As someone who has been a heavy critic of the Gary Johnson campaign, I’ve run into four main arguments from his supporters who are wary of my criticisms. They say that people should vote for Gary Johnson because
- It helps spread the message of libertarianism
- He’s better than Clinton and Trump
- It will help end the two-party dictatorship
- It will help grow the Libertarian Party
A deeper examination will reveal that these four arguments do not hold their weight, and that there is literally no logic in voting Gary Johnson for President this November.
Refuting point #1: It helps spread the message of libertarianism
I can understand why someone would want to vote for a candidate for the sake of promoting libertarian ideas. While libertarians usually don’t gain much ground through the political process, it still remains the best avenue to attract fresh minds to our ideology. No one was more successful in bringing people to libertarianism than Ron Paul. But Gary Johnson is far from Ron Paul.
If you want to vote for a candidate to help spread libertarian ideas, then you shouldn’t be voting for Johnson, because he is spitting in the face of everything we stand for. Over the course of his campaign, Johnson has stated that Jewish bakers should be forced to make Nazi wedding cakes, that he would continue to federally fund Planned Parenthood, scientific research, green energy, and NASA, that he likes the idea of equal pay for equal work, that he likes the idea of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, that he agrees with Bernie Sanders 73% of the time, that the free market bankrupted coal, that North Korea is the greatest threat to our national security, that he supports humanitarian wars, that he supports a carbon tax (which is ironically the type of policy responsible for bankrupting coal), that recessions are caused by consumers getting overheated, that he wants the US to remain in the United Nations, that he supports TPP, that he believes Hillary Clinton is no criminal, and that he supports a basic, government subsidized income.
Okay so he’s not perfect, you’re probably saying. But things only get worse when you take a look at his VP, Bill Weld. As governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld proposed and supported some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation, supported the Patriot Act, as well as the Iraq War and Trump style eminent domain. In 2008, Bill Weld endorsed Barack Obama for President, and in 2012 endorsed Mitt Romney. Prior to becoming the Vice Presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party in 2016, Weld wasn’t even supporting his own running mate, but had instead endorsed John Kasich for President.
While supporting Kasich, Weld made appearances on local television boasting about his lifelong relationship with Hillary Clinton. He also went on local television and extolled that he has “always been in favor of the universal [Obamacare] mandate.” In addition to this, Weld recently stated that he believes a libertarian foreign policy consists of having “superior air power and sea power projected around the world.” To make matters worse, Gary Johnson refers to Bill Weld as “the original libertarian,” as well as his “role model in politics.”
Johnson is a confused moderate at best, but Bill Weld is an establishment hack at worst. For anyone who’s paid attention to the Johnson/Weld campaign, Weld has been getting more airtime than Johnson, which is for obvious reasons, terrible for libertarianism. But even when Gary is given the spotlight, he botches it.
A month ago, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld had the biggest media exposure of their life, appearing on an hour long CNN Town Hall. Gary had the opportunity to open up millions of new minds to the ideas of liberty, but instead failed to articulate any real libertarian principles. When asked about the war on drugs, he neglected to explain its failures and instead said, “We are not espousing the legalization of any drugs outside of marijuana.” When Chris Cuomo pressed him further, saying, “It seems to me that there’s an inconsistency here. Either you think drugs should be legalized or not,” Gary responded with, “Keep the drugs illegal.”
Johnson and Weld spent the rest of the Town Hall pandering to Democrats instead of promoting libertarianism. Gary Johnson called Hillary Clinton a “wonderful public servant,” and Bill Weld called Barack Obama “statesman like,” and complimented his second presidential term. When asked about their views on gun control, Gary Johnson said, “I don’t think our position would be making it easier. We’re not looking to roll back anything.” Johnson and Weld also doubled down on wanting to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Gary Johnson chokes under pressure and was barely even able to debate Austin Petersen and John McAfee throughout the Libertarian primary. If he is able to make it into the general debates against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, he will crumble under the weight of the two biggest bullies in the history of politics. All those who know nothing of libertarianism will look to Gary Johnson as the golden calf of our philosophy, and will think that everything he says is what we believe in. And all of the reasonable Republicans and Democrats watching will be convinced that the statist gibberish coming out of his mouth is what libertarians stand for.
There is no logic in voting for Gary Johnson if you want to help spread libertarianism. If you are voting for Gary Johnson for the sake of promoting libertarian ideas, you’re not helping to spread the philosophy of anything other than statism. The Johnson/Weld campaign has been an utter trainwreck and an utter disgrace to the message of Ron Paul. And if you acknowledge all of their faults but still seek to promote their campaign for the sake of libertarianism, then you are lying to people about what the philosophy is, which is no more honorable.
