Keep America Great: Gary Johnson for President

It tickled me to get this 1964 button to wear, since in '64 I backed Johnson's opponent

It tickled me to get this 1964 button to wear, since in ’64 I backed Johnson’s opponent

Recently an undecided voter, now I’m decided: for Gary Johnson, former New Mexico Governor, the newly nominated Libertarian candidate.

I cannot give Hillary my sacred vote, and hence endorsement. After all her scandals (I haven’t forgotten “Travelgate,” smearing honest civil servants to replace them with her toadies), her latest response on the e-mail stuff is appalling. images5Pity she wouldn’t give “The Speech Hillary Won’t Give,” that I wrote for her. And her recent swerve left is both dishonest and wrong.

Republicans justify rallying behind Trump by casting Hillary as the Devil. But she’s an angel compared to him. I’ve criticized demonizing political foes, but make an exception for Trump. He’s a bad man. Vile. A monster.  Unknown-1With an ego already out of control, giving him the presidency would be disastrous. To thwart the Devil, Republicans would unleash Godzilla. At least Satan has some human characteristics. Thomas Friedman, in a great recent column, rightly says the GOP should declare moral bankruptcy.

But enough negativity. Fortunately there is a third option. Gary Johnson offers a positive vision that I’m proud to support – the vision of America’s founding ideals – personal liberty and responsibility, an economy based not on crony capitalism but free competition, and inclusiveness and openness, to people and to global commerce. imagesThis has made America great. Shutting our borders to people and trade would wreck it.

Johnson’s libertarianism isn’t actually radical; to the contrary, he’s in fact the most centrist candidate, with policies that generally are serious, responsible, and reasonable. I don’t agree with every detail, but it’s a welcome contrast to Hillary’s pandering populism and Trump’s ignorant vileness. Johnson is the thinking person’s candidate. If only people would think enough.Unknown-1

One point I did not discuss in my “undecided” blog post is the Kantian challenge in any moral quandary: what if everyone did the same as you? Well, if everyone voted for Johnson, the outcome would be great. But more realistically, the question is what if a lot of people vote for him?

Conventional wisdom says he’ll take votes from Trump, because libertarianism is closer to traditional Republican principles. But those principles have nothing to do with Trump’s candidacy, so conventional wisdom is out the window. The real divide now is between civic sanity and brainless yahooism. By splitting the sane vote, Johnson could help Trump.

Yet one shouldn’t be swayed by what other voters might do. That’s unpredictable; and the point of voting is not to win, but to register one’s views. Johnson is a great candidate who stands for the right things. And voting for Johnson is being true to myself.


With the GOP hopelessly broken, Friedman yearns for the emergence of a “New Republican party,” a responsible and principled center-right party. It would actually represent the electorate’s biggest segment. The institutional obstacles are great. But maybe, just maybe, Trump will manage to finally burn down the old house, in an electoral cataclysm, so something new can rise from the ashes. Gary Johnson’s Libertarian party might be its embryo.


7 Responses to “Keep America Great: Gary Johnson for President”

  1. bruce Says:

    I would love a Gary Johnson as President. I am a libertarian at ground level.
    Pretty much given up on that ever being near where the USA goes again. As I see it, the pendulum of movement in American politics is not away from Government intervention. “There ought to be a law” , “wouldn’t be great if” crowd is still in ascendance.

    Even if its not something I think is right, its the tide. From that vantage, Trump, no matter how flawed, indicates a course correction of a degree or two.
    But then I am resigned, The youth, the upcoming will have their way. And that, no matter how wrong, is as it should be. Its an evolutionary result.

  2. Roger Green Says:

    I thought the GOP gave him the shaft in 2012 when he tried to run. He couldn’t get on the stage, even as Herman Cain 9-9-9ed his way into leading the polls for a time. I’m actually hoping that Johnson hits 15% of the polls which will get him on the debate floor.

  3. Mark V Says:

    The view is no nicer over here on the left of liberal side of the spectrum. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 and Nader in 2000 because I found the major party candidates unacceptable. This was personally satisfying, but had no material effect. I might have had regrets if I had voted for Nader in Florida.

    Thomas Friedman complains that “the world we shaped after W. W. ii is going wobbly.” Did he really think we’d fixed it forever? What hubris!

  4. Lee Says:

    For better or worse, our general election works much better as a two-person contest. Could Gary Johnson have run in either the Republican or Democratic primaries or would that have been too morally objectionable / technically infeasible?

    Perhaps there is hope that the Republican establishment would back Johnson instead of Trump, returning us to a workable, two-person Johnson-Clinton contest!

    If History is any indication, the winner-take-all aspect of the New York state electoral college means that you can vote for Johnson with a clean conscience.

  5. Lee Says:

    What if Johnson chose Rubio as vice president for his ticket? Might the Republican establishment be really tempted to dump Trump?

  6. rationaloptimist Says:

    Republicans are now locked into their dance-with-death with Trump. Any talk of avoiding his nomination by fiddling the rules has vanished. Rubio has endorsed Trump. Johnson’s running mate is former Mass. Gov. William Weld.
    Had Johnson run in the GOP primaries, he would have presumably suffered the same fate as the other more or less reasonable candidates who have tried that.

  7. Bob Cutler Says:

    Yes, either Clinton or Trump may win, but voting for someone else like Johnson still makes sense. If we can’t avoid a bad choice, at least let’s do what we can to reduce the perception of a mandate. Every non-Clinton, non-Trump vote will have value.

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