HAWAII, August 7, 2012 — Today former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s campaign launched an ad, entitled “You Are Libertarian,” which visits a growing list of ongoing, unresolved public frustrations. “61 percent of Americans believe America is on the wrong track,” says Johnson. “75 percent of Americans want a full audit of the Federal Reserve.” Johnson goes through statistic after statistic until finally delivering the key punchline: “I’m the only candidate that agrees with you 100 percent.”
Johnson’s ad, like his asymmetric presidential campaign, is a stunning example of what can only be termed the rise of “blue chip” libertarians – a new, exciting breed of competent third-party candidates capable of articulating complex policy issues in an appealing, friendly and inspirational message to the mainstream public.
The American public knows that times are tough, days are dark and they are getting tired of left vs. right rhetoric. Some say that they’re looking for hard solutions, but I say more than that, they are looking for a reason to believe in themselves and reassurance that someone out there hasn’t forgotten about them. Johnson delivers this in spades and his message is almost reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 “stronger, prouder, more secure” charm campaign.
Johnson’s call for Americans to “be Libertarian with me for one election” may however have greater impact than his campaign recognizes: With increasing tensions in the Middle East threatening to spark a larger regional crisis, millions of college graduates embittered by the lack of jobs, and the economy still only providing rewards for those able to leverage volatility, the political enthalpy of the libertarian movement could be primed for significant electoral breakout in the next two electoral cycles.
In spite of America’s ongoing political and economic decline both at home and around the world, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson may very well be the new leader of an emergent electoral trend that successfully unites people who hold contrasting beliefs but shared frustrations at the Establishment.
These are truly exciting times, not just for partisan Libertarians but for everyone who rallies to the call of reform. Gary Johnson may be the underdog candidate today, but one should be very careful to pass judgment about the future of his movement. Johnson’s defection to the Libertarian Party comes at a highly strategic moment in American history, and though its agenda setting power may be nascent and small, it is clearly on the rise.
America hasn’t seen this kind of paradigm shift in a long time. I for one can’t help but think of what the Bible’s book of Isaiah said about small movements: “The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.” If there’s anyone in the liberty movement praying for change, their answer might just be right around the corner.
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