Election 2020

Gary Johnson: 'Tens of Millions of Americans Have No Idea What It Is to be Libertarian'

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The new Libertarian Party nominee for president said he’s hoping to lure voters seeking a third option with “the best of both worlds — the notion of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said it was “good to have survived the weekend” in Florida, where he won the nomination on the second ballot despite losing by a few votes in the first round.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld also won the vice presidential nomination on the second ballot, after a stormy convention in which many questioned the GOP governor’s libertarian cred.

“These are Libertarian activists and they very much care about liberty and freedom. As me being their representative, they really care about that. I just think there are tens of millions of Americans out there that have no idea what it is to be Libertarian and I think I do a better job of communicating that going forward,” Johnson explained this morning on MSNBC.

Voters will be won over, he predicted, with “the notion that smaller government is something that really is desirable.”

“That government taxes too much. And then, on the civil liberty side. Look, always come down on the side of people being able to make their own choices in their own lives as long as those choices don’t adversely affect others. And then, Bill Weld is my running mate. How about a couple of skeptics at the table when it comes to our military interventions. And maybe at the end of the day these military interventions have the unintended consequence of making things worse, not better. Less safe as opposed to safer.”

Johnson cautioned that “at the end of the day if you make social conservatism public policy you end up putting people in jail for their choices.”

He noted “there have been 40 national polls where my name has not appeared.”

“What’s the harm in having my name appear all the time …I really do think it’s appeal across the board. It isn’t just young people. Look, my message doesn’t change regardless of which audience I’m in front of — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians.”

Johnson countered Trump’s assertion early in his own presidential campaign that Mexico is sending its worst people over the southern U.S. border.

“That is what is so misunderstood. The people coming across the border are people that just want jobs. The jobs are there but they can’t get the jobs,” he said. “…How about making a system whereby it would be easy to get a work visa — a moving line to get across the border having a work visa so that the people crossing the border illegally — that the border patrol would actually be able to identify those people as opposed to mothers with children that are actually wading across the Rio Grande because of jobs that exist and they can’t get over to take advantage of them.”

“You always have the worst and I don’t want to, in any way, defend the worst. But, statistically, illegal immigrants commit far less crime than U.S. citizens. That’s statistically speaking.”