Sincere Congratulations and Thanks to Gary Johnson and William Weld

Sincere Congratulations and Thanks to Gary Johnson and William Weld

by Josh Guckert

It will be easy for some in the libertarian movement to admonish and criticize Gary Johnson and William Weld for their performance last night. However, after they earned over 3% of the vote, including over 4 million popular votes, they deserve praise. Not only did they shatter the LP record for earned votes, they won more votes than the LP has in the last eight presidential elections combined.

This is without even mentioning their positive coattails in numerous down-ballot races. While the votes are still being tallied, it will undoubtedly be the most successful year for the LP in those contests as well. Numerous Libertarians will finish with solid percentages of the vote, with all of these candidates being greatly outmatched in funds and publicity.

While Johnson has promised to have run his last race, Weld has stated that he will spend the next decade working with the LP to make it the majority party in the United States. Though the latter has received immense scorn for his positive remarks about Hillary Clinton throughout the campaign, Libertarians should take him up on his offer.

It was far from the result that any in the liberty movement wanted, but it’s a start. Libertarians must now build upon this stepping stone to guarantee victories in the future.


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  • dapperrync
    November 9, 2016, 2:32 pm

    Josh – I don’t believe you can measure the success of the Johnson / Weld campaign by strictly pointing to better election day results. Yes – its probably 300% better than we have done before, but are these our voters now? I doubt it! Most who voted for us are no more libertarian in their outlook than before, but were simply protesting two deplorable candidates. Will they join our party? Probably not! That would be the real measure of success.

    I do believe that Johnson / Weld could have done a lot better. Gary was polling at 10% in May and should have increased his popularity by yesterday. Instead his support went down 7%! A good ticket (such as Petersen / Sharpe) would have increased their popularity by election day, and come in at 15-20 percent or even higher!

  • Libertarian Heretic
    November 13, 2016, 9:22 pm

    They both really do deserve our praises. Let’s be honest neither of them personally gained anything besides alot of flack and harassment for running. Gary will be treated like a numb nuts and Trump king maker by the random hardware store clerk and pizza delivery guy for a decade. And Weld may not be invited to some dinner parties with his elitist friends anymore.
    Still I want to give an honest post mortem. Gary f***ed up major. I was a volunteer and campaign contributor. With Aleppo I cringed, with world leader I fumed and when he couldn’t name Kin Jong Un I totally despaired and stopped participating in the campaign.
    North Korea was his #1 security issue. We have to be honest. No excuse for this.
    I always knew he was a mediocre communicator but some moments were just jaw droppingly embarassing. Again to be fair I think Gary expected to be scrutinized like a third party candidate and he wasn’t equipped or trained for the real contender treatment he got in his low points (but never at his high points).
    I think a 2020 Weld/Ventura ticket is our greatest hope at the moment. For some reason I think the party purist will stop this cold in the tracks. Sad really. No one except for Libertarians could be narcissistic enough to think that being more hardline and fringy will make you more appealing to the general public. Guys there were no lessons to be learned from Trump. He didnt improve on McCain or Romney’s total number of votes- roughly 60M each time. And there werent alot of eager third party voters in the wings. See Evan McMullin outside of Utah for proof of that. There aren’t a bunch of closet Libertarians waiting for the right messenger. Pew finds 7% of Americans are consistent Libertarians and roughly 25% libertarian leaning. Look at the numbers. Bernie Sanders fundraising has smoked any Libertarian candidate for any party in any race. We are a minority.
    I plan on staying Libertarian for awhile but I really worry about the phenomenon of cutting off your head to spite your mustache. Libertarianism has for two long been about developing theories of society and speaking truth to power while ignoring the art of the possible and formulating realistic policies. Weld and Johnson are easily the most accomplished and plausible candidates we have ever produced and at least 1/3 of libertarians can do nothing but bitch and take pot shots.
    What I am about to say is a very important and overlooked point. We don’t need to win people over to a large set of philosophical propositions about property, initiation of force, man’s relationship to the state and all the rest. We just need to win them over to a set of policies that further those ideas.
    For someone who is a true gospel libertarian this approach sounds terrible. But some of us already have a religion and you know what? The world is full of heretics. I don’t love capitalism because I have some moral vision about people having unlimited rights to dispose of property. I love it because I think it promotes the welfare of society best. I don’t believe in civil rights because I think self expression is always a high moral good. I support them because I think opposing others life choices is futile and corrupting. Yes having a different basic moral worldview will in some cases lead to different prescriptions but we really shouldn’t be driving people away if they are only on board 75-85% of the time. Remember we are a political party. If you have no intention of ever wielding power and all you want to do is spread an idea stop wasting resources on ballot access, phone banking and meeting filing requirements.


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