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Gary Johnson is Running For Senate — Now What?

A closer look at the implications of a potential Gary Johnson Senatorial Victory

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By Francis Folz | United States

To some, he is a professional spoiler. To others, he is the future of American politics. But to all, his name is Gary Johnson, and he’s back at it, this time running for senate in his home state of New Mexico. Mr. Johnson’s re-entry into politics is more expeditious than expected. After the 2016 election, Mr. Johnson announced he was concluding his life as a public servant with his landmark Libertarian Party presidential campaign. 

However, when Aubrey Dunn, New Mexico’s Land Commissioner, withdrew his candidacy and implored Gary to take his place, the Libertarian Party voted to instate Johnson as their nominee if he chose to run. Mr. Johnson officially accepted the Libertarian Party’s nomination on August 13 and has officially launched his campaign. A Gary Johnson Senate win could shake up the D.C. establishment and impact national politics.

As the next senator from New Mexico, Gary Johnson would have a decisive vote on future Supreme Court nominations, one of the most imperative issues identified by voters in the 2016 election. As a libertarian, Mr. Johnson could effectively force the President to nominate more liberty-minded justices like Neil Gorsuch by potentially withholding support for weaker, more mainstream candidates like the Honorable Hardimann and recent Trump nominee Kavanaugh. Because the Senate’s current composition is only one-plus in favor of Republicans, Gary Johnson’s fiercely independent spirit, coupled with his promulgation for civil liberties as well as personal and economic freedom, could help mold future candidates and shift the Supreme Court.

Since 2010, Rand Paul has acquired few allies in the Senate, thus pursuing many of his endeavors on his own. A Johnson victory would alleviate some of Rand Paul’s burdens by providing a second strong libertarian voice in the Senate. For example, this Congress Dr. Paul succeeded in securing a vote to audit the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, this uphill battle was primarily fought by Paul and ultimately unsuccessful due to a lack of political courage by many senators. This includes Martin Heinrich, New Mexico’s current senator. 

Martin Heinrich is no stranger to the beltway status quo. In 2018 alone, Martin Heinrich has supported the abhorrent omnibus spending bill while voting against Rand Paul’s penny plan to reduce the budget and Paul’s amendment to reduce appropriations to their budget cap limitations. Mr. Heinrich’s fiscally reckless record gets worse, as he also voted against eliminating funds to expired and unnecessary programs. 

This differs tremendously from Mr. Johnson who has advocated for limited government since the 90’s. Mr. Johnson is a vocal critic of the two-party system which regularly works to undermine Americans’ best interests by spending imprudently and interfering in the free market. As governor of New Mexico, Mr. Johnson vetoed over 700 pieces of legislation and became one of the first major proponents of decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, emphasizing his belief in small and efficient governance.

One substantial advantage Johnson maintains is that he’s the most anti-establishment candidate, left or right, in the race. Although Mr. Rich’s stances remain to be seen in practice, Senator Heinrich has made himself at home in D.C. Aside from his disregard for fiscal responsibility, Mr. Heinrich embodies almost all other aspects of the D.C. machine. The Farm Bill, supported by Mr. Heinrich, is one of America’s most brazen examples of cronyism, infused with subsidies for special interests and elites. Senator Heinrich’s opposition to Federal Reserve Transparency Act and the Sentencing Reform and Corrections act has bolstered the status quo and his reputation as a politician. It is unsurprising that support and enthusiasm for the sitting senator remain meager among his constituents. He further misrepresented New Mexico’s best interests by voting against the CREATES Act which has the potential to drop drug prices by 15-50 percent. It is unsurprising that support and enthusiasm for the sitting senator remains meager amongst his constituents.

In contrast, former-governor Johnson has been an outspoken opponent against all forms of the D.C. status quo, from taking down the duopoly, to fighting the criminalization of acts that could rather be kept in check by personal responsibility. As senator, Gary Johnson would be a reliable vote to defend civil liberties, oppose cronyism, end the Fed, reform our shoddy criminal justice system, and to drain the swamp.

Prior to Gary Johnson’s reemergence into American politics, New Mexico’s Senate seat, currently entertained by Martin Heinrich, was largely seen as a safe Democratic seat. That all changed when the former 2-time governor of the Land of Enchantment Gary Johnson announced he would accept the Libertarian Party’s invitation to run for Senate. Mr. Johnson’s record as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal continues to resonate with a plurality of New Mexicans. Time will tell if New Mexico, once considered a stronghold of Democrats anticipating a blue wave this November, will be the commencement of a libertarian gold rush.


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