It’s short notice, but there’s another Libertarian Party town hall scheduled for CNN this week. Governor Gary Johnson’s campaign announced the hourlong August 3rd town hall today on social media
This is really, really good, especially for the disaffected conservatives and Republicans who don’t want to support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. It gives them the chance to check out Johnson and Bill Weld for themselves, instead of what they’ve read on blogs or newspapers. Voters can decide whether or not they want to support a Johnson/Weld team.
It also gives the candidates a chance to differentiate themselves from Trump and Clinton. Yes, both Johnson and Weld have made mistakes in previous public appearances (Weld’s comments on Supreme Court justices and which senators he prefers are laughable), and I really hope Anderson Cooper asks them about religious liberty, and follows up with a, “What happens if federal law runs sideways with the Constitution?” question. That’s certainly a question I really want to hear Johnson answer.
I do hope Anderson stays away from the entire legal marijuana question because that’s something which seems to drag down conservatives when it comes to Johnson. We know he’s for legal weed. We know he’s smoked weed. Let’s talk about something else. Like the fact Johnson is a successful businessman, and built Big J Enterprises from just two employees (he and his late wife) to a multi-million-dollar company. Recount his experiences climbing mountains or how he’s survived two broken backs. Do what Mitt Romney couldn’t do: relate to people on a basic level! As much as I hate politicians discussing personal stuff, this is going to matter to voters. As much as Trump likes to paint himself as an “every man,” Johnson is closer to an every man than Trump will ever be.
This is a huge opportunity for the Libertarian Party ticket, especially in an election where both Clinton and Trump have record unlikable ratings. Johnson and Weld can get their “fiscally conservative, socially tolerant,” message out there and show just why they should be picked over the other two. Just don’t screw it up. It’s fine to “be nice,” but at least be willing to criticize the political positions of your opponents. That’s going to separate you from the pack even more than just talking nice. Be the adult in the room, but be forceful when necessary. It’s in Johnson’s DNA, he just has to be willing to show it.