On Sunday, May 29, 2016, the Libertarian Party delegates cast their ballots to pick the presidential candidate that will go up against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton this November. The candidates to choose from were Gary Johnson, Austin Petersen, John Mcafee, Darryl W. Perry, Marc Allan Feldman and Kevin McCormick. After casting two ballots, former Republican Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson emerged victorious with approximately 55% of the vote. The delegation went on to elect the pro-gun control advocate and former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, with a little over 50% of the vote, to be Johnson’s Vice President. For anyone who has been watching the Libertarian Party’s nominating process closely, this is setting a dangerous precedent.
It began with Bob Barr, as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 2008, and the trend has continued throughout the 2012 election and now the 2016 election. The message that is being sent is, it doesn’t matter what beliefs you may hold that go against the principles of the party, as long as you are an elected official, then you are qualified to represent us. Over the last few months Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have proven themselves to be the very opposite of what a libertarian is. From forcing Jewish bakers to bake a cake for a Nazi to banning assault weapons. This is what the party has come to. No longer is it the party of principle but the party of failed Republicans.
Many are calling for unity so we can beat Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In response to that I ask, why? Why should I support someone who does not recognize the right to freedom of association? Why should I support someone who will get rid of the income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax and then turn around and implement a, revenue neutral, 28% sales tax? Why should I support someone who will surround himself with the likes of gun grabber Bill Weld? Why should we violate liberty in order to promote liberty?
I’m all for pragmatism, but there comes a point where “pragmatism” is nothing more than infringing on the rights of others. I could make the case that electing Bernie Sanders is being pragmatic because he supports auditing the federal reserve, or electing Donald Trump because he’s less of a warmonger than Hillary Clinton. But they still do not make the cut, and I put Gary Johnson and Bill Weld in that same category.
If the Libertarian Party wants be a viable third option, then they will have to be more than Republican and Democrat lite. Libertarians can be elected with their principles intact, but it certainly won’t be easy. Just as Darryl W. Perry said in his prophetic concession speech, “The Libertarian Party is at a crossroads.” I hope that it is not too late for the party to correct its mistakes.
I will not be supporting Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, because I do not believe we need to sacrifice principles to get elected, and I believe the Libertarian Party can do much better. I will not fall in line.