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May 25, 2012

Gary Johnson; the issues are moving his way.

During the week polls have found the majority of Americans support prominent positions of Libertarian Party Nominee, Gary Johnson, and the Republicrats are running scared. More of that later.

Rasmussen Reports have come up with three polls indicating that Johnson represents the majority position on at least three issues; withdrawal from Afghanistan, cutting the number of overseas military bases, and legalization of marijuana.

In the case of Marijuana, it was only last year when 50% of voters were in favor of legalization, the latest figure is 56%, or a rise of 12% in one year. One of the centerpieces of Johnson’s policies is legalization. Decades of illegality, huge incarceration rates, heavy-handed police tactics, have failed to have an impact on use. Now the ‘War’ has failed, not just on the field, but politically as well.

Johnson is strongly opposed to continuing the war in Afghanistan, and at present 53% of voters want an immediate pullout. President Obama promised to end the war when he was elected, and is now promising to end it when he is reelected. It seems like a good time to give the job to someone who can be trusted to do what he says.

One of the major issues for libertarians for many years has been the ‘policeman of the world’ role, assumed by the US and voters are sick of this. In the latest polling, 51% favor shutting down US bases in Europe and bringing the troops home.

After WW2, it made sense that with the Cold War in full swing, for the allied powers to help with the security of Europe, which needed all of what resources were left to rebuild, while the USSR was looking acquisitively across the borders of the various nations. Since then, the USSR has ceased to exist, so that threat is no more.

Europe has had nearly seventy years to rebuild and develop sufficient military forces for its own protection. If they have failed to do so in this time, it is not because they are unable to do so, but because they are more than happy to divert resources into living high on the hog in a welfare and debt fueled Cloud Cuckoo Land while Stupid stands on the battlements.

The response to Johnson by the Rethuglicrats has been predictable with Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announcing that she will refuse to allow his name on the ballot for November, citing that state’s ‘sore loser’ laws.

These laws are designed to protect the two party system by preventing any candidate who had previously appeared on a primary ballot for one party appearing on the ballot for another party. Unfortunately for the Rethuglicrats, there is a precedent whereby the rule does not apply to Presidential candidates:

“On May 3, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican, sent a letter to the Michigan Libertarian Party, saying she would not print Gary Johnson’s name on the November 2012 ballot as the Libertarian nominee for President, should the party nominate him.”

This is based on a “sore loser” law, which states that candidates who had previously appeared on a primary ballot for one party cannot appear on the ballot in the general election as a candidate for another party. The application of the law in a presidential election is dubious and contrary to state precedent.

“In 1980, John B. Anderson formed the ‘Anderson Coalition Party’ within Michigan, and his name was printed as that party’s presidential nominee in November 1980, even though Anderson had run in the Michigan Republican presidential primary on May 20. Thus, a precedent was set that this law does not apply to presidential primary candidates. …

The bottom line is that both parties fear third party or independent candidates, simply worrying about their power base. They refuse to examine whether the appeal of these candidates might demonstrate that the main parties have lost their way. Gary Johnson brings new ideas to the table, ideas that appeal to voters across the political spectrum.

But partisan politics is no longer about the will of the people or the common good. Such ideals have been surrendered for a dogged defense of the status quo. Independent voters relish the thought of real choices, third party candidates who are refreshingly different than the candidates turned out by the two party system. However, the establishment is not above using ballot access tricks to lock these candidates out of the election. Such actions may safeguard party power, but they hurt the American people. It is time to forget our fear and focus on the issues, not party affiliation. Americans deserve real options for a change.
For more on the parallel between Johnson and the will of the American people, Delaware Libertarian has an older, but more extensive list of positions.

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