Spiked: Gary Johnson – a pro-freedom president?

ImageFrom Spiked-Online.com on September 5:

“Meet the one candidate it might be worth supporting.

“In July, Gary Johnson, the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, from 1995 until 2003, was busy explaining to a New Yorker journalist why he gave up trying to be the GOP’s presidential candidate: ‘You can’t get beyond those [early primary states], because you have to go out and appeal to anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-drugs, anti-immigration – and I’m crossways on all of those.’

“So crossways, in fact, that Johnson not only joined the Libertarian Party — he is now also its presidential candidate, with another former Republican governor, Bill Weld, as his running mate. Currently polling at 10 per cent, and with the media now paying increasing attention, including an endorsement from Virginia’s second-largest paper, the hitherto strongly Republican Richmond Times-Dispatch, it is conceivable that he will reach the magical polling percentage of 15, and win a place on the televised presidential debates — the political equivalent of the Superbowl, as Johnson himself put it.

“In previous election years, Johnson’s rise would have seemed improbable. But this election is different, unique even. And that’s because the two main-party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are loathed by large, if differing, swathes of the US electorate. With good cause, too. One is an illiberal authoritarian with a slippery sense of the truth, and the other, as the old-new joke goes, is Donald Trump.

“Rarely has the choice between two presidential candidates been so unappealing. Clinton’s campaign has cynically drawn on an unhealthy wellspring of identity politics, first playing up the fact, long acknowledged one imagines, that she’s a woman, and, second, desperately ‘blacking up’ in an attempt to appeal to what her campaign team calls her ‘firewall’: namely, black voters. And then there’s Trump, a daft-haired void of a man feeding noisily and boorishly on the vacuum of the established politics…and making anti-political, vaguely conspiratorial hay while the sun sets on the empty technocracy that the likes of Clinton have come to embody.

“Which is why Johnson stands out. For a start, this sneakers-with-suits 63-year-old is immensely likeable. He’s not eaten up by his own ego, he’s self-deprecatingly candid, and he’s refreshingly free of the stain of identitarianism, be it Clinton’s ‘Grandma knows best’ schtick or Trump’s white-man self-pity. But above all, he’s principled. He’s running for president because he believes in something beyond the imperative of getting elected. The end has not been sacrificed to the means.”

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