A third party goes beyond the fringe

Over Memorial Day weekend, an American political party held a contested convention and the roof did not fall in. There were no riots and no thrown chairs, and the Libertarian Party nominated a pair of former two-term Republican governors—Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts—for president and vice president. While the Republicans seek to ensure a smooth, debate-free national convention by rallying around a man who has never held political office, a so-called fringe party has chosen experience over novelty.

It took two ballots for Mr. Johnson to secure the nomination over several rivals with no governing experience. Some Libertarians questioned his commitment to making government as small as possible; he got some boos for saying he would have signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mr. Weld faced tougher scrutiny, partly for his support for gun-control laws when he was governor of Massachusetts. This is not surprising