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UPDATED: Gary Johnson Is Running For President

The former two-term governor of New Mexico was the Libertarian Party candidate in 2012.

Gary Johnson is a self-made millionaire, a former two-term Republican governor of a largely Democratic state, and a former presidential candidate. Last night, Johnson hinted on Twitter that he will make an announcement regarding his 2016 ambitions during an appearance on Fox Business Network's Cavuto Coast to Coast today:

Johnson has indicated on a number of occasions, including in a November 2015 interview with Reason and on his own Tumblr account, that he will run for president in 2016. 

(UPDATE: Johnson made it official this morning during his interview on the Fox Business Network, where he denied he would be siphoning votes only from the Republican candidate, saying, “When it comes to Libertarians, Libertarians draw as many votes from Democrats as they do Republicans and like I said, I do believe crony capitalism is alive and well.")

After being asked when he intended to announce his candidacy, Johnson said he felt no sense of urgency to jump into a crowded field, and that he intended to fight the marginalization of legitimate third-party candidates:

There's no advantage to making it official given what I'll call the clown-car. Given the attention that's being given to the Republican side. Let that stuff sort it self out and there's plenty of time for the general election. I thought we'd have done a lot better last election cycle, so I'm not under any delusions. We are suing the Presidential Debates Commission. Eighty percent of Americans say they want another choice and they have no idea why there isn't another choice. We think at the heart of that is the Commission and we're suing them on antitrust grounds, on the basis of the Sherman Act, that they collude with the two major parties, that they are a business, and we think the media has also signed similar documents when it comes to televising the debates.

Earlier this week, Johnson announced his resignation as Director and CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc, a company whose goal is to "to brand and market the highest quality, legal cannabis products available today – and to innovate the industry-leading products of tomorrow." The Johnson-penned mission statement also says the company believes "cannabis is destined to become the next gold rush and we're prepared to shape its future in a legal environment."

Johnson's departure from Cannabis Sativa, Inc (where he will be replaced by his previous Libertarian Party running mate, Judge Jim Gray) was interpreted as a tell-tale sign that the former governor was about to make his candidacy official.

A prominent former Republican critic of the War on Drugs far before it was fashionable, Johnson wrote on his Tumblr:

I created quite a stir nationally by proposing, in 1999, that marijuana be legalized. I was the highest ranking official in the nation to do so, and at the time – as opposed to now, it was not a popular idea. Everyone recognized, beginning with me, that it would be political suicide. But I didn’t have any further political ambitions, and more importantly, it was the right thing to do.

Enforcing and prosecuting laws against simple marijuana possession were clogging up our courts, overcrowding our jails, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and doing permanent harm to thousands of young lives. All that because we had criminalized a nonviolent behavior that an estimated 140 million  Americans have engaged in at some point in their lives. It didn’t make   sense, and I said so. It wasn’t about marijuana being good or bad for an individual. It was about a modern-day Prohibition that was not only not working, but doing far more harm than good, at tremendous human and financial cost.

UPDATE: Johnson made it official this morning during his interview on the Fox Business Network, where he denied he would be siphoning votes only from the Republican candidate:

“When it comes to Libertarians, Libertarians draw as many votes from Democrats as they do Republicans and like I said, I do believe crony capitalism is alive and well,” Johnson said. “It’s Democrats and Republicans who contribute to that.”

You can read past Reason coverage on Gary Johnson here, watch his visit with Reason TV to Occupy Wall Street in 2011 here, and check out his interview with Nick Gillespie from this past summer below:

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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  • cavalier973||

    Cruz doesn't have a chance, now that the libertarian vote is effectively lost to him.

  • BigT||

    Yes, that elusive vote. Not votes.

  • Libertarian||

    Hey! I can hear you, ya know. I'm right here.

  • The Other Libertarian||

    Hey, who the hell are you? I thought I was the Libertarian vote?

  • Careless||

    heh

  • Notorious UGCC||

    No, they should nominate moonbat-woman, or the eccentric computer genius whose neighbor tragically died from gunshot wounds, though the candidate probably had nothing to do with it.

