Author: William Baumgarth
With Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton having been viewed as the most unfavorable presidential candidates of all time, the Libertarian Party did the best it has ever done in a presidential election last November. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s candidate, received more votes than any other libertarian in the past.
But I’m still not satisfied. Why? This could have been the year the LP won the election. At the very least, the LP could have gotten twenty percent of the popular vote. Almost nobody I spoke to prior to the election was enthusiastic about either candidate. Johnson tried to use this to his advantage but just couldn’t appeal to people. I say it’s time for a change. What the Libertarian Party needs is a demagogue, and a sense of legitimacy. It’s hard to have a sense of legitimacy when the chairman of the Libertarian Party strips down naked before a nationally televised event. It makes it even harder to take the Libertarian Party seriously when all of the candidates seem silly, and are forced to answer questions such as “should a five year old be sold heroin?” Anyone who was on the fence about joining the LP, quickly changed their minds that moment.
Johnson and Weld seemed more determined to secure Hillary Clinton the presidency, than they did to win the presidency themselves. I had not heard anything about Johnson since the 2012 election. So it was a surprise when I opened my laptop to a video of Johnson boasting about climbing Mt Everest, and calling Donald Trump a “p****.” These statements did nothing to legitimize his candidacy, rather it made him “that guy who called Donald Trump a p****.”
Johnson never had a winner’s attitude, and it was quite clear that he had discounted himself from winning the presidency at the very start. What the Libertarian Party needs is someone who is crazy enough to believe that he/she WILL win. Someone who speaks loudly, confidently, and obnoxiously. The Libertarian Party needs to stop using memes as their main weapon, as it only attracts a younger audience, an audience that doesn’t vote. The party will want somebody who can attract both the old, and middle aged. Most of all, the LP needs to rile people up.
Trump won because he speaks noticeably differently, he excites people. Gary Johnson, on the other hand, is quite boring. It never seemed like Johnson was ever “fighting.” Johnson even publicly said that Hillary Clinton is a “wonderful public servant.” The first mistake he made was conceding that he had a favorite in the race. A real demagogue would say to vote for him or to vote for nobody. The second mistake he made was pandering to the mainstream candidate. Trump had a “cool” factor, Hillary did not. If Johnson likes Hillary so much, he must not oppose the state too much, as Hillary would have greatly expanded the size of it. Why even be a libertarian if you don’t mind big government?
In addition to this, demagogues have interesting and controversial ideas. A demagogue is able to stir up people’s emotions to the point you hate or love him/her. Since feelings associated with this human being are so strong, people will make sure to go out and vote, either in favor or against. All I heard Johnson talking about on the campaign trail is how marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana legalization is super important, however if that’s the only thing you’re capable of talking about, you aren’t going to stir up any emotions at all. If the libertarian candidate had been a demagogue he/she would have said that all substances have to be made legal immediately.
In the game of politics, it’s either go big or go home. Not everyone is going to agree with you, so you might as well make the people who do agree with you passionate. Johnson tried too hard to shy away from controversy, when he should have been at the center of it. Nobody is going to be inspired by a “libertarian-light” ideology. I just hope the next candidate knows better.