No, The Marijuana Issue is enough to tank him.
Libertarian Gary Johnson: Jeb Bush and anti-Trump Republicans will vote for me
The third-party nominee Gary Johnson believes former Republican candidates for president, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham among them, will defect at the polls this November rather than vote for Donald Trump. He expects they’ll vote Libertarian instead.
“When it’s all said and done, they’ll pull the Johnson-Weld lever because it’s a real choice,” the former governor of New Mexico told the Guardian in a wide-ranging interview this week. Johnson said he founded his prediction “on instinct”, but that he was confident that he had high-profile Republican votes – “whether they say so or not is another story”.
Johnson may already have at least one Republican leader knocking on his door. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, told CNN on Friday that he was considering casting his lot with the Libertarians.
“If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president,” he said. Weld is Johnson’s running mate and preceded Romney as governor of Massachusetts.
Johnson, who is at 12% in a recent national poll, hopes that by winning voters disaffected by Trump and Hillary Clinton, he can establish his party as a political force to be reckoned with.
In particular, Johnson insisted that he is a fit for supporters of a Democrat – the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders – who may be less than enthused about Clinton’s nomination for the party. He cited an online quiz in which he sided with the Vermont senator 73% of the time, adding: “We’re on the same page when it comes to people and their choices.”
“Legalizing marijuana, military intervention and that crony capitalism is alive and well,” he said, rattling off issues of concern that he and the progressive Sanders share. “People with money are able to pay for privilege, and they buy it.”
But they differ on key economic issues, where, as Johnson put it, “We definitely come to a fork in the road.” The paths diverge even more widely on campaign finance: Sanders wants to limit major contributions; Johnson supports unlimited campaign donations provided everything is disclosed.
Johnson also finds trouble on the other side of the spectrum. He veers widely from conservative orthodoxy in ways that could alienate social conservatives who are suspicious of Trump. Although Johnson claimed his “right-to-life credentials as governor of New Mexico were pretty good”, he said that in recent years he had “come more and more on the side of woman’s right to choose”.
He said his position “mirrors the law of the land, which is Casey v Planned Parenthood, which is that a woman has a right to have an abortion up to viability of the fetus”.
Trump made several contradictory statements about abortion in the course of 24 hours, and long before his campaign, he declared himself “very pro-choice”. In contrast, ultraconservatives such as failed Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a are adamantly anti-abortion.
Johnson is also a strong advocate for immigration reform, and derided Trump as a racist, citing the presumptive nominee’s recent comments about a Hispanic federal judge. “To call someone who was born in the US a Mexican is racist,” Johnson said. “It’s like the N-word, and I am speaking as a border state governor, as someone who lives in a state that is 48% Hispanic.”
He expressed his opposition to immigration quotas, saying: “There will either be jobs or there won’t be jobs,” and said that all 11 million undocumented migrants should be able to “come by the office and get your work visa, which you will get as long as you have been law abiding”.
And although Johnson, like Trump, ran for office as a businessman who self-funded an “outsider” campaign, the former governor was quick to draw distinctions. “We have much different business ethics and I don’t owe anyone any money right now,” he said.
On foreign policy, Johnson pushed back on the notion that Libertarians were isolationist, but sounded dovish tones nonetheless.
“The threat from Isis is a bit overblown,” he said, arguing that US intervention abroad had exacerbated the problem of terror groups: “After 9/11, Isis membership was 200 members. Today it’s 40,000.”
The Libertarian’s unorthodox views on the Middle East extended to the Israel-Palestine peace process. He said Israel “will determine its destiny but the United States shouldn’t meddle itself or get involved in this”.
His priority for action instead lies in Asia. “The real threat in the world today is, I believe, North Korea,” he argued, saying he wanted to work “hand and hand with China to deal with this”. But Johnson’s goal is not a steadying US presence on the peninsula:“Stabilizing North and South Korea and potentially unifying the Koreas” would allow the US to withdraw its troops from South Korea, he said.
Johnson was also agnostic about the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union. He refused to say whether a potential Brexit would hurt the US: “I would assume that Britain acting in its best interests would be in the best interests of the United States. I am going to assume them that making that decision would be in their best interests.”
He condemned Barack Obama’s “presumption” to urge the UK not to exit.“I think we are far removed from the decision-making that will occur in Britain,” he said.