  • Rockabilly||

    A voice of sanity and reason.

  • BigT||

    " I thought we'd have done a lot better last election cycle, so I'm not under any delusions."

    A self-contradictory statement.

  • Loki||

    Not really. Here, let's see if bolding and adding a bit will help your reading comprehension:

    "I thought we'd have done a lot better last election cycle, so I'm not under any delusions [this election cycle]."

    Perhaps he was under some delusions in 2012, but it seems like this time he's going in recognizing that he probably still won't get more than 1% of the popular vote. Perhaps you could argue that he's delusional (and/or quixotic) for running at all. It does seem awfully pointless, but that's life in general.

  • Thomas O.||

    I'd like to think he'd get a bigger percentage of the vote if the Big Two were running Trump vs. Clinton...

  • JFree||

    Never underestimate the capacity of the voter to settle for Tweedledum when Tweedledipshit is also running

  • StevenLMass||

    ^^^appluause

  • jmg09||

    Does that make me a one percenter? Sweet!

  • billstewart||

    Lose weight fast eating nothing but SPAM! SPAM SPAM LOVELY SPAM WONDERFUL SPAM!

  • Jerryskids||

    Where does Johnson stand on Captagon legalization?

  • SIV||

    Is GayJay gonna promise monthly government payments to every household in America, payed for by a new federal, tax, like he did in his last campaign?

  • SugarFree||

    Why not just post "Shut up and vote GOP."? It's all you are really every saying anyway. In fact, I bet reasonable could just replace you with a simple script.

  • Chip Chipperson||

    'Shut up and vote GOP' is probably the best advice anyone could give a libertarian at this particular moment.

    Unless of course you want to see the Supreme Court handed over to the social justice mob. Because really, that's the ONLY issue anyone here should be concerned with this election. Presidents come and go and their long-term legislative influence is, frankly, limited.

    Supreme court justices, however, shape the political and social landscape of the country for decades. And with the first, second, and fourth amendments basically one vote away from effective repeal, the next nominees to the supreme court will be the ones who decide whether we remain a nominally free country (or at least one with a shot at it), or if we're going to complete our march into authoritarianism. And the next president will have to choose up to THREE new nominees.

    If we elect a republican -- ANY republican -- we at least have a better than 50/50 shot at another Scalia, Thomas, or Alito. If a democrat is elected, we're GUARANTEED another Kagan, Sotomayor, or worse. Game over.

    With three new progressives on the court you can say goodbye to gun rights, say goodbye to property rights, say goodbye to speech protections. Over.

    Of course, a lot of libertarians are also nihilists who'd prefer to ride their ideological purity to hell just so they can say 'I told you so'. But if you actually care about the direction of the country you really have to vote GOP this election.

  • JFree||

    Fortunately for them, the GOP and Dems can probably keep that whole 'vote for us or the entire Supreme court will be lost for generations' shtick going for - oh - 40 more years or so.

  • Chip Chipperson||

    Except it happens to be true in this particular case.

  • BigT||

    Campaign slogan?

    - Hillary's no Johnson.

    -Think and vote with your Johnson.

  • ||

    "Well, you can call me Gay
    And you can call me Jay
    But you doesn't have to call me Johnson."

    GOP or Dem slogan

  • Mainer2||

    The fact that people are still referencing a single bit 40 years later just amusing the shit out of me.

    you can call me ray
    you can call me jay....

  • ||

    OK, so the ticket will be Johnson/Lobster Girl 2016 - but what is the slogan?

  • SugarFree||

    Kiss the Carapace, Love the Carapace... Johnson/LG16

  • UnCivilServant||

    In order to be vice president you have to be eligable to be president, and she doesn't look like she's hit 35 yet.

  • SugarFree||

    She probably has by now.

  • Swiss Servator||

    HUSH YER MOUTH!

    She is forever young, to me!

  • gphx||

    'Which would you rather dip in hot butter?'

  • UnCivilServant||

    Who?

