The former Governor of New Mexico is the impending Libertarian party nominee for president. He’s a small government conservative that will be on the ballot in all 50 states.
Instead of searching for a viable, conservative alternative to Donald Trump, Mitt Romney and the #NeverTrump brigade should put their weight and capital behind Gary Johnson. Sure he’s not exactly an insider, and his non-interventionist approach, as well as his support of gay marriage and marijuana legalization, would put him at odds with certain swaths of republican voters, but he’s a legitimate alternative to Trump and Hillary, and he shouldn’t be ignored. We should however ignore his remarkably unimaginative campaign slogan, “Be Libertarian With Me” and his selection of eye-wear.
If Johnson is able to make it into a few debates, he has a shot to make a real impact on this election. With enough media coverage, Johnson stands to potentially grab solid portions of Bernie Sanders supporters who simply refuse to cast a vote for Hillary, as well as disillusioned republicans who just can’t pull the lever for Trump. Now Sanders wants to make the government bigger and Johnson wants to make it smaller, which is a fundamental difference to how each would govern, but the two agree on many big issues. They’re both anti-war, pro-choice, pro gay marriage and marijuana legalization, and they both oppose bail outs, corporate welfare and the Patriot Act. They also disagree on a number of things, most directly, welfare and healthcare. But certain Sanders supporters and certain anti-Trump repubs will find a lot of common ground with Johnson. Furthermore, he’s known for his “everyman” appeal, which should help him tap into the anti-establishment wave on both sides of the aisle.
The #NeverTrump folks seem to be looking for someone with a bit more polish, someone with name recognition—which further proves that they still don’t get it. Right wing voters don’t want Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan or even Ben Sasse—they want something different. Gary Johnson has a chance to energize the youth movement on the right and the party is simply too blind to see it. They’re just too entrenched in the mechanisms of the past, mechanisms that have been entirely dismantled by one Donald John Trump. It’s too late for a non-affiliated, third party candidate to get on the ballot in all 50 states, so that shouldn’t even be on the table. But Johnson—assuming he wins the libertarian nomination—will be on that page/screen with Hillary and Don.
With all this said, Johnson’s chances of winning the election are pretty much nil. If his candidacy takes off, it will likely only serve to hand Hillary the presidency on a silver platter. But anyone else the GOP elite can dream up to battle Trump will do the same thing. At least with Johnson they’d be making an interesting, forward-thinking choice. At least with Johnson they’d be making an interesting, forward-thinking choice, and showing—for the very first time—that they recognize the landscape has transformed.
If you’re a righty who hates Trump, stop pining for the white knight/dark horse candidate, you already have your alternative.
by Jesse Mechanic