Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson: 'This Is Conceivably About Being the Swing Vote in the Senate'

"Am I going to be the most hated guy, or am I going to be the future of politics if I'm elected?" wonders New Mexico's now-official Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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Gary Johnson ||| Roberto E. Rosales/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Roberto E. Rosales/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Gary Johnson today finally made the official announcement that he is running for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico as a Libertarian. Now the two-time former governor of the state and two-time former Libertarian Party candidate for president has nine weeks to take on overwhelming front-runner Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) and novice Republican nominee Mick Rich.

In a phone interview yesterday, Johnson acknowledged that he is a "long shot" to win a three-way race in a heavily Democratic state. He said Rich seemed determined to stay in the race when the two men talked, but Johnson saw some cause for optimism in Heinrich's soft numbers and the swiftness with which the incumbent lashed out at the Libertarian when the news broke. "I don't know if Champagne shouldn't be popped right now," Johnson said.

While the idea of running for the Senate "came as a complete surprise" to Johnson just five weeks ago, after years of steadfastly ruling out another political run of any kind, the candidate says he's relishing the opportunity to talk about the national debt ("I'd be the number-one deficit hawk"), free trade, anti-interventionism, and President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

A first advertisement by the pro-Johnson Elect Liberty PAC, run by his former and presumed future campaign manager Ron Nielson, has been released:

And for the charges already cropping up that he could play "spoiler" to the Democrats' dream of retaking control of the Senate, Johnson says bring it on, dreaming of what a Libertarian swing vote could mean. "Potentially," he said, "I could be the U.S. senator from New Mexico who actually has a say in the direction this country ends up taking."

The following is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation:

Reason: Let's talk through how this happened. If I'm not mistaken, five months ago you told…Nick Gillespie that absolutely not would you ever get involved in politics again: "No, I'm done, I'm done with elected political office." If we can't trust your word about such important matters, how can we trust you to cut taxes once in office? What happened?

Gary Johnson: Well, so, I would just suggest that your timeline is a little off, that as recently as five weeks [ago], I would have said that…. So this came as a complete surprise—me, in Las Vegas, complete surprise. And everything I'm about to tell you is, was, [former L.P. Senate nominee] Aubrey Dunn's idea.

So there is no question in New Mexico that Martin Heinrich was going to win this race. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. But what was surprising was that [Dunn] had [done] some polling and discovered that Martin Heinrich's numbers are really weak; there aren't that many people that are committed to voting for him. And if Aubrey Dunn would have been elected to the U.S. Senate—which wasn't going to happen, but if he would have been—arguably he would have been maybe the most powerful, or certainly among the most powerful, senators in the U.S. Senate, because he would have been the swing vote, and he would have been an independent Libertarian.

So that's the lure here. This isn't about bellying up to the trough; this is conceivably about being the swing vote in the Senate and deciding what's good and what's bad. And I have to tell you, this being laid on my plate in Las Vegas, anyone with this laid on their plate would seriously have to consider the offer, which in this case was, "Hey, I'm going to drop out, and the Libertarian Party of New Mexico can name you as my replacement." So a couple of weeks ago, he announced that he was dropping out, and that he was imploring me to enter the race, and that's what's happened.

It's not so much about [Heinrich]; it's about what is at stake, and in this case, [that's] balancing the federal budget. Nobody's talking about the deficit! Yeah, lower taxes are a good thing, reducing the size and scope of government…gee, it doesn't necessarily seem like he's doing that, and by that I mean Trump, and the endless wars, and free trade. I'm not intending to be a wallflower if I actually get this opportunity to go to Washington. I could be, you know, a topic of [George] Stephanopoulos's talk crew every Sunday morning: "Where's Johnson on this stuff?"

Reason: So, you had said in your public comments up until now that you're taking it seriously, but you only want to get in if you can win. Can you really win a three-way race in a very strongly Democratic state?

Gary Johnson: Deep question. I'm the underdog, no ifs, ands, or buts. I'm the underdog. We'll see how much money we raise, and by "money we raise," you know, you don't have to outraise your opponent, you've got to have a certain parity, and we think that's going to happen. And if that happens, it'll be interesting.

And three-way race, yeah, it becomes more difficult in a three-way race. You hit that on the head also. And right now, Mick Rich, I think, is really upset. I mean, he's pissed off. So at the moment, he's going to…redouble his efforts; he's going to win. That's according to Mick Rich.

