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Exclusive Interview: Gary Johnson Calls 2016 a ‘Tipping Point’ for Independents

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Last week amid considerable speculation, former New Mexico governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, formally announced his bid for the 2016 Libertarian Party nomination. In an exclusive interview for IVN, he clarified his announcement and ambitions for his 2016 campaign.

Gary Johnson is known for a wide range of accomplishments as an entrepreneur, two-term governor, marijuana advocate, and extreme athlete. To pave the way for his presidential bid, he resigned as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. – a position he recently described as his “dream job.”

So why aim for an even loftier goal of becoming president?

“I have a great life. I don’t need to be president. But I do need – and want – to alter the course the nation is on under the leadership of the past couple of decades,” Johnson said of his objectives.

His first hurdle is securing the Libertarian nomination. There are at least ten others vying to be the LP candidate, including computer security pioneer John McAfee.

The LP endorsement is an open, competitive process, a process which Johnson believes in.

“I’ll have to earn the nomination,” he confirmed, adding that he is the candidate most capable of “providing a voice on the national stage.”

He means that literally.

The Libertarian National Committee is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to change the rules that obstruct third party candidates from participating in presidential debates. While the court decision is still pending, Johnson says movement is expected in the next few weeks.

“We believe we have a strong case, and that we will not only prevail, but in the process, expose the Commission on Presidential Debates as the partisan, rigged organization that it is,” he remarked.

Having a podium on the national debate stage is crucial to his success, suggesting that 2016 may be a “tipping point” in the viability of independent candidates.

Johnson believes that, like himself, the majority of voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He elaborated:

“There are literally millions of Americans today who are libertarians, but frankly don’t know it. Their beliefs align with ours, and they just need a political home. We must make the LP that home.”

And Johnson is not holding back against the current field of Democratic and Republican candidates. According to Johnson, “a majority of Americans now say that neither of the two ‘major’ parties represents them,” citing little difference among Obama, Clinton, and the Republicans.

Hillary Clinton, Johnson explained, “might well surpass President Obama when it comes to spending and increasing the debt.”

“Voters have just as much to fear and oppose from Clinton as they do the Republicans,” he added

Regarding the Republican candidates, “despite their attacks on one another, when you wade through the rhetoric, there is really very little difference among them,” Johnson stated, adding:

“Donald Trump may well be bringing some new ‘anti-establishment’ voters into the equation, but that is more a matter of style than substance. On the issues, none of the Republicans are bringing any new ideas to the conversation.”

He previously expressed that Trump’s intentions are “just whacked… crazy.”

Johnson hopes that he and the LP will benefit from this.

“Our job is to connect with those voters and give them a credible, viable alternative,” he explained.

Where will his votes come from? In his announcement, Johnson asserted that “Libertarians draw as many votes from Democrats as they do from Republicans.” But conventional wisdom may suggest otherwise. When asked specifically whether he will draw votes from an already fragmented Republican electorate, he responded, “I certainly hope so.”

He added:

“It is clear that not just Republicans, but Americans across the board are rejecting the status quo. I believe 2016 has the potential to be historic in terms of the door being open for a candidate other than the Republican and Democrat to gain substantial support. Our job is to connect with those voters and give them a credible, viable alternative.”

What will constitute success?

“I want to win, and I want to serve,” answered Johnson. But he also sees success in shifting the debate and reshaping American politics, citing the examples of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

“If we change the course of the nation and restore liberty as the true American value, it will be a job well done,” he said.

Dream job or not, the presidency would be quite an achievement for Gary Johnson. But are voters truly ready to affirm his rejection of the status quo on Election Day? As Johnson maintained, “the only wasted vote is a vote for a candidate one doesn’t really believe in.”

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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634 comments
Bill Weidenaar
Bill Weidenaar

We can't let Hillary or Donald get in. With both the Democrats and the Republicans divided this is the best way to say we're sick of business as usual.

Kelly Strole
Kelly Strole

Vote for Trump America! A vote for anyone else is a vote for more of the same old establishment BS!

Mac McKibben
Mac McKibben

If you care ANYTHING about this great nation you will pull out of the race ... you will be the Ralph Nader of our times putting Trump in office which would be a National Disaster

Dennis Finn
Dennis Finn

I agree the 2 party system is in a death spiral of their own making....Bernie Sanders has the momentum to take this election as an Independent or Green candidate.....Gary has some good ideas but not the following to do anything but disrupt the system.....

Galen Parker
Galen Parker

Libertarians....taking us back to a golden age that never existed.

Sherrie Lynn Eldridge
Sherrie Lynn Eldridge

It's time to vote the person, NOT the PARTY!! Write in Bernie Sanders come November!! Show them it's time for REAL change including getting rid of "parties"!! If everyone who voted in the primary for Bernie, writes him in then we will win!!

Tommie Marolt
Tommie Marolt

Go away Gary Johnson you don't have a snowballs chance in hell of winning anything. Didn't he try to run before and only got 1% of the vote ? Yeah that's a real winner lol NOT !

Bill Hamm
Bill Hamm

To HELL with your RACIST piece of crap

Bruce Mccoy
Bruce Mccoy

You had better get started, and with a Big Bang!

