This article is a publication for the website A Libertarian Future, which publishes US-related libertarian news stories. You can check out my author page here.
This presidential race is filled with scandals of abuse of power, corruption, cronyism, all for the personal enrichment or the special interests of a certain group. Be that Donald Trump’s love for eminent domain for the expansion of his business interests or his rejection of free trade for his nativist agenda, or Hillary Clinton’s abuse of her charitable foundation for campaign contributions and the rigging of the Democratic primary. What could be more exasperating to voters? It’s a bit like professional bike racing: eventually the spectators think that all the sportsmen are involved in doping, and don’t trust them the least bit.
We always hear that the stakes are high, and they indeed are. The president of the United States manages an enormous administration and military, in which many bureaucrats and elected officials hold on to their interests. Pleasing these interests requires prior political opportunism, and unlike what your news castors might make you think during election campaigns: Democrats and Republicans work together an awful lot. Most of all, they appoint each other in different influential positions. There is such a huge amount of important across-party appointments that Wikipedia has a list for it.
Knowing all this, let us appreciate Gary Johnson for a minute. As he polls in double digits, his political influence (though underrated through the mainstream media) is considerable.
I’m not sure I am quite getting my point across here, so let me put it this way. Sometimes people only realise their luck when they have a look abroad, when they compare their situation. As someone who does political commentary in Europe, let me tell you that over here minor candidates/3rd parties, you name it, when they poll at 9%, they don’t leave it at that. Most of them end up endorsing the candidates of the major parties, call them “friendlies” or “fighters of the same cause”, and acquire a high-ranking advisory job or even a seat in government. They carefully craft their relationships to lead candidates years in advance, in order to advance their own political goals.
Make no mistake, we know that Gary Johnson could easily do this. He could focus the issues and campaign in key states to make Hillary Clinton win this election from the start. Gary Johnson does not seek personal gain from this campaign. If he does not win, he will go back to being an entrepreneur, while Donald Trump (if he loses) will cherish the enormous promotion of his brand (his own name) and Hillary Clinton (if she loses) will fade back into the shadows of the political machine.
So even if you think Gary Johnson as a libertarian is too moderate or not moderate enough, weird or not weird enough, too loud or not loud enough; he is honest and not an opportunist. They don’t make those politicians anymore. And that really means something.
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