Behold! There is a white knight for anti-Trump Republicans after all. His name is Gary Johnson, Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, now turned Libertarian and likely to be that party’s nominee for president in 2016. He’s polling at 10% in matchups with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the moment, and really, he could gain some traction this year.
Johnson is the candidate that would have been created in a lab to attract “limited government” Republicans who like everything about Trump’s tax and economic policies but don’t want to vote for a misogynist, mobbed up, white nationalist-inspiring know-nothing. I mean, look at Johnson’s issue positions:
- He would shift the tax burden from the rich to the working and middle classes through eliminating all tax on income and establishing a nationwide consumption tax.
- He rails against Trumpian immigration policy and supports a two-year grace period for the millions of currently undocumented immigrants residing in the country.
- He loves term limits for elected officials.
- Johnson believes the federal debt is going to destroy us all, so we’d better slash the welfare state and make sure lazy senior citizens work until they’re at least 72.
- He thinks the health insurance market is basically the same as any other market, so it shouldn’t be regulated. If Americans are too lazy to get rich and afford plans that cover anything more than catastrophe after huge deductibles, them’s the breaks.
- He’s a harsh critic of our criminal justice system and U.S. drug policy, would like to see marijuana legalized, and loves privatizing prisons.
- For that matter, Johnson loves privatizing everything.
- On climate change, Johnson thinks the government shouldn’t do anything about it. But hey, at least he thinks it’s probably happening!
- He’s pro-choice, but not too pro-choice!
- Johnson thinks that people and corporations should be able to contribute as much money as they want to candidates seeking election, but it’s problematic if public sector unions make contributions.
- He loves guns and thinks gun control doesn’t work. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, because logic.
- Johnson thinks the federal government can’t do anything right, but state governments are great, so put them in complete control of education, Medicaid, making sure black people can use the same bathrooms as white people, etc.
- He wooed his current partner by having her read Ayn Rand, which allows me to link to my all-time favorite Rand joke: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
I can’t help but editorialize around some of Johnson’s positions, so it must be clear I won’t be voting for him. But Republicans disaffected by Trump, he’s your man!
*This advice is not well-meaning. In 2000, Ralph Nader only needed 2.74% of the national popular vote to cost Al Gore the presidency.