Last night on CNN town hall, former New Mexico Governor and now presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson made the case for going third party this November. I don’t know this to be true, but I’d be willing to bet a few shiny pennies that this particular town hall had a higher viewership than any other Libertarian town hall held 3 months before a presidential election. Why? Donald J Trump. Not only has Trump proven himself not to be a conservative, he has spent more time attacking and demonizing conservatives than he has campaigning on behalf them. In the wake of this, Trump’s most ardent media surrogates have made fools of themselves insisting that the lifelong New York Democrat is a dyed in the wool conservative despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
It’s only natural that such a nominee in the Republican Party would give conservatives pause and incentivize them to look elsewhere for a viable alternative. For many conservative voters, the Libertarian Party has always been an interesting think-tank of sorts with some good ideas and a different take on what liberty should look like in America. I’m personally a big fan of Matt Kibbe, a leading advocate of Libertarianism and founder of FreedomWorks. He’s a great example of a Libertarian who agrees with conservatives on maybe as much as 90% of our mainstream ideas, just with different perspectives and ways of articulating them. We need more people like Matt Kibbe.
Gary Johnson we could do without. Ditto his running mate, William Weld.
If you’re willing to cite your conservative credentials as grounds for not voting Donald Trump in this election, then Gary Johnson should also not be a considerable option. Take for example his stance on religious liberty. I’m sure Gary would tell you he’s and advocate for religious liberty; he’s a Libertarian God’s sake. Well when the rubber meets the road, he is either lying or is extremely uncomfortable in his positions. In the case of the bakery owner’s refusal to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding on religious objections, Gary Johnson is bizarrely comfortable with the federal government forcing the transaction to take place. Mind you, this is a private business owner who wishes to refuse service for personal reasons, but hey, since when doesn’t limited government mean forcing sales and transactions between a business and its customers?
Maybe you think the bakery owner is a jerk but in a free country, if you own your own business, you should be allowed to conduct (or not) business with whomever you like. It really is that simple. Being a country of mostly good and decent people, the bigots and jerks would quickly be rendered an irrelevant minority, especially thanks to our free market system. If any party in this country would have that opinion, it should be the Libertarian Party. I can only speculate that Gary was denied the sale of some munchies after a night of bong hits and, well, it’s affected him.
Either way, strike one.
Take as another example Gary Johnson’s stance on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one that should be troubling to any constitutionalist. Even if we were to accept the premise of man-made climate change being a current and existential threat to our way of life, an idea Gary says he’s open to, the EPA is the farthest thing from a sincere effort at combatting it. First of all, nowhere in the Constitution can any justification for the creation of the EPA be found. Last time I checked, our liberties and constitutional government didn’t become null and void during times of crisis, especially phony ones like climate change. If Gary Johnson wants to be our crusader for constitutional, limited government this November, he can’t cite the EPA as an example of good government. Second of all, I can’t take someone seriously who believes that human carbon emissions are impacting the climate and therefore must be curtailed by (you guessed it) big, centralized government. The fact is these are baseless claims made by the same people who think air conditioners are as big a threat as ISIS. Gary Johnson may talk the talk on limited government, but once again, he fails to implement it in a crucially important area. Any good constitutionalist candidate, conservative or libertarian, should be able to plainly state that the EPA was not created in a manner acceptable under our constitution, and since its inception has been extraordinarily destructive to our domestic economy by impeding businesses ability to grow due to substantial, unchecked regulations created by radical leftist bureaucrats. Gary Johnson, apparently, disagrees with that.
Strike two, Gary.
Perhaps the most troubling position of Gary Johnson, and much of the Libertarian Party, is his stance on our borders. If I agree with anything Trump has said, it’s that you can’t have a country without borders. Gary Johnson subscribes to having open borders where anyone in the world can come and go from our country at any time for any reason. While I sympathize (a little) with a free market approach to international labor, the fact is that the rest of the world is not as safe and secure as the United Sates. Most conservatives agree that, as a free country of law abiding citizens, we have an obligation to control who comes into our home. If someone wants to come here, we need a system in place to ensure our safety during their stay. If someone wants to stay here, we need a system in place to substantiate the benefits of their stay. Let’s be clear about something on that point – the practice of immigration exists to benefit the citizens of this country, not the immigrant. America is a country, not a public park, with its first duty to protect and defend its citizens. We admit immigrants because we need them to improve our society, not because it’s the nice thing to do. Well, it’s supposed to be that way, anyways. I can’t agree with Gary Johnson on having an open borders approach to immigration on national security grounds alone, but also on principle of what the purpose of immigration is.
That’s strike three, Gary. You’re out for me.
To recap, if you’re thinking that a vote for Gary Johnson is the conscience vote for a conservative, think again. There are two approaches to this election for conservatives since we don’t really have a solid home in any party.
Option 1 – Vote your conscience. Show up on election day to ensure the constitutionalists on your ballot get the votes they need, and write in Clint Eastwood for president. We’ll need the staunch conservatives in the House and Senate to check both parties and the next president, regardless of who it is. Obviously Clint won’t win, but you’ll sleep well at night and score some major points with your #NeverTrump friends.
Option 2 – Take the pragmatic approach. There will come a day when America needs conservatism to retain her status as the shining city on a hill. It doesn’t appear that will happen with the next President, but it may never happen should a corrupt Marxist activist control the oval office for four years. Should Trump become president, we’re likely to see four years of relative gridlock. No doubt, he’ll embarrass us on the world stage via twitter and television appearances, lacking the grace and character we hope the leader of the free world would exhibit, but he probably won’t get much in the form of dramatic policy changes from a Democrat or Republican controlled House. If you need any indication of that, just look at how hard both parties are opposing him now. Ask yourself, who is more likely to be opposed with real opposition, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? My bet is on the former. Should Hillary win, we’ll have another Marxist in the White House for another four years and a feckless Republican Party incapable of any real opposition. The pragmatic approach says vote for Trump, even if you hate yourself for it, and continue the grassroots efforts to teach and advocate conservatism. After all, we’ll probably have 50 or 60 candidates to choose from in four years, some of them bound to be solid conservatives. They’ll need a vibrant base that is hopefully bigger then than it is now.
Either way, Gary Johnson really isn’t a good option for conservatives. He’s neither rock solid conservative safe for your principled conscience, nor is he the pragmatic approach since he’ll never win a majority. Even if he miraculously won enough electoral votes to keep Hillary and Donald under 270, what are the odds the House doesn’t install one of those two into the Presidency? Slim to none. Oh, and I didn’t discuss Gary’s running mate William Weld because, truthfully, I don’t know as much about him. With that said, his praise of several radical leftist nut Supreme Court justices is enough for me to oppose the ticket all together. Really Bill? Justice Breyer has been good for America? Yikes…