Reason: Have you reached out to him? I mean, I can't help but notice, he's sort of in the same career profile as yours, right? Like he's—

Gary Johnson: Yeah, but it kind of ends there. I mean, he took it off his website, [but] on his website, he said his number-one priority was [keeping] illegal drugs from crossing the border. And I've got to tell you, that's a disconnect. That's just a non-issue. Are there drugs coming across the border? I'm sure there are. To the extent that it should be his number-one priority?…

I did have a conversation with him, and the one takeaway I wanted from the conversation was I didn't want to make him mad; I just didn't want to make him mad. And I accomplished that. During that conversation, he really, genuinely, expressed to me that he was going to win…

Reason: Last time you and I were in close contact, which is sort of the end of 2016, the last two months there were not a happy time for you on the campaign trail. You were eagerly looking forward to not reading about Gary Johnson, to not looking at Twitter, to getting up on a bike at 10,000 feet above sea level, doing God knows what kind of terrible athletic things. Are you enthusiastic about running? Are you in it to win it, not just as a concept, but are you a happy warrior in there, and motivated to get out on the trail, given how much it wasn't always fun last time?

Gary Johnson: Well, you've hit on the other aspect of this, which is, "Oh my gosh, this is going to be a nine-week race." I can do anything for nine weeks!

That was another criticism that I had about [a potential] Senate race: Number one, going up to the trough, number two…you're looking at a year and a half of your life to campaign for that office. I think this will be terribly exciting; this came as a complete surprise, but it's a nine-week campaign. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

So, yeah, I think your assessment about what happened in the presidential race is accurate. But…for me, that was the end of like an eight-year, 10-year endeavor, going back a long way.

Reason: So if you were to win this, at a time when currently the split in the Senate is 51/49 Republicans, and the country is feeling pretty anti-Republican, though the Senate math is pretty dicey for Democrats, you could conceivably be the difference between a Republican-controlled or Democratic-controlled Senate. You would be…

Gary Johnson: Exactly!

Reason: …in other words, the most hated man in all of the United States, politically.

Gary Johnson: Or, maybe not, though, depending on what came out of that most hated man's mouth.

Reason: Talk us through the prospects of being that person, both in terms of the opportunity to be hated, and the opportunity, as you see it, to do something different.

Gary Johnson: Well, talking about these issues, being a skeptic when it comes to our military interventions, genuine free trade being a solution, the size and scope [of government]. Nobody's talking about the deficit; I'd be the number-one deficit hawk. I'd be in there fighting to reduce spending in meaningful ways, and that would mean reform of Medicaid and Medicare….

So I don't know, am I going to be the most hated guy, or am I going to be the future of politics if I'm elected?

Reason: Talk about that future a little bit. This is obviously a chance for the Libertarian Party to have a shot at a Senate seat, which it has never really come close to. Talk about how this fits in with the growth of the success of the Libertarian Party, and how that motivates what you are doing right now.

Gary Johnson: Well, it's an unparalleled opportunity for Libertarians. It's an unparalleled opportunity for people that are independent, registered independent—which, of course, is the largest political affiliation in the country today. But really, if you can just drill into that a little bit, people I think discover that, "Oh my gosh, I'm independent, but I'm probably leaning Libertarian more than anything else."

And I have used broad brush strokes to declare…what a Libertarian is. Which—I've gotten in big trouble with the Libertarians beccause "it's not about that at all," but I'm going to say it here too—is, "Look, I'm running as a Libertarian; this is the opportunity that has presented itself. But I'm really an independent. We're all independent when it comes to philosophy. Hands down, I'm closer to being a Libertarian than any of the other two parties, but I don't toe a line either. I'm an independent. We're all independents. We really are.…

Reason: The bad September 2016 that you had, part of that, as we have discussed previously, was that was the month that Democrats freaked out about you. Tom Steyer threw a bunch of money into the campaign. Suddenly there was a barrage of very similar-sounding headlines about what a disaster you would be for the environment and suchlike. I'll just throw a couple of headlines out that I just found five minutes ago or so. One is "Gary Johnson, Professional Spoiler, Jumps Into New Mexico Senate Race"; that's New York magazine. And Esquire says, "Stoplight Skeptic Gary Johnson Just Decided That the Senate Is in Need of a Libertarian Loon." You're going to see a lot of that. You ready for that? You looking forward to that?

