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Gary Johnson and William Weld on Hillary, Trump, and Why You Should Vote Libertarian

The Libertarian candidates are gaining ground in national polls. Can they keep it up?

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JOHNSON: Really, there are going to be no litmus test. You're going to appoint good people, and you're going appoint people that look at the Constitution of original intent.

WELD: Well, I don't think you have to panic and say it has to be a way lefty or way righty. Steve Breyer has been a good justice. He was appointed by Democrats.

GILLESPIE: A Massachusetts guy, right?

WELD: A Massachusetts guy. Merrick Garland, I think, would have been a very good pick, and he's nominated by Obama. Everyone sort of agrees on that. It's just the two party hysteria that says, "Just as you can have far-right congressmen in the Republican Party and far-left congressmen, congresswomen in the Democratic Party, therefore the same is true for the Supreme Court." The opposite is the case. You want people who are tranquil of mind and can analyze the issues and come to a conclusion that makes sense, rooted in the jurisprudence of our country going back hundreds of years.

GILLESPIE: You mentioned far-right and far-left people in Congress. Who are current members of the Senate and the House that you think you can work with? Because if you guys come in, obviously you're not going to have a libertarian Congress.

JOHNSON: I think there is a real opportunity to, not naming names, but just–

GILLESPIE: Name names! Name names.

WELD: Rob Portman, obviously. Kelly Ayotte. Susan Collins, the best of all. Mark Kirk on the Republican side. A guy, he's a challenger, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. Not saying I'm endorsing him, but he's obviously a person of substantial ability.

GILLESPIE: So these– But, you've named people like Collins. But most Republicans and, even I think, most libertarians would say Susan Collins is terrible. She votes for more spending. She is not great on the Second Amendment. She's a wishy-washy, kind of country club conservative. You disagree, though?

WELD: Yeah, I do.

JOHNSON: I'm going to say they challenge Republicans to be good at what they are supposed to be good at, which is dollars and cents, and they are not good at that at all because they pick and choose. They want to cut from Planned Parenthood, but they want to increase the military budget. Well gee, that just doesn't work. And then Democrats, look, come on! Let's stop dropping bombs. Let's really take a hard look at our military policy. Let's get Congress involved and a declaration of war and how we move forward. And mandatory sending, ending the Drug War. Come on! This is a huge issue–

GILLESPIE: These are the things that Democrats should be–

JOHNSON: They should be good at that they're not good at either! Come on!

WELD: Let's talk about Washington if we win, if we get in there. I think it will almost be a relief for members of Congress to have us not being tendentious, not coming in saying, "This is how it's got to be." We will hire the best of the Democratic Party, the best of the Republican Party, the best of the Libertarian Party and the best of all of those unaffiliated with any party. I almost think that would be appreciated by Congress so they won't have to think, "What's my party say I'm supposed to do?" They'll be able to think, "What should I do?" That would be a big change.

JOHNSON: And I'll just tweak that a little bit. Republicans, Democrats with a libertarian bent.

GILLESPIE: So, make the best pitch to Democrats who are going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but, you know– Trump and Hillary Clinton, as you mentioned, historically high disapproval ratings. Nobody likes them, even in their own parties. What is the pitch to Democrats: "Don't vote for Hillary, vote for Johnson and Weld?"

JOHNSON: The whole honesty and integrity and telling the truth. I think we've had careers based on telling the truth, and when you tell the truth, that's admitting mistakes, also. Make plenty of mistakes but–

GILLESPIE: But Hillary does not tell the truth.

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  • tz||

    Go ahead, but also pay my fines, legal fees and the rest when the weight of the state tries to destroy my business when I refuse. It's not about the cake - you can bake it, but they will destroy me if I refuse to.

  • Not a Libertarian||

    The age old question if Johnson can keep it up.

  • The Grinch||

    If these guys really believe they can get 40 to 50 percent of the vote (they don't) they're fucking delusional enough to make McAfee look normal. Saying something like that just proves they're either full of shit or crazy.

  • CE||

    There's no reason they can't get 40 percent of the vote. Take away the D, R and L labels and make people vote blind based on issues and experience, and they would get 60 percent. The only question is if voters will realize they actually have a choice before November.

  • The Grinch||

    I want them to win too but this is delusional. They stand a zero percent chance. Libertarianism may be popular on certain specific issues but, as a whole, it scares the hell out of people. It simply isn't that popular.

  • ||

    You mean that buying AR-15s and drugs out of vending machines doesn't appeal to everyone? People are weird.

  • BearOdinson||

    Where do I sign up!

  • Pat (PM)||

    You mean that buying AR-15s and drugs out of vending machines doesn't appeal to everyone?

