Some of us are no strangers to the Libertarian Party, even as many Republicans are looking that party’s way, that never considered going third party before.
I know how the party operates, and that’s why I have an urgent request for Gary Johnson right now: Please throw out the usual Libertarian Party tactics, and play to win. The country needs you.
I used to be pretty in tune with Libertarian Party politics. I was even on the Libertarian Party of California mailing list back in the 90s, back when political spamblasts weren’t actually a thing. I remember Libertarianism back then: cigars, defiance, and liberty.
So I understand the basic mindset of a third party member. You’re basically standing on principle, you feel confident about it, and you don’t really care if the world tells you you’re doing it wrong, and you should be like everyone else. You don’t want to bend what you believe in to play the game.
So I’m not asking you to bend your principles, Governor Johnson. I am however asking you to modulate the way you communicate your message in order to have the greatest possible impact this election. You cannot just aim your message to disaffected Sanders voters if you want to win. Check the numbers: younger voters just don’t vote. The strategy of trying to appeal to young people who only vote on socially libertine positions, just doesn’t win you anything.
Given the candidates on the ballot, you have a rare opportunity to appeal to conservatives, who are older and importantly, are more likely to show up to vote in November. You know this matters, too, don’t you, Governor? As the Presidential nominee, you need to get as many votes as possible in order to secure your entire party the benefits of success, both nationally through the FEC, and state-by-state with the Secretaries of State and local election laws.
Donald Trump, even more than Hillary Clinton, stands for everything you don’t believe in. He’s a true hypocrite: signing an anti-pornography pledge the same day his wife’s French nude photo shoot comes out. He’s a true cronyist: a New York fatcat who reaps the benefits of big government at the expense of others. He hates the Constitution and would shred every liberty in it, in order to gain votes.
Please, Governor Johnson, modulate your message for the general election. You don’t have to change your views, not at all. I’m not asking you to “move to the middle.” But you absolutely cannot make the same kinds of statements like we saw from your party at the Libertarian National Convention, and still hit 10 percent of the vote in November.
The country needs you to focus on everyday issues that motivate voters, not debates about hard drugs for children. People want to feel secure, economically, physically, and socially. Offer America normalcy: a live-and-let-live approach that will quiet the partisan rancor, ease global tensions while securing American prosperity and safety, and foster respect for Constitutional process, letting all sides have a fair say in Washington.
You can sound like a centrist to skeptical voters, without actually being a squish. Please do that, and you can do this thing. You can be the most successful Libertarian Presidential nominee ever. You can stump Trump, clobber Clinton, and do your nation a great service.