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Trump vs. Clinton Could Give Rise to Libertarian

Trump vs. Clinton Could Give Rise to Libertarian
(John Bazemore/AP, Matt Rourke/AP)

By Friday, 25 March 2016 11:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

A Trump-vs.-Clinton race could be a path for a third candidate, says 2012 libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

“Here are two of the most polarizing figures in American politics today,” Johnson told me, citing a new Quinnipiac poll showing 54 percent of voters nationwide say there is “no way” they would vote for Trump for president and 43 percent saying the same thing about Clinton.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax Wednesday, Johnson, former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, left little doubt he wanted to face the outspoken billionaire and the former secretary of state if he is again given the Libertarian Party’s blessing at its presidential nominating convention May 31.

A day after Johnson spoke to me, a Monmouth Poll showed that when his name is included in a hypothetical three-candidate race, he draws an astonishing 11 percent of the vote (Clinton draws 42 percent among voters nationwide and Trump 34 percent, according to Monmouth). Carrying the libertarian standard in 2012 after abandoning the Republican race, Johnson drew about 1 percent of the vote.

He specifically cited his distaste for some of Trump’s best-known positions: deporting 11 million illegal immigrants, bringing back waterboarding as a means of interrogating  terrorists, and making it easier to sue for libel.

“He’s for bigger government, period,” said Johnson.

The former New Mexico governor and onetime construction company owner also made clear he thought little of Trump’s two remaining competitors for the Republican nomination. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Johnson said, “is trying to out-Trump Trump” on the immigration issue, while his major complaint against John Kasich is that the Ohio governor “said such negative things about marijuana.”

Legalizing marijuana has been an issue with which Johnson has been identified with since 1999. As governor, he made international headlines by becoming one of the highest-elected U.S. officials to call for legalization. As the Libertarian candidate for president in 2012, Johnson made legalizing marijuana a plank in his platform. (During our interview he noted that the District of Columbia relaxed laws against marijuana.)

In contrast to most Republican office-holders, Johnson believes the U.S. “should embrace immigration” and that the keys to solving the problem of illegal immigration is “provide a work visa for immigrants and have a moving line.”

Immigrants will enhance the American workforce, he added, “and the only time when wages will be less than those of other workers is when there is a language barrier. If you don’t learn English, you won’t get far in your job. That’s the reality. But we have to recognize that mastering English completely and blending in American society for [an immigrant] has always been a seven-year phenomenon.”

Rather than boots on the ground as the best means of defeating ISIS, Johnson calls for “cutting off their funding, as Saudi Arabia and the Arab emirates have done.” He calls for slashing the U.S. spending on defense by 20 percent and hails renegade CIA operative Edward Snowden because “we wouldn’t have known what we know without him revealing what he did.”

As president, he added, “I would not only pardon Snowden but welcome him back to the U.S. He’s an American hero.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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A Trump-vs.-Clinton race could be a path for a third candidate, says 2012 libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
trump, clinton, president
Friday, 25 March 2016 11:10 AM
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