincere or not. As long as “religious freedom” is enacted by giving special exceptions to laws for religious people, we don’t have it. Unless everyone is generally free, there is no religious freedom.

                  1. Unless everyone is generally free, there is no religious freedom.

                    Baloney. By that logic, if 30% of the people have a freedom that everyone should, we should get rid of the freedom for that 30% so everyone is equal. That’s favoring equality over liberty which is the leftist thing, not the libertarian thing.

            2. Oh FFS John.

              You have the Democrats, who believe, generally: “We support religious liberty as long as it is narrowly construed to mean worshipping in a church, but that’s all”.

              You have the Republicans, who believe, generally, “We support religious liberty, but only for religions that aren’t called Islam, and we’re not too fond of the ones who aren’t Jewish or Christians either”.

              And then you have the Libertarians, who believe, generally, “We support religious liberty, broadly construed, for all religions not just Judeo-Christian ones, except some of us have a bit of a problem with the whole wedding cake thing”.

              Which one *really* is better *overall* with religious liberty?

              1. rekt.

          2. And we are talking about guns because Weld was Johnson’s pick and Weld is horrible about guns. So, how can someone claim to see Johnson as a compromise pick and then say they consider gun rights to be important?

          3. When public accommodation expands into compelling others to participate in an event that they morally object to, that’s when defending such an arrangement is actually the opposite of anything vaguely resembling ‘libertarianism’. (remember, the issue in the ‘Great Gay Cake Controversy of 2016’ never had to do with businesses refusing to serve gay customers it had to do with owners not wanting to provide services for a specific event that they disagreed with).

            1. Absolutely Just Say’n. and Reason and many of its readers are okay with that. Or if not, not upset by it enough to do anything.

              1. To be fair, most of the Libertarian Party seems to be OK with that. That party has just morphed into a left-wing Reform Party and I’m certain they’ll suffer the same fate as the Reform Party. The only real libertarians in elected office run as Republicans (Justin Amash, Rand Paul, Thomas Massie). For God’s sake, the Libertarian Party candidate in NH was pushing for single-payer healthcare.

          4. “Public accommodation anti-discrimination laws are very popular”

            They’re popular so long as they’re framed as protecting vulnerable groups against corporate explotation.

            The devil is in the details.

            What happens when you ask whether Jewish bakers should be forced to make Nazi cakes, which was Johnson’s position? How popular would *that* be?

            Or what if the “corporate exploitation” consists of a small business owner, a conscientious Christian, telling Adam and Steve to go to another store for their flower bouquet, their catered wedding, etc.

            Or what if companies are pressured by the government, not to find the best candidate, but to make the racial statistics look good, or to minimize an applicant’s criminal history, etc?

            A libertarian candidate willing to take the debate down from the empyrean heights of lefty rhetoric into the gritty details might actually get some support.

            1. Think about that movie where the woman works in a factory and is constantly tormented by taunts and sexist threats.

              Or that movie where the gay lawyer gets AIDS and his cruel bosses fire him.

              Or maybe you don’t need to watch a movie, maybe you have people you know who lost jobs for being the wrong color.

              That’s what people tend to think about when they think about “civil rights in employment.”

              When it gets down to things like “closing a mom and pop bakery because they wouldn’t kow-tow to Adam and Steve,” or “treating a company like a bunch of racists because they ask about crimina history,” then maybe the sympathy factor begins to go in the other direction.

          5. Given that the libertarian platform is rife with unpopular positions, which hills would you prefer to die on? Or do we just ignore those and pretend we’re centrists who just want to legalize weed — cause that’s basically the only popular LP position that neither party is currently pushing.

      3. Compromise is where you give something to get something.

        Johnson gave away the libertarian store and got essentially nothing for it. That’s not compromise, that’s getting owned.

  7. One of the most-attractive things about Johnson to me was that he didn’t need to own every room he walked into, didn’t need to be a super-genius or ultra-coiffed glibmeister with a canned line about everything in the world.

    However, with the two uniquely vile major party slugs the LP was up against, we could have used such a candidate to trick voters into going for a third choice. Who knows the next time such an opportunity will present itself? Cory Booker wins in 2020 and again in 2024. Will the next GOP and Democrat candidates after that be as unlikable? Will the Libertarian Party be ready with a passable option? Will those be mighty oaks by then, strong and sturdy and ready to lead?

    1. Yeah this would have been a good year for someone who had some charisma and stage presence and could clearly articulate an attractive moderate libertarian alternative to the incoherent populist crap the other teams presented.

      1. What is the “moderate” libertarian alternative? Who sees their rights thrown overboard in this alternative?

        1. John, the “moderate” alternative is to focus on the economy (which really affects people’s lives) and to tone it down with the social stuff, which only incenses people but is generally much ado about nothing. If Johnson came out and said “My only policy positions are: a complete repeal of the income tax, a 50% reduction in bureaucracy, and a 10% reduction in government spending” that would have gotten him far more attention than falling in the media’s trap and focusing on trivial issues, such as swastika cakes or even Aleppo.

      2. Except the “moderate” libertarian position varies by what group of people you’re talking to. In some circles throwing gays under the bus when they want to get married is just the moderate thing to do. In others, throwing religious people under the bus in the name of gay equality is moderate. Principled would mean throwing neither.

