Last night, June 22, 2016, CNN‘s Chris Cuomo hosted a Libertarian Town Hall featuring Libertarian Party (LP) Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson and his Vice Presidential Nominee Bill Weld. Johnson and Weld have been getting more media coverage than previous LP presidential candidates; however, the mainstream media still does not cover him similarly as the candidates from the two older parties. Time will tell over the summer political season if this Town Hall changes the media coverage whereas Johnson is mentioned alongside Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in regular news broadcasts. During the town hall, Johnson called the current two older parties dinosaurs saying, “The two-party system is a two-party dinosaur, and they’re about to come in contact with the comet here.” Johnson has been polling nationally between 8 to 12 percent and that number is expected to grow as more media finds him and his campaign more credible and decide to cover him equally alongside Trump and Clinton.
Johnson, an entrepreneur who built a 1,000 employee business from a small handyman business, is a two-term Governor of New Mexico. Although Johnson has been a self-described Libertarian since the 1970s, he was elected as a Republican in a 2 to 1 Democratic state the first time he ran for political office. In his personal life, he has climbed the highest mountains on all seven continents, is a triathlete and long distance runner. As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson vetoed over 750 pieces of legislation – more than all the other governors in the nation during his tenure combined.
At least 12 issues were tackled during the Town Hall including the war on drugs, abortion, gun rights, taxes, immigration and more. A mother, whose son had a life altering experience with heroin, came out hard against Governor Johnson who advocates for the re-legalization of marijuana. Johnson told the audience that it is prohibition which causes many negative issues with drugs because people do not know what they are getting. Although not mentioned during the town hall, recently dealers are lacing heroin with Fentanyl which is causing people to overdose in larger numbers. During his response about the prohibition of certain drugs in the U.S., Johnson said he is only advocating for the legalization of marijuana and the country should be treating other drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. Universally, most Americans realize the War on Drugs has not had the desired effect of stopping drug use, in fact, it has had the opposite effect.
Johnson was touting the potential of replacing our federal income tax system with what is called the Fair Tax, which would shift taxes due based on income to one based on consumption. The Fair tax is expected to be revenue neutral and Johnson also expects to reduce federal government waste by at least 10 percent and perhaps as much as 20 percent during his time as President of the United States. There happens to be a webinar happening this evening for those interested in learning more about what the Fair Tax is and what it is not. The Fair Tax has been controversial mostly by people not familiar with how the system would work.