Should we stay or should we go?
Republicans and conservatives are at a crossroad. While many have reluctantly chosen to support Trump, the fickle firebrand whose only redemption lies in labeling evil when others won’t, the majority seems at odds or disaffected by the party’s choice. Republicans must now either reason that Trump will be the lesser of two evils or search for a viable alternative they hadn’t previously considered. With polls showing around nine percent, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has already captured more votes than third party candidates in the past. The question now is if the Libertarian ticket is the the right pick for those on the Right.
Johnson had a chance to answer that question in a recent interview with the Washington Journal, a segment on the CSPAN network. When a left-leaning caller expressed that a Sanders-Johnson campaign might win the election, Johnson assured her that he agreed with 73 percent of what Bernie Sanders stands for.
“Get online, take that political quiz, isidewith[.com] – you get paired up with the presidential candidate most in line with your views…of course I side with myself 100 percent of the time, but interestingly of all the presidential candidates, I next side with Bernie Sanders at 73 percent. Now that’s the side of Bernie that has to do with pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, let’s stop with the military interventions, that there is crony capitalism, that government really isn’t fair when it comes to this level playing field…legalized marijuana, uh, look, 73 percent of what Bernie says I agree with.”
Americans can decide for themselves whether they like the sound of 73 percent or not, but it’s worth noting that Republicans must decide if they’re okay with a candidate who allows a mother to terminate her baby. On his campaign site, Johnson enumerates his pro choice position as a part of his platform:
“As Governor, Johnson never advocated abortion or taxpayer funding of it. He supported a ban on late term abortions. In his personal life the Governor believes in the sanctity of the life of the unborn.
However, Gov. Johnson recognizes that the right of a woman to choose is the law of the land, and has been for several decades. That right must be respected, and ultimately he believes this is a very personal and individual decision. He feels that each woman must be allowed to make decisions about her own health and well-being and that these decisions should not be dictated by the government.
Further, Gov. Johnson feels strongly that women seeking to exercise their legal right must not be subjected to persecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington or elsewhere who are insistent on politicizing such an intensely personal and serious issue.”
Here’s where Johnson’s socially liberal position asserts itself: instead of acknowledging science and the rights of the individual in the womb, Johnson instead hands over the rights to the mother. The government needs to get out of the individual’s life…Except when it comes to the unborn.
Where Republicans will have an easier time identifying with Johnson is in his economic plan. Describing himself as more of a fiscal conservative, the nominee promises to veto any bill in congress that creates a deficit. Despite the fact that his own record doesn’t include a truly balanced budget, and an expanded government, Johnson tells us that even the military isn’t immune from cuts:
“But the idea that we can somehow balance the federal budget without cutting military spending and reforming entitlements is fantasy. What is required is leadership and political courage.”
To be fair, he’s right- it does take courage to make monetary cuts in the military while attacks from terrorist groups like ISIS continue to increase. Johnson is an non-interventionist libertarian, though, so this seems logical to him.
Another area that proves problematic for the right (and even Libertarians) is Johnson’s stance on religious liberties. During the Libertarian Party presidential forum on the Fox Business Network, Johnson was asked to clarify his position on whether or not Jewish bakers should be forced to provide a wedding cake for a Nazi customer. You can see his answer below.
Disgruntled Republicans must not be swayed by words like libertarian, but by actual libertarian values and principles if they so choose. Gary Johnson may be an alternative, but he may not be the alternative.