    2. Yeah, we libertarians may want a less grandiose president, but most voters are still looking for a tough guy like Trump or Hillary.

      Bill Weld seemed a lot more presidential than Johnson, but I don’t know any libertarians who would vote for Weld.

  8. Thank You, Gary Johnson, for Being the Best Thing in 2016!

    I know the general opinion is that 2016 was a bad year, but Jesus Christ Nick, aren’t you being a little hard on the year?

  9. That Stein tweet is believable but ultimately fake if you look at the handle.

  10. Be prepared to fight in the run-up to the 2020 election using the fiasco of shitty poll data that was obviously way wrong as a basis for denying third parties access to the debates. Mark it on your calendars and dredge this all back up at the appropriate time. It was shown to be a farce and the American public deserves better.

    1. Hell, you guys can even write the article in advance while it’s still fresh in your minds and all the links to Reason articles are still within easy reach. It should practically write itself. Then it’s just a waiting game.

    2. The CPD is a private org — they can set whatever standard they want for inclusion. They can get away with excluding third parties only as long as nobody gives a damn what those third parties have to say. Maybe Reason and Mother Jones should set up an alternative debate where the Green and LP are invited, find someone to broadcast it, and an audience to watch it.

      I know it would be tough for cosmotarians to pursue a market solution to the problem, rather than a coercive one that J/W attempted to use when they threatened to sue, but sometimes you have to eat your own cornflakes.

      Frankly libertarianism is better off without having had Johnson represent it while peddling his center-left bullcrap.

      1. They did this. They’ve been doing this. The fact that you’re apparently unaware of it reveals the flaw in this plan.

  11. “(Gary Johnson) does more harm than good”
    – Ron Paul Institute

    1. “(Hillary Clinton) is a wonderful public servant”
      – Gary Johnson

      1. “Freedom of religion is a black hole”
        – Gary Johnson

  12. Wow people are still giving cover to the Johnson campaign? You’d think the Weld endorsement of Hillary would stop that.
    Nick, give it up. The campaign was terrible. Johnson was not a great libertarian, and only getting 3.3% of the vote when the major party candidates unfavorability ratings were well over 50% is a negative not a positive.

    1. endorsement

      It was never an endorsement. He said it was not. Only the truly mendacious took it to be one, the left playing libertarians against themselves, which has obviously never been hard. Don’t be a fool.

      I’m with Nick:

      To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you.

      1. Cmon – it was a non-endorsement endorsement in which he slobbered all over himself in praising Hillary because “someone has to stand up for Mrs. Clinton” It was as disgusting as Hillary herself is. GJ is okay by himself, and I voted for the ticket, but Bill Weld can fuck the fuck off and never come back. He is a statist to the core and was an embarrassment to the LP ticket.

      2. I have a lot to say about Mrs. Clinton that has not been said by others recently and that I think needs to be said. I mean I’ve known her for 40 years. I worked with her, I know her well professionally. I know her well personally. I know her to be a person of high moral character. A reliable person and an honest person, however Mr. Trump may rant and rave to the contrary. So I’m happy to say that. People can make their own choices.

        But do you honestly believe that Gary Johnson would be a better president than Hillary Clinton?

        1. I believe that Tony is reliable and honest.

          Is that an endorsement?

          What if I clarified that he really does believe his own horseshit enough to so reliably reproduce it? I don’t want Tony’s politics within a mile of anything political, but I do believe he’s genuine in his political views, even if they amount to idiocy.

          You can take a position where your political rivals are not enemies and not be a traitor, even if everyone in the world disagrees with you. I know that this is a difficult concept for a lot of you who are quick to burn bridges. Cut off your nose to spite your face if you desire. You look ridiculous, but it is your right.

          1. What if I clarified that he really does believe his own horseshit enough to so reliably reproduce it? I don’t want Tony’s politics within a mile of anything political, but I do believe he’s genuine in his political views, even if they amount to idiocy.

            Which is not close to being an analogy to the praise given by Weld and Johnson of Clinton and Obama. Weld gave cover to Hillary claiming she was honest and suggesting she was not a criminal when she is, all during a election, not some political talk with no repercussions.

            You can take a position where your political rivals are not enemies and not be a traitor, even if everyone in the world disagrees with you

            Are you trying to praise the Johnson campaign for being polite. I honestly do not quite understand what you mean. If so, that’s fine, but Johnson still failed. He and Weld did not have to call Obama a “good guy” and Clinton “a good public servant” during an interview. There are polite ways to attack the policies of those two. Further they had no problem attacking the character of Trump. Johnson did not have “one [good] word” for Trump and Weld called him a huckster.

            I have no problem with Johnson and Weld disliking Trump and not having positive things to say about him during the campaign. The head scratcher is why they said positive things about Obama and Clinton during an election campaign

            1. Weld gave cover to Hillary claiming she was honest and suggesting she was not a criminal when she is, all during a election, not some political talk with no repercussions.

              I agree with you that it was fucking dumb and doesn’t at all jibe with reality. I also believe Weld truly believes what he said and wanted it to be clear that he was sticking up for a friend, not endorsing Her politics.

