The Gary Johnson Effect Revisited: Is the Libertarian Hurting Hillary?

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

Back in May, I speculated that the conventional wisdom that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson would disproportionately impact Donald Trump was wrong, and that Johnson was instead pulling support from both Trump and Hillary Clinton in almost equal measure.

Fast-forward roughly four months, and it would appear the major candidates are realizing this as well — especially Clinton, whose campaign is now reportedly worried about the effect Johnson may have in a handful of important swing states:

…[A]s national and battleground polls tighten and Democrats’ hand-wringing grows more urgent, operatives both within and allied with Clinton’s political operation who are looking around to explain Trump’s new polling strength are growing increasingly wary of the former New Mexico governor. His appeal with young and libertarian-leaning liberals, they worry, could create a growing headache for them in western states like Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona — if not yet reason to believe he could hand the states to Trump.


Clinton has maintained a steady lead in both New Mexico and Colorado throughout the year, but her strategists in Colorado — once considered a core swing state — have been warning that Johnson could pull from her support there for months. While that hasn’t happened, recent polling shows that Nevada is still a neck-and-neck race: Clinton leads by less than a point there according to the RealClearPolitics average.

“My understanding is that Trump has remained fairly steady and the transition recently has been the Clinton campaign slipping in some of the polls, and where that happens it seems like [Johnson] or ‘none of the above’ is on the rise,” said [former Gov.

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Gary Johnson and Bill Weld Do Not Deserve Pro-Lifers’ Votes

From left: former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Lately there has been a flurry of interest in the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, including op-eds suggesting that they are a sensible alternative for pro-life voters disillusioned with both major parties. I couldn’t disagree more. Johnson and Weld are unacceptable for pro-lifers. Period. Johnson has said he supports abortion up until viability, while Weld supports unlimited abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth.

The United States is currently one of only seven nations to allow abortion on-demand after five months — more than halfway through pregnancy and a point at which research shows the unborn child can feel pain. Seventeen states have passed legislation to end the horror of these late-term abortions within their borders, but only federal legislation will get us off the list of seven extreme countries, which includes China and North Korea.

A majority of the U.S. House and Senate have already voted in support of this compassionate, popular legislation, but we are going to need to protect our pro-life majority in the Senate and elect a pro-life president in order to move this ball down the court.

There is no evidence the Libertarian candidates will do anything for pro-life voters hoping to advance this legislation.

Some have argued that because they support limited government, the Libertarians are the most acceptable option for pro-lifers because they will not interfere with our recent legislative successes at the state level. Continue Reading

Gary Johnson and William Weld Are Not Conservative Alternatives

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. Continue Reading