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Gary Johnson Fails To Clear Exceptionally Low Bar

Raising further questions about his presidential bona fides, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson failed to name a single foreign leader he admired, in what he called an "Aleppo moment" during a town hall-style interview on MSNBC Wednesday night.

When asked by host Chris Matthews to name his "favorite foreign leader," Johnson drew a blank. "Prodded to come up with something, he finally settled on a former president of Mexico - but couldn't recall his name," the Associated Press reported.

Watch the exchange, also featuring Libertarian vice-presidential candidate Bill Weld (who named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as his top choice), below:

This is the candidate the Chicago Tribune endorsed for president two days later, saying he was a "principled" choice. Really?



Still, despite Johnson's seeming lack of foreign policy knowledge, he's drawing a significant amount of support in the 2016 election - much of it from "young Democrats and Independents who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary," wrote ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum last week.

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, recent polls have shown Johnson chipping away at millennial support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, with one pollster recently telling Vox: "The millennial vote isn't Hillary versus Trump. It's Hillary versus Gary Johnson versus sitting on the couch on Election Day."

"That's nuts," argued The Stranger's Dan Savage in a column on Monday:

Name an issue Sanders ran on - TPP, Citizen's United, climate change, minimum wage, health care, free college tuition - and Johnson is on the opposite side. Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage, Johnson doesn't think there should be a minimum wage; Sanders wants a single payer health-care system, aka "Medicare for all," Johnson wants to eliminate Medicare and let the free market work its magic; Sanders opposed TPP, Johnson supports TPP; Sanders wants the federal government to guarantee free college tuition, Johnson wants to eliminate what little support the federal government currently provides to college students; Sanders thinks climate change is a threat to humanity, Johnson thinks we shouldn't do anything to address climate change because colonizing habitable planets we haven't yet discovered is the far easier solution - and, hey, Earth is going to be swallowed up by the sun billions of years from now so let's eliminate all regulations on the energy industry and destroy Earth ourselves before the sun has a chance.

Indeed, Legum wrote, "If you went into a lab and created a candidate who has the opposite view of corporate power as Bernie Sanders, he would look a lot like Gary Johnson."

The New Hampshire Union Leader further reported that at Wednesday's town hall event, Johnson vowed to cut funding to Planned Parenthood by 20 percent if elected.

Whether Johnson's latest stumble will weaken his base of support remains to be seen. But as The Atlantic wrote on Thursday, "For so many voters, this election is a choice between two undesirable options. Set aside whether Clinton and Trump are equally distasteful for the moment; just recognize that Johnson has an exceptionally low bar to clear. And yet again, he has shown that he's unable to clear it."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Previously in Gary Johnson:

* Mystery Debate Theater, September 25, 2011:

JOHNSON: I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.


GINGRICH: You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education.

RHODES: To the size of a classroom.

PAUL: If you care about your children, you'll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids.

RHODES: And replace it with the nation's highly effective state and local governments.

* Election Notebook: The Numbers, November 8, 2012:

"Gary Johnson received 54,798 votes statewide."


Comments welcome.


Posted on October 1, 2016

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