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Gary Johnson Launches Campaign for "End the Drug War" Ad

by Chad Peace, published
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Up against the billion dollar campaigns of Obama and Romney, the Gary Johnson campaign is pushing for a grassroots cash injection on the fundraising platform "Social Teeth." The goal is to raise $50,000 in support of a "Gary Johnson will End the Drug War" ad where he compares the current War on Drugs to prohibition and questions why a president who has admitted to smoking himself is committed to a war the makes it criminal.

The Johnson campaign says they will use the ad for:

Network and Cable Television: Target local networks in swing states for networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox, with a focus on high-viewership primetime television. Supplement with exposure in targeted local cable networks like Comedy Central, MTV, and ESPN.

As the first post on "Campaign Critics," I am not suggesting that this is a bad advertisement, a bad fundraising platform, or even a bad message, but the efficacy of an advertisement from the Johnson campaign will get the most "bang for its buck" not by convincing libertarian-leaning swing voters that only a vote for Johnson will help end the War on Drugs, but by appealing to the vast majority of Americans from all political spheres that a vote for Johnson is the only alternative to the empty political debate that prevents issues like the drug war from ever really being considered.

Few people will share an ad about ending the drug war with their grandma, their parents, or openly on their social networks. Doing so might lead others to the obvious (but often wrong) conclusion about your lifestyle and/or politics. But cut to the core of the general dissatisfaction of Americans, and you might just find an avenue to reach many more voters not because you have convinced someone, but because they want to share information with their social groups that they already agreed with.

With that, here is my two cents for an advertisement script:

Title: 3 Reasons, 2 Parties, 1 Solution

(1) On-screen Title: The Patriot Act and “Liberty”

a.     Imagery: Man with tape over mouth, TSA patdown, etc…

b.     Johnson Voiceover: 12 years is enough time for the Patriot Act.  If it doesn’t end now, will it ever?

c.      On screen text: Bush authored, Obama Extended.

(2) On-screen Title: Federal Marijuana Regulation and “Freedom”

a.     Imagery: Elderly with doctors and drug cartels

b.     Johnson Voiceover: Federal government trumping state law. $75 billion in lost tax revenue. Turning doctors into criminals.

c.      On screen text: What started with Nixon, persists under Obama

(3) On-screen Title: War and “Peace”

a.     Imagery: Dead civilians in the street. Children crying at feet of injured. Map of wars we have fought in last 10 years.

b.     Johnson voiceover: We’ve spent over 1.3 trillion on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. The lives that have been shattered are priceless.

c.      On screen text: Both parties favor bullets over diplomacy

3 Reasons: Cool screenshot of words with imagery: Liberty, Freedom, Peace

2 Parties: Bush and Obama shaking hands

1 Solution: Gary Johnson, “I’m the libertarian candidate, but I’m the people’s representative.”


Here's the "End the War on Drugs" ad from the Johnson campaign:

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