HONOLULU, August 20, 2012 ― For weeks, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s campaign has been releasing short, often humor filled PSA-like videos on YouTube highlighting the practical aspects of what a Johnson presidency would mean.
His latest ad, released today, explores the possibility that most Americans are in fact, Libertarian without even knowing it.
“If you’d rather rebuild roads, schools, bridges and hospitals here at home instead of building them for others halfway around the world, you’re a Libertarian,” a narrator says as a sweaty, anxious and uncomfortable voter writhes on screen. “If you’re the kind of person that talks about ending warfare and welfare in the same sentence, you’re a Libertarian. If you think that your body, your love life and your private business are no business of the Federal government, you’re Libertarian. If you’d rather die than give another vote to the bloated, Constitution-trampling, over-taxing and over-spending members of both failed political parties, hate to break it to you, you’re not Democrat or Republican, you are Libertarian.”
The narrator concludes, “This year you don’t have to be a Libertarian to vote Libertarian. We’re not a party, we’re the people.”
Johnson’s ongoing ad campaign underlines the fact that a growing number of voters are increasingly identifying themselves as independents and, while their ideal policy points may not necessarily be textbook Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises or Hans-Hermann Hoppe, America’s non-partisan masses are essentially looking for a form of practical, leave-me-alone, keep it-simple-stupid libertarianism.
Johnson, who currently polls nationwide slightly above 5 percent, is largely unknown to most American voters but should he succeed in finding a place in the upcoming Fall presidential debates, that number could possibly surge, changing the direction of the election.
Special Dispensation For Libertarians?
For decades, third parties have had difficulty leveraging the independent base towards winning partisan races, but Johnson’s brand of practical libertarianism may lower the threshold and break the barriers for voting third party.
The recurring question for many libertarians has often been, “Do our candidates need to be 100 percent libertarian to run Libertarian?” Since political theory suggests that the purpose of political parties is to overcome existing systemic problems and provide agenda-setting power for elected party members, Libertarians should strongly consider Johnson’s approach which attempts to scoop the largest number of voters by offering them practical solutions over high ideology.
Winning elections is often about finding a policy point closest to the majority of the voters rather than providing an unattainably high contrast from one’s opponent; it may be that Johnson’s strategy could mark the beginning of a new era for Libertarians and third parties in general. If even the zealous Apostle Paul of the Bible was willing to be all things to all men, perhaps libertarians could gain a beachhead in their battle for reform with Johnson’s approach.
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