    Least of all the two Libertarian Party nominees.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Good thing they aren't running on a libertarian platform, I guess.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I agree that 40-50 percent of the vote is unlikely. But 20 percent? I don't think that's delusional. And the LP getting 20 percent of the vote would be a game changer. Even more so if they managed to capture a significant number of electors. But, even if not, whichever party lost would know that libertarians represent a constituency that has to be satisfied.

    Think about it this way, if Trump loses to Clinton, and the LP gets more than the spread, guys like Paul or Amash or Massey are going to be in a very strong position within the GOP to push policy in their preferred direction.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Gah! Massie!

  • tz||

    They can get 40+% of the Neocon nuke and Nazi cake vote.

  • And you believe that why?||

    If Johnson and Weld get 40% of the vote we will be calling it a landslide victory. 50% and the electoral map will look much like 1984 except with a different color. The only question is which color with the LP get stuck with?

  • Jerome||

    Bingo. Between Weld's "Breyer and Merrick" hilarity and Johnson's "73% Bernie" stupidity you can scratch any votes from the right of Mao. These two jackasses are just liberals too embarrassed to admit it.

  • CE||

    Where are the national TV ads? Tell people you are serious candidates, and they have a choice. Hardly anyone knows who Gary Johnson is, and most people think Libertarians are loons. Change the narrative.

  • ||

    most people think Libertarians are loons

    The Hihns of this world make a good case for that.

  • tz||

    Mr Bean and Wild Bill are prima facie evidence.
    But such is an insult to loons.

  • SIV||

    their platform

    Drug Prohibition
    "Humanitarian Wars"
    30%+ Federal Consumption Tax
    Nazi Cakes
    Taxpayer-Funded Abortions
    A Bigger Stronger EPA

  • ||

    So the question is, how good are Nazi cakes?

  • Mongo||

    I wouldn't mind an Ilsa, She-wolf to jump out of a Nazi cake.

  • tz||

    Xyklon B flavored cakes! They're a gas!
    30% tax on tuberculosis?

  • ||

    As opposed to Trump's platform, which is basically give him the One Ring and let him loose.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    BREAKING NEWS - Libertarian Candidates on Voters: "They don't think."

  • The Fusionist||

    "The dragon that I'm jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people's thinking in place"

    Now, some people may think that it's kind of a mangled metaphor to speak of a dragon freezing something.

    But obviously Weld is speaking of the Chrome Dragon:

    "A chrome dragon has two breath weapons: a cloud of freezing crystals 50' long, 40' wide, and 20' high; or a bolt of solid ice 20' long and 5' wide, firing out to 100' from the dragon's mouth. A creature caught in the freezing cloud must save vs. breath weapon or have his dexterity cut to 3, suffer a -4 penalty on all attack rolls, and a -4 penalty on all saving throws due to numbing. A successful save prevents the dexterity loss and reduces both penalties to -2. Creatures caught in the path of the ice bolt are allowed a save vs. breath weapon for half damage. A chrome dragon casts its spells and uses its magical abilities at 8th level plus its combat modifier."

  • arbitrary wavefunction||

    I assumed he was talking about chasing the dragon.

  • Not a Libertarian||

    so supposed libertarian(ish) ex-NFL punter Chris Kluwe has stated that while he voted for Johnson in the last election that as a moral necessity he will be voting for Secretary Clinton.

    I imagine there will be quite a few such public declaration from certain Libertarian quarters if it holds up that the libertarian vote is hurting _her_ rather than the GOP candidate.

    This will put some downward pressure on making it to the 15% poll number to get into the debates.

  • SIV||

    There is going to be a stampede of "libertarians for Hitlery" Tim Kaine. Not good news for GayJay.

  • Just Say'n||

    Chris Kluwe is about as 'libertarian' as Hillary Clinton. He's just a regressive who wants to be 'hip' so rather than just saying he's a regressive Democrat, he goes with something exotic like 'libertarian'. This is the same guy who wants more gun control and thinks more capitalism would be a bad thing (as he wrote in the oh-so libertarian publication, Slate).

    People like that makes squishy moderates like Gay Jay look like John Galt.

  • BearOdinson||

    This reminds of 1996, when at the Libertarian convention (which I believe was held in south half of the Aztec Conference room at the Holiday Inn. I think it was the American OxyClean Manufacturers Association of America annual mtg in the other half), the announcement came:

    "And now, the next President of the United States, Harry Browne!"

  • __Warren__||

    Weld looks like a serious alcoholic. The type of guy who gets plastered at your Christmas party and tries to mack on your spinster aunt while his wife is in the same room.

