(Eddie Facey) – It seems that there is a widely held belief that the Libertarian candidacy of Gary Johnson and Jim Gray will take votes primarily from Mitt Romney, and, in a close election, would result in a second term for Barack Obama. I wonder if there is actual evidence as to that assertion.
I went and saw Gary Johnson when he was at UNLV. He’s proudly anti-war, pro-marriage equality, pro-legalization of marijuana, and pro-choice. These are not Republican issues. At his speech, Johnson proudly emphasized that he has received 21 of 24 possible “torches” from the ACLU, considerably more than Obama or Romney and only slightly more than Ron Paul (who I think he said had 18 or 19).
I recently spoke privately with Judge Jim Gray (Johnson’s running mate). He mentioned that they are actively endorsing marijuana legalization measures in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, and are gaining support by being the only candidate to do so. My observation is that the President is not supporting these measures, and I know that Colorado Democratic Governor Hickenlooper is on record against this. The Colorado effort is particularly relevant because that is a swing state, and the Johnson/Gray support of Amendment 64 is to the left of Obama.
While Judge Gray did not discuss this in his speech, he did tell me that he saw Dinesh D’Souza’s movie 2016, and, like myself, found D’Souza’s attribution of anti-colonialism to Obama to be new and informative. Gray is very aware of how bad Obama is to the country. He also discussed the success that his sister was having in liberal San Francisco in promoting the Johnson candidacy. He very much took issue with the premise that you could add all of Gary Johnson’s votes to Romney’s total.
Keep in mind that whether Gary Johnson or someone else runs as a Libertarian, the party is not going to just go away because Obama is bad news, and someone is going to run on that ticket. The party needs to get a certain percentage of votes to maintain its ballot status, and I think this ticket is going to get that. There are people who are libertarian and who vote libertarian, and who remained in the Libertarian party even when Ron Paul was running as a Republican. By no means are Johnson’s vote totals comprised of people who 100% otherwise would have voted for Mitt Romney.
I am encouraged to see the campaign actively emphasizing its socially liberal positions. It does not seem to me that either Johnson or Gray are looking to act as ‘spoilers’ to result in another term for Obama, and their campaign statements and emphasis seem to back that up.