Gary Johnson is a terrible candidate. The good news is that I’m not obsessed with Gary Johnson the person. However, it is pretty clear that Johnson won the Libertarian nomination without a professional campaign structure to prepare him for debates and interviews with the mainstream media, which are basically debates for non-Democrats.
Back in 1992, Ross Perot was peppered with questions until the media realized he was taking votes away from George H. W. Bush. A lot of Perot’s answers amounted to “I don’t care” because he was a one issue candidate. Now, Johnson couldn’t say he didn’t care about Aleppo or world leaders, but Libertarianism wouldn’t accept the premise of those questions anyway.
I’ve already written about Johnson’s Aleppo questions. As far as the latest “who’s your favorite world leader?” I don’t understand why a candidate would rank foreign leaders before an election anyway. Libertarians wouldn’t be obsessed with foreign leaders anyway, since their interaction with them should be limited if you aren’t starting wars all over the world.
The real problem is that Johnson sees his largest voting block as Millennials either in the military (he has a huge chunk of that group) or Bernie Sanders supporters, or both. He has made concessions to Black Lives Matters, Global Warming and other lefty issues to get them. Trump and his minions should be thanking Johnson rather than crapping on him worse than the Clinton campaign.
So, why would a Republican vote for Johnson? I’d say a conservative is more likely instead. Trump picked up steam by going further to the right, to the point of fascism, on issues like border security, trade and even torture. All of his answers involved Trump’s personal intervention and dictatorship. Now that he has the nomination, Trump has modified his campaign into a more Republican-friendly, Pat Buchanan social conservatism and cultural populism. It’s a continuation of a strong president and a weak Congress, except there’s a good chance those two bodies will end up at war.
Now, I’m willing to give the Libertarian Party a try, even with Johnson at the helm. With both parties against him, he’ll fulfill the dream of limited government that doesn’t pass a law to deal with the problem of people who want the government to do everything. That alone will increase freedom and spur growth. Even if it doesn’t, the other two parties smell like they passed their expiration date.