Did Thrusting Gary Johnson Out Of The Republican Party In 2012 Set The GOP Up For A Fight They’d Rather Avoid In 2016?

Rand Paul has a long road ahead of him if he’s to appear on your ballot, but Republican apologists haven’t wasted any time trying to marginalize or criticize Gary Johnson after announcing his candidacy for President in 2016.

Allow me to be up front about this; in no way is this a hit piece on Rand Paul, and in no way am I asking you not to vote for him if he does in fact appear on your ballot in 2016. Always put your conscience and principle before party or superficial issues. To be fair, there are more than a couple scenarios that would provoke me to vote for Rand Paul in 2016, and I would be ecstatic if the GOP actually nominated him as opposed to another establishment, status quo candidate like Mitt Romney, a big government social conservative like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, or someone that espouses nothing but empty rhetoric and holds a view of the Second Amendment totally incompatible with a free society like Ben Carson.

But make no mistake, within hours of former Republican Governor and Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson’s announcement that he intends to run for president in 2016, “libertarian” Republicans were doling out editorials lambasting him for running when the GOP will have Rand Paul to offer instead. Some have suggested that the Libertarian Party should simply endorse Rand Paul in 2016 and refrain from running a presidential candidate, while others go so far as to suggest that an LP candidate will cost the GOP the White House in 2016 (this, coming from some of the same bloggers and journalists that have defended Ron Paul and Gary Johnson supporters when we were attacked for “wasting our votes” two and six years ago).

It’s not difficult to refute this line of reasoning, though. For starters, Rand Paul has a long, difficult path to take before we even see his name on every ballot in 2016. While he’s a much better politician than his father was, he still has much of the neoconservative establishment within the GOP actively campaigning against him (the same people that worked so hard to minimize Ron Paul and push then Republican candidate Gary Johnson into the Libertarian Party in 2012). Rest assured, the GOP will be promising a “restoration of America” with big government candidates with last names like Bush, Santorum, Romney, Carson, and Cruz, so let’s not pretend Rand Paul is already on the ballot next to Hillary Clinton in the next election.

Second, the notion that Gary Johnson and Rand Paul hold views so similar to each other that it would be pointless for one to campaign against the other is ridiculous. If this were so, then the GOP should have no issue simply nominating a candidate from within the party and skipping the entire primary process, right? I mean, they’re all Republicans, so their views are similar enough that it shouldn’t matter which candidate you’re issued, correct?

Of course not. Just as Democrats will debate Democrats and Republicans will debate Republicans because of differences in philosophy, principle, and personality, so to should a libertarian from the Libertarian Party challenge a libertarian from the Republican Party. Not only are there drastic differences found in the platforms of the parties that either candidate represents, but their philosophical views on hot topics such as social issues, foreign policy, tax reform, immigration, and more, differ, as well. There’s clearly plenty of room for debate between both candidates, and a Republican will have to (and should) compete with a Libertarian if he or she wants those votes. Every vote must be earned, after all.

And what if Rand Paul and Gary Johnson were in fact on the same ballot? How is this a bad thing? What is wrong with a ballot where two out of three candidates hold some degree of libertarian philosophy, when we’ve endured decades where our two “big government” “lesser of two evils” choices had names like Bush, Kerry, Gore, Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Romney? A national level competition amongst libertarians?! Sign me up! It’s about time we changed the conversation!

Finally, Republicans, “libertarian” or not, are fooling themselves if they think the third largest political party in the U.S. should simply sit out the highest race on our ballots. Expecting any political party to simply fold in such a scenario is expecting them to forfeit all legitimacy, liquidate principle, and alienate party members, supporters, and voters. 2016 presents a real chance to produce a fundamental change in conversation and policy, an opportunity to have a third candidate present in national, televised debates, and the same people that wrote, spoke, and voted on behalf of liberty for the last decade shouldn’t be working so hard to contradict their past efforts.

If the GOP can evolve beyond the party that has given us trillions of dollars in debt, unconstitutional wars, the evisceration of privacy and due process rights, and a ballooning of bureaucracy, then so be it. I’ll welcome it. But while they’re busy figuring out just what it is they stand for, I’ll be one of the many pressing for more than two candidates in any debate, and more than two choices on my ballot.

-Chris Mayo

https://www.facebook.com/chrismayoLP

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It was totally worth it!

Many would consider the results a failure. Granted, those results appear to be nothing short of dismal, but I don’t see it that way. While I didn’t win the seat in which I campaigned for, I gave all of those individuals that voted for me another choice. Like it or not, there’s a segment of people out there that refuse to have their hands tied by a false, two party choice every couple of years, and they deserve the ability to vote based on principle, and not “for the lesser of two evils.”

