by Daniel Stephens
Former actor, professional wrestler, and governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura recently wrote an op-ed for Time Magazine featuring his thoughts about the 2016 election, particularly in the context of his long-time friendship with Donald Trump. He had this to say:
Donald Trump is not a fool. He’s been a friend of mine for 25 years. I call him a friend. I don’t agree with him on many of his issues. We’re 180 degrees apart on just about everything—which is why I could never endorse him—but Donald Trump is not a dumb man. You don’t acquire the wealth and power in the private sector as Donald Trump has by being stupid.
Interestingly enough, the former governor believes that Trump may have an axe to grind with the GOP based on its history with Ventura’s own Reform Party and how the Republicans used Pat Buchanan to successfully infiltrate and dismantle that once formidable third-party option.
You see, he saw what happened to the Reform Party, the third party I ran in when I became the Governor of Minnesota. Back in the 1990s, Donald was interested in running for office as an Independent, and he was there when Pat Buchanan came in with these legions of people (who were backed by the Republican Party) and took over the Reform party, got the nomination and then didn’t even run. Buchanan took the money we raised (at that point, we had quite a large national base thanks to Ross Perot and myself) and he used that money to retire his previous campaign debts. He had no intention of using our campaign money to run for president and that’s what destroyed the Reform party. This was all done by design so that the Reform party would no longer be a threat to the Republicans. Well, Trump was there then. He saw it. And I believe he’s doing the same thing to the Republicans that they did to us. I mean, come on, his own wife pretty much recited Michelle Obama’s entire speech at the GOP convention and his daughter went on and on about the need for paid childcare, equal pay laws, and a bunch of liberal principles that we’ve never heard a Republican add to a presidential platform. And then Trump gets up and reiterates all the reasons why we need to build a wall. How is that not destroying the Republican Party? I have to say, as an Independent, I’m glad to see it.
Toward the end of the article, Jesse Ventura puts forward the thesis that most Americans are “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” — a phrase that has seemingly lost favor in recent days (Gary Johnson has exchanged “socially liberal” with “socially tolerant” to avoid criticism) — and that no Americans are 100% conservative or liberal. He insists that this opens up an excellent opportunity for third party candidates who can accommodate these mixed realities; third party candidates like Gary Johnson.
Do I want Trump to be president? No. Do I want Hillary to be president? No. But I want Gary Johnson to be president, and that’s why I’m voting for him. I showed the world that you don’t have to join them to beat them, you just have to be visible enough so people know you’re an option. Gary Johnson is on the ballot in all 50 states. That alone should be enough of a reason for him to be included in the debates.
Is Trump purposefully destroying the GOP as Ventura seems to believe? Does he have some type of existential grudge against Republicans? Let us know if you agree with the former wrestling superstar on our Facebook page or in the comments below.