    Seriously though, until you get past that name recognition hurdle, you're never going anywhere on a third party ticket. I didn't even know you existed last electoral cycle (never mind the fact that I was in England on election day and didn't vote that time)

    Trump would have a better shot on a third party run because the electorate at least has heard of him.

  • The Hyperbole||

    So Cavuto Coast to Coast ends at 2pm, when will we see the first post announcement comment blaming Reason for Johnson's failed campaign? before PM lynx or during?

  • Loki||

    When the "Johnson has just officially announced his candidacy" H&R post is posted at ~2:30 instead of the second Cavuto's show ends. Then, or whenever reason digs up some racist newsletters published in Johnson's name and actually reports on it instead of keeping their mouths shut. Or points out any flaw in any of his policy positions, which will probably be in the same 2:30 post.

  • Not okay||

    I don't understand suing to get on the debates. How is having the government force the networks to put you on TV compatible with a libertarian government?

  • UnCivilServant||

    What he should do is buy up every ad spot during the debates and fill them with his policy statements.

  • SugarFree||

    No, no, no... He shouldn't try and play a rigged system. Because, like, principles and stuff.

  • Not okay||

    How is the system rigged for debates?

  • gaoxiaen||

    The Duopoly is the only one included.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Well, if you have just one person, it's more of a stump speech. But what are you going to do, have ten people on stage?

  • SugarFree||

    How is the system rigged for debates?

    I love how you think this is a real argument, Tulpette.

  • Not okay||

    I love how you think that you shouldn't have to defend your positions when they are statist.

  • DaveSs||

    The Cartel Commission on Presidential Debates is the target of the suit.

    Its a non-profit formed by the DNC and RNC after the LOWV refused to concede to their demands that the candidates have control over the debate structure.

  • Not okay||

    So it's a private organization. Johnson is being excluded from the debates in the same way I'm being excluded from the X-games.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I would agree if both the DNC and RNC did not take federal money.

  • ||

    Who?

  • Kevin Sorbos Manful Locks||

    +1 Nick Gillespie shirt.

  • PACW||

    Hell yeah. It was positively distracting.

  • colorblindkid||

    I may be unreasonably optimistic, but if there was any year for Gary Johnson, it'd be the year when Trump and Hillary are the main candidates.

  • ||

    I'd argue the opposite. They are skilled at dominating news coverage.

    The only hope for significant impact of the Libertarian Party is that they get a celebrity candidate. Penn Jillette, Drew Carey, Mike Rowe. It's sad that this is the case, but this is the case.

  • ||

    Oh, and fruitcakes like Hihn have to die off.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Haven't seen him post in a good long while...should somebody go knock on his door or something?

  • colorblindkid||

    Mike Rowe would be awesome although that would never happen. President Drew Carey made me almost laugh out loud, even though I like the guy.

  • billstewart||

    Oh, there's already a celebrity candidate announced - John McAfee. (Arrrgh, no thanks! I'll be happy to vote for Gary again.)

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    Prediction on how this will play out: the libertarians will suck up to the left, who will egg them on, only to vote for the real leftist for the freebies anyway. This tactic will alienate what support libertarians have on right, causing disgruntled Republicans to stay home, rather than bother to vote third party. Net result: Johnson will get even less votes than he got last time.

    Both leftists and rightists are smart enough to have figured out that in politics, factions that are everyone's friend, are nobody's friend. Libertarians haven't quite figured that out yet.

  • Freedom Frog||

    What would your solution to this be? What would be your libertarian platform to avoid mixing in with both parties?

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    To declare themselves as either a party of the left or the right, work to appeal to that segment, and quit trying to play both ends against the middle. People - and parties - who pull that just end up making enemies out of everyone.

  • Loki||

    IOW become either Republican light or Democrat light. Then why bother?

  • Irie||

    i love how these two parties go to great lengths to tell Libertarians who to vote for. thanks, but we have our own party. dems/gop please stop trying to "evangelize" us in the political sense. vote Libertarian, vote often.

