Gary Johnson officially leaves the GOP to run as a Libertarian

posted at 2:45 pm on December 28, 2011 by Tina Korbe

One-joke wonder Gary Johnson — the former governor of New Mexico and erstwhile GOP presidential candidate — today officially announced he will run for president as a Libertarian. The Hill reports:

“Frankly, I have been deeply disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process,” Johnson said in a statement released by his presidential campaign. He named GOP candidates Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, saying they have “no national name identification” yet are allowed to participate in debates. …

Johnson acknowledged in his announcement that he is not the only self-avowed Libertarian in the race. “While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee he will be the Republican nominee,” he said. “If I earn the Libertarian nomination, I will be on the ballot in all 50 states. I will not be held hostage to a system rigged for the wealthiest and best-known candidates in a handful of states who happen to have early primaries. And most important, we will offer a political “home” for millions of Americans who are not finding one in the current political establishment or its candidates.”

Personally, I wouldn’t have minded watching Johnson on the GOP debate stage more than twice. Some barrier to entry has to exist, but, so far, the barrier has been so low as to make Johnson’s exclusion more remarkable than it should be. In other words, the former governor has a point: Other candidates might be better-connected, but they weren’t necessarily more viable prior to the publicity they received through the debates.

Then again, Johnson is a Libertarian — so to run under that label makes the most sense. The question now is whether this will make any difference at all in the general election. A Gary Johnson third-party run is a very different proposition from a Ron Paul third-party run, and won’t on its own be much of a game-changer. But, as The Christian Science Monitor explains, he could still have some effect:

Historically, Libertarian candidates haven’t made enough of a dent to spoil the chances of a major-party candidate, but they tend to “disproportionately hurt Republicans,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

“If this continues to be a time of economic dislocation … then given American history, you would expect one or more independent candidates,” Professor Sabato says.

More than half of Americans – 55 percent – say a third party is needed, compared with 38 percent who say the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, according to a Gallup poll this fall. …

In the swing state of New Mexico, Johnson as a Libertarian would draw 20 to 23 percent support in a three-way race for president, with Obama at 44 to 45 percent, and Gingrich or Romney coming in second, at 28 percent and 27 percent respectively, according to a recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) New Mexico survey.

In all likelihood, whatever effect Johnson did have would be to the detriment of the GOP. With the novel third-party group Americans Elect also gaining momentum and with Donald Trump continually hinting at an independent run, the 2012 race could become less a referendum on Obama or a clear-cut choice between two sharply contrasting visions as a confused experiment. The least desirable result in any election is the result that obfuscates the mandate the American people try to send. At a time when jobs and the economy remain a top concern of many Americans — and as majorities still express the desire to reduce spending — voters need to be especially careful to consider the entire context of their vote and to adjust it accordingly to ensure our newly elected officials understand at the very least that they have an obligation to future generations to reduce the debt and deficit.


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Really? I never signed a contract. So you, too, are liberal, and coming down against individual liberty.

Dante on December 29, 2011 at 8:56 AM

No, I am a conservative. The word comes from the latin “to preserve or maintain”. It’s people like you who bear a close similarity to revolutionary leftism.

pauljc on December 29, 2011 at 9:19 AM

No, I am a conservative. The word comes from the latin “to preserve or maintain”. It’s people like you who bear a close similarity to revolutionary leftism.

pauljc on December 29, 2011 at 9:19 AM

No, you’re liberal, wanting the government to outlaw particular behavior because you don’t like it. That isn’t championing individual liberty. So by saying “conserve or maintain,” you are referring to the status quo? Ate you asupporter of Obamacare? After all, it is the law. Don’t you want to “conserve and maintain” the law?

Me? I believe we are free to live our own lives and make our own choices, even if they’re bad ones. There isn’t anything leftist about liberty. Revolutionary, perhaps, given the history of the world is totalitarianism, but leftist? No.

Dante on December 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM

@ svs22422

I see from a Google search of your USER I.D. that you’re very, very ‘big’ into the Happy Plant.

So Johnson is your guy, certainly, or perhaps Ron Paul.

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 3:52 AM

when my company started randomly drug testing two years ago i went on a quest to prove to myself and some of my coservative co-workers that randomly drug testing us was unamerican and a position the right should not be supporting.my hotair bio shows some of this info that i found,so if you can access that,it will show you what i have uncovered.
yes i’am for personal liberty,and our personal and civil liberty’s are under tremendous attack from both the left and right.

William Buckley said this; intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into ” INTELLECTUAL SLOTH AND MORAL FANATICISM,” ”LEGAL PRACTICES SHOULD BE INFORMED BY REALITIES.”

