By Robert J. Garrison
First, I want to give CNN kudos for giving another political party a platform to engage with the voters. If there is a year where a 3rd party can do well, this would be it. There is a lot of distaste for both the Republican and Democratic nominees, which has provided an opportunity for a third-party to make gains among the electorate.
I want to encourage people to take the time and watch the town hall, especially if you are discouraged with the Republican and Democratic nominees. You might even hear ideals that you like. Also for you Republicans that don’t like Trump, I believe that Gary Johnson and Bill Weld would be a much better choice than Hillary! Here is the video of the Town hall that I got from the Libertarian Party YouTube channel:
For those who believe that CNN is only having this town hall with the Libertarian Party ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld because they are attempting to hurt Trump and siphon votes off from him, it should be noted that CNN will also be hosting Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein for a town hall as well.
Some among the Libertarian Party took issue with Gary Johnson/Bill Weld because they felt they didn’t do a good job of espousing Libertarian ideas. Lets be honest here, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are not Libertarian purists. They are in the words of Bill Weld, “We are more like Jeffersonian Liberals”.
They are basically in their words, “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” They are moderates for the most part that don’t believe that one party has all the good ideas. In fact, they went on to state that they would include both Democrats and Republicans in their administration.
I do believe there are those people in both parties that want progress and are tired of ideologues who refuse to compromise, thus holding congress hostage. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld touched on those people who see compromise as a problem by stating those people will not be a part of our administration.
I remind the readers that Reagan, who is the conservatives hero, also compromised with a democratic congress. Reagan and the Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil hashed out many compromises and both got something in return. However by today’s standards Reagan, would have been run out of the party. People have run to the extreme ends of the political spectrum and we are on the verge of tearing a part as a country because of it.
Both the Republican and Democratic nominees came up in the town hall. Cooper commented on Republicans who are refusing to back Trump and instead are coming out for Hillary, but not Johnson and Weld. He went on to ask them “What do you want to say to them?”
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld both made their cases of being fiscally responsible governors that want government out of the bedroom and out-of-the-way of the people. They also explained how they are the only ticket that supports small government, something that the Republicans have failed to do and for civil liberties which the Democratic party has failed to do when it comes to mandatory sentencing.
Cooper then asked about the Republican infighting in which Gary Johnson corrected Anderson Cooper. Johnson stated their was infighting in both parties. Bill Weld continued exchange, “Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a partisan leader in the White House?”
Gary Johnson went on to describe Hillary as a “pay to play” politician that is beholden to big money lobbyists and donors and Bill Weld went after Trump by calling him a candidate with “a screw loose” and a huckster. They both lambasted Trumps position on free trade by explaining the dangers of Trumps plan to enact tariffs, if foreign countries don’t play “fair.” They also oppose the idea of forcing companies to make products here in America or they would be penalized.
It was encouraging as a voter to two see the dynamic of the two men on stage. You couldn’t tell which one was the Presidential part of the ticket and who was the Vice Presidential part. The aesthetic was appealing to the eye.
There is a comrade between the two which leads this writer to believe that both would work together to lead the country equally.
Lastly I want to point out how genuine both candidates came across. As Anderson Cooper noted “Governor Johnson, you have done something that I have never heard a politician say before, ‘I might be wrong but here is my idea.'”
Gary Johnson smiled and went on to say something very down to earth and refreshing “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.” If I were Gary Johnson I would make that my campaign slogan and put it in an ad and run it, especially against the candidates that have the lowest unfavorable rating and trustworthiness that have ever run.
Finally, here are a few of the major questions asked that I found interesting.
Many people say that voting Third party is a wasted vote, what do you say?
Johnson made a great point by saying “a wasted vote is voting for someone who you really don’t believe in.” Johnson’s point is right on the mark, which is why I can’t understand some “GOPers” coming out in favor of Hillary. Something I intend to address in a separate article. He went on to point out that “voting for the lesser of two evils, is still voting for an evil.”
Supreme Court judges and whether they (Gary Johnson and Bill Weld) would have litmus test for judges.
Gary Johnson responded that they would not have any litmus tests for judges other than picking judges “that would look at the Constitution from the stand point of the documents original intent.” Meaning he would pick judges that view the Constitution as a legal document, not as a living document.
The role of government in protecting religious liberty and LGBT rights
Gary Johnson responded that there must be a balance between the two. He went on to say that some people are discriminating against the LGBT community under the guise of religious liberty. He cited the 2015 Utah law as the way to have a balance approach on both issues.
Anderson Cooper, who was the town hall moderator broke in to report about the terrorist knife attack in London which led him to ask them a question about protecting the homeland.
Gov. Bill Weld, being a former prosecutor took up this issue at length. He suggested that the FBI created a task force focused strictly on combating domestic terror threats like the FBI did to combat the mob.
And finally, there was a question from a person who was injured during the BLM protest in Dallas, TX that ended in the deaths of five police officers.
Johnson answered the question very honestly and said that he and many others have had their heads in the sand concerning Black Lives Matter and we as a nation need to “wake up.”
Bill Weld interjected by saying that we have a “national emergency going on in this country.” Weld went on to point out the high unemployment rate among African-Americans and an even higher underemployment rate. The lack of access to quality education and high incarceration rates has led to fewer opportunities for minorities to excel in America. He ended his answer by saying “When we have an emergency going on in the country, the government has to get involved, Libertarian or not!”
Overall, I believe that both Gary Johnson and Bill Weld made a good case for disgruntled Republicans and Democrats to take a look at them as an alternative. Johnson has always been a guy that answers questions with a short and to the point answer; whereas, Bill Weld is more of a detailed guy, which I believe makes them a balanced ticket.
I have always believed that the President and Vice President should be more of a collaborative effort when it comes to tackling the issues. I believe that Johnson and Weld respect one another and will bounce ideas off the other to hammer out a strategy to tackle whatever they put their minds to. I believe that this kind of dynamic between the two candidates will be good for the country and bring progress to Washington D.C. once again.
Now while I am not supporting any Presidential candidate as of right now, I do believe that Johnson/Weld are a way better alternative than Hillary for those Republicans that can’t bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump. I do believe that Johnson/Weld did provide an ample argument to the voters to be seriously considered as an option in November.
I hope they can reach the threshold of 15% in the polls to be included in the debates this fall. The only way to break the strangle hold that the two-party system has on the voters is to stand up and make our voices heard. Otherwise we will just continue to have the illusion of two choices, which are really just a different side of the same coin.
May I suggest that we all take a look and consider a different coin altogether.
Robert J. Garrison is a political and religious writer for The Systems Scientist
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