Gary Johnson For Dummies
Politics and Activism

Gary Johnson For Dummies

A practical guide to "Feeling the Johnson" in 2016.

The Atlantic

If the state of the presidential race brings tears to your eyes, people on the Internet give you high blood pressure and you’ve experienced the soul crushing realization that you don’t like any of the candidates, then this guide is for you. Today we’ll be discussing a third party candidate (what?!) and breaking down his stance on the issues in an article so cute and compressed that you can digest it on your lunch break. I’m no political expert, but I would like to put politics into terms that are a little less wordy, and catered to people like me.

With a short answer and long(er) answer, you can read into the issues as much or as little as you’d like—you could even save some for later. You may or may not agree with these stances, but at the end of the day you will have exercised your brain, learned something new, and maybe even realized you’ve found someone that you want as your president. Let’s press on.

Subject: Gary Johnson

Party: Libertarian (read: fiscally conservative, socially liberal)


From 1995-2003 Gary Johnson was the Republican Governor of New Mexico, and often referred to as “the most fiscally conservative Governor” in the country. Before becoming governor in 1995, Johnson started a door-to-door handyman business to pay his way through college. After 20 years, this business had grown into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico. Apart from being a successful businessman and politician, Johnson is quite the adventurer. He loves skiing and biking, and has scaled the highest peak on each of the seven continents—that includes Everest. In 2012 Johnson ran for president, and won more votes than any other Libertarian candidate in history.

The Issues:

Read the long(est) versions here.

1. Government spending

Short answer: Cut it. No, really cut it.

Longer answer:

Johnson argues that the national debt of nearly $20 trillion is the greatest threat to our national security. His first act as president would be to submit “a truly balanced budget” and reductions without tax increases. Every detail of the budget would stand before Johnson’s judgmental eye, and no detail would be spared from reduction. “No excuses. No games.”

2. Taxes

Short answer: No income tax. Just consumption.

Longer answer:

Our nation’s federal tax code is 70,000 pages of corruption and government force that is, as many Americans have realized, an outline for theft. Johnson believes in eliminating tax subsidies, and replacing income taxes with one, flat, consumption tax. This way Americans would be in charge of how much they’re taxed, and taxes would be blind to status and wealth. Also, no one would be able to avoid taxes (including the big corporations that Sanders lists in his website as “tax avoiders”).

3. Term limits

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer:

This is an important issue to many Americans regardless of which party they stand with. The biggest concern for most congressmen is not being a public servant, making this country greater, or taking care of the masses—its keeping their jobs (although I’d be concerned with keeping my job if I made upwards of $150,000 a year too). Johnson is an advocate for term limits in the Senate and House of Representatives. We need a leader that is ready to put this into action.

4. Jobs

Short answer: With a more capitalist country, the jobs would create themselves (sort of).

Longer answer:

In the words of Johnson’s own campaign page, “Entrepreneurs, growing companies and a robust economy create jobs.” That being said, Johnson had the “best job creation record” of former governors running for president. As president, Johnson would use government regulation to create a safe environment for job-creators to thrive in. Unnecessary regulations would be lifted, and Johnson’s new tax regulations would assist in creating more jobs. How? Remember that pesky old income tax? Well that pesky old income tax sends a lot of businesses down the outsourcing road. But what if we got rid of the income tax? Hmmm…what would businesses do then? You get the picture.

5. Personal freedom

Short answer: Oh, hell yes.

Longer answer:

“Give me liberty or give me death,” and don’t most of us still feel that way today? Short anecdote: when I was traveling in Germany I learned a lot about the massive restrictions the socialist government puts on their citizens (i.e. there’s a 4,000 euro ticket that you can get for flipping the bird in traffic. C’mon). Now there are a lot of people that say America isn’t as free as it used to be, and they’re right—it isn’t. But it’s freer than most countries. Johnson would like to keep it that way. The government has gotten more and more “up in our business” with every passing decade, making more and more illegal, becoming more and more suspicious, and even becoming more and more secretive. Johnson stands for a limited government, the way the Founding Fathers had planned for our country in the beginning. This means marry who you want, have a gun if you want, smoke what you want, and make your own decisions with your own body—as long as no harm comes to others. And do it without explaining it to government agencies. After all, your life is an A+B conversation, and the government can kindly “C” itself out.

6. Foreign policy

Short answer: Production, not destruction, is key. Johnson wants to approach the issue with fresh eyes.

Longer answer:

Our military and their families make massive sacrifices to do what they do and I couldn’t appreciate or love them any more. It is truly a noble profession to protect our nation and our liberties, and it takes a great man (or woman) to do it. But the wars we’ve taken a place in, the lives, time, and money we’ve sacrificed, and the years and years we’ve spent involved in the crises of other worlds have to beg the question: has it all been worth it? The notion of bringing democracy and change was excellent in the beginning, but after over a decade of chaos our intervention has done little but cause disruption in our own homes. Johnson would “refocus” our forces’ efforts, repair our bonds with allies, and rework military strategy to be more productive and less destructive.

7. Immigration

Short answer: Yes! Come work with us and make our economy awesome!

Longer answer:

Ah immigration, the real hot button topic these days. Consider, as you read, the position on New Mexico in the U.S. (hint: it’s on the border). Basically, the problem with illegal immigration isn’t that our wall isn’t big enough, or there’s not enough security, it’s that our immigration system is radically flawed. Democrats: we can all agree (as decent human beings) that immigrants are worthy of jobs, and they help our economy. Republicans: we can all agree that our national security is important, and letting in foreigners can be scary at times. Johnson proposes that immigration laws be simplified—with a better system of work visa distribution, background checking, and proof of employment. Entering the U.S. would be easier and safer for everyone involved.

8. Criminal justice reform

Short answer: Law enforcement has way too much power. Let’s cut some of that crap back.

Longer answer:

Wow, prison is a little crowded these days. Maybe we should get all the guys that had a joint, or a gram, or a scale in their possession and let them walk. Too radical? Not for Gary Johnson. Aside from that, there’s a busload of unnecessary laws, and Americans generally don’t trust law enforcement anymore. Johnson is prepared to lead in a system of reform that will get some of the unnecessarily incarcerated individuals out of prison—and keep them out, leading to more freedom for all Americans.

Side note: Can we talk about how smoking a freaking leaf is illegal but selling alcohol (which is, point blank, poisonous, addictive, and way more dangerous) is A-OK? Never mind, I’ll get to that another week.

9. Internet freedom and security

Short answer: Gary Johnson doesn’t want to spy on you through your webcam. He won’t let other people do it either.

Longer answer:

The Internet is a lot like the ocean: deep, hard to explore for rookies and fraught with danger. But the Internet, like the ocean, is teeming with new information and ways to help humanity grow. You can even see whales in both the ocean and the Internet. But the government has been poising itself to dive into the Internet with more regulations and restrictions. You can’t swim at that beach anymore. You don’t have authorization to visit this pier. You can come to this island, but be warned that your every move is being watched. Perhaps the best case for us to look at concerning web freedom and security is the Apple/backdoor situation. Johnson has always been in opposition of the government infringing on these personal freedoms, and in the presidency would look more towards leading the government in the direction of innovation and not restriction.

So, folks, there you have it. If you'd like to learn more about Gary Johnson, or support his campaign, please visit his page here. If you've still got a political itch to scratch, check out this article from last week on voting third party, and why your vote isn't a waste.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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