Young voters, many of whom were supportive of Bernie Sanders, now declare that they will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson instead of the candidates for the two main parties. They love him because he wants to legalize marijuana, but they are also under the impression that he is the liberal populist who they lost when Hillary Clinton won the Democratic candidacy. The first guess is right; the second is wrong.
Young people who think that Johnson will save them need to look at his beliefs:
Johnson is against federal guarantees for student loans because he thinks that the loans eliminate competition for students. He argues that anyone who doesn’t have the upfront money to attend college shouldn’t be allowed to attend.
Johnson opposes the minimum wage and would abolish it if he could. During his first term as New Mexico governor in 1999, he vetoed a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage from $4.25 an hour to $5.65.
Johnson opposes equal-pay laws, ensuring that employers should pay men and women the same amount for performing the same job.
Johnson wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a boon to young people who can stay on their parents’ health insurance, and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, a life-saver for many old people. To him, deregulation of insurance companies, hospitals, and health providers will solve every problem.
Johnson wants to give internet service providers the ability to favor some websites over others by giving them superior signal access to consumers for additional fees.
Johnson would stop collective bargaining for public employees, just like Gov. Scott Walker did in Wisconsin. In 1999, Johnson vetoed a bill to renew contracts of state public employees and the state collective bargaining law to cover employees.
Johnson wants to cut Social Security and remove Medicare and Medicaid from federal control. He also wants to increase the retirement age for collecting Social Security and have means-test eligibility for Social Security which would reduce payments for people who paid into the system if they have other assets.
Johnson supports private prisons that mandate that states incarcerate enough people to fill them and cut costs that allow horrible treatment and escapes. After he used private prisons in 1999, they erupted into violence when private prison officials refused to treat prisoners according to law. Also in 1999, Johnson vetoed a bill to provide enhanced oversight of New Mexico’s private prisons.
Johnson thinks that climate change might be at least partly “man-made” but doesn’t want the government to take any action to solve the problem. He claims that the free market, that caused the problem in the first place, will take care of all the problems. He opposes “cap-and-trade taxation” and supports “building new coal-fired plants” because the sun will “encompass the Earth” in billions of years so global warming is inevitable.
Johnson wants ordinary people to just sue corporations if they have a problem with pollution although he wants no regulation.
Johnson wants to eliminate the progressive income tax and substitute a regressive national sales tax, forcing the bottom 90 percent to pay most of the taxes. Johnson’s sales tax for everyone would be 28 percent.
Johnson supports the NRA position that gun violence would drop if all people had guns.
Johnson awarded a “sole-bidder contract” to Koch Industries in 1998 for a $323 million highway project with a loophole that cost New Mexico taxpayers $100 million in federal highway funds during five years. After it received the contract, Koch Industries gave $5,000, the maximum allowed, to Johnson’s re-election campaign.
Four years ago, Johnson’s campaign workers looked much like Donald Trump’s operatives: Maureen Otis, affiliated with the anti-immigrant Minutemen Civil Defense Force militia group; Jim Lacy, also with the Minutemen; Floyd Brown, birther propagandist who created George H.W. Bush’s infamous racist Willie Horton ad in 1988; and Roger Stone, conspiracy pusher now adviser to the Trump campaign.
Pro-Johnson PAC took $1 million from a right-wing, anti-education donor Jeffrey Yass, whose main goal is to privatize all education. Yass sits on the far-right Cato Institute board with David Koch who pledged “tens of millions of dollars” for Johnson’s 2016 campaign, according to a Johnson campaign staffer. Koch denied this allegation, but the money could have been designed for Johnson in a super PAC.
Another top contributor to Johnson, Morning Star Packing Company, got a $1.5 million pollution fine for illegally enlarging wastewater ponds, polluting groundwater with excess salts, nitrates and organic waste. The company is also a major donor to AlternativePAC, that falsely assures voters they won’t be skewing the presidential election to either of the major candidates by voting for Johnson. AlternativePAC is run by Matt Kibbe, the former chief executive officer of FreedomWorks, the group that helped create the Tea Party and organize townhall meetings opposing the Affordable Care Act that stopped most legislatures from speaking to these groups. in congressional districts across the country in opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Johnson’s ultimate plan, as reported by Politico’s Ben Birnbaum, is to take enough votes from both major-party candidates to deprive each of the 270-electoral vote majority a candidate needs in order to win the White House. At that point, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives would pick the president. Johnson hopes that it will be him, but it’s not a guarantee, especially because Republicans support their party no matter how much they hate the party’s candidate.
Gary Johnson’s poll numbers were higher before he became more widely known. Last week on Morning Joe, he said “What is Aleppo?” when asked about the epicenter of the refugee crisis in Syria. Even worse this week, he couldn’t come up with the name of any current world leader when Chris Matthews asked him to name one who Johnson considered in a positive fashion. Matthews gave him a great deal of latitude, even naming such countries as Canada, but the best he could do was the former president of Mexico. He couldn’t remember the man’s name, and his vice-presidential candidate, William Weld, had to bail him out. Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote a column on Johnson called “Gary Johnson Says His Favorite Foreign Leader is Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
Young voters supporting Gary Johnson are in favor of a president who will take away their health insurance, throw most of them out of college, inundate the country with guns, make them pay a 28 percent sales tax, increase global warming and pollution, force them to pay more for the internet, give them lower wages—in short, do everything that millennials largely oppose. At the same time, he knows nothing about foreign affairs, a serious problem especially at this time. If all these issues aren’t bad enough, Jeb Bush is considering a vote for Johnson.
Conservatives who believe in Johnson’s beliefs should note that he increased the New Mexico debt from $1.8 billion to $4.6 billion in his eight years as governor. Since the Clinton/Trump debate, PPP rated him at six percent, compared to an NBC poll at ten percent a week earlier. We may assume that Johnson will make more mistakes as he gets more desperate and whine more about the unfairness of the U.S. political system. Hopefully, it’s a system that keeps him from becoming president.
Those who think that switching their votes from Gary Johnson to Jill Stein should read this perspective on the Green Party candidate.