The other day a friend posted a question on social media. The question raised was as to whether or not Gary Johnson should be included in the Presidential debates with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I said absolutely not because Gary Johnson does not bring anything new to the table that Trump and Clinton do not already bring. Someone asked for some examples. So, I came up with these five.
1. Gary Johnson is decidedly pro-choice. When he ran for and was governor of New Mexico Johnson was pro-life. Like Al Gore, Johnson switched from pro-life to pro-choice between runs for office. Johnson is now steadfastly pro-choice. The debate platform does not need Johnson’s voice on this issue because Hillary Clinton is already supports it.
2. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld do not support the 2nd amendment. Recently, Johnson accepted the gift of a flintlock pistol from former primary rival. The gift was given to Johnson by the rival to show party unity. However, Johnson promptly threw the gun in the trash can. As governor, Weld “proposed some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country.” In a fairly recent interview, the 71-year old Weld made it clear that his views on the 2nd amendment are anything but Libertarian. Since Hillary Clinton has already supported limiting the second amendment, we do not need another voice on the podium advocating the further limitation of the second amendment.
3. Gary Johnson is in favor of same sex marriage. It used to be a central platform plank of the Libertarian Party that the government should be out of the marriage debate completely. While Hillary Clinton has clearly flipped on this issue, Johnson has at a minimum evolved. It is my recollection as governor that he was against same sex marriage. In June 2011, Johnson was of the opinion that the government should be completely out of the marriage business (which is the standard Libertarian Party platform plank). Yet, in January 2012, Johnson is fully on board with same sex marriage and blasted President Obama for delaying support of it. Since Hillary already supports same sex marriage, it baffles me why Johnson’s voice needs to be added to the debate.
4. Gary Johnson advocates the use of the government to force people to violate their conscious. While related to the point above, it is different enough to warrant its’ own paragraph point. Recently, there have been several reports where certain businesses were sued for refusing to provide a specific service to same sex couples. In one case, a family owned bakery was ordered to make wedding cakes for same sex couples. Another court was ordered to take photographs for same sex couple commitment ceremonies (note: this ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court was prior to the United States Supreme Court’s recognition of same sex marriage. Like Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson has no problems with the government forcing businesses to do what they don’t want to do. When asked in a forum if Jewish bakers should be forced to bake a Nazi cake, Johnson responded that he would require them make the cake. This is an odd position as a Libertarian because it is a fundamental principle of Libertarianism that the government should not try to solve or resolve these types of social issues. Again, this position is already represented between the two main parties on the platform.
5. Gary Johnson promotes the recreational use of marijuana. This goes beyond the pro legalization position some Libertarian candidates take. The legalization of marijuana is Gary Johnson’s top priority. As a first-hand observer, I have seen Johnson work as governor. As governor, he wanted to decriminalize other drugs besides marijuana; however, marijuana was the only drug that he could get traction with. When he gets a bit in his teeth, he is formidable. He will sacrifice all other legislative priorities to get the one he wants. He made sacrifices in New Mexico that he shouldn’t have to push his drug agenda.
Another important issue is the real conflict of interest Johnson has because he is the CEO of a marijuana company. Johnson is so pro-pot, that he himself violates the principles of our country’s laws to satisfy his personal desires. This point is exemplified when Johnson admitted to using marijuana as recently as May 2016. My problem with Johnson is that he will be a hyper-extension of current Obama policies to lessen the consequences of the use of recreational drugs. It is my guess that he will reach further than Hillary Clinton on this matter.
As I was self-proofing my article for submission to my editors, I kept getting stuck where I said “Gary Johnson does not bring anything new to the table that Trump and Clinton do not already bring.” Having reflected on Johnson’s positions even further, I am tempted to change the beginning to say that “On at least five major issues, Gary Johnson does not bring anything different to the table than Hillary Clinton does.”
Since Gary Johnson and Hillary Clinton share the same stance on so many important issues, I must ask myself, “Why should I agree to let Gary Johnson and Hillary Clinton gang up on Donald Trump during any Presidential debate?”
It still does not make sense to me.