Ron Paul Won’t Vote for Gary Johnson, and He’s Right

Ron Paul Won’t Vote for Gary Johnson, and He’s Right

by Brett Chandrasekhar

Ron Paul slammed the Johnson-Weld ticket in an interview with FOX Business’s Stuart Varney earlier this week.

VARNEY: [Are you going to vote for] Gary Johnson?

PAUL: Well, if he were a libertarian, a true libertarian, and promoted the non-aggression principle, and didn’t have Weld on the ticket, I’d consider it.

Many have been wondering why Paul hasn’t come out with an endorsement of Johnson, including our own Editor-in-Chief Josh Guckert. Now we finally have an answer.

Before the “purist” name-calling begins, it’s important not to over-focus on the first part of Paul’s statement: that Johnson isn’t a “true” libertarian. It is the case that Johnson isn’t as principled as Paul was, but Dr. Paul also supplies two other reasons: 1) that Johnson doesn’t talk about the NAP or spread libertarian values, and 2) that Bill Weld is on the ticket.

When it comes to spreading libertarianism, Johnson has a mixed record. He does have many libertarian positions and is certainly more libertarian than the major party candidates. However, the governor has done this within an overall strategy of acting like the sane, centrist alternative.

Libertarianism is not centrism. Libertarians are not a weird mishmash of the two major parties. Instead, we believe in a completely distinct value, liberty, that the Democrats and Republicans have no respect for. We believe in leaving people alone and allowing others to choose what they do with their own body and property. Rather than trying to spread libertarianism, then, Johnson has diluted his message in order to garner votes. It’s no wonder that Paul takes issue with this.

What about Weld? Dr. Paul isn’t the only one who has criticized his addition to the ticket. Many libertarians have taken issue with Bill Weld, and rightly so.

When Weld was governor, he increased increased gun regulations, environmental regulations, and used eminent domain. Afterwards, he supported the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and Obamacare. He endorsed Obama in 2008, Romney in 2012, and John Kasich just a few months ago. The last wants to start multiple wars in the Middle East and let the government into your phone.

The addition of Weld to the ticket inherently harms the message of liberty, and Paul is right to oppose him. It only furthers Johnson’s centrist rhetoric and damages the movement.

Finally, TLR Associate Editor Micah Fleck makes an interesting point, that Paul has endorsed other candidates less libertarian than Johnson before. However, there’s a difference between candidates running for the Libertarian Party and candidates who don’t claim the libertarian mantle. The former are the de facto representatives of libertarianism to the public. It is therefore sensible and completely justified to have a double standard in this situation. After all, the purpose of the LP is to spread the message of liberty.

*Additional Note: For the sake of precision, Paul does make it sound with his last statement that he might still vote for Johnson-Weld. When asked if he’d support Clinton, Paul states “No, it means that you’d pick out the best thing of all the people and try to put it together in a concise philosophy called libertarianism, and promote liberty rather than interventionism and authoritarianism.” This is a little incoherent, so it’s hard to know what he meant by this.

Watch the full video below:

Ron Paul sounds off on the Fed


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  • brainout
    October 1, 2016, 6:58 pm

    With everyone mewing that so-and-so candidate isn’t EXACTLY how I want him so I won’t vote for him (or her), then the Libertsarian Psrty will remain on the fringe.

    There are about five policies both Gary and Bill embrace, which I don’t. Would dare venture that you could say the same, tho your five might radically differ from mine.

    But you should base your decision on KEY positions, not ALL positions, and think about how if Libertarian doesn’t break 30% now (hence #GaryCanWin, as each state’s popular vote will fragment to low pluralities).. then Libertarian will likely never break 30%.

    KEY: small government, ending the income tax and replacing it with (not Gary’s ‘Fair Tax’ mantra but) 8% Fed Sales Tax, lowering regulation and privatizing or curtailing social programs, returning power to the states — these are all values which coincidentally advance the agenda of anyone liberal, conservative, OR Libertarian.

    Only Gary and Bill offer that. Paul should know that. But he’s a putz, just like his son, and wants to bandy his superiority over the expense to the country, if Gary and Bill are not elected.

    His loss.

  • Libertarian Heretic
    October 1, 2016, 8:28 pm

    I was surprised to hear it took this long for the official comment. I don’t know exactly what the issue is but you can tell the Pauls really don’t like Gary. Freedomfest 2016 was just one example of the coolness. And I often suspect it is something more than that he is not pure enough.
    Ron is great. For many millenials he is a grandfather in libertarianism. I was brought in by Stossel and Badarnik myself but I see the deep connection for many. In the small L libertarian world he is a hero. But in the big L world he has been pretty opportunistic and wish washy.
    In 2013 Virginia Gubernatorial campaign he went whole hog for Cuccinelli just hoping to peel libertarian votes from Sarvis one of our most succesful candidates of all time. And after he ran for president as a Libertarian in ’88 he acted like he was ashamed of it and claimed he didn’t really fully buy into the party and ran on his own terms not the party’s. Finally there was that instance during the 2012 debates where after being called a libertarian said something like ‘You use the term not me. I’m a constitutionalist.’
    I have always disliked the Ron cult of personality. I’ve met young people who say he’s awesome because of pro-drugs anti-intervention stances. I point out the Libertarian Party has the same positions and get frosty responses like ‘No thanks. I just trust Ron.’ Then back to survivalist websites, gold speculation and 9/11 trutherism.
    I like Ron, I like Rand, I like Gary. The whole situation frustrates me and I get impatient with Ron when he seems comfortable being aloof from the broader movement like a pope of libertarianism who gets to hand out sentence ex cathedra.
    Neither Gary or Ron perfectly reflects my vision and I expect no one but myself to do so.
    But is Gary really that pro-interventionist that Ron can’t take himself to support him?
    Can you name any current or recent conflict where Gary is a hawk? I really just think its personal animus.

  • thcrw7391
    October 1, 2016, 10:54 pm

    I’d rather slit my wrist and call my self Nancy than look at this shit of a article.

  • soybomb315
    October 3, 2016, 9:08 am

    I’d be fine with Ron Paul’s position as long as he makes it clear that Trump is even less libertarian than Johnson.

    If Johnson is unacceptable, why doesnt Ron do what he did 8 years ago (Chuck Baldwin) and talk up Darrel Castle?

  • soybomb315@Libertarian Heretic
    October 3, 2016, 9:11 am


    Where was Ron’s strict principles when he was stumping for Cuccinelli instead of Sarvis?

    Ron is a hero on the issues….But i think he has been pulled many ways when it comes to campaigning