Gary Johnson and William Weld Are Not Conservative Alternatives

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Over the weekend, the Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson for the presidency, with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld serving as his running mate. Now, some, including Johnson himself, are suggesting that the Libertarian ticket could be the perfect choice for conservative voters unsatisfied with Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial yesterday urging voters to consider Johnson, describing him as “an honorable alternative if Mr. Trump makes himself unacceptable.” By social conservative standards, however, both Johnson and Weld are unacceptable already.

In a section on his website ironically titled “Abortion and the Right to Life,” Governor Johnson states that it is the woman’s “right” to abortion which “must be respected.” “[W]omen seeking to exercise their legal right,” he says, “must not be subjected to persecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington or elsewhere who are insistent on politicizing an intensely personal and serious issue.” Governor Weld, for his part, is even more liberal on the issue. While Johnson allows for bans on late-term abortions, Weld has supported abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including partial-birth abortions.

And while Johnson favors leaving abortion up to the states, neither he nor his running mate feel the same way about same-sex marriage, which both support. In 2011, in fact, Governor Johnson criticized Obama for not taking enough federal control on the issue. In Massachusetts, Weld worked hard as governor to lay the groundwork for same-sex marriage. During Hollingsworth v. Perry, both governors signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to override the people of California and strike down Proposition 8.

Transgender bathrooms? Just have men and women share showers and other facilities, because, “Well, it flies in Europe.” Religious liberty laws? “[R]eally just a way to discriminate against gay individuals,” according to Johnson. For conservatives who value life and religious liberty, the Libertarian Party this year is certainly no “honorable alternative.”

Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.