              It is possible to separate those two things. Weld is a dumbshit for believing Clinton isn’t a mendacious specimen of a storied political ilk. Anyone else would have been put into prison for what she did. It’s also admirable to stick up for your friends when you believe they’re being treated unfairly, especially when it comes at a cost to you. I wish Weld well, but hope he never comes near the LP again.

              1. If he thought Hillary was honest and capable, why in the world was he running on a ticket against her?

              2. “It is possible to separate those two things.”

                Sorry, not on the campaign trail. You don’t have to insult your competition but any statement about them should be at least a “here’s why I’m better…” statement.

          2. I know that this is a difficult concept for a lot of you who are quick to burn bridges.

            Oh come on. You’re running for fucking office against someone. You’re going to have to burn the fucking bridges. If you can’t do that, then get the hell off the ticket.

            He sure as hell burned the bridges to Trump, didn’t he?

      3. WELD: I think he’d be capable of being a good chief executive and yes a commander in chief — Aleppo to the contrary, notwithstanding. He was a strong governor and you know I believe in the platform of the Libertarian party, which is different from that of the other two parties and I believe that it would be good for the country if the Libertarians were — had a seat at the table to speak truth to power of the other two parties, which now have this monopoly in Washington. Having said that, I’m not taking back anything I said about the massive difference between the two establishment party candidates. One would be chaos for the country, I think. And the other would be a very business-like and capable and competent approach to our affairs.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..718c49e2cb

        I don’t think its unfair to refer to this as an endorsement of Hillary, even though he didn’t use the magic word.

        1. Weld was a worthless Quisling piece of shit.

          1. “Weld was a worthless Quisling piece of shit.”

            He will return.

      4. Ha, I knew someone would harp on my use of the word endorsement as it was not technically, an endorsement and totally ignore the fact that the VP candidate of the LP party went on TV to play defense for a major opponent and a felon to boot. Oops, sorry she wasn’t convicted, so I can’t use that word.

        1. Perhaps you should avoid using words that you know in advance transforms your statement into a lie.

          I think it was a stupid political move. People come to the arena to see blood. I get it. I don’t fault someone for standing by a friend even if I think that friend is repugnant.

          As a suggestion: return to reality. Weld and Johnson both had a history in politics. What did they do while they were in office? There was certainly a lot to like out of both of them, even if they weren’t libertarians. They were better than the other two choices for a libertarian voter and have a history to back that statement up. Whining about gaffes does nothing but divide us, and we sorely need to get our shit together to make use of any gains we made this season, and Johnson/Weld did help us make gains whether you want to admit it or not.

          1. Perhaps you should avoid using words that you know in advance transforms your statement into a lie.

            Fine, it was not technically an endorsement. Can you admit that it was gratuitous cover for a candidate that clear to all but Weld and the FBI that she broke the law and is a liar? This is more than a stupid political move. What is the reason for doing this before the election? Clinton will still be around after the election. He could sing her praises then.

            There was certainly a lot to like out of both of them, even if they weren’t libertarians

            Yes there were things to like about Johnson.

            They were better than the other two choices for a libertarian voter

            Is this a reference to McAfee and Peterson? If so citation needed. When Johnson won the nom I could not imagine how awful he would be. There is certainly room in the alternate universes for the 2016 McAfee and Peterson campaigns to be much worse and much better. McAfee’s VP was pretty good at marketing and Peterson would not be leading voters astray with false characterizations of libertarianism.

          2. Whining about gaffes does nothing but divide us

            I do not mind some of the gaffes. The lack of preparation for the town halls. The best example was Johnson telling a mother that lost her son to drug addiction that he only advocates for marijuana legalization. She then pulls out a speech he gave about legalizing all drugs. That’s just dumb. And of course, praising Obama and Clinton.

            we sorely need to get our shit together to make use of any gains we made this season

            Yes hopefully we can better explain and market libertarianism to those that couldn’t vote for Trump or Clinton. It would help to have a more libertarian, more articulate Pres candidate. It also help if libertarians did not blindly participate in party loyalty to the point that they cannot admit the 2016 campaign was a let down. I also do not understand the reason some libertarians laugh at voters that pick the least of the two [R or D] evil, yet that is an acceptable practice for libertarians.

            Johnson/Weld did help us make gains whether you want to admit it or not

            They gained 3.3% of the vote an increase over 2012. Whether that can be attributed to true believers or if those new voters will stick with libertarianism when they learn it’s not the “best of both parties” or “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” remains to be seen.

            1. It also help if libertarians did not blindly participate in party loyalty

              You misunderstand me, then.

              We are fighting an ideological war that we are losing. It is a reasonable strategy to use a couple of former Republicans who have a solid track record of advancing liberty and reducing government in an environment that is very hostile to doing so.

              We need to develop mindshare. You do that by appealing to what someone already believes and then steadily refuting their incorrect views while supplying them with correct ones.

              The solution to losing ideological wars is not to double down on ideology. Proggies are starting to realize that (not many, but some) they may actually lose this whole PC thing. With the alt right trolling the shit out of the worst of the SJW crowd and making the left reflexively defend them, they’re opening a wedge that we can take advantage of, and we absolutely should be doing so. But it is not going to happen unless we sort out our own rifts first. We can’t afford purity wars. I will support anyone who gives us creeping libertarianism even in small slices over what we have. Anything is better than (R)etards and (D)umbasses running everything forever.