Gary Johnson: Yeah, well they're dealing with New Mexico now. So New Mexico did elect me two times as governor, and I sowed a lot of seeds. So we'll see how it turns out. I mean, hey, I don't want to in any way diminish the long-shot aspect of this, but I don't know if that's wise. I don't know if Champagne shouldn't be popped right now, based on what's happening.

Reason: Some Libertarian Party activists who are, for the most part, pretty excited about this news, have nevertheless back-channeled to me concern that, "Hey, this sounds like Ron Nielson's idea. This doesn't sound like Gary Johnson's idea." And there have been concerns over the years that too much of the strategy from your camp comes from him and not you. What do you say to those people about those specific concerns?

Gary Johnson: Well, in this case, this was Aubrey Dunn's idea; this was really Aubrey Dunn's idea.

Ron and I have had a great relationship; Ron and I now are on a 25-year relationship. I leave the campaign to Ron, but the messaging is me; he leaves that to me….I can't say enough about Ron Nielson, and I think the guy's a genius. I come back to the fact that Hillary and Trump each had [$1.8 billion], and we had $12 million. And, you know, I think Ron spent two solid weeks without a minute of sleep, and that was Ron. I mean, that's what we all did. But Ron's cooking this up and I'm the puppet? I don't know. No, I don't think so.

Reason: So going forward now, you've got a nine-week sprint ahead of you. What are some milestones? What are some big things that need to happen? What is the rabbit that you want to pull out of your hat?

Gary Johnson: Well, I think that money is the key….Don't have to have more money; less is okay, but as long as it's enough to actually launch into this, that's really the key. And we'll see how that goes….

Reason: And just straight up to the "spoiler" charge, which you're going to hear nonstop from Democrats…How do you respond specifically to that spoiler charge now?

Gary Johnson: Well, I'm going to embrace whatever it is that they've got to call me; I'm just going to embrace it and go from there. You can call me anything you want, but here's what's at stake, and you want to call that a spoiler? I don't know. I call that having a voice. I call that as a way to actually express my frustration over the whole system. That's a vote for me….

Professional spoiler? Like I said, I'll embrace it, whatever you want to call me. But potentially, I could be the U.S. Senator from New Mexico who actually has a say in the direction this country ends up taking.

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120 responses to “Gary Johnson: 'This Is Conceivably About Being the Swing Vote in the Senate'

  1. It is also conceivably about being the guy in Congress who gets to meet the aliens who land on the national mall. You can always dream Gary.

    1. Not sure whether being the “future of politics” or meeting aliens is more realistic…

      1. “Aliens are more conceivable, moron. Who’s paying you off to write this?”

        – Alex Jones

    2. As opposed to meeting the numerous “aliens” especially of the illegal type that are throughout the gangs and prisons of NM?

  2. Nothing on the Queen of Soul?

    1. I know. Reason practically shuts down when Lou Reed keels over and can’t even be bothered to remark on the death of Aretha Franklin. Fucking hipsters. God I hate hipsters.

      1. I’ve had a mix of Aretha playing in the background all day. Never seen so many people start dancing as they walk by

        1. She was incredible. If you ever have a chance, on Itunes they have a gospel record of hers that was recorded at her dad’s church when she was like 16. It is just amazing.

      2. Indeed. She is one of the all-time greats.

    2. This is getting a tad disrespectful.

      1. d-i-s-r-e-s-p-e-c-t-f-u-l

    3. I think she polled poorly in the race.

    4. I know I’m dating myself here, but when I heard she had died the first thing I thought of was Steely Dan.

      And then the Blues Brothers.

      1. four fried chickens and a coke

  3. Voted for Gary before and will vote for him again. Heinrich has some novel ideas, but to close to Bernie and Warren to allow him to stay in office. Heinrich is too repugnant.

    1. Tough choice; vote for the Progressive Democrat douchebag Heinrich or vote for the Progressive Republican turned Progressive Libertarian douchebag Johnson.

  4. Good luck Gary

    It’s an unparalleled opportunity for people that are independent, registered independent?which, of course, is the largest political affiliation in the country today. But really, if you can just drill into that a little bit, people I think discover that, “Oh my gosh, I’m independent, but I’m probably leaning Libertarian more than anything else.”

    Agree 100%. Just keep an eye on why people are actually independent. The only ones who want ‘the best of the DeRps’ are middle children. Everyone else really doesn’t like the DeRps at all.

