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Gary Johnson wants to "shout from the rooftops" that Colorado can change the world

Categories: Politics, Q&As

gary johnson in denver thumb.jpeg
Gary Johnson.
Election day is rapidly approaching and it couldn't be clearer in Colorado where residents are bombarded with nonstop ads and weekly traffic jams due to Obama and Romney rallies. But those two aren't the only presidential candidates showing the state some love. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian pick, stopped here Friday -- and shared with us his predictions for November 6 and his hopes for the state's marijuana amendment.

Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is continuing to campaign across the country in the final weeks of the election, even though he has faced significant barriers in getting widespread attention, most recently with his exclusion from the national debates. This sparked some protest and dissent in Denver, setting for the first presidential debate of the season.

Gary Johnson in June, Denver.jpeg
Sam Levin
Gary Johnson in Denver earlier this summer.
As a third-party candidate, much coverage of Johnson's campaign has focused on how he could potentially siphon votes away from the Republican and Democratic candidates, and what that could mean in the key swing states that will decide the election.

Colorado has special significance in these analyses, given that Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, is on the ballot -- and ending marijuana prohibition has been a central part of Johnson's campaign. The stakes are even higher given that a very small margin of voters will decide whether Colorado goes red or blue -- which could arguably play a significant role in who wins the election.

On Friday, we chatted with Johnson on the phone about what kind of impact he expects to have on election day, the future of the Libertarian Party in presidential races, and why he thinks legalizing marijuana could be a game-changer for Colorado.

Westword: We met back in June in Colorado, before the campaign season really kicked into full gear. Now, weeks before election day, is this where you expected you would be in terms of your traction and progress in this race?

Gary Johnson: Well, I was hoping that I'd be in the debates...but I have nothing to complain about. We'll see what happens on election day. Relative to the amount of money that we've [raised]...I think that we will by far show the best bang for the buck...meaning if you do a cost analysis on the outcome, we would be paying the least amount for our votes.

WW: I've written a bit about some of the local Libertarian Party protests of the debate. How frustrating has it been for you personally to be kept out of the debates?

GJ: I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, that's me.... But the Presidential Debate Commission is made up of Democrats and Republicans with absolutely no desire to see a third party on the stage. So it really does not surprise me. We have filed suit, but I don't think anything is going to come out of it.

WW: And what did you think of the debates?

GJ: It was much ado about nothing.... Romney and Obama are debating who is going to spend more money on Medicare, when Medicare has to be slashed.... It's not sustainable in any way, shape or form. If we think we are going to address the national debt without dramatically reforming Medicare, [there's no hope]."

WW: In what areas of the two debates so far have you most wanted to interject your platform? Where do you think you'd offer a perspective that was different from both Obama and Romney?

GJ: I would be advocating a balanced budget now. The two of them are really talking about tax policies -- this deduction, that deduction. Look, I'm advocating eliminating income tax, corporate tax...and abolishing the IRS and replacing all of it with one federal consumption tax. I think that's the answer when it comes to tens of millions of jobs. I constantly wanted to be shouting that during the debates.... And I just find it amazing that in these three debates, not one word addressed drug policy. Not one word. And that's because of me, I think. There is somebody out there that wants to legalize marijuana, so they just want to stay away from the issue completely.... And the...Libya [debate], who said this when...look, we shouldn't have had any personel in the embassy. It's not a show of weakness. It's just a show of being smart. Why put ourselves up as targets in an area that is just looking for targets?

WW: Was it a surprise to you that there was no discussion on drug policy?

GJ: Normally, we would have the "who is going to be tougher on drugs" discussion going on, but not one word...not one word.

WW: At this point in the race, if you had to make your best prediction... what percentage of votes do you think you'll get?

GJ: I hope that at the end of the day, we're recognized for having far exceeded expectations. I could see us potentially far exceeding expectations and [still] getting panned for what is not a good showing.... The best a Libertarian candidate for president has done is 1 percent of the general election vote, which is, I think, surprising.... I just would've thought it to be higher..... It would be a shame if we ended up getting 6 percent and somehow got panned for not showing up. That would be a hit out of the park.

WW: If you don't win, what do you hope you will have accomplished with your campaign?