              1. The structure of your argument is an appeal to pragmatism — but that doesn’t fit with the fact you’re arguing for something that is known to have been a complete failure. Libertarians passing themselves off as moderate Democrats is not the way to go.

                It’s also extremely questionable whether Johnson or Weld really qualifies as “former Republicans who have a solid track record of advancing liberty and reducing government in an environment that is very hostile to doing so” especially considering that both were governors during the most libertarian period in this country in over a century!

                1. I think we’re positioned to run the best ground game that we’ve ever run and we stand to gain much more. I’m more leaning towards utilitarianism than pragmatism. Use whatever is at hand to win. The left is “terrified” of Trump. Good. Keep things that way, exploit it hard.

                  And no, I’m not talking about smuggling ourselves into the ranks. I’m talking about dragging them kicking and screaming into ours by exploiting the weaknesses of the other two. We have more allies than we think, and we need to recognize them. Johnson/Weld gave us something we needed. It wasn’t exactly us but it opened a dialog and got us some attention. We can thank them for services rendered in the trenches for us. It’s OK. We knew they wouldn’t win, but that wasn’t at all the point for picking them.

                  1. The left is “terrified” of Trump. Good. Keep things that way, exploit it hard.

                    How? We’re in no position to do anything about Trump. They’re the ones who still have some capability of stopping him in practice. Why would they bother aligning with us in any meaningful way?

                    Rather, they will do as they did from 2002-08. Borrow our rhetoric (which costs nothing, except maybe a few cocktails and TV guest spots) to justify obstructing the GOP’s exercise of exclusive power, until they get back into power themselves, at which point they discard us like a snake sheds its skin and pretend to forget everything they said while they were out of power. Remember what the Dems were saying in 2005 when GWB wanted to raise the debt ceiling, run huge deficits, and eliminate the filibuster?

                    The left is the enemy. The left is the enemy. It bears repeating. They are the professionals in this game. They are the makers of the perpetual motion machine using government spending to finance their activism to generate more government spending. They will always be the enemy. Not that the right is our friend, but there is a major difference.

                    1. They sure are, but there are reasonable people voting Democrat as well as Republican (and plenty of “independents”). They believe those are their only choices, given how our voting system tends towards only a two-party stability.

                      I’m not talking about aligning to the insane fucks who control the narrative. I’m talking about making use of the trigglypuffs acting as Manchurian candidates all on their own and destroying them from within and us helping them along in any way we can to do so. When they’re eradicated, the two-party mathematics offers reasonable people a home that replaces one that failed. We want them to feel ideologically homeless and start trying to figure out what motivates libertarians, not to be driven into Republican arms.

          3. Since you’re quibbling over words, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has something to say on the matter.

            Definition of endorsement

            […]

            3 : sanction, approval [went ahead without the endorsement of his boss]

            He was absolutely approving of Hillary’s character in that appearance. Whether he said it was an endorsement or not, it was.

            1. He praises her, never criticizes her, and when asked directly whether Johnson would be a better President than her, he never answers “yes”. Instead, he says this about Johnson:

              I think he’d be capable of being a good chief executive and yes a commander in chief — Aleppo to the contrary, notwithstanding. He was a strong governor . . .

              Note the gratuitous Aleppo dig, and the damining-with-faint-praise “he’d be capable”. He says this about Hillary:

              And the other would be a very business-like and capable and competent approach to our affairs.

              No damning with faint praise there. Its hard to read the transcript without the impression that he would prefer Hillary to, not just Trump, but Johnson.

          4. “Whining about gaffes does nothing but divide us, and we sorely need to get our shit together to make use of any gains we made this season…”

            Talking about the “gaffes” is not whining. And talking about the “gaffes” is exactly what’s going to allow us to get our stuff together to continue making gains.

      5. It was never an endorsement. He said it was not.

        Excellent logic. Valerie Jarrett also said Obama’s admin was scandal-free, so that must be the case too!

      6. Let me ask, if a Libertarian candidate were to say “Hillary Clinton is the root of all human evil and has to be stopped at any cost. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a really talented, prudent and capable businessman who would provide the kind of leadership this country could be proud of. Oh, but you should still vote for me” would you suggest that only the “truly mendacious” would look at it as anything but an endorsement of Trump?

    2. Giving cover? We should be praising the Johnson campaign. He increased the LP vote total by 3x, running against a billionaire celebrity and The First Woman President. It was a miracle, really.

      1. The two most hated candidates of all time, actually. So no.

      2. And don’t forget McMullin in the Mormon states. He took a lot of votes away from Gary Johnson in Utah and Idaho.

  13. Gary wasn’t perfect and I still don’t really comprehend anything about that tongue-thing while talking to NBC reporter Kasie Hunt

    Really? It was pretty obvious that he was trying to make a point that he could talk circles around the other two at a debate if they let him in. He did it in a characteristically goofy way. Bad political move, but nothing all that alarming at the end of the day.

  14. Then there’s Bill Weld, the governor’s running mate who infuriated almost everyone (except me, tbh)

    Weld is a absolute turd.

