People are unhappy. Many feel insecure and are unsatisfied with their options in life. Many are worried about their future and their children’s future, and they are dissatisfied with the country’s leaders, and those who want to be leaders.
Widespread dissatisfaction with much of the record of the last two Presidents has driven Donald Trump into first place in the Republican contest. Trump benefited from his celebrity status and unequaled name recognition. He benefited more from the failure of his opponents to break out of their narrow ideological factions.
Despite his recognized status as presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump has very high negative ratings among the population at large, and many Republicans are uncomfortable with his views, his character, and many of his past actions.
THE CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER
Prominent conservatives have called for the defeat of Donald Trump, so that that the conservative movement is not tainted by the actions of a President Trump.
George Will hopes that Trump will lose every state. P.J. O’Rourke has written that he will vote for Hilary Clinton, who is evil in an ordinary way, rather than Trump, who is evil in new and unpredictable ways.
Despite the fact that he has never held government office, Donald Trump has presided over four bankruptcies.
Trump calls Mitt Romney a loser, but he shares the Romney tendency to take more than one side on any given issue, often in a serial manner.
Donald Trump supported the Iraq War in 2004. Now, 12 years later, he calls it a disaster. Good. He has learned, as millions of Americans have learned – including John Kerry, Bill Weld and, maybe, Hilary Clinton, that the war they backed has made America less secure, less free and less prosperous.
More recently, Trump criticized President Obama for being slow to intervene in Libya. Now, we have seen what a fiasco our Libya policy has become, and Trump is blasting Obama for going into Libya.
Trump was for gun control, now he is against it. He was pro-choice, now he has said that woman who gets an abortion must be punished. He has probably changed his view on that as well.
Donald Trump is against Obamacare. Trump has proposed, instead, that America adopt a “single-payer” form of socialized medicine. OK, Mitt Romney did not go that far. He has never advocated for single-payer socialized medicine. On principle he stops with the state level forerunner of Obamacare that he implemented in Massachusetts – Romneycare.
Donald Trump has remained steadfast in his support for eminent domain – the compulsory sale of private property, ostensibly for public benefit. Often, only part of the public benefits. As a developer, Donald Trump has benefited from the use of eminent domain. Sometimes a Trump development was the “public benefit” used to justify an eminent domain taking. In late May, he restated his belief in the importance of eminent domain, noting that the Keystone Pipeline could not be built without it.
Donald Trump has denounced Edward Snowden, who exposed the federal government spying on millions of Americans. Trump called for “executing the traitor.”
Aside from his consistent advocacy of eminent domain, Trump’s many policy shifts add to a perception of instability, highlighting concerns about his character. For many conservatives and independents, even if he moves, in his constant shifts, toward acceptable policy positions, the character issue will remain.
AN HONORABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR REPUBLICANS
As RNC Chair Reince Priebus calls for unity behind Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee, an unusual number of prominent Republicans, including office-holders and donors, have refused to commit to supporting The Donald.
The Libertarian Party has nominated two former Governors with records of balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and speaking out in support of personal freedom. As America faces a growing burden of government debt – on track to reach 20 trillion dollars- Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have more experience dealing with fiscal issues than Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton.
The Wall Street Journal has called the Libertarian ticket an “Honorable Alternative for Republicans.”
Gary Johnson was elected Governor of New Mexico as a Republican in 1994, winning in a state where Democrats constitute the majority of voters. He balanced the budget every year, pushed through and signed 14 tax cuts, and left a billion dollar surplus in the state treasury. His successor, Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, gives credit to Johnson for leaving the state government in good financial health, and making possible the massive tax cut that Richardson pushed through in 2003, when every other Governor in the US was promoting a tax hike or facing a deficit.
Bill Richardson signed up David Harris as his top fiscal adviser, after Harris had served as head of the Finance and Administration Department under Governor Johnson. Richardson notes that “Harris and Johnson had tried unsuccessfully to cut personal income taxes over two terms in office.” Richardson, as a Democrat, was able to get the Democrat majority in the legislature to support the tax cuts that Gary Johnson’s fiscal responsibility had made possible. (Between Worlds, 2005, page 293)
Gary Johnson had also promoted school choice through a voucher system, but was unsuccessful in getting the legislature to go along with this.