  • JFree||

    Target the 45% of the voting age population that is so turned off it doesn't vote - and the 30% or so registered independents

  • JFree||

    And it's not about the 'platform'. It's about who you choose to center your appeal to. The donkeyphants will center their appeal to their own base - and they will beat any attempt by libertarians to do the same

  • Chip Chipperson||

    You assume that the 45% doesn't vote because they're 'turned off'.

    The reality is that they don't vote because they just don't give a fuck either way. We're at a point where basically everyone who's politically engaged is voting. And the people who aren't politically engaged just don't care.

    There's nobody to target. I realize that it's hard for a political person to imagine, but there are a whole lot of people in this country who go through their entire lives without ever thinking once about politics or elections or candidates.

    And frankly those people are also the ones who, if they were to be engaged, are most likely to be swayed by promises of free stuff from the government.

  • JFree||

    The reality is that you don't know what will appeal to them - and neither do I - because that group is not EVER polled in any honest way. Only push polled. Appealing to them will however mean that ideological purity will need to be secondary - and the message had damn well better be both positive and focused on them.

    The notion that a Libertarian can compete to hive off Dem voters from Rep voters or vice versa - when 99% of people voting are perfectly happy to vote for one or the other of those scum is insane. That part of the electorate has already decided that they will vote for Scum1 or Scum2. They aren't available for swaying by anyone else because they've already bought the Dem/Rep discussion agenda.

  • JFree||

    If I were to guess what would appeal to that group it would be:

    1. an all-out no-holds-barred attack on government corruption and cronyism - and the positive benefits that would accrue to a group that clearly doesn't benefit from it precisely because they aren't Dem or Rep voters.

    2. don't touch the safety net. Not as a top priority at least. There's still plenty of room to reform the two biggies - but it does mean avoiding the Dem/Rep strategies of pandering to and demonizing the poor and avoiding the Wall St whore approach of turning those entitlements into Wall St cronyism.

    3. my guess is that 'open borders' is probably the only 'libertarian' anathema to that group. And honestly I think there is room for a libertarian approach to immigration that acknowledges that yes Virginia some people really are harmed by floods of uncontrolled immigration at the bottom of the ladder. And a big utilitarian collectivist 'but fuck you because it's a net benefit to society' is not really truly libertarian.

    4. And I suspect 'not being the world's policeman/nanny' is immensely appealing and can be taken much further than either Dem/Rep are ever going to go.

  • Chip Chipperson||

    No, but I do. I've spent almost twenty years in advertising, with a big part of that in research.

    Let me tell you something -- when I say these people don't care, I literally mean they don't care. Nothing you say to them is going to engage them in the political process. Because they DON'T CARE. It's not that they're 'turned off' by the process, it's not that neither of the major parties are speaking to them, it's not that they're frustrated, it's that they literally do not care.

    It's really hard for people who are passionate about politics to wrap their head around this, but it's true. Like, imagine how little you care about the Kardashians, then halve that. That's how much they don't care.

    The only thing that MIGHT get their attention is a promise of some kind of immediate benefit which affects them personally. Maybe. But beyond that, they just don't care.

    Making a rational appeal to their sense of country or community or anything of the sort is a ridiculous exercise in futility, because again, they just don't care. If they cared, they'd be affiliated by now. But they're not. Because they don't care.

  • JFree||

    Then you make them care for 10 minutes. Like it or not, folks who don't care about politics and government are the IDEAL libertarian base voter. Because they're not looking to get something from corrupting the system and they're not dependent on it.

    Yes I agree that prattling on about philosophy - or doing anything that's part of the same-old-same-old DemRep agenda (or the agenda that Libertarians traditionally think they can get by working through the DemReps) - won't work. And yes it's about time that libertarians offer potential voters SOMETHING of immediate benefit. The DemReps do that by saying that government should DO this or DO that. Libertarians need to offer the same thing in reverse - that government will STOP doing this or that - and that their life will be personally and immediately better because of that. That also means focusing like a laser on the things that those non-voters ARE interested in - and ignoring the BS that is part of the current political discussion because that latter is definitionally irrelevant to those uninterested in current political discussion.