Don Johnson
Don Johnson

BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT SUPPORTING THIS GUY... LOOK WHAT HE DID WITH HOLDING SOCIAL SERVICES TO BUILD HIS "BANK" WHEN HE WAS GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO... HE PROUDLY SAVED UP PUBLIC FUNDS INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE POOR SUFFERED IMMENSELY. WHEN HE LEFT OFFICE THE STATE HAD GOBS OF MONEY BUT IT HAD BEEN WITH HELD FROM PAYING THE SOCIAL NETWORKS.

Pat Monroe
Pat Monroe

Forget the two party system. Stop the political funding through these groups and super pacs and then we can all be independents and vote for the best candidate!

Katy Ralph
Katy Ralph

I am totally not in favor of a libertarian. I get the thinking, I read Ayn Rand when I was thirteen, Let's grow up and take responsibility.

Mickey Kredel
Mickey Kredel

Would be by far the better choice , watching and listening to him speak is somewhat refreshing that their is a chance to change some of the damage done with our current leadership this country is on an entitlement roller coaster and it's only going to get worse hard work and having a back bone is going to the wayside and it really sucks ask anyone that self employed how hard it is to find good honest help and they will tell you it's just not out their that's the fact their are plenty of jobs out their people just don't want to work .if we where taxed on only what we spent up to a certain amount of income it would put more of your paycheck back in your hands think of just how much of a help it would be to just bring home and extra couple hundred dollars a month , prices are going to continue to rise no matter what happens it's your hard earned money not the governments. Think of how many Americans after Obama care went into place that could not afford insurance and was fined by the government and could not pay that fine and every month goes by adding fees and penalties that person is now owned by the government and will most likely never be able to get ahead of their financial debt to the irs meaning never owning a house or likes their of will never happen it's extortion.

Don Miller
Don Miller

But the green party and the Libertarians and both more radical than the primary parties!

Roy Chapa
Roy Chapa

This guy chases cars on Saturdays!

John Klee
John Klee

If you don't vote republican in the general election, then Hillary thanks you for your support.

Frank Morris
Frank Morris

Gotta wonder if Libertarians and Independents are pissed off enough at the Democrats (specifically) and the Republicans (secondarily) to wage all out war on both from every front. Not just trot out another doper like Gary.

Michael Riley
Michael Riley

Hillary will thank you for a vote for this guy

Rebecca Lucas
Rebecca Lucas

INDEPENDENT/THIRD PARTY SANDERS/HANAUER 2016

James Welch
James Welch

Go home Gary\U0001f60e\U0001f334\U0001f334

Joanne Kuwamoto
Joanne Kuwamoto

No no no did you guys see that insane debate.......google it,it was nuts

Laren Holler
Laren Holler

This idiot was a lousy governor, he'll be a worse President.

Holly Hutchinson
Holly Hutchinson

It's time for this to happen. What are your plans to get out there in the American publics conscious?

Kate Mosher
Kate Mosher

I watched the Libertarian debate, and thought it was a clown show. I thought there would be more reasonable candidates, but they were wacky.

Douglas Gillis
Douglas Gillis

The campaign is missing a great opportunity. With all the talk about looking for a third party candidate, Gary needs to be calling in to shows like Morning Joe, and making the rounds of programs explaining that he is the third party candidate everybody is looking for. He has a great resume that would appeal to a lot of people, I just don't understand why he isn't being more proactive at this time, when he could be getting a lot of attention, Act Now!

Tony Torres
Tony Torres

Do you know what would happen if a libertarian became president ..he/she have to impeach him or herself for taking goverment pay..

Brinda Gore
Brinda Gore

The minute the Liberals figure out Gary is against welfare, he will be dust.

Gary R. McClendon
Gary R. McClendon

Gary, Jill- Bernie is our chance. He has created a movement.

Dennis Maloney
Dennis Maloney

Don't know anything about this guy. Is he a kook like all of the Libertarians have been? Or is he a down to earth,normal person? One thing he better understand. The Social Security fund is OUR money, NOT the governments. I've LOANED them my money for over 40 years. Now I expect to be paid back !!!!!

Jacob Messer
Jacob Messer

Yeah, it would be if there were a better candidate, but sadly, there isnt.

Jeff Morse
Jeff Morse

And the libertarians have a strong platform, maybe Bernie throws his weight there

Gary Hulsey
Gary Hulsey

You should really see and hear his ignorant beliefs like open borders and more !!!!!

Stephen Burdick
Stephen Burdick

Actually Ive joined the Green Party and dumped the Democrat Party. Not all of us are tucking in behind crooked Killary. She's worse than Trump. He lies in the light where Killary colludes and lies in the dark. #GreenParty #BernieOrBust #JillStein2016

Patricia Phillips
Patricia Phillips

It is sad when someone knows they cannot win and runs to keep the best candidate from winning! In my opinion patriotism is amiss!

Lisa Squires Nau
Lisa Squires Nau

TIME TO BERN THE HOUSE DOWN TO THE GROUND!! VOTER FRAUD AND CORRUPTION=REVOLT!!!!

Eric Miller
Eric Miller

Jill Stein is a much better and more realistic candidate.