Gary Johnson (1953- ), former Republican governor of New Mexico (1995-2003), is running for US president in 2016 as a Libertarian.
Unlike Donald Trump, Johnson has held elected office. And also unlike Trump, he is a self-made millionaire (construction). Until last January, Johnson was the head of Cannabis Sativa, Inc, which sells marijuana products. He still owns stock in the company.
His vice president is William Weld, also a two-term Republican governor of a blue state, Massachusetts (1991-1997). Weld is more mainstream and a sharp debater.
Polls: As of August 2016, about 10% say they will vote for Johnson, putting him in third place, ahead of the Green Party’s Jill Stein (4%). His strongest support is among voters under 30 (19%). His weakest is among Blacks (4%) and those 65 or older (4%).
He needs 15% nationwide to appear in the debates.
- For: abortion, marijuana, gay marriage, school vouchers, smaller government, lower taxes, a national sales tax instead of income tax.
- Against: War on Drugs (should be a public health issue), miltary adventures abroad (makes things worse), Trump’s wall (racist).
- Doubts about global warming being man-made.
He would cut Medicare, Medicaid and the military.
His main policy for Blacks is to end the War on Drugs, which he compares to the prohibition of alcohol in the early 1900s.
Libertarians: William Weld put the libertarian philosophy this way:
“We want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom. And I will tell you the polling shows a majority of Americans think that.”
That seems overstated. Only 22% support gay marriage yet at the same time oppose income redistribution.
Libertarians do best in western states like Utah, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The party ran Ron Paul as president in 1988, and David Koch of the Koch Brothers as vice president in 1980.
Johnson supporters are 22% Republican, 11% Democratic and 62%
independent. They are 81% White. When he ran for governor he had strong Native American support, mainly over the issue of gambling. It put him over the top.
Endorsements: Jesse Ventura, Raven-Symone, Glenn Beck, John Stossel, Marijuana Policy Project. So far no big-name Republicans, despite their supposed distaste of Donald Trump.
Path to victory: Johnson will have to win at least one state and stop both Trump and Clinton from winning an outright majority on election day (pictured above). If he can do that, the election gets thrown to the House of Representatives, one state, one vote. There he could win as a compromise between Trump and Clinton supporters.
No third-party candidate has won any states since George Wallace in 1968. In late summer Wallace was polling at 17%. Johnson so far is not expected to win any states, not even his home state.
Johnson also ran in 2012 where he got 1% of the vote, a record for the Libertarian Party. This time he will likely get 7%, which would qualify them for federal campaign funds for 2020.
Hobbies: He has climbed the tallest mountain on each continent (except presumably Antarctica).
Signature style: suit, tie, Nikes.
Fan of: Ayn Rand.
– Abagond, 2016.
Sources: mainly Pew Research (August polling), New Yorker (general profile), Indian Country Today (Native Anericans), VOA (Weld quote), FiveThirtyEight (the 22% figure), Wikipedia (endorsements), CNN Town Hall (position on Blacks).
- 2016 election for US president
- The War on Drugs as the New Jim Crow
- Native Americans
- Ayn Rand Fan Club