Gary Johnson's moment hasn't arrived yet
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Gary Johnson's moment hasn't arrived yet

Washington : DC : USA | Jun 06, 2012 at 8:09 AM PDT
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Judge Jim Gray and Gary Johnson on their Libertarian ticket

Often ignored presidential candidate Gary Johnson hasn't received the attention worthy of a presidential nominee. Despite being a former governor and nominee for the Libertarian Party, most news sources average less than one story a month about him. When he ran in the Republican primaries he had less than three minutes of total debate time. Even in the small government world he is playing second fiddle to Ron Paul, who has managed to capture a huge grassroots following.

The Ron Paul movement has, in the short term, been the greatest impediment to Gary Johnson. The candidates have very similar small government, even minarchistic beliefs. Both have a strong history of voting thier consciences. With the exception of the states rights vs. individual rights debate and abortion, the two have the same platform. The minority libertarian /small government movement does not want to split thier votes and efforts, and as a result Gary Johnson been shunned.

Looking further down the road, after the Ron Paul supporters make a big stand in the Tampa National Republican Convention, Gary Johnson will have a chance that no other Libertarian Party presidential candidate has had. He will have a chance to capture a double digit percentage of the General Election vote. Much of this is thanks to the Ron Paul movement, which hopes to carry on after Ron Paul's retirement. This, however, is contingent on a grassroots trend towards voting Gary Johnson instead of writing in Ron Paul in November, a situation which is far from garunteed to happen.

It may seem a long shot - the best a Libertarian Presidential nominee has ever received was Ed Clark in 1980 with 1.1% of the vote. To make matters worse for Gary Johnson, many in the small government movement have adopted the strategy of transforming the Republican Party from within - and may view a vote for Gary Johnson as drawing away from that effort. Still, even 2% of the vote would be a record for a Libertarian and could make Gary Johnson into the next liberty fixture after Ron Paul's retirement. Perhaps it would open up a return to the Republican Party for Johnson, who could do well in a mid-term run for a more accessible office.

The future of the liberty movement will be much more clear after Tampa.

If you like writing about U.S. politics and the 2012 campaign, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

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Third party presidential candidate Gary Johnson
Third party presidential candidate Gary Johnson
Ryan Pierce is based in Austin, Texas, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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