    1. DeRps

      ^ I like this, and shall be using it.

      1. DeRps aka Progressive Dems/Reps tovarisch.

  5. You can always be the swing vote in the Senate if you’re a Gary Johnson (NSFW), know what I mean?

    1. Apparently the swinger vote in the Senate:

      “Yeah, well they’re dealing with New Mexico now. So New Mexico did elect me two times as governor, and I sowed a lot of seeds

      Gary’s Johnson has been busy!

    2. Gotta love Big Johnson tees!

  6. Wasn’t this scenario open to him in 2016 where, as a Republican, he may have actually won a NM senate seat?
    Then the LP could have nominated some other nut job, albeit without any governing credentials, and been happy with their .5% of the vote.

  7. Pretty cool they could get Steven Wright to narrate the campaign ad.

    1. Should have gone with Christina Ricci, TBH.

  8. If I were a New Mexico resident, I would swing with Johnson.

    1. I am a Big Johnson supporter.

  9. I hope Gary wins, partly because he’s probably better than his two opponents, but mainly because I can’t wait to see how Reason spins the “Bake the Cake, Bigot” legislation that Johnson and Warren are destined to cosponsor

    1. “It’s not libertarian to oppose expansions to protected class status, because we’re just making shit up as we go along”

      1. No, the libertarian answer is to make sure the same classes that were traditionally protected continue to enjoy special privileges over the rest of us.

        1. You are purposely conflating “religious liberty” with “protected class status”.

          A religious person can not be refused service because of their religion, due to “protected class status”. You’ll find few libertarians who disagree with eliminating that.

          A government cannot pass a law designed to force a religious person to violate his conscience if a less intrusive alternative is available, due to “religious liberty” as defined by RFRA after the courts abandoned the “Sherbert Test”.

          The government cannot purposely discriminate against the religious, nor can it force a religious test as a requirement for public office, which are both due to the text of the constitution.

          1. The last two are examples of “religious liberty” explicitly outlined in the Constitution and through statute (in the case of RFRA).

            Only those who view government as god oppose the last two.

            Sure, eliminate protected class status for the religious. I have no problem with that. But, opposing religious liberty is opposing the American variety of liberalism

          2. I don’t know why you think I’m conflating them. I didn’t say anything that would lead you to believe I was talking about anything other than protected classes. Where is the libertarian movement to end protected class status based on religion? Where are all the libertarians who refuse to vote for candidates who don’t come out against the CRA?

            1. At the very least, a libertarian should not support creating new protected class statuses. But, yeah, I generally believe anyone who believes in limited government should oppose all protected class status.

              Your contention though, could be used for spending. If a libertarian supports an increase in spending they could say “where are all the libertarians who refuse to vote for candidates who don’t come out against all the different expansive agencies of the federal government and not just this particular expansion that I approve of?”

              1. Like I said, though, he’s likely better than his opponents.

                But, I’m surprised that people still defend his position on the matter, which is decidedly more pro-government than at least six sitting Republican senators. Which doesn’t speak well for a party that claims to put “principles before party”.

              2. The classic libertarian dilemma can be summarized as “we only support politicians who hate government.”

                1. No. In this case, I’m only asking that a libertarian not join the bandwagon to “expand government”. I don’t think that’s too much to ask

                2. “The classic libertarian dilemma can be summarized as “we only support politicians who hate government.”

                  No, that would be an anarchist dilemma. Why would a libertarian hate government? That’s like saying you hate sex because you have a problem with pedophiles.

              3. At the very least, a libertarian should not support creating new protected class statuses. But, yeah, I generally believe anyone who believes in limited government should oppose all protected class status.

                Holy shit, someone on here used protected class properly in a sentence. Bravo.

      2. The protected class status is those who incorporate their property as a limited-liability corporation – taking advantage of the protections of that property by the state – and then assert that their property also has religious protections as well.

        1. That’s a solid pro-state argument you got there

          1. Who do you think grants and enforces that protection for property?

            If God tells you that you can’t bake/decorate cakes for whoever – the state should back the hell off – and protect you from anyone who would infringe on that.

            But don’t pretend that that religious protection extends to the oven you buy – or to the possibility that you end up poisoning someone.

            1. Again. I’m making an argument that the government should be restricted from infringing on an individual and you’re making the “you didn’t build that” argument.

