Gary Johnson – A Clear Choice in 2016

I have always been pretty attentive to politics. I have voted in every major election since I turned 18 (including Bush, Bush, Mccain and Romney) and most mid-term and local elections as well. I have always enjoyed the debate, the process and the sense of doing my part to contribute to the character of this country.

As a lifelong conservative, my views have shifted over the last 10 years from traditional mainstream republican views, to a more nuanced and ‘liberty-minded’ conservatism. This transition has been due in part to getting older and adding depth to my view of the world, but also to my experience in law school (particularly constitutional law).  It is difficult to study the constitution in any depth without emerging at least slightly more of a libertarian than when the study began.

This newly-formed libertarian streak led me directly to the doorstep of the candidate who I believe in more than I have any other in my lifetime; Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts and financial support, his message did not catch on. (I’m still holding out hope for 2020).

This year I have experienced the profound sense that something has gone terribly wrong in the process, and I do not believe it is as simple as blaming the one candidate who has dominated the headline of every newspaper and broadcast for the last 13 months. That candidate is a symptom, not a cause. There is a deep divisiveness and hatred that is reaching a boiling point and is being given the spotlight and used as a tool in the national discussion.

I am not going to engage in the illusion of choice between two equally bad ideas. I whole-heartedly support Gary Johnson  and I look forward to casting my first vote for a Libertarian candidate for President in November of this year.

live free

I won’t provide a laundry list of policy positions here and defend them one by one. If you are at all interested in any of my specific rationale, you may want to visit my detailed thoughts on an assortment of issues. (Click for index). 

But these details are not important to understand my support of Gary Johnson. This is a big picture decision coming down to the honesty and character of the candidates, and my best understanding of the role government should play in our lives.

The two major party nominees have made their cases. They have taken different approaches but their view of government is the same. Both of them see Government as the Alpha and the Omega. Both play on our worst fears and guarantee us that only they can rescue us. Both favor a planned economy. Both will increase the size of government. Neither will reform social security which is disastrously insolvent. Neither appreciate the limits on the executive branch which are foundational to our constitution and our liberty.

Ah yes… Liberty. When is the last time you heard either major party candidate even use the word?

Gary Johnson is a successful entrepreneur, a two-term governor elected as a republican in a blue state, an iron-man runner and mountain climber, a student of the constitution, A Christian, a quirky yet honest and humble guy.

Let him introduce himself:

If you value my opinion, I’d like you to consider Gary Johnson as well.  I am happy to discuss any details about Gary Johnson, or any other questions you might have. Just comment below.

You also may feel free to tell me “You’re wasting your vote”, or “A vote for a 3rd party is a vote for _______”, but please understand I have given that suggestion a great deal of thought and I am well prepared to discuss in detail why it is utter nonsense.

It is time to try a new approach; the approach envisioned by our founders. It’s time to Live Free!

 

Index of Hot Issues

Team Trump Planned a Convention Ambush – It Backfired

The headline of the third night of the GOP convention is Ted Cruz’ non-endorsement of Donald Trump, and his command to voters to “Vote your conscience, up and down the ticket…”.

cruz

The list of credible politicians and media figures claiming that this was political suicide on Ted Cruz’ part is… non-existent. There are however many loud voices in the new Trump GOP claiming just that. “He’s finished. This is why everyone has always hated him!” bla bla bla. The critique might sting more if it wasn’t coming from Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Peter King and uber alt-right tabloid Breitbart.

The real story is not in the headline though. The Trump campaign knew exactly what was in the speech. They knew there was no endorsement. Ted Cruz himself told anyone who would listen that he has not been asked to endorse, and did not intend to endorse Donald Trump specifically.

The real story is not about Ted Cruz, but once again, about the mafia style tactics of the Trump campaign. Putin loyalist and Trump capo Paul Manafort indicated earlier in the day that Cruz would not endorse specifically, but would “suggest” an endorsement. Without the boos and the overdone outrage, Cruz’ comments, and his very presence at the convention after a nasty and personal primary battle, could have easily been spun into an implied endorsement.

The Trump people did not want an endorsement. The Trump campaign plan was to humiliate Cruz by orchestrating boos from the front-and-center New York delegation.

As is usual in today’s polarized politics, Trump supporters heard the loud boos and nothing else. As a non-Trump supporter, I heard the boos, but I also heard a loud swell of applause coming from the many Cruz supporters, not to mention the pride welling up in my own chest.

Think about this for a second. This was not an ordinary campaign. In a primary in which Donald Trump prided himself on not playing by the rules, scorning party leadership and age-old concepts of unity, and displaying his toughness (mostly mean tweets consisting of name-calling and potty-talk) in destroying his adversaries, these were just a few of the highlights:

  1. Trump directly attacked Ted Cruz’ wife, calling her ugly in comparison to his supermodel third wife. He has not deleted that tweet to this day.
  2. Trump directly implicated Rafael Cruz (Ted’s father) in the JFK assassination.
  3. Trump ran with demonstrably untrue rumors planted by his allies at the National Enquirer that Ted Cruz was involved in a torrid affair with five women.
  4. Donald himself revoked the now-sacred pledge long ago. (A pledge by the way, that could only have ever served Trump and was a horrible Reince Preibus idea from the very beginning. It never should have seen the light of day).

If Ted Cruz had explicitly endorsed Trump after this set of facts, he would have erased any shred of dignity that anyone would have accused him of having. He would have fallen in line with the long list of conservatives who expressed their personal opinion that Trump was unfit for office (including Gov. Mike Pence), but have since changed their minds for political expediency. Is this what you want in a leader?

Ted Cruz was hired to flip the bird to the establishment in 2012, and he has been doing it ever since. Personally, I have expressed the opinion that I do not see Ted Cruz as the future of conservatism, mainly because he has problems with likeability, and has shown a tendency to opportunism (see his early embrace of Trump in the primary). I also feel like the future of a viable conservative movement will need a tad more emphasis on civil liberty (see Rand Paul). It was for this reason that I, myself, wrongly predicted that Ted Cruz would kiss the ring at the convention and endorse Trump.

With all that said, please do not be fooled into believing Cruz hurt his political career in Texas. Texans have an ingrained sense of insurgency and are particularly enthused by a Senator who will stand up against the party. His support here, especially in Houston, runs very deep. He will take some flak for the next four months, but it will fade quickly. He will phone in a campaign in 2018 and cruise handily to re-election.

Once you cut through all the spin, one stubborn fact remains for all objective observers to see: The GOP is not a united party, and is unlikely to be united under Trump. Trump has placed the worst elements of the party front-and-center in his campaign, while ridiculing those who stand up for everything worthwhile about conservatism: limited government, free markets and liberty.

The episode revealed a division that has always existed in the GOP, but which is much deeper and corrosive than it has ever been. For the most part this division is between the powerful go-along get-along establishment, and those committed to conservative principles.

Is there any question at this point, who represents which faction?