    One goal of the two major parties and their flacks, was to make third parties seem like a farce. The Aleppo definitely didn’t help, but at least was an innocent mistake. Weld going on TV and coming to the defense of the most indefensible person in the USA, and one of the most authoritarian — surely to try to secure an ambassadorship or something — somehow unlike Nick I can’t find the lighthearted humor in that.

    1. How can anyone who cares about gun rights not be infuriated by Weld? Isn’t this an admission on Nick’s part that he doesn’t really consider gun rights to be important or even support them at all?

      1. Gun rights matter very little to Gillespie and the rest of The Better Sort of People. They will mention the Second Amendment favorably when there are rednecks and yahoos to con, but that’s about as far as their interest in the issue goes.

        1. That is exactly right. And the fact that they don’t support gun rights is wrong but their right. What infuriates me is that they pretend they do when it is obvious they don’t.

        2. Gun rights matter very little to Gillespie

          What? He has a long history of writing articles smashing gun grabbers in the face. Is that just The Jacket speaking through him robotically while he’s secretly a liberty hater, because I’m not seeing it.

          I’ll line up to agree with people that Weld’s opinions on guns are absolute shit. I temper that by asking: what the hell does a Vice President even do? Unless a sitting President dies or gets impeached, they’re practically a powerless figurehead. Hell, I think the American public actually pays more attention to the First Lady than they do the VP.

          1. He has a long history of writing articles smashing gun grabbers in the face

            I don’t think he does. If I am wrong, show me some links to articles because I can’t recall a single instance where Gillespie did that.

            And yes Weld is horrible on gun rights and Nick just said he liked him. How do you square that with Nick caring about gun rights?

            1. You can Google Gillespie’s gun rights articles as well as I.

              You can like a person without agreeing with all of their politics. Is that really so difficult to believe?

              I like Bernie Sanders. I do believe the guy is compulsively honest about what he really thinks. He doesn’t pretend to believe one thing while actually believing something else. I believe that he really does think that his political views would help people and that it is his genuine desire to do so. I like that he ran a clean campaign and didn’t resort to muckraking and slandering his opponents to score political points. I can respect his old-fashioned values when it comes to interaction with other people and think he’s a stand-up guy who serves as a role model for others.

              I hate practically everything about Sanders’ politics. Socialism is horrible and we need far less of it. I would never vote for him.

              1. I did google and I don’t find any. So I deny your claim. If you have examples that prove me wrong, show them. But I can’t be expected to produce something I claim doesn’t exist.

                And Nick doesn’t just tolerate Weld or think he has his good points, helioeshim and see no reason to be angry with him. That is not consistent with any support of gun rights.

              2. You can Google Gillespie’s gun rights articles as well as I.

                You’re the one making a claim. You’re the one who has to provide the evidence.

  15. To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you.

    A True Libertarian isn’t the least bit polite when he says that. Oh, sure, he might be smiling – but his eyes aren’t smiling and he’s probably got a weapon of some sort in his hand.

  16. What did Gary Johnson accomplish other than make Libertarians appear to be stoner burnouts to most people and make it clear that Libertarians do not embrace or much care for religious freedom or gun rights? I know Johnson is okay on gun rights but Weld isn’t and Johnson picked Weld.

    I understand that reason has chosen to shill for the LP. But the election is over. I don’t see how they are doing the LP or their cause any favors by pretending that Johnson was anything but a disaster of a candidate.

    1. What did Gary Johnson accomplish other than make Libertarians appear to be stoner burnouts to most people and make it clear that Libertarians do not embrace or much care for religious freedom or gun rights?

      Thank God he didn’t get in the debates — it would have been even worse.

      I would bet money that Johnson runs for the nom again in 2020. It appears to be his hobby.

      1. Know any other 2-term governors who are even slightly libertarian?

        1. Being 2-term governors really helped, didn’t it?

          You might have noticed that the guy who won didn’t have ANY political office, ever. Not even dog catcher.

          Not that I like Trump in the slightest, but he certainly proved that you can win on the basis of your ideas regardless of your experience level. Experience is a nice-to-have, ideas are a must. And GJ/WW had no ideas, certainly not libertarian ones.

  17. I voted for Johnson, but he and his campaign were a major disappointment. Trump had the biggest own-party opposition of any candidate since Goldwater, yet Johnson seemed to make zero effort to exploit that. Instead, he seemed much more interested in trying to lure Bernie Bros.

    1. Which when you think about it was the best thing he could have done to help Trump. I have no doubt Johnson hates Trump and would have preferred Hillary. He is just such an incompetent candidate, he ended up doing the opposite.

    2. If you saw his campaign in 2012, you wouldn’t have been disappointed.

      1. Yeah, but there wasn’t a “Never Romney” sentiment in 2012. This was a once-in-decades opportunity that Johnson just threw away.

  18. And “Best Thing In 2016” is a pretty low bar – like when your doctor tells you he’s not sure if it’s leprosy or a flesh-eating bacteria and then further tests reveal it’s just athlete’s foot.

  19. I voted for the party.

    I voted for the person who was not Hillary.

    I voted for the person who was not Trump.

    I checked his box, but I did not vote for HIM. I think a lot of people checked his box for the same reasons.

    1. Exactly. I wasn’t voting for Johnson under the delusion that he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. I voted for him so that whoever the 2020 LP candidate is will be taken more notice of, hopefully getting in the debates and getting past more of the ballot registration requirements.

