Libertarian platform incompatible with executive role

Sarah Simon, Views Editor

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This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

While Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s inability to identify where Aleppo is may not be the most ignorant moment of this election season so far, it does speak volumes about his incompetence when it comes to foreign policy. Besides the fact that voting for a third party has a history of splitting the vote for one major candidate (as in the case of Al Gore) and letting a less overall popular candidate win, voting for Johnson is reckless because his platform is not realistic. Furthermore, as a libertarian, he lacks the foreign policy experience to be successful in office.

In this election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump have broken records as the least-liked presidential candidates in the history of political polling in the United States. With these statistics considered, it makes sense that people are seeking alternate options through third party candidates.

Johnson is clearly the most popular third party candidate, who according to FiveThirtyEight has been polling consistently between six and nine percent since June. These numbers won’t win him the election, but they have won him a considerable amount of media attention and support, particularly from people who supported Bernie Sanders in the democratic primary.

Sanders himself has endorsed Clinton and has specifically called out some of Johnson’s dangerous policy ideas. “If any of the people who voted for me take a hard look at what Gary Johnson stands for, they will not support him,” Sanders said in a Facebook post.

Some of the issues that Sanders and other critics have found particularly problematic include Johnson’s taxation policies, campaign spending, climate change plan and foreign policy.

Johnson’s taxation policy, as comedian John Oliver pointed out on his show “Last Week Tonight,” is unsustainable and unfair. He intends to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, apply a universal 28 percent sales tax and get rid of income tax. This would put undue burden on the middle class and would drastically reduce government revenue.

Sanders called out Johnson’s belief that there should be no cap on campaign spending. If this were in practice, it would be easy to buy elections by allowing billionaires to invest heavily into candidates that favor them.

Johnson, as a governor, has not prioritized combatting climate change and claims he would retain that policy as president. To have a world leader make no effort to save the environment would be disastrous. For Sanders supporters to turn from a radical climate change policy to no climate change policy doesn’t make sense.

Finally, as a libertarian, most of Johnson’s policies are focused on national issues. While criticisms against Clinton call out her interventionism and critiques of Trump call out his isolationism, Johnson is restrained. His experience is clearly very centered in national issues, especially considering he could not name a single international leader worthy of admiration. While his reluctance to engage in foreign affairs without a compelling reason to do so is admirable, clearly he lacks the diplomatic relationships that would seriously benefit the United States.

While it is impossible for Johnson to be elected this November, with 29 percent of millenials supporting him, it is worth evaluating his policy. This evaluation clearly shows that Johnson is not a viable candidate and a vote for him is reckless and potentially harmful to the candidates who do have a chance of winning. The idea of third party candidates is important, but in a two-party system, taking the moral route may have dangerous consequences.

Sarah is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]