              1. No – I’m making a ‘shall not establish’ argument. The second you can incorporate property – and then have the state protect that on religious grounds; then you have established religion.

          2. I’m not sure I’d call it a “pro-state” argument – the notion is that when you incorporate, such that you work with the government to create a fictitious entity that only has legal existence for the purpose of limiting your personal legal and tax liabilities as proprietor of a business, then that business, as a creature of the state in the first place, is not unlike a public park in its obligation to serve the community whose government created it.

            While it’s currently inconceivable to get rid of incorporation, I think a good argument could be made that an absolute exception to public accommodation laws could/should be made for sole proprietors and partnerships.

            1. So then “you didn’t build that”?

              1. If it has an “Inc.,” or especially an “LLC” after the title? No, all by yourself you didn’t.

                1. Oh come on now. That’s not a fair argument. You just basically justified all protected class statuses. These are just different registrations for a company.

                  So only a closely held company whose revenues you file on your personal income taxes can be truly though of as “private”?

                  With all due respect, I’d reconsider that position

                  1. These are just different registrations for a company.

                    No, they are not “just different registrations” for a company. There are real differences between owning and operating as a sole proprietor and owning and operating as an incorporated entity. A sole proprietor is responsible for their individual actions and the revenue drawn from their actions is income, whereas corporate officers are shielded by the legal fiction of “incorporation.”

                    In Libertopia, there is no state to grant this legal fiction existence, no?

                    So only a closely held company whose revenues you file on your personal income taxes can be truly though of as “private”?

                    Yes.

                    With all due respect, I’d reconsider that position

                    Why? Are there pragmatic considerations that should make us ignore the fundamentally dependent relationship between government and incorporated business?

            2. “…then that business, as a creature of the state in the first place, is not unlike a public park in its obligation to serve the community whose government created it.”

              It’s exactly unlike a public park. The public park is publicly owned, publicly funded and therefore obligated to serve all comers.

              The corporation is privately owned, is privately funded and occupies private premises. It’s a mere assertion that it’s a “creature of the state”. You might as well contend an individual is a creature of the state since the state recognises, protects and empowers individual sovereignty and property in various ways, the Bill of Rights being the most obvious.

              A corporation is a voluntary association of stockholders. The recognition the state gives that association is no different than the recognition it gives to any contract between individuals.

              But I get it: corporations are evil. It’s an old tune.

      3. You should both be thankful for those religious protections. Often, the only way to get government to come back from the ledge of going full on abuser of liberty is through religious protections offered to a sympathetic group. Whether its Amish that refuse to fight in wars, nuns being forced to buy birth control by the state, priests or rabbis being forced to conduct gay weddings, or other religious groups being allowed to dress how they wish – take away those carve outs and good luck keeping the government from being even more rapacious.

        These carve outs are the doorstop that keeps them from slamming the door shut on liberty.

        1. Native American peyote rituals.

        2. True. Some things that we wouldn’t enjoy if it wasn’t for the religious first demanding accommodation which was eventually extended to everyone:

          (1) Conscientious objector status, which was first demanded by Quakers

          (2) Homeschooling, which was first demanded by the Amish

          1. (3) The right to not be forced by the government to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, which was first demanded by Jehovah’s Witnesses

            1. (4) The right to not be compelled to swear an oath, which the Founders purposely wrote into the Constitution in order to accommodate Quakers (yes, religious accommodations go all the way back to the beginning of the country)

    2. the “Bake the Cake, Bigot” legislation that Johnson and Warren are destined to cosponsor

      Yes, because Lord knows Johnson just could never shut up about his plans to force people to bake wedding cakes. I mean, if he had simply made an offhand comment during a debate about how existing public accommodation should be interpreted, it could be forgiven, but since it was a central campaign plank of his, he is No True Libertarian.

      1. He did repeat it several times and said that “religious liberty is a black hole”

        http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gar…..black-hole

        1. During the campaign, mind you. It’s not a coincidence that his poll numbers in Utah collapsed after he doubled down on the position (if you recall he was beating Clinton in the State for a brief period of time).

          1. You’re willfully misinterpreting what he’s saying as being “I’m against religious liberty” when in fact what he’s saying is “religious liberty is not a simple question, and you have to balance the religious liberty of the person refusing the service against the religious liberty of the person requesting the service who is being discriminated against due to a failure to adhere to the religion of the person refusing the service.