GJ: If I get over 5 percent of the vote, that makes a big difference for the next cycle for Libertarians. If I were to show at 5 percent, I don't know [how] Libertarians would not be qualified in the ballots in every state next cycle.... If we are recognized as far exceeding expectations and recognized for bringing issues that neither of the other parties are talking about, then potentially the world changes a little bit. Maybe drug policy becomes a political safe ground to talk about. Balancing the budget. Whoever votes for me is shouting a bunch of things -- let's stop with military interventions.... Let's reform our tax system in a really dramatic way.... Let's end the drug wars.

Continue for the rest of our interview with Gary Johnson.



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29 comments
Jack Thursby
Jack Thursby

A vote for Johnson -- or any other alternate candidate, for that matter -- is NOT a vote for any Establishment candidate. Common Beltway "conventional wisdom" held amongst partisan hacks states that third parties merely siphon votes from mainstream candidates, even though the majority of those who cast ballots for third parties would otherwise simply refrain from voting altogether in their absence, unless there is absolutely compelling reason to vote AGAINST a particular candidate. Ask yourself, why would pro-pot voters even consider voting to re-elect a president whose administration has clearly demonstrated its hostility to even medical marijuana and more so towards actual decriminalization efforts like A64? There is simply little do distinguish between Obomney in this presidential race, save for diversionary moments of outright stupidity by rape apologists in the GOP. Also, for those who complain about those who hinge their decision on a single issue, marijuana decriminalization represents more than just some pot-head getting his fix. It's about taking those first few steps in eventually putting an end to the costly and ineffective War on Some Drugs™ and letting people make their own decisions on what goes into their own bodies. Its economic as well as is social benefits would be felt almost immediately.

hsitechguide
hsitechguide

The stakes are too high to vote idealistically; a vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama. 

 

The President of the United States of American should be “moving heaven and earth” to ascertain exactly what happened in Benghazi (in particular – how we responded during the 7 hour siege that took four American lives) and reveal THE TRUTH to our citizens – “before” the election.  

 

Are we to believe that the most powerful man in the free world is incapable of getting to the bottom of this important issue in a timely manner (it’s been over 6 weeks)??  President Obama, by now, could easily tell us what really happened in Benghazi on September 11 but, he’s stalling.  Yes, there is the “fog of war” and plenty of confusion between Libyan and U.S. officials, but it’s been over SIX WEEKS after the tragedy and yet, he still prefers we learn the truth – “after” the election (if ever). 

If for no other reason than to remove this cloud of suspicion hanging over his administration – Obama should have given us transparency by now. 

We don’t need an FBI investigation; we know who attacked and why.

What we do need to know is – what role did the President and his top officials play during the seven hour siege?   

Voters have a right to know; we have a right to know; you and I have a right to know! 

Is Obama that incompetent?  Or is he covering something up? 

 

Please vote for Romney.

 

Dennis Scott
Dennis Scott

Johnson is just another among the evils. Nonsense.

Jeremy Hull
Jeremy Hull

A vote or Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. It is a vote against the continued "lesser of two evils" bullshit which has gotten us to this point. Time to send a message, because the only people not sick and tired of these corporate-sponsored soap operas every four years are the ones getting rich off it.

Rob Payne
Rob Payne

A vote for Johnson, is a vote for Johnson........

Scott Amelang
Scott Amelang

HELL NO...A vote for Johnson is a vote for BO...This POS just needs to fade away and STFU..Go R & R...Our ONLY HOPE..!!

Benjamin Bradburn
Benjamin Bradburn

I like some of the ideas of the libertarian party. Similar to how I like daydreaming about owning a Porsche. Voting for Johnson is voting for Romney in CO. If you want to do that, go for it. Just know what you're doing.

Charles Quinton
Charles Quinton

In Colorado, a vote for Johnson is a vote for Romney. I have seen conservatives try to persuade people who would never vote for Romney to support a third party candidate rather than voting for Obama for exactly that reason. Thanks, Electoral College!

Sean Bracken
Sean Bracken

If you feel voting third party is best, then by all means.

