With the 2016 Presidential election coming down to a corrupt and unlikable left wing retread politician and a corrupt and unlikable right wing wannabe fascist reality TV show star, it’s only natural the country has become open to a third party option. Polling has shown almost half the electorate wants to see an alternative and similarly polls have shown plausible third party candidates getting anywhere from ten to as much as almost thirty percent of the national vote. But perhaps no one else is longing more for a third option than the right wing of the #NeverTrump movement, of which I am a proud member of.
#NeverTrump has failed (so far) to get a third party alternative. Even with the emergence of the so called Renegade Party, it can’t find a standard bearer. Desperate Republicans in exile or former Republicans still seeking a conservative alternative, have looked to the most prominent of the fringe third parties - the Libertarian party.
What exactly Libertarians are is hotly debated; but the general gist as I understand it is Republican economic policies and Democratic foreign policies, with social issues favoring whichever side favors less regulations and restrictions on others’ lives. On paper it sounds like a solid platform that could win over voters and shake up the two-party system. In reality the Libertarian Party is filled with fringe types, retread politicians way past their due date, and almost Democrats & Republicans whose beef with their would-be party on one issue or another led them to identify as a Libertarian.
Nonetheless, desperate times call for desperate measures and plenty #NeverTrump folks are ready to back the Libertarian party nominee if need be. The Libertarian candidates however consist of…well how can I put this politely? Eccentric possibilities. Only one has experience actually governing in political office — you know, something the President is going to have to do. Of the 16 running, two have generated the most buzz: Gary Johnson and Austin Petersen, so we’re going to focus on them.
The Governor: Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson was the Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. In 2012, he ran for the Republican nomination, but his frustration with the process and lack of traction in the race caused him to defect to the Libertarian party. As Libertarian nominee he received over a million votes in 2012.
Johnson stands for the basic principles of libertarianism: free markets, less internationalist foreign policies, and a liberal social view. His experience as a popular governor of a state and his record of being aggressively against big government policies should on paper be enough to get behind him as an alternative to Trump and Clinton. Johnson has designated William Weld, who was the Republican governor of Massachusetts in the 90s, as his Vice Presidential choice, making this almost an alternative Republican ticket.
The Internet Troll: Austin Petersen
Austin Petersen is a political blogger and founder & owner of The Libertarian Republic. His previous experience includes working as an associate producer to a Libertarian talk show on FOX Business that got cancelled, and “Director of Interactive Media” for Freedom Works. In short, Petersen has absolutely no experience actually governing in office.
Many have decided to get Petersen is because he claims to be a rarity among Libertarians, pro-life. Petersen’s claim to be pro-life has helped him grab endorsements from the likes of Mary Matalin and presumably as of this writing, Glenn Beck.
The problem is that Petersen is not truly pro-life. As can be see from Twitter conversation with him, his stance is effectively the same as that of Johnson, do nothing to stop abortion but stop government funding. I would prefer that Mr. Petersen stop these word games and just be more honest about his stance.
Petersen also has a Trump-like history of offensive comments that show he is immature and clearly has some growing to do before being given the keys to the highest office in the land. He’s referred to Johnson as a “low-energy drug dealer” and posted the personal number of the Libertarian party’s committee chairman. You can read about all these things and more here. Warning: the language quoted from Petersen in that link can be pretty profane. You won’t hear any of this on programs like Glenn Beck’s or in my mentions where Petersen supporters assure me he is the man for the most important job in the world. There is no way anyone can claim this man has the maturity, experience and level headed nature to be President of the United States.
The Libertarian Choice
In rejecting Trump and going Libertarian, why go with someone who, like Trump, has no experience in political office? Someone who resorts to outlandish personal attacks on his critics? Someone who gets overhyped media without actual investigations into what this guy is all about? Someone who can’t seem to be clear on where he stands on the issues? Are we rejecting what we see in Trump and falling for another, much less successful, con man?
When looking at the two choices I see that while Gary Johnson is a governor seeking to become a nominee for a very important job, Austin Petersen seems like nothing but an internet troll seeking attention that too many allies of mine have fallen for.