      That, and because I couldn’t hold my nose tightly enough to vote for Trump. Hillary was never an option — surgical nose removal would have been required.

      1. Some H&R writers and commenters have expressed how voting is meaningless.

        Perhaps they are more correct than not, DE.

        Regardless, you seem to have voted to help acheive some degree of positive change.

        Well done, Sir.

  20. This is your brain on Libertarian Moments.

    1. Nice

  21. Thank You, Gary Johnson, for Being the Best Thing in 2016!

    I can only assume that this is more sarcasm.

    1. No, 2016 was really that bad.

  22. I think I caught a glimpse of those libertarian oaks Nick was talking about.

    1. ^libertarian porn

  23. All he did was launch the beta version of 21st-century politics.

    Is “beta” really the adjective you want to use here? /sarc

  24. Thanks Nick, fantastic article. I think Johnson was a great candidate too and he has a great life in front of him. And for the first time in in my life I voted my conscience and voted for Johnson (I live in California).

  25. Oh please. Somehow Gary Johnson managed to be more a subject of mockery than Ron Paul.

    Not only did he completely fail to spread the message of libertarianism (since he’s not even remotely one), he turned the Libertarian party into a joke. Or kept it one.

    1. And yet he still fucked up less than Canadian Libertarian Party in 2015 election (yes, we have one).

      Think about it, and spare a thought for us.

  26. Also, I think this article is yet another example that Reason is not an independent voice or devoted to the cause of libertarianism or freedom, but simply a tool of the Libertarian Party, no different than Fox for Republicans or most the media with Democrats.

    But hell, even those outlets are more critical of their candidates than Reason was, yet Johnson was a buffoon. “

    1. Nah — they were extremely critical of Bob Barr in 2008.

      They just don’t like right-leaning libertarianism.

      1. Next cocktail party they should ask their prog and bipartisan-establishment centrist friends if they think there is any kind of libertarianism that isn’t “right-leaning”.

  27. If there was anything good that happened in 2016?a year filled so much awfulness that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought?it was @govgaryjohnson’s ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.

    In the year of Brexit? Come on, Mr Gillespie!

  28. Would it have killed you to write MR. FURLEY?

  29. The tragicomedy of America is that we mostly get the government we demand.

    The voters demanded an end to mass immigration, particularly by illegals and Muslims. Hence, Trump. And the reason no Libertarian who supports endless immigration will be elected President.

  30. LOL

    The LP fucked itself for the next ten years with Gary “Limp Dick Johnson” and Bill “The Backstabber” Weld. They could not even get enough votes for that sweet, sweet coerced taxpayer money to fund more Libertarian candidates, and gain more political leverage.

    http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/…..bertarian/

  31. and Jill Stein an unconvincing bullshit artist (she’s still at it, actually, improbably attributing the New Year’s Eve attack in Istanbul to climate change).

    Okay, while Jill Stein might be an incredible dimwit, it’s worth noting that the Twitter account you linked to is a parody account. It actually comes right and says that it’s a parody page right beneath her photo…

  32. Sorry Mr. Gillespie.
    This is just constructive criticism.
    Do not be a Hihn.
    Trump ran his CamPain clean, and under budget using Twitter.
    The LP should learn from it’s mistakes, and move forward.

    “Instead of trying to plow the sea, maybe you should to keep the principles of your hull clean, and fish.”

  33. I voted for him and everything, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If the world was sane, he would have been the Democrat candidate, and I don’t mean that in a nice way.

    1. The crazy thing Warty is that Trump was the economically Democrat candidate.

    2. This. The ugliness knows no bounds.

    3. Rand Paul seems okay. But we can’t have nice things.

  34. I read all the crocodile-tear complaints about from conservatives and liberals who said that GovGary wasn’t libertarian enough for them and from the “thin libertarians” who said they bailed on him the minute he refused to start every answer to every question with a recitation of the non-aggression principle.

    I consider myself one of those “thin” libertarians. And, I voted for Johnson despite some pretty grave misgivings. And, bluntly, fuck you, Mr. Gillespie. Johnson had a golden opportunity with this election. Whenever his libertarian position was put to challenge, he jumped ship (only to flail wildly for a life raft afterwards). There’s the Nazi cake. But, remember carbon taxes? Or maybe that the answer to BLM was we should spend more money on the inner cities (at the CNN Town Hall)? Johnson ran against two of the most profoundly unpopular major party candidates in my lifetime. Even a marginally coherent defense of libertarian principle would have stood out. 3% was a floor on what the LP should have been able to expect. When people were looking at the principles and not the candidate, Johnson was polling over 10%. Then he had to open his big mouth.

    I really wish you had come out with this before the fund drive. It would have saved me some money.

    1. “Johnson ran against two of the most profoundly unpopular major party candidates in my lifetime.”

      They both outflanked him on the left and they both thrashed him at the polls. It’s got nothing to do with Nazi cakes.

      1. they both thrashed him at the polls

        As opposed to all those years where Libertarian Party Presidential candidates did better…

        1. “As opposed to all those years where Libertarian Party Presidential candidates did better…”

          This time around he was the sole proponent of Free Trade. That’s never happened before. Both Clinton and Trump spoke out against it.

