Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Presidential Candidate Review: Gary Johnson

As part of my political review for this election year, I will be review each of the presidential candidate. I will present a brief bio followed by reasons why I would and would not vote for each candidate. Today I will be reviewing Gary Johnson:

Gary Earl Johnson was born January 1, 1953 in Minot, North Dakota. The son of Earl and Lorraine (nee Bostow) Johnson. His father was a public school teacher and his mother worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mr. Johnson earned his Bachelors of Science degree in political science from the University of New Mexico in 1975. He started his own business, Big J Enterprises, in 1976 and grew it into a multimillion dollar corporation with over 1,000 employees. When he sold the company in 1999, it was one of New Mexico’s leading construction companies. Mr. Johnson served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. As governor, he followed a strict small government approach. He stood with 20 other Republican governors and called on Republican leadership to stand firm against President Bill Clinton during the November 1995 federal government shutdown in budget negotiations. He was praised for his leadership during the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. In 2009, he showed interest in running for president. On May 29, 2016, he received the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party. He is a practicing Lutheran. Divorced with two adult children. He is currently engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Kelly Prusack. Mr. Johnson is considered to be a fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He follows the philosophy of limited government.

On the issues, Mr. Johnson supports repeal of Obamacare and favors simplifying and reducing taxes. He has acknowledged that man is partially responsible for climate change, Johnson rejects government action to try to control or limit it. He has referred to the Social Security Administration as a pyramid scheme. Mr. Johnson feels that government needs to stay out of personal concerns like abortions and feels that Planned Parenthood does a lot of good. He has spoken against the massive natural debt. He favors gay rights. He favors cutting military budget and is against foreign wars. Mr. Johnson supports drug decriminalization with some exceptions. He opposes censorship and regulations of the internet. He also opposes federal and state gun control as counterproductive. He opposes the Common Core standards and supports state and local control on education. He opposes mandatory vaccinations. He believes that parents should decide not the government.

The reasons I would not vote for Gary Johnson are first, he opposes paid leave and family leave. As a single income family, this concerns me a great deal. Even for families with two incomes, this should be concerning. If one income suddenly disappears due to illness or injury, families would falter in their daily living. Second, I disagree with him on military and foreign matters. While I do believe that we need to not always be the “world police,” we can’t simply ignore what is going on in the world around us. The reasons I would vote for him are first, he supports accurate food labeling for allergies, GMS and to better define “natural” and “organic.” Second, Mr. Johnson has both executive government and business experience. Unlike Clinton who has government experience but not business and Trump who has business experience but not government. Third, I agree that many issues of daily life are personal decisions and the government should have no say in the matters.

I believe Gary Johnson is a good candidate for president. Many have criticized him for not knowing what Aleppo was. However, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us didn’t know either. While I disagree with him on many issues, I like his honesty about the issues. He has been constant with his support and opposition on the issues; however, I wouldn’t fault him for changing his opinion. Even if he barely registers with the voting numbers this election, I think that people talking about him is enough to open the door for future party candidates to be considered seriously. I also don’t understand the reluctance of the Democrat and Republican parties to not allow Mr. Johnson or Ms. Stein (whom I will discuss next), to be a part of the presidential debates. I remember Ross Perot being a part of the debates during the 1992 presidential election.

Overall, I believe that considering the other party candidates is a good thing for this country. For many people, voting for a third party is a “throw away vote” because the person couldn’t possibly win. For me, though, voting for a candidate other than the Democrat or Republican is sending a message that I am fed up with the two parties. It has been an “us versus them” mentality for too long. Third party officials would be a possible deciding factor to break the chains of inactions in government. Gary Johnson is a man who has proven that he is a man of action. Would he do well on a national scale? I think so but we will never really know unless we look more closely at the other candidates.