            As I believe Cathy L pointed out in regards to the article about the Mormons in Utah not wanting to rent to people who don’t follow Mormon law – why wouldn’t that extend to me having a right to not rent to Mormons?

            That’s what GJ means when he says this is “black hole.” The wedding cake debate is not about whether or not you support something so abstract as “Religious Liberty.” It’s about whose religious liberty you regard as more important, and whether you regard this very narrow and transactional notion of “Religious Liberty” as being more important than public accommodation and anti-discrimination laws.

            I think from a libertarian angle, the more legitimate beef is GJ’s assertion that yes, it is the government’s job to prevent discrimination, and thus public accommodation laws are necessary. Once you’re there, the rest of what GJ says makes perfect sense.

            1. “You’re willfully misinterpreting what he’s saying as being “I’m against religious liberty” when in fact what he’s saying is “religious liberty is not a simple question”

              RFRA already establishes this balancing act between “accommodation” and a “compelling governmental interest”. And from my understanding, the people demanding a cake are not a “faith” nor are they claiming to be one.

              “As I believe Cathy L pointed out in regards to the article about the Mormons in Utah not wanting to rent to people who don’t follow Mormon law – why wouldn’t that extend to me having a right to not rent to Mormons?”

              We are conflating “religious liberty” with “protected class status”.

              PROTECTED CLASS STATUS

              A religious person can not be refused service because of their religion, due to “protected class status”. I’m all for eliminating that.

              RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

              A government cannot pass a law designed to force a religious person to violate his conscience if a less intrusive alternative is available, due to “religious liberty” as defined by RFRA after the courts abandoned the “Sherbert Test”.

              The government cannot purposely discriminate against the religious, nor can it force a religious test as a requirement for public office, which are both due to the text of the constitution.

              Sure, eliminate protected class status for the religious. I have no problem with that. But, opposing religious liberty is opposing the American variety of liberalism

              1. So, is the difference that I can discriminate against you for not following my religion, but I can not discriminate against you for following your own religion?

                So if a Mormon can refuse me service because I’m gay or I smoke pot, can I refuse a Mormon service because he’s a bigamist?

                1. In my opinion, you should be allowed to discriminate against Mormons. Your inability to do that as a private actor is due to the “protected class status” which I don’t agree with.

                  Religious liberty only pertains to the government discriminating against the religious or compelling them to do something that violates their faith.

                  Yes, these protected class statuses exist. And they shouldn’t, but how can we say that if we continue to expand them even further?

                  1. Yes, these protected class statuses exist. And they shouldn’t, but how can we say that if we continue to expand them even further?

                    And I think that’s ultimately where GJ is headed, but I don’t think he’s there, yet.

                    And that’s why I say that the real debate is over the existence of public accommodation laws and protected classes themselves, not whether or not they should be “expanded.” The debate is over whether the ideas behind public accommodation and non-discrimination laws should already apply to gay people.

                    Which comes back to my point about Mormons. I’m not saying I should be allowed to discriminate against Mormons because “Mormons” – I’m saying by the same logic that a Christian guy should be able to refuse to make a “gay wedding cake” because he doesn’t believe in “gay marriage,” I should be able to refuse the same service to a Mormon because I don’t believe in polygamy.

                    Again, I agree that the attempt at public accommodation laws was misguided, which is why it’s a “black hole,” because you will inevitably wind up having to prioritize different people’s religions, and you’ll end up going down the road we’re already going down of deeming some people’s religious convictions more equal than others’.

            2. I think from a libertarian angle, the more legitimate beef is GJ’s assertion that yes, it is the government’s job to prevent discrimination, and thus public accommodation laws are necessary. Once you’re there, the rest of what GJ says makes perfect sense.

              Only if you think homosexuals are worthy of protection more than any other distinction. Businesses have to be able to discriminate among customers in some way, if for no other reason than between those who have the money to pay and those who do not. The question is should discriminating against a particular group be illegal. What if I run a business and am a die hard Cowboys fan and refuse to make a Washington Redskins cake? Should that be illegal? In principle it is no different than refusing to bake a gay wedding cake. The only difference is that in one case I am discriminating against gays and in another I am discriminating against Redskins fans.

              1. What Libertarians like Johnson and others fail to consider is the question of why gays are deserving of protection against discrimination in the first place. Why are gays, who are 2% of the population and above the mean in nearly every positive demographic worthy of the same legal protections that are afforded blacks, a group that is 14% of the population and still suffering enormous effects of slavery and institutionalized discrimination? And if gays are entitled, why isn’t every other group such that the government just makes it illegal to refuse service for any reason?

