By Sara Ellington
Libertarian candidate Governor Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in all fifty states this election. With the traction he’s been picking up lately, you’re hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know who he is, but still receives significantly less media coverage than the two major party candidates, so here’s a quick rundown of the basics straight from his website. If you find yourself nodding along or shouting, “YES” at your computer, you may be a Libertarian, too.
Johnson’s stance exemplifies the foundation of the Libertarian Party: a separation of church and state and minimal government infringement in personal affairs. Despite his personal stance against it, he respects the outcome of Roe v. Wade and vows to uphold it.
As the previous governor of New Mexico – a border state – Johnson seems to have a good grasp on where immigration is at and where it needs to be going. Instead of Trump’s method of building a wall, he wants to break down the walls keeping immigrants out (literally and metaphorically). Johnson advocates for, “Providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.”
Taxes are one of the most divisive issues battled out in Washington, and Johnson seeks a total overhaul. Eventually, he wants to replace all income taxes “with a single consumption tax that determines your tax burden by how much you spend, not how much you earn.” Johnson calls the tax code a “nightmare” and plans to eliminate the possibility of utilizing tax loopholes. (An underhanded insult at Trump?)
Marijuana consumers listen up: Johnson doesn’t want to make just medical marijuana legal, he wants to make all weed legal. He thinks drug issues warrant more attention from the medical side of the country than the law-enforcement side, calling the War on Drugs an “expensive failure.” Johnson also notes it has unfairly marginalized minorities and lower-income individuals, which leads him to also take a stance – though a vague one – on criminal justice reform.
Another somewhat vague answer is Johnson’s view on the environment. While he concedes climate change is occurring and man’s activities aggravate global warming, in typical Libertarian fashion he doesn’t think it’s the government’s place to create restrictions on businesses, since that often leaves the big businesses with political allies as winners anyway, instead of the groups actually trying to conduct change.
Term limits isn’t something many politicians discuss in comparison to more controversial issues, but Johnson is passionate about it, believing the lack of them only leads to more corruption on The Hill and a distraction from the key issues at hand (because the main priority is re-election).
Bonus: Everybody Makes Mistakes
A dose of criticism is needed here, though. Gov. Johnson has had a growing amount of faux pas in interviews recently. From not knowing what Aleppo is to struggling to name his favorite foreign leader, The New York Times goes into painful details on the candidate’s slipups. And BuzzFeed – faithfully bringing humor to otherwise awkward and disappointing events – even created the quiz, “Are You Smarter Than Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson?”
In summary, if you want to hear his platform in his own words (and get a feel for his personality), here’s a two-minute video from CNN. In the majority of his own campaign videos he’s more candid and goofy, so if you’re feeling ‘all in,’ head over to his Facebook page.
Now, it isn’t anyone’s place to tell another person who to vote for. However, if your ideology closely aligns with the Libertarian ticket, don’t dismiss it as a “throw-away vote” simply because Johnson and Weld are third party – vote your ideals, vote your conscience, vote who you want to see in office.