Gary Johnson Debate Interview: Six Burning Questions for the Libertarian Party Nominee


During Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, who was shut out of the debate, provided live online reactions on Google+. Johnson became the preferred choice of the Liberty Movement after Ron Paul declined to run on a third-party ticket after being defeated by Romney for the Republican nomination. The former New Mexico governor offered commentary during last night's debate via Twitter as well, after a lawsuit he filed seeking inclusion in the debate failed. Before taking to Google+, Johnson took the time to answer six burning questions from PolicyMic:

PolicyMic: Why should millennial voters consider voting for you? Given the two-party dominance of the political system, does voting third party constitute a waste of a vote?

Gary Johnson: As I have pointed out on my campus tour, millennials are frankly getting screwed by both of the major parties and their control of the federal government. The joint failure to deal with deficits and the debt, with Medicare and Social Security, and the unsustainable size of government is going to land in their laps. People of my generation will likely be fine. But when the bills come due, millennials will be left holding the bag. That is why voting for a third alternative is NOT a wasted vote.  Voting for more deficits, more wars, and more government is the wasted vote. 

PM: What changes need to made to the current format of presidential debates? Does the Commission on Presidential Debates need to go, or does it just need to lower the polling 15% threshold for the inclusion of candidates in presidential campaigns.

GJ: The polling threshold needs to be eliminated, regardless of who sponsors the debates. Qualifying for the ballot in sufficient states to be elected in the Electoral College is a massive task, and provides a perfect and fair criterion for participation. 

PM: Why are two parties so dominant in the political system? Given that both have very low approval ratings, why is it that third parties can't seem make much headway?

GJ: The entire nomination, electoral, and frankly, governing process that the two parties have produced is rigged for perpetuation of those two parties. From ballot access to debate participation to polling, the entire infrastructure is built around a two party duopoly. That duopoly has no basis in law, the Constitution, or fairness. The first election in which a third party candidate has real impact in the dialogue and in the results will begin to break up that duopoly.  

PM:What would you accomplish, or hope to accomplish, during your first week in office?

GJ: I would announce that are troops are coming home from Afghanistan and other wars we don't need to be fighting. And I will put Congress on notice that I will be submitting a balanced budget to them immediately. 

PM:Where do you see the Liberty Movement going from here? With Ron Paul retiring, are you going to help cultivate the next generation of libertarians? Are there other liberty-minded people out there, who are already in government, that you see being forces for advancing the cause of liberty?

GJ: I see the Liberty Movement as the fastest growing movement in American politics today, and it is not about Ron Paul or Gary Johnson; it is about the millions of Americans who are fiscally responsible and socially accepting, and who are not finding a political "home" in either of the two so-called major parties.   

PM: If you don't win in 2012, will you run for the presidency in 2016, and if so, on which ticket?

GJ: My decision to join the Libertarian Party was and is not a temporary choice. I am a Libertarian.  And I am in this for the long haul. There is no quit in Gary Johnson.