In 2008, Barack Obama became the favorite of the millennial generation, a generation growing up in the recession with an almost unanimous animosity towards the War on Terror and the foreign policy of the Bush administration. It seems that now the millennial candidate of this election is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders' major policies include breaking up Wall Street, providing free college education, pursing women's rights, and creating a diplomatic foreign policy. While Sanders has been the breakout candidate for my generation so far, another candidate is entering the race that may also gain traction among millennials this election (as he did in 2012). This candidate, while vastly different from Sanders in several respects, has the personality, ideas, and disdain for the two-party system that attracts many young voters. This candidate is Governor Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson is running for the Libertarian nomination for President in 2016. Now, the word "Libertarian" has been used to describe several Republican candidates this election cycle, such as Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. However, these two candidates should not be granted that title or be confused with actual libertarians. Known as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal, Gary Johnson is a former two-term Governor from New Mexico who started out as a simple successful business owner. His record was applauded by Republicans and Democrats alike in his state as he balanced the budget without ever raising taxes. He then ran for president in 2012 as the Libertarian candidate, where he received over one million votes, presenting the best Libertarian showing in history. When it comes to his charisma, it is only rivaled by that of the down to earth Sanders. Johnson is a triathlete who climbed Mount Everest with a broken foot, crowd surfed at a campaign event, and actively used marijuana (and was the CEO of a cannabis company that provides high quality, legal cannabis products). I dare you to find another candidate with those items on their resume.
When it comes to the issues, Johnson does heavily differ from Sanders fiscally; however, his social agenda does have many parallels. Johnson seeks to implement a consumption tax instead of the traditional income tax, limit the powers of the NSA, DEA and ATF, implement a non-interventionist foreign policy, and reform the criminal justice system. He is also pro-marijuana legalization, pro-choice, and has long supported a Constitutional amendment favoring same-sex marriage. Johnson's campaign, just like Sanders' is, was heavily funded by individual donors in 2012 and was not in the pockets of Wall Street like many of the other candidates. Whichever candidate millennials choose to support, with Sanders and Johnson, they know what they're going to get. These are two candidates with two very different records, but they are honest men with great aspirations to change this country for the better.