In 1999, after winning re-election with 55% of the vote, Governor Johnson came out for ending marijuana prohibition. He was the highest ranking elected official to support legalization of marijuana, soon joined by Jesse Ventura, Independent Governor of Minnesota. Gary Johnson has remained a high-profile supporter of legalizing marijuana, and he has campaigned in several states in support of marijuana initiatives.
William Weld was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1990, defeating John Silber, a neoconservative Democrat close to drug czar William Bennett.
Governor Weld balanced the budget every year without borrowing, and pushed through and signed 9 tax cuts. Weld signed the first state-level Medical Marijuana law in the United States. In 1994 Governor Weld was re-elected with 71% of the vote, defeating Mark Roosevelt, great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt.
Governor Johnson and Governor Weld showed in practice a commitment to fiscal conservatism, tax relief and free market economics. In New Mexico and Massachusetts this record of fiscal conservatism attracted votes from independents and Democrats as well as the small Republican bloc in each state.
LIBERTARIANS OFFER A CHOICE FOR ALL AMERICANS
The Libertarian commitment to fiscal responsibility and free market economy should appeal to conservatives fed up with the big government legacy of George W Bush, and to Republicans worried about Donald Trump’s character and policies.
Libertarians back personal freedom as well, in contrast to the social conservative politicians who dominate the Republican Party. Yet there are conservative intellectuals and Republican voters who agree with libertarians on issues of personal freedom.
Libertarians support the legalization of marijuana and an end to the War on Drugs. National Review has long supported this position. In 1996 Sen. Barry Goldwater (ret) endorsed Arizona’s Medical Marijuana initiative.
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld support a woman’s right to control her life, her health and medical decisions; both support a woman’s right to choose an abortion, as did Sen. Barry Goldwater. Millions of Republican voters are pro-choice, and have often voted for anti-choice candidates in order to oppose Democrat tax & spend policies. Now, pro-choice Republicans can vote Libertarian and support freedom across the board.
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld oppose the Bush-Clinton policy of military intervention in the Middle East. They also oppose the Bush policy, backed by Trump, of using torture in the interrogation of suspected terrorists.
Libertarian views on marijuana, woman’s right to choose, and peace should appeal to many Democrats and independents – some who have voted for Bernie Sanders, who is pro-choice, supports legal marijuana, and opposed the Iraq War. Others agree with Sanders on these issues, but can’t support his extremist calls for more government spending and higher taxes. These Democrats will have a choice in November – Gary Johnson on 50 state ballots.
GARY JOHNSON & BILL WELD DON’T PLAN TO THROW THE ELECTION
As the election approaches, Trump supporters and professional Republican operatives will charge that the Libertarian ticket will be “spoilers” – taking votes from Republicans and “throwing the election.”
Do Libertarians want Donald Trump to lose? For the sake of America, yes! That is why we are running Gary Johnson for President against Trump. We are also running Gary Johnson against Hilary Clinton. In 50 states Libertarians will give voters a chance to simultaneously reject Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Republicans who vote for Johnson & Weld will be joined by independents and Democrats, much like the coalitions in New Mexico and Massachusetts that overcame dominance by the Democratic Party to elect Gary Johnson and Bill Weld as Governors.
The election is more than 5 months away – plenty of time for Donald Trump to embarrass himself and drive away voters. Gary Johnson on the ballot in 50 states means that you can reject Donald Trump without supporting big government Democrats. If the Trump campaign collapses under the weight of his dangerous incoherence, his race-baiting and his reliance on insult as his main form of argument, Gary Johnson will provide a real alternative to the Democrats in 2016.
If you vote Libertarian in 2016 you will help to build a party committed to the free market, limited government and personal freedom. A party that can provide a choice for Americans if the Republicans and Democrats nominate candidates who are “dangerously incoherent” or just plain crooked politicians committed to everyday statism. And if the voters elect a “dangerously incoherent demogogue” or just a plain everyday statist, a big vote for the Libertarian ticket can ensure there will be a coherent opposition.
(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)