The public hears many names in the clamor surrounding the presidential election. We hear about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Maybe if we’re lucky, we even get a little Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, there is a much more relevant man that most of the American public has never heard of: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
The Demopublicans would sure like to keep it that way. A recent poll showed Johnson receiving six percent of the American public’s votes. Such a popular voice deserves to be heard in the media and in debates. Unfortunately, the Commission on Presidential Debates—formed by Republicans and Democrats—requires a candidate to reach 15 percent in national polls before inclusion. This requirement essentially disqualifies third party members from participating in debates, severely limiting their exposure and chance at winning.
“Someone has to stand up and call this what it is—a rigged system designed entirely to protect and perpetuate the two-party duopoly,” said Johnson spokesman Ron Nielson. “That someone will be the Johnson campaign.”
Johnson began his business career while attending college by opening a door-to-door handyman business that helped fund his education. After his graduation, Johnson expanded the business into one of the largest and most successful construction companies in New Mexico. Throughout his life, Johnson has also had a passion for the outdoors. His accomplishments include a summit of the highest peaks on four continents, including Everest and several participations in Hawaii’s invitation-only Ironman Triathlon Championship.
Johnson began his political career in 1993 when he ran on the Republican ticket for Governor of New Mexico. In stark contrast to Obamney, Johnson ran a total of zero negative campaign advertisements. He chose, instead, to focus purely on the issues. The citizens of New Mexico, a state that traditionally votes Democrat, appreciated this fresh voice. They elected Johnson to be their governor.
In the presidential debates, voters were inundated with promises about job growth and spending cuts. Neither candidate has an impressive record on these issues, especially compared to that of Johnson. From 1994 to 2002, Johnson governed New Mexico. During those same years, the state saw an 11.6 percent rate of job growth and a balanced budget.
A key tenet of Johnson’s fight against our federal deficit is reduced military spending. Whereas Romney has proposed to increase military spending by $2 trillion and Obama has proposed minimal cuts, Johnson promises to cut our military spending by 43 percent.
“US military spending is more than that of every other country combined. There’s a culture of waste, fraud, and abuse in defense budgeting we simply can no longer tolerate,” said Johnson.
Our political culture glorifies military spending. Johnson, removed from the two major parties, is in a unique position to make changes to our defense budget.
Unlike many Republicans, Johnson’s understanding of a hands-off government applies to fiscal and social issues alike.
“The libertarian candidate for president is the only candidate talking about gun rights and gay rights in the same sentence,“ said Johnson at the Libertarian Party Convention.
An avid supporter of both gay rights and women’s rights, Johnson has fought extensively for civil liberties. He has gone so far as to call our country a “police state,” citing the Patriot Act as an example of the government’s invasion of our privacy.
Repealing government mandates would cut government spending in addition to increasing civil liberties. For example, the government has spent $30 billion on the war on drugs in this year alone. We waste billions of dollars on small-scale drug arrests and busts. Johnson has a strong opinion on the matter.
“I think that we should legalize marijuana now and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Seems logical to me,” he said in an interview with Larry King.
Again, Johnson’s isolation from either major party allows him to look at our government with a perspective untainted by that party’s demands and expectations.
Given his eight years of experience governing New Mexico, Johnson has the credentials to be our president. Who knows what could happen with just a bit more media attention. Although the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Johnson “almost a non-factor,” the party’s behavior tells a different tale. Alongside their efforts to minimize minority voting rights, they have attempted to eliminate Johnson’s name from the ballot in many states.
Simply put, Johnson is a threat and everybody in power knows it. Priebus wants the public to believe that a Libertarian vote is the equivalent of throwing “their vote away when we have an election year that’s about the future of America.” I agree with him on the second half of that statement. This is a big year. A vote for the Demopublicans is a vote for increased military spending, for the failed war on drugs, for limited civil liberties, and for more of the same promises to the middle class that never come true. A vote for a third party, whether Johnson or otherwise, is a statement that we are ready for a change. A vote for the duopoly is a symbol of complacence. That, to me, is the true waste of a vote.
Note: If you would like to sign the petition to let Gary Johnson participate in the debates, visit the following website: http://libertarianpetition.com/peticion.html