      2. They both outflanked him on the left

        Huh? Since when is enforcing immigration law a left-wing position? Or cutting taxes and regulations?

        1. Aren’t Trump’s and Sanders’ trade positions left wing? Isn’t Trump’s victory due to his picking up normally leftish states like Penn.?

    2. Worse. I put hundreds of dollars into a campaign that rewarded my loyalty by sending out Bill Weld to do Tim Kaine impressions.

    3. Drink!!!

  35. The appeal to Bernie supporters looks awful in hindsight. While Bernie had solid opinions on things like the drug war, that was not the central message his supporters latched onto. Rather, they embraced the standard socialist class warfare BS that he was throwing out. Once the Aleppo gaffe happened, they saw the media tear him a new one and reluctantly went back to Hillary or Stein.

    But not all is lost. I saw a lot of conservatives my age (millenials) at least give Gay Jay a serious look, and several who voted for him. Rand Paul is popular among college Republicans for a reason. I think a lot of younger conservatives will exert a more libertarian influence on the GOP eventually, provided the left doesn’t keep pushing college students towards Milo and Trump with their PC antics. And maybe the Bernie crowd will eventually push out the last stink of the “tough-on-crime” policies of the New Democrats

  36. If Texas is the near-future of America, the one thing you can say about it is that it’s pretty comfortable with all sorts of mixing.

    And if by “mixing” you mean “fucking hot latina and black women” then yessir, this is a great place for that.

  37. [I]To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you[/I]

    Whew. Almost donated to Reason. Almost.

    Look here, Mr. Alyssa Milano’s ghost writer. We we’re looking for perfection. A libertarian would have sufficed.

    1. To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you

      Whew. Almost donated to Reason. Almost.

      Look here, Mr. Alyssa Milano’s ghost writer. We weren’t looking for perfection. A libertarian would have sufficed.

      /autocorrect off

    2. That’s Dr. Alyssa Milano’s ghost writer.

  38. Johnson was terrible. Just awful. We really had a chance to make an impact this time and he completely blew it.

  39. Johnson was a disaster. His clusterfuck campaign did damage to the libertarian brand. The L’s won’t get 5% in 2020 even if Jesus comes down off of the right hand of god and runs as an L.

    1. Maybe they can nominate a purist and go back to less than 1% obscurity.

      1. Not if they have CHARISMA. If Ron Paul was 20 years younger he would have crushed it.

        1. They don’t even have to have charisma, just a coherent message that they have a clue how to present.

          Think about it this way. Imagine your standard undecided voter. He or she’s probably sick to death of the Kultur War and knows there’s a lot more pressing things to worry about. The rate of economic growth sucks. There’s a massive debt that just seems to keep getting bigger. And everybody increasingly seems to be aggregating into tribes.

          Libertarianism solves all that in one fell swoop. Kulture War? Everybody pack up your shit and go home. You conservative religious types, you go do your religion thing. Nobody’s going to bother you. You transgenered, LBTQ, potheads? Have fun. Just don’t bother anyone else. Meanwhile, the economy booms, the debt starts actually shrinking, and the issues that have everyone at everyone else’s throat are now outside the political sphere.

          Johnson could have presented this. Instead, he spent his time looking like a progressive who spends too much time getting stoned to really be all that into it.

  40. To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you.

    And a go fuck yourself to you as well, Mr. Gillespie.

    Wow, 3% of the vote. Imagine how much you would have gotten if you had an actual competent candidate instead of a burned-out stoner. I don’t think you understand that this election was your chance to make some waves in the political arena Nick, and Johnson blew it for you. Admittedly he wasn’t the worst pick in the election line-up, but that’s really the standard that we’re going for?

    1. Gillespie’s the libertarian version of all those bitter Democrats and their Russian hacker conspiracy theories. He doesn’t want to accept that the reason the Libertarian Party will never win is that they do idiotic things like run Gary Johnson for President…and believe that a party with zero national presence will somehow sway America to vote for the stoner in significant numbers.

      I haven’t popped back into Reason for the last couple of months because I couldn’t handle all of the doom and gloom whining from LP bitter enders who can’t take an honest look in the mirror and realize that the Libertarian Party’s only consistent traits are organizational dysfunction and bad decisions, which is why they’re never anything more than a protest vote. Looks like things haven’t changed much.

      Grow the fuck up, Gillespie.

    2. Well we had naked dancing guy. Or insane murderer guy. Or that teenager that totes flintlock pistols.

      Johnson was a real live governor that won reelection. Of course he was competent. People are losing perspective.

      1. Johnson couldn’t articulate an idea to save his life. He ran an absolutely terrible campaign and constantly tripped up extremely obvious issues that he should have been aware of (Aleppo wasn’t great, but things like praising the establishment candidate in the middle of the most anti-establishment election in years was just plain stupid). Johnson was Governor twenty years ago, he seems to have gotten far worse at running. He also didn’t get the point of a third party vote.

      2. The Libertarian Party, making America insane again.

  41. that really got out of hand.

    i do hope that next time, we go with a good salesman. who can explain those unintended consequences right off the bat. there are times for easy slogans, and times for in depth. not everyone can do both.
    honestly, an econ background wouldnt hurt. get an ideologue at least.