  • ||

    This interview illustrates nicely why Johnson would get creamed if he ever gets into the debates. The few times a question is directed at him (with the moderators trying diligently to make it a Trump-Clinton show), Trump will interrupt almost immediately, talk over him; GJ will either shut up and take it, or the moderator will try to end the chaos and then move on without ever giving him a chance to answer. Remember what happened to Rand?

  • Paul B||

    *vise* grip. I know vices can be pretty gripping as well, but still...

  • tz||

    Apparently there are 6 pages which reason insists on clickbait so they can make money. I don't have time for that.

    Marx said capitalists will sell communists the rope used to hang them.

    Libertarians will try to monetize everything in such an obnoxious way to render their arguments either irrelevant or disingenuous so as to lose the debate before it begins.

    Like Mr. Bean and Wild Bill (thx @Jason_Stapleton, who blocked me, whom I disagree with on the margin, but is spot on in many places)

  • And you believe that why?||

    You expect the people who provide this site to do it out of the goodness of their hearts?

    There are ways to disable the ads. As I do not want to take food out of the mouths of Reason employees I will not share the details here. The key is there are tools available to prevent your problem. The fact that Reason allows us to make that choice unhindered, unlike many other sites, means they are practicing what they preach, even though it may cost some profit.

  • Jayburd||

    These fucking guys act like using the words 'freedom' and 'liberty', and calling Hillary a grafting liar are gonna get them on a no-fly list.

  • Adam Schulman||

    Holy crap! Breyer and Garland are seriously anti-libertarian judges. Breyer especially, as he believes that a fundamental liberty is the liberty of the collective people to legislate. See his book called Active Liberty. He has voted on the government's side in a higher percentage of cases than any other sitting Supreme Court judge (Anthony Kennedy at the other end of the spectrum). From what I hear, though I don't know his jurisprudence as much personally, Garland is equally inclined to defer to government agencies, even to the prosecution in criminal cases, something Democratic appointees are usually better on.

    This is a disaster. I'm going to have to reconsider my vote in November.

  • Bob Meyer||

    You're right. On Supreme Court picks Weld is positively dangerous. The first name should have been Janice Rogers Brown even if she is 60 years old.

    The "No Litmus Test" line from Weld is the worst line I've heard from any candidate this year. Of course there has to be a litmus test based on whether any law passed by a majority should be upheld by the court simply because it was passed by a majority. Either the court should be actively engaged in enforcing constitutional limits to legislative power or you end up with another "Rubber Stamp" Roberts who will pretzel the law to uphold a disaster like Obamacare.

  • And you believe that why?||

    For a typical Democrat voter the same words are heartening. The only partial valid reason I have seen for Clinton is SCOTUS nominees.

  • TGGeko||

    "Say something bad about Hillary Clinton"
    "Eh, she's an old friend, but she spends a bit much, and Libya I guess?"

    Fuck
    You

  • VoteJohnsonWeld||

    Their names need to be in the polls for a fair fight! I've been following them for the past couple of days and I'll definitely be voting for them. They actually do make a lot of sense and I really like that they recognize the government and how they want to change it. The fact that they want this to be a partnership I'd brilliant and level-headed.

  • Glide||

    Holy shit at Weld naming Ayotte and Collins as friendly senators, and not Rand Paul. Dude legitimately thinks he's running for VP on the Moderate Party ticket.

    This was about what you'd expect, highlighting the same strengths and weaknesses we already knew Johnson and Weld had.

  • ||

    100 people a day! At that rate, it will take 4106 years to get to the 150 million people needed for 50% of the vote. So, mark your calendars, folks: the Libertarian Moment is coming in the year 6122!

  • And you believe that why?||

    Is there someone here who can direct me to information about the detail of the consumption based tax plan?

    I don't see a way to keep the bureaucracy from making this into a complex morass. One issue raised during the Brexit debate was that the EU mandated VAT on feminine hygiene products amounts to a tax on only women. There are thousands of other cases like this that will need to be debated. Granted it will keep the bureaucracy busy but is it really worth the tax dollars to re-write the rule book?

  • J Neil Schulman||

    I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 but I can't see voting for him again. Listening to Nick Gillespie's interview with Johnson and Weld I see a pair of mainstream statist candidates picking popular liberal and conservative positions with zero libertarian principles guiding them. Weld seeing Maine's Susan Collins as admirable, praising Obama SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland as acceptable, shows utter contempt for the Bill of Rights scandalous for a Libertarian Party ticket even given past nominees who fail a libertarian litmus test. On the Second Amendment alone, if I felt compelled to vote, I would have to vote against this ticket.

    I hope Johnson and Weld fail to make it into the presidential debates if for no reason other than denying these two RINO Republicans the opportunity to spread disinformation on what libertarians, even of the political stripe, actually believe.

  • Chipwooder||

    Johnson is meh. Weld is an embarrassment.

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