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Gary Johnson: Bernie Bit the Cronies, and They Bit Back

by Gary Johnson, published

From a built-in cushion of immovable, unelected “Super Delegates” to debates scheduled when no one was watching to the now clearly-documented collusion between the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, the system was rigged to squash any rebellion against the Democratic Establishment.

Bernie is a disrupter. The system doesn’t like disrupters…because disruption threatens the fruits of cronyism. He couldn’t be bought. He couldn’t even be rented. He offered a voice for the Millennials who are an inconvenience for the special interests who have, for too long, controlled Washington DC. He became a symbol for the rejection of business-as-usual.

That couldn’t be tolerated by the political machine that sees Hillary Clinton as the ticket to continuing the tax breaks, subsidies, and deals that lie at the heart of the relationship between corporate America and both of the two so-called “major” parties. As for the Democratic National Committee, is it any shock that the party’s leadership has been working hand-in-hand with the Clintons throughout the nomination process?

Let’s be clear. I don’t agree with Sen. Sanders on a lot of things. He tends to see government as the solution, and I tend to see government as the problem. He would have Washington DC spend more of our tax dollars, I would spend less. I see government today as a threat to freedom; he would have government grow and do more.

But when it comes to civil liberties, cronyism, mass surveillance, and ill-advised military interventions, Sen. Sanders and I are on the same page. Ms. Clinton? Not so much.

Sen. Sanders has largely opposed the same interventions and wars that have made us less safe, not more safe. Ms. Clinton helped preside over a foreign policy that has produced dangerous chaos in the Middle East and beyond. Sen. Sanders has been a vocal opponent of the growing surveillance state. Ms. Clinton was a key player in an Administration that not only tolerated mass surveillance, but expanded it. On civil liberties, drug policy and marriage equality, Ms. Clinton has hardly been a champion.

After all, those issues really aren’t important to cronies.

At least once a day, I am asked about being a “spoiler”. I can sympathize with Sen. Sanders. After all, he’s a spoiler. He threatened to spoil the crony-driven system, and the system struck back. But as my running mate, Gov. Bill Weld famously asked a few weeks ago at the National Press Club: “What’s to spoil?” A $20 trillion debt? Wars we shouldn’t be fighting? Partisan gridlock? A tax code built almost entirely of corporate welfare and special interest benefits?

The leaks of recent days that document a coordinated campaign to keep Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination by Democratic Party leaders are disturbing. But they aren’t surprising.

I’ve been there. I know what the two-party duopoly does when it is threatened. The question now for Bernie’s millions of supporters is what to do now. Lick your wounds, stay home, keep fighting?

Senator Sanders has tapped into something very real in America  —  a substantial slice of the electorate who think some spoiling and disrupting is long overdue. The independents, Millennials and disenfranchised who make up that movement cannot be ignored, no matter how much the cronies want them to go away.

I have some ideas about where they might find some fellow disrupters…

Editor's note: This article originally published on Medium on July 26, 2016.

Photo Credit: DiegoGDiaz /

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