                Those questions never get answered or if they do, they are answered by “but gays are cool and special and I like them.”

                1. Your obsession with gays misses the main thing here. Pretend we’re talking about the Mormons renting to pot smokers thing.

                  1. John always brings up the gays. That’s not the argument I’m forwarding here.

                    1. Libertarians seem constitutionally incapable of understanding equal protection and public accommodation issues. Even when they are right, they are usually right for the wrong reasons. They just can’t seem to grasp the difference between distinction and discrimination against a protected class. And try as I might, they seem to be untrainable issues.

                    2. That’s not the argument I’m forwarding here.

                      I wasn’t suggesting that it was – I was responding to John and John only.

                  2. No you are talking about the gays. The reason why there was ever an issue is that it invovled gays and the states had made gays a protected class. If they guy had said baking a Redskins cake was against his religion, no one would have had an issue with it.

                    The only reason why his religion came into conflict with the law was because gays were designated a protected class. The heart of the issue is should there be protected classes and if so why should gays be one. Once you decide that, then the issue is solved. Ultimately, the commission was right in that free exercise has never been extended to include the right to discriminate against protected classes in public accommodation. You can’t deny service to someone of another race based on your religion because race is a protected class under the 14th Amendment. The question is are or should gays be. The religion aspect is secondary to that question.

      2. Mainly I meant all that stuff as a joke, though, Square= Circle.

        Like I said, he’s better than his two opponents. Just ribbing him

        1. Like I said, he’s better than his two opponents. Just ribbing him

          Fair enough. He’s certainly not a perfect libertarian, but that’s what I think gives him a real chance in mainstream politics. You’re not getting anywhere in the current moment by questioning public accommodation laws, but he’s very good on many, many things.

  10. Umm, the first sign of failure: bringing on the guy who was his 2016 campaign manager. Also, that ad is laughably bad. Sounds straight out the 90s and the narrator sounds stoned.

    1. But the Stoned vote is critical for Libertarian candidates.

      1. Dude, where’s my candidate?

        1. Dave Gary‘s not here!

    2. the narrator sounds stoned.

      He probably was stoned. Why would anyone expect anything less from Libertarian candidate?

      1. Exactly, especially the Libertarian candidate that pushed for getting stoned as a Republican Governor.

  11. “Hey remember how bad our 2016 campaign for president was? So yeah, I’m bringing on the guy who ran that to run my senate bid”.

  12. “Insert Johnson!” – my proposal for Gary Johnson’s 2018 campaign slogan.

    You’re welcome.

  13. Barely a pee on all the other Libertarian or Libertarian-ish candidates running in 2018, but GayJay gets the whole Reason staff in a frenzy of rainbow flags and forcing bakers to bake cakes.

    1. *peep

      1. Freudian slip.

  14. Gay Nazi’s rejoice!!!!!!

  15. If Gary somehow gets elected, and the Senate is split 50-49, I say, DON’T caucus with any other party. The US is NOT a parliamentary democracy; there doesn’t need to be a coalition, or any “majority leader” Let all the parties in the Senate be minority parties.

    1. I like your idea, but good luck getting anybody to vote on something you feel passionate about. Besides, if Bernie can masquerade as an independent while pulling Team Blue closer to communism, maybe Gary could masquerade as and independent and pull Team Red closer to Libertarianism.

      Besides, Rand is getting tired of eating lunch by himself.

      1. Gary would be more likely to pull closer to Progressivism which is just Communism with better propaganda.

        1. The hyperbole is strong with this one.

  16. That ad was like freshman film class project caliber

  17. We hear this every single time. I Could Be the Future of Politics is almost as stale as Progressives and Libertarians Can Join Forces to End War to Protect Civil Liberties.

    1. *End War AND Protect Civil Liberties

      1. Progressives and Libertarians Can Join Forces to End War to Protect Civil Liberties

  18. “And I’ve got to tell you, that’s a disconnect. That’s just a non-issue. Are there drugs coming across the border? I’m sure there are. To the extent that it should be his number-one priority?…”

    Progressive Johnson needs to pull his head out of his ass! NM suffers from drug trafficking with their drug cartels, human trafficking with their coyotes, child trafficking and abuse as well as over 80% of NM gang members are illegal foreign nationals.