Refuting point #2: He’s better than Clinton and Trump
Many Johnson supporters will concede that Gary is far from being a perfect libertarian, or really being libertarian at all. But they still plan on voting for him because “at least he’s better than Hillary or Trump.” This then becomes the lesser of the evils argument, instead of one about sound, philosophical principles.
By choosing to vote for a lesser of the evils, you are acknowledging that though each of the candidates are evil, you wish to limit the amount of evil that will be present in the White House. If this is the case, then there is no logic in voting for Gary Johnson, since he has little chance of even making it into the presidential debates, let alone the White House.
If one wants to limit the evil in government, then it becomes paramount to for vote for the lesser of the evils which has a legitimate chance of winning the election. It is therefore illogical to vote for Gary, when this is now one less vote going towards the candidate who has a reasonable opportunity of lessening the evil in office. Anyone voting for Gary because he’s “better than Hillary or Trump” should actually be voting for either Hillary or Trump in order to limit the amount of damage our next president can do. Otherwise it’s a moot point to support Gary because he is a lesser evil.
Refuting point #3: It will help end the two-party dictatorship
Ending the two-party dictatorship would be great, but is this really the end all be all of our philosophy? One can just as easily vote for the Green Party, or the Communist Party, if they seek to end the two-party dictatorship. Yet no reasonable libertarian would ever advocate for that, since these parties are not representative of our views.
Ron Paul ran in the Republican Party. Rand Paul ran in the Republican Party. Justin Amash ran in the Republican Party. Thomas Massie ran in the Republican Party. And they have all made greater strides towards liberty than any Libertarian Party candidate ever has. There is nothing inherently wrong with working within the two major parties in order to promote our ideas. What should matter is the individual running, and not the party they are running under. What good is voting against the two-party dictatorship if you’re just going to vote for a candidate who is no different than the candidates in the two major parties that you spend your time bickering about?
Refuting point #4: It will help grow the Libertarian Party
I am utterly shocked by the number of libertarians that wish to employ the same line of thinking which helped corrupt the Republican and Democratic Parties. Placing party above principle is precisely why the Tea Party and Occupy movements met a screeching end, and were replaced by a blind unity to party loyalists and big government progressives. This is why we continue to get stuck with the Hillary Clintons and Donald Trumps, and look in the mirror asking ourselves what happened to this country.
What good is growing the Libertarian Party if it is going to be represented by people that are not libertarians? What good is growing the Libertarian Party when it is about to become the party of Romney and Bush?
I am often told that libertarians should support Gary Johnson today, that way the party can get federal matching funds, which will help actual liberty minded candidates tomorrow. But this is the exact same lie that was told to the Tea Party movement years ago. Vote for the GOP today, and we’ll shrink government tomorrow. Yet here we are years later still waiting for the GOP to shrink government. Instead, they continue to give President Obama everything he wants (it’s almost like they think he’s a wonderful public servant).
Remember when George W. Bush said, “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market”? To vote for Johnson is to say “I’ve abandoned libertarian principles to save libertarianism.”
Do you honestly believe that the Libertarian Party will ever want liberty to succeed when it’s the big government progressives who are getting them money and airtime? If another Ron Paul were to come along, do you honestly believe the LP would nominate him over a Gary Johnson or Bob Barr? Do you honestly believe that a party which has failed to gain any ground in its 45 year history is competent enough to become a leading voice for liberty? If the Libertarian Party refuses to nominate liberty minded candidates while it is still small, why would they suddenly nominate liberty minded candidates when they are much larger and backed by special interests?
If you want the Libertarian Party to become the GOP Lite, go ahead and vote for Gary Johnson. But if you want to promote the genuine ideas of liberty, there is no logic in heading out in November and casting a vote for Gary Johnson.
There is no logic in voting for Gary Johnson. He is not helping to spread the ideas of liberty, he is a wasted vote if you are looking to vote for the lesser of the evils, and it makes no sense to vote for him in order to end the two-party dictatorship and grow the Libertarian Party. We are better than this. We are the leading intellectuals of our society and can do better than to promote a candidate that has no understanding of our philosophy, and his Clinton loving running mate who seeks to undermine everything we stand for. A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote to undo all of the progress libertarians have made over the last 8 years, and a vote to move us back to square one.