Elections 2012: Is Gary Johnson the new Ron Paul?

Mark Trahant

Ron Paul’s supporters are on an almost religious crusade to remake America. A smaller America, less government, and a national security policy that depends on oceans more than it does an United States presence around the world.

There’s even a dedicated band of Native American supporters on Facebook, including Russell Means who endorsed Paul several months ago via YouTube.

The only thing is Paul wasn’t able to win a single state in the Republican primary and lost to a “moderate” Mitt Romney. His fans aren’t happy.

So what now?

Paul himself has hinted that he might not vote for Romney. He told Fox News last month that he’s still undecided because Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in 47 states.

Johnson is a former Republican candidate for president now the Libertarian Party’s nominee. He’s also the former two-term governor of New Mexico.

“Few in New Mexico had heard of Gary Johnson when he announced his candidacy for governor in 1994. Two weeks after he ran his first television spots, he was the front-runner,” it says on his website. “He’s our best hope for ending the wars, ending the IRS, balancing the budget and kicking corruption out of Washington.”

Johnson has focused his campaign on supporters. He urges voters to “be Libertarian one time.” He often cites “Dr. Paul” as his most important political influence. His father was a public school teacher and his mother worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. One of his first acts as governor was to support signing compacts with pueblos to open up Indian gaming in that state.

One reason why Johnson (or for that matter, Paul) is popular is his declaration that America’s war on drugs is a complete failure akin to the Prohibition of the 1920s. “By managing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco – regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use – America will be better off,” Johnson says on his web site. “The billions saved on marijuana interdiction, along with the billions captured as legal revenue, can be redirected against the individuals committing real crimes against society.”

Libertarians are an interesting mix of ideals. The anti-tax, anti-government positions attract conservatives. But that logic is consistent, so it extends to drugs, abortion, and less U.S. involvement around the world. He would cut the military’s budget by 43 percent.

Johnson’s view on immigration is also different from either President Barack Obama or Romney.

“As the former governor of a southern border state, I know fences and walls do not keep out illegal immigrants,” he says. “With workable employer verification systems, smarter border enforcement, and common sense, a national problem can be turned into a national benefit.”

All minor party candidates are asked the same question: Are they just running to be a spoiler?

A CNN/ORC International poll this week shows that only 3 percent of likely voters say they would vote for Johnson. But in many Western states, Johnson has the potential to do significantly better than that.

In New Mexico, for example, The Albuquerque Journal pegs Johnson’s support at 7 percent of voters. “Johnson subtracted almost equal numbers of votes from Obama and Romney, according to the poll, meaning his third-party candidacy was not more damaging to one than the other,” the newspaper said.

Other states where a Johnson vote could be significant: Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada. In fact: Nevada could be really interesting. At least three Republican Electoral College members say they might not vote for Romney should he carry that state in November. Ken Eastman told The Associated Press this week that he is exploring his options because he is “pretty disgusted” with the Republican Party and the way it worked to “suppress Paul's grassroots movement.”

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. He has been writing about Indian Country for more than three decades. His e-mail is: marktrahant@thecedarsgroup.org.

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curtj's picture
Submitted by curtj on
Republican or Democrat it makes no difference, they are bribed to allow the theft of Indigenous resources and lands, just as the so called Indigenous leaders can't wait to allow the theft without saying anything. The Indigenous people are indoctrinated to think and make decisions from inside a psychological and idealistic box, forced on them by "Colonial" thieves and murderers whose only aim is the theft of resources and they don't care how many people die in order to steal them, or given to them by bribed "Indians" The Indigenous leaders make no attempt to educate themselves on the history of this continent from when the illegal European immigrants first came, starting with the syphillis afflicted Christopher Columbus, who died with a gaping hole where his nose used to be. Or the first Thanksgiving celebrations when the "Pilgrims" gave thanks with the Indigenous for helping them survive starvation the first winter squatting on lands of Indigenous that were wiped out by Smallpox. Three years after the 1st thanksgiving, Miles Standish and his men lured the chiefs into a blockhouse under the ruse of a meeting. After they were inside, the windows and doors were bolted shut and the chiefs shot, run through with swords and survivors hung from th erafters. We are always losing because too many of the so called indigenous leaders are corrupt thieves also, disenrolling tribal members to ensure larger profits for a few, selling their peoples resources for a song with the profits going into their pockets. They refuse to educate themselves and have made it a career to always be on the losing side of lawsuits, refusing to take their injustices to the world through the Indigenous Peoples Forum of the United Nations. Sickening actually that our leaders have no vision for their people or resources and lands, contentedly chewing their cuds while their people lose all. No vision at all!

curtj's picture
Submitted by curtj on
Heh Heh, a half hour and still awaiting moderation. Apparently this is now a corporate rag with orders not to upset the neo conservatives path of stealing the Indigenous resources and lands, "urinating and defecating" on what they can't pack away and steal. It's to be expected, most of my posts are erased anyway. Truth hurts don't it?

gsevalikova's picture
Submitted by gsevalikova on
I watch American politics with great trepidation,as both an Asian-American,and first generation born from the"former" USSR,which may bo bomb the hell out of this country,if foreign foes like the above,and Apocolyptic fanatics here and the Middle East have their way. Those sorts hate personal freedom SO MuCH,as did Columbus and his ilk, who wanted to find MY territory-the Silk Road,via the Black Sea. He and his RC masters,wanted a sea route that bypassedland,because it meant going into Afghanistan and the Pamirs-which meant engaging Mongol troops. Sneaking in by an armada was more feasible for him,and in the war between East and West,you were caught by . there was no way to warn you then,as you were isolated by water. Now to prevent a repeat of same,a president who won't sell America out to Fascist/corporate interests here and foreign leaders,Europeans defifitely-is what is desperately needed ASAP! We could be facing an EMP before a first strike,and that may be soon. Enemies are COUNTING on the people HERE to screw up and drop the ball. A Native president/VP is a first rate antidote to America unraveling and getting destroyed,which white supremacists want also,so they can establish their OWN dictatorship. please go to infowars.com/chinadaily.com/eutimes.com/kommersantdaily.com/freeiran4ever.com/theotherrussia.com/aljazeera.com,and also Gideon Rachman, who claims global rule mst be anti-democratic to work. Opus Dei is a secret organization that wants America to be European controlled again and thank to RFID tech this can happen if ALL of us don't rise up and say NO! Curtj, you have a lot of work ahead of you to stop this thing. I apologize for these typos-my public computer is acting up today. Sept 16-25 could see Israel hit iran and if THIS happens,you may need to flee any big city you live in. Prepare NOW. Many of us from either USSR or Nazi regimes see great paralells between those places,and the US since 9/11/01. We don't want you to share our lot,Columbus was awful enough,and standish was jealous of you because you were tall and he was shorter than me.