Todd Elsen
Todd Elsen

Have to get 5% and the third party gets on the ballot for 2016. Worth voting third party!

beviantdastard
beviantdastard

I am voting for Gary Johnson not because of marijuana but because Obama nor Romney are not a choice I can live with. Romney is a puke, plain out bought and paid for. Obama signed indefinite detention into law and I dont agree with that. Those two have done things I cant just look passed. I believe in equal rights for every American citizen and want to cut the budget now. If Gary doesnt win then we all lose no matter who gets in there. Vote for what you believe in. A real wasted vote is a vote of the lesser of two evils. You've seen where that has gotten us so far right? Years of voting against the other major party has not worked but thats where they want to keep you voting. Think outside of the box this election and research your vote in other ways besides major media. Good Luck Gary!

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

Gary Johnson is obviously the best candidate.

 

I was going to vote for Gary, until I found out that Romney operatives were trying to shoot down Amendment 64.  

 

Sorry Gary, but I am voting for Obama, because I cannot stand the thought of a President Romney.

 

Melvin Sembler, a Florida State Co-Chair for Mitt Romney’s finance committee ran a chain of teen drug "rehab" clinics (Straight, Inc) that had a track record of extreme abuse.  This abuse included kids being thrown against walls, held against their will, kidnapped, restrained in leg irons, forced into servitude, and raped."

 

In one of many stories from Straight that have been exposed, a teenage girl testified to being compelled into the program after being caught with an airline bottle of liquor given to her by a friend, and then beaten, raped, locked in a janitor’s closet in pants soiled by urine, feces, and menstrual blood. This punishment was called "Humble Pants" Melvin has donated over $100,000 to "Smart Colorado-No on 64" in an attempt to keep marijuana illegal. I am voting YES on A64 to send Melvin a message that we will not tolerate his influence in Colorado.

 

Source:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/170007/gop-mogul-behind-drug-rehab-torture-centers-bankrolling-opposition-pot-legalization-colo

 

schweter
schweter

Gary is slowly gaining traction.I am still speaking to people and giving out Gary Johnson flyers,People are shocked to learn then have another choice beside Bevis and Butthead,The 2 clowns leading the current circus.

Peace to all

Garyjohnson2012.com

Stephen Schweter@

gomusicgo
gomusicgo

A vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama?

A vote for Romney is a vote for Obama, because not a damn thing will change if Romney wins. If you want an non-obligated choice, Gary Johnson 2012.

Is that throwing your vote away? Absolutely not.A 5%+ voting bloc in November, elevates the LP to major party status. We will have 3 major parties next time, which could be a huge game changer, even historical.

Use your vote to make history!

ded.kitty
ded.kitty

I like Gary Johnson's platform, but as far as making it a reality... man it's one heck of a long shot even for a guy like me who likes long shot chances.

citizen1985
citizen1985

 @kevin_hunt Just as long as 64 passes. Obama's been no friend to state medical marijuana, but alright. Go Gary!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @gomusicgo Thanks for the post, Gomusicgo. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

hell2pay
hell2pay

 @karmavsdogma_42

 I wasted my voted for sure! I just love that word when it comes to our election process. Because you know, we are supposed to be able to choose who the next president is, not toss a coin for the worse of only two. I blame sheep and media. They go hand in hand.

citizen1985
citizen1985

 @ded.kitty voting for him helps make it a reality, because the other two (most likely, if you're here) don't represent your voice on the issues that Gary espouses. If you don't vote for Gary, how will the two main parties know what citizens want from them? Same as the Democrats removing segregationist policies from their platform. parties can change, and if the don't, they'll be eaten up.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @ded.kitty Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ded.kitty. Much appreciated.

gomusicgo
gomusicgo

 @ded.kitty A 5%+ voting bloc for Johnson, in November, elevates the LP to major party status. We will have 3 major parties next time, which could be a huge game changer, even historical.

Use your vote to make history!

winmiranda
winmiranda

 @ded.kitty

 If you vote for him he may have a chance. I guess people are too scared to vote other than the rulers they know.

JoshMcCullough
JoshMcCullough

 @ded.kitty It's only a long shot because Gary's been shut out by the media and CPD. He still deserves our support - the more people that vote for him this election, the louder our message will be!

schweter
schweter

 @winmiranda  @ded.kitty  The rulers we know are not in line with law of the land.Gary Johnson 2012 he got my vote.

Time to put old style media ,the Elephant and the donkey out to pasture

They do not represent us any longer and haven't for a long time.

Peace to all

Gary Johnson 2012 or 2016

Stephen Schweter

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