National Review Online: Free Weeds

svs22422 on December 29, 2011 at 10:02 AM

@ svs22422

I see from a Google search of your USER I.D. that you’re very, very ‘big’ into the Happy Plant.

So Johnson is your guy, certainly, or perhaps Ron Paul.

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 3:52 AM

President Ronald Reagan: Reagan,in his own hand page 399.”If adults want to take such chances,that is their business.” this was his position on marijuana use.

svs22422 on December 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

If Romney Obama or Newt Obama are the Republican choice to run against Barack Obama and Johnson can convince me he is strong on national defense, I’ll vote for him and let the nation fall as it wishes.

If Romney Obama is elected we slowly transform into a government that owns its citizens in fee simple and micromanages their lives. If Barack Obama is elected we quickly transform into a government that owns its citizens in fee simple and micromanages their lives. If the bandage is going to be ripped off and hurt like hell, I am willing to risk getting it over with fast to get a saner person elected.

{^_^}

herself on December 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Perhaps a vote for a Libertarian candidate is an over reaction. But I am very weary of losig my freedoms; we lost more freedoms with GW as President and Repubs were in control of the legislature than we did during all of Bill Clinton’s 2 terms.
A few examples-
campaign finance reform
creation of TSA and unionizing them
medicare drug benefit
no child left behind- The Feds have no business dicating anything to our local schools.

The national Republicans need to pay attention to the state of WI our Republicans are doing all they can to restore freedom and fiscal sanity.
On the national scene Re-Elect No Body

elkchess on December 29, 2011 at 11:49 AM

In the swing state of New Mexico, Johnson as a Libertarian would draw 20 to 23 percent support in a three-way race for president, with Obama at 44 to 45 percent, and Gingrich or Romney coming in second, at 28 percent and 27 percent respectively, according to a recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) New Mexico survey.

Libertarian candidates often get higher numbers in opinion polls (especially long before an election) than in actual elections, where they are lucky to get 1 or 2 percent. When it becomes obvious that a Libertarian candidate can’t win, most would-be Libertarian voters decide not to “waste” their vote, and go back to a major-party candidate, usually the Republican.

But those 1 or 2 percent of diehard Libertarian voters can make a difference in a close race…in favor of the Democrat, by depriving the Republican of badly needed votes.

Earth to Libertarian voters: the next President will be either Obama or a Republican. If you don’t want to re-elect Obama, bring a clothespin for your nose, but vote for the Republican nominee.

Steve Z on December 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Lots of talk about wasting votes. Maybe not, depends on the state.

Oregon will be blue this election. Since Oregon is a winner take all state, it matters not one wit how you vote against the current regime.

old school on December 29, 2011 at 1:45 PM

He was elected Governor twice in a blue state because he advocated smaller government and lower taxes and actually followed through on his promises. He is anything but a “clown”.

Wendya on December 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I beg to differ. He is very much a clown.

Rod Blagojevich was elected Governor twice in Illinois promising unicorns, puppies, rainbows and pie in the sky — he is about to enter Federal prison. Illinois has more than four times the electoral votes of New Mexico. California, with their 55 electoral votes, has elected a senile 1960s hippie and an Austrian action-movie actor Governor. Some states elect nitwits Governor.

I find your argument unpersuasive.

Jaibones on December 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM

But those 1 or 2 percent of diehard Libertarian voters can make a difference in a close race…in favor of the Democrat, by depriving the Republican of badly needed votes.

Steve Z on December 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Oh, that poor, poor Republican. How dare people cast votes for their candidate of choice!

Dante on December 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

No, you’re liberal, wanting the government to outlaw particular behavior because you don’t like it. That isn’t championing individual liberty.

I don’t know where you’re getting this “more personal choice = more conservative” idea, but it simply isn’t true. Is pro-choice the conservative position on abortion now? What about pro-Gay Marriage? If not, why not?

pauljc on December 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

So I’m supposed to vote for Mittens because Johnson is like Blagojevich…or something.

Earth to Republican party types. I don’t give a flying bleep who the candidate of the “bundlers” is. I vote for who best represents me. Some kook, when not worshiping golden tablets dug up in New York & guys with 30 wives, goes around stating that he thinks power plants kill people, is not my guy.

On my kook scale (since being a kook is what Johnson supposedly is) Mormanism > wanting food labeling. Sorry to be so blunt, but that’s just the way I roll.

MNHawk on December 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

pauljc on December 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

You know, child, if you’re not capable of anything other than throwing out red herrings, and attempts at deflection, maybe you should just hang it up?

MNHawk on December 29, 2011 at 3:07 PM

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