    That’s just one point.

    1. Tell me again how much violence is associated with alcohol sales after prohibition was repealed compared to before. This criminalizing of peaceful, honest behavior is the problem, not the “trafficking”.

  19. Well, I’m rooting hard for Gary Johnson.

    1. TMI

  20. So what’s the final vote going to be? 60% Dem, 40% Rep, 10% L?

    1. er, 60/30/10

    2. Well, the NM 2016 presidential vote was 48.26% D, 40.04% R, 9.34% L, 1.24% G.

      The 2014 Senate vote (the other seat) was 55.56% D, 44.44% R.

      The 2012 Senate vote for this seat, when Heinrich wasn’t an incumbent, was 51.01% D, 45.28% R, 3.60% I.

    3. Eh, he could out-perform for senate as more people are likely to see him as a serious contender, whereas for president they may have felt that because of the Electoral College the third parties mattered either less.

      That said, he was governor close to twenty years ago now, so the number of people that remember him favorably are dwindling.

      So 10% L probably is a safe floor, but he could realistically get higher. The real question will be how equally does he attract R/D voters.

  21. Both Romney and Johnson now running for senate? C’mon, at least McCain never stopped being a senator. Jumping from a failed run for presidency to a run for senator, when you’ve done nothing but twiddle your thumbs for years, is kinda weird.

  22. “Reason: So if you were to win this, at a time when currently the split in the Senate is 51/49 Republicans, and the country is feeling pretty anti-Republican, though the Senate math is pretty dicey for Democrats, you could conceivably be the difference between a Republican-controlled or Democratic-controlled Senate. You would be?”

    Doesn’t Trump have an approval rating in the mid-40% range? And isn’t the Senate almost guaranteed to stay in Republican hands? What is this?

    1. It’s true that Democrats have more senate seats up then Republicans do, but the current polling on the “tossup” seats isn’t favoring Republicans, and Republicans have been doing poorly in the “generic ballot” for months now.

      So I’d say anyone that tells you it’s “guaranteed” is selling you something you shouldn’t be buying. And that’s regardless of whether they’re saying it’s guaranteed to stay or guaranteed to flip.

  23. So, Gay Jay is selling us on the fact that he will vote with Cryin Chuck, Kamala Harris, and Fauxcahontas some of the time…..

    Where do I not sign up?

  24. Not only does he not know where Aleppo is,

    ‘This Is Conceivably About Being the Swing Vote in the Senate’

    ….he doesn’t know that there are already independents in the Senate.

    Go! Gary! GO!

    1. And the dancing of the blind, idiot god continues, for all of eternity . . .

      1. I HAVE dancers, amorphous dancers, who dance endlessly to the piping.

        Can’t you read?

        What’s the point of being a mad, daemon sultan at the Center of All Things, if the vermin can’t even read?

        Generally, I avoid dancing. It’s too messy. Parts of nine whole universes are completely empty because someone played ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours’ at the reception marking Yog-Sothoth’s last gate opening attempt.

        The cider was, apparently, alcoholic. Who knew?

  25. Significant influence on the future of politics AND most hated man? People who are making a difference tend to be hated.

  26. ‘After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: spiritualherbalisthealing@gmail.com or call Whatsapp him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance

  27. Why waste time and energy on this? It’s not going to happen. It’s not even like winning the lottery, it’s just not gonna happen.

    1. Its why I refuse to give politicians any money.

      Either you are going to win an election with your name on a ballot or not.

      I dont watch commercials and certainly dont pay attention to political ads.

  28. After he loses this will he try to lose a state office election? Libertarians should not run for high office. Start local.

  29. He should really quit smoking dope.

    1. Trump should start.

      He needs to chizzle dizzle.

  30. Let your johnson swing, Gary!

  31. This isn’t Gary’s fault, but being the swing vote in the Senate isn’t really achievable when:

    1) The Democrats almost always vote for authoritarian policies–that kinda makes it hard to ever swing the vote towards the Democrats away from the Republicans

    2) But the Republicans almost always vote for authoritarian policies–just their own flavor of authoritarian. Kinda makes it hard to swing the vote towards the Republicans away from the Democrats.

    In short, what’s a libertarian to do when swinging the vote in either direction (party 1 or party 2) is anti-libertarian?

  32. I hope he wins. That would be the next best thing to having a libertarian Senator other than Rand Paul!

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