    They may only get a minority of those non-voters. But they will get NONE of the voters who are already in the habit of voting DemRep.

  • Libertarian||

    Any libertarian who is fooled enough by the left or right to vote D or R on election day is as big a sucker as the republican who, every two years or so, goes to the polls and loyally votes for the GOP in order to stop those money-spending "liberals."

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    That isn't the point. They already have the libertarians. That isn't enough to get them elected.

  • gaoxiaen||

    He has my vote, unless Rand Paul wakes up.

  • ||

    That train left the station a loooooong time ago.

  • Libertarian||

    And I can live with that, as long as he keeps his senate seat.

  • gphx||

    Voting for Gary Johnson is a lot like eating an old style tv dinner. It's got most of the right ingredients in it but it just tastes bland and shitty somehow.

  • Libertarian||

    Seems appropriate here:

    http://cafehayek.com/2015/04/i.....nteed.html

    It’s intriguing that the people who most self-righteously criticize the likes of McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, pop rock, and builders of ‘cookie-cutter’ houses for being bland and failing to experiment with the Bold and the Edgy – those who condemn conformity, sneer at the crowds in Wal-Mart, and trumpet their devotion to diversity – are especially likely to be among those who glorify politics and to find in democratic elections the possibility of transcendence and of discovering and empowering the bold, the different, and the courageous trend-bucking leader.

  • Mongo||

    I'll vote and donate to Gay Jay as long as he distances himself from those GOP shitheads.

  • Bluwater||

    No need to. But no doubt he will be climbing up through the social progressive rectum of Bernie and Hillary.... so have fun!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Gary Johnson? Isn't he that actor from the play where everyone gets AIDS?

  • sjogren||

    I would not support Gary Johnson, but if he can make some headway is weakening our two party duopoly, making it more likely for us to have some other choices beyond the hideous alternatives the Republicans and Democrats offer, then he will have done the country a service.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I hope he runs. I need something to do on Tuesday in november...if he doesnt run I guess I will just quietly sit on my couch.

  • Bluwater||

    Why change now?

  • Ken Hayes||

    Whew... finally have a candidate that I can vote for!

  • Charles B.||

    "Le Trump's a racist meme".

    Disappointing. The whole reason Trump has managed to accrue as many supporters as he has is frankly that America is sick and tired of this "if you're not politically correct, you must be racist" false dichotomy.

    If Johnson intends to just be another extension of the DNC and the liberal media's race-baiting divide and conquer tactics, he's lost my vote.

    I had such high hopes for the Libertarian party...

  • Baelzar||

    I love Gary Johnson. I voted him for governor twice. Met him several times, heard him speak at the Drug Policy Alliance meeting....he is a true libertarian.

    I just wish he was a better candidate.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    You know what? He doesn't have a chance in hell, and there's no way he can capture a single voter who'd otherwise vote Democrat, but damned if I don't admire the man for his chutzpah.

    I live in Maryland, so I may as well vote for a ham sandwich for all the good it will do, but were I to vote I'd be sorely tempted to vote my conscience (which is actually to not vote at all, but you know what I mean) and vote for Gary Johnson. However, the thought of a President Clinton or President Sanders is so terrifying it would drive me to hit the polling booth first thing in the morning and cast a big ol' vote for Trump or Cruz. Or pretty much anyone but either of those fuckers.

    I'm sorry, but if my effective choices are between authoritarian statists who hate me based on my identity and either a reborn Mussolini or a kind of pseudo-libertarian, I'm voting strategically, not ideologically.

  • StevenLMass||

    Are Johnson and McAffee going to have a cage fight for the nomination? I like Johnson and all, but McAffee would knock him out in the first round.

  • Grant||

    Gary Johnson would be my second choice. Whoever has the best chance of beating the Democrat is my first.
    This doesn’t mean I won’t vote for Johnson . . . Since I live in California, where the electoral votes always go to the Democrat, I’ll do what I did last time: Vote for the Libertarian just to make a statement.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Be Still My Heart!

  • Bluwater||

    Woo-hoo! Or something. Now let's run in circles.

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