I gave the voters another choice; a real choice. And I worked tirelessly to spread the message of liberty. I made a decision to dedicate my personal life towards promoting the idea of “minimum government and maximum freedom,” and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

We did all of this having raised very little money. Instead, this campaign was “financed” by the volunteer assistance of friends and family that believe in that same message that I want to spread. We didn’t have a tv commercial or a newspaper ad. We didn’t have special interest groups or banks promoting us or giving us money. We didn’t have interns, a campaign chairman, or a treasurer. There were no advisors, publicists, or fundraisers. And last (but certainly not least), there was absolutely no previous experience in campaigning present here. No, this was as “grassroots” as it gets.

What we did have, though, was a handful of driven, dedicated, young American adults that are tired of the status quo. We’re tired of the encroachment on individual liberties, the colossal debt, and false dichotomies. We see the writing on the wall, and realize it’s irresponsible to continue ignoring it. And we did all of this with a smile on our face, enjoying the experience, learning everything we could, and believing that we just might make a difference. Maybe, just maybe, we can leave our children with a better country than the one they otherwise might inherit.

The only failure, here, would be to let this effort go to waste. We don’t have to stop spreading the philosophy of individual freedom and responsible government just because an election ended. People will listen if you talk. Liberty is an old idea whose appeal never loses its luster, after all. And remember, your representative has a phone number, an email address, and active social networking resources, all of which should always be put to use. It’s your duty to hold that individual accountable. Just because they won today doesn’t mean it should be smooth sailing for the next two years for them. Be relentless. Make them earn it. Respect them, but always remind them who they work for.

On a closing note, I want to thank everyone that supported me. I certainly stepped out of my comfort zone in this endeavor, and I don’t regret a single second of it. But I couldn’t have done it if no one believed in me, so again, thank you!

Chris Mayo, Candidate, U.S. House, IN-7, Libertarian

Voters Deserve Better

It is, unequivocally, a great disservice to any voter when he or she is not afforded the opportunity to hear each of their balloted candidates debate pertinent issues in a public forum. An informed voter is vital to a healthy representative government, and history has proven that an open debate is one of the best methods to allow constituents to hear the candidates and make an educated vote.

The most egregious injustice, though, is a multi-term incumbent that has denied repeated requests by two challengers to a debate. Any constituency that is represented by a candidate facing reelection that refuses to debate (let alone acknowledge) opposing candidates, is undoubtedly poorly represented.

In case you are still wondering, yes, I’m referring to the 7th Congressional District’s Representative Andre Carson. Rep. Carson’s office has ignored repeated requests from my office for a multi-candidate debate, and blatantly refused a request for a public debate by the Republican challenger, Catherine Ping. Efforts were made on my office’s part to find an impartial host for a debate as well, to no avail.

I take issue with this not only as a candidate in this race, but as a voter, as well. As voters that take the time away from family, school, or work to cast a vote for the individual that we want to represent us in Washington D.C. for the next two years (the individual that not only represents us, but is paid by us, as well), it is necessary that we have the opportunity to hear each and every candidate that we will see listed on our ballots in November. I’m confident that I am not the only voter that would like to know where each candidate on my ballot stands on fundamental issues before I walk into that booth, rather than being forced to vote for incumbents, name recognition, or political parties.

As a candidate, it’s insulting to dedicate the time, finances, and personal sacrifices to challenge an incumbent, only to be denied the opportunity to confront my representative in an open forum regarding the pertinent issues that face our country and our community, and issues in which Rep. Carson is directly responsible for addressing.

To be sure, there are many reasons an incumbent may invoke to excuse themselves from a debate. Some wish to avoid the opportunity to stick their foot in their mouth, while others prefer to keep any and all attention away from their challengers, preferring instead to be that “automatic representative.” Rest assured though, any reason an incumbent may have to exclude themselves from a public debate absolutely reflects poorly on the candidate, and on that candidate’s regard for his or her constituents.

Ultimately, refusing to debate a challenger portrays an incumbent as being unaccountable to the people he or she is paid to represent. At a time when the federal debt exceeds $17 trillion dollars, we’re dropping bombs in multiple countries, the real economy is floundering, health care costs are rising faster than wages, our failed War on Drugs and War on Terror bleeds us of personal liberty while bestowing our future with unfathomable debt, and corruption and cronyism run rampant, accountability is obligatory. At a time when poll after poll shows public trust and approval of Congress (with both parties holding majorities between houses) hovering at all-time lows, incumbents should be held accountable to voters and challengers alike, rather than successfully hiding behind donors and political allies.

Chris Mayo, Candidate, U.S. House, IN-7, Libertarian