  42. Not that I’m the biggest Jill Stein fan, but the tweet you shared from her is a parody account. She never actually said that. Probably worth a correction.

    1. Nick is sloppy, disingenuous or outright lies with his “facts”. He doesn’t do corrections.

  43. He was a goddam embarassment – at each and every opportunity. The biggest wasted opportunity – EVER. I had to hold my nose to vote for him.

    And don’t get me started on his choice of running mate, I might get upset

  44. Come on; nobody thought Gary Johnson was a good candidate for President, right? I mean, yeah, I agree with the guy on a lot of things (go figure), but surely everyone and their dead relatives knew he stood absolutely zero chance, right? guys?

  45. Weld thing
    You make my heart sink
    You make everyone think
    You suck

    1. Billy Weld, I think you move me
      But I wanna know for sure
      Show your face again
      [vomits profusely]
      You move me

  46. To all of it, I say, politely: Go screw yourselves, all of you.

    …and with a sniff and snap of his hanky, he flounces off into the night!

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  48. Nick Gillespie is one of the few libertarians I’d actually consider “beer worthy.” He does have a little “Lucy-Charlie Brown-football” thing doing with the libertarian moment. Yeah, 2016 could have been far worse. Johnson may have been goofy but he wasn’t Starchild. Johnson’s failing–contrary to Libertarian purists–wasn’t that he failed to adhere to dogma. Rather, he failed to capture the imagination of voters. Crazy old coot Ron Paul generated more raw excitement. Johnson would have been a far better president than the two nominees, but this is America. Quiet competence consistently loses to bombastic “star power.” America worship celebrity. At the risk of repeating myself, the LP should ask the Koch Bros to cough up $100 million and hire Morgan Freeman to run for president as a libertarian. Who cares if he’s actually a libertarian? He’d crush the 15 percent threshold by reading the phone book aloud. Give him a good script and he’d sell the basic ideas of free minds and free markets far better than a bunch of geeks projectile vomiting Ayn Rand. You’re an incurable optimist, Nick “the Jacket” Gillespie and that’s not a bad thing.

  49. Johnson was a a joke. His selection as Weld as a running mate showed that he had disastrous instincts for staffing — arguiably one of a President’s most important required skills.

    1. Weld was chosen by the convention delegates.

      1. I admit I don’t pay attention to libertarian party politics so correction noted. But that’s a pretty crappy way to pick a running mate and what kind of so-called libertarian delegates thought Weld was a good idea?

        1. “I don’t pay attention to libertarian party politics” — Oh, btw, that’s because they’re meaningless.

  50. Gary Johnson was no more than a member of the quartet of boobs running for the presidency. If he was the best thing in 2016, then the year truly sucked. (Which it did.)

  51. Well, he did not know what Allepo was, and that was a good reason to vote for him.

  52. Fuck you Nick. Gary was the biggest disappointment of 2016. Foisting Weld on the LP and campaigning as a burn out was nothing short of betrayal.

    Given the major party candidates, the LP could have easily polled above the debate threshold and brought in over 5% of the vote, possibly electoral votes as well, with any actual Libertarian capable of tying their own shoe laces and not secretly working for HRC.

  53. The system we have really only works with two parties. If there ever is an electable Libertarian Party, it will be the Republican Party or its replacement. It’s a far better strategy to take the Ron/Rand Paul approach and try to bring libertarian policies into the Republican Party than to waste years with fruitless dithering with a third party that doesn’t do anything but allow libertarians to virtue-signal.

  54. I cast my vote for GJ only to help the LP get to 5%. While it was nice to see them improve on 2012, Gary Johnson sucks as a candidate and I hope that he is not the future of the LP or the cause for limited government, though I would still much rather he won than Trump or Hillary.

    I came very close to voting for Egg McMuffin and hope he will run again so I can.

  55. Thank you for thanking him. Not every libertarian can be an INTJ, and most voters aren’t. Johnson was the first libertarian both my Democrat mother and Republican father could have voted for and probably would have, if he’d been in the debates. I was always confident that his lapses in reason were temporary and that he was open to reconsidering his positions or of convincing us to use them as a stepping stone in the right direction. He would have been better in practice than anyone else I can think of (including Ron Paul) at getting results from Congress because of his executive experience and people skills. We knew he had a history of telling the big spenders, “no.” I was glad to have been one of the delegates who nominated him, and would happily have served as an elector from California if he had won. Nobody’s perfect–that’s why we shouldn’t be electing anyone to be perfect.

  56. I like the man, but not the candidate. He just didn’t get the libertarian ideal across. Sorry, Nick, we waited a long time for this opportunity. It should have been a teaching moment. We blew it.

  57. Pardon me if I don’t think that not knowing what Aleppo is can be considered a positive trait.

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  59. Nick and company went full-retard for Johnson/Weld, foolishly predicting 5% or better in the general election.

    The long term damage done to the Libertarian Party by the 2016 ticket has not yet registered with the boys at Reason, they’re still unable to accept the disaster that was Johnson/Weld.

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  61. If Johnson had capitalized on his “What’s… Aleppo” moment the same way Trump capitalized on his “Mexicans send their rapists” moment, he would have gone very far.

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