Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson–who ran for President in 2012 and is flirting with the idea of another run in 2016–thinks parties are our problem.
Johnson, as a Republican, was Governor of New Mexico between 1994 and 2003. After losing the Republican primary for President in 2012, he switched to the Libertarian Party–and ran as their standard-bearer in the general election, which he lost, despite racking up one of the Libertarian Party’s strongest numbers in history.
But despite his party switching, Johnson makes it clear that parties are the problem–because they force candidates into positions where they have to appease different wings of the same party in order to progress.
“There are issues on which we do not agree, and those tend to be issues that have become litmus tests for Republicans,” Johnson explained. “It is essential that voters have the opportunity to see and hear a candidate who is not constrained by litmus tests.”
He was referring specifically to Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican who is running for President, but it’s a problem that runs deeper than that.
Generally speaking, because different factions in the GOP are opposed to each other, it’s usually the best-financed candidate who ultimately comes out ahead–not necessarily the one that most people support.
“If recent history is an indication,” Johnson explained, “the candidate who finally emerges [as the GOP’s nominee] will be the one the establishment wants and who has the most money. And watching the Republican National Committee limit participation in its own debates, that appears to be their plan once again. That leads to Jeb Bush.”
Johnson was, famously, only allowed in one debate in 2012, while running for the Republican ticket–after polling too low to gain an invitation to the rest. He did not debate either Gov. Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama in the general election, either.
Johnson has not yet announced whether or not he intends to run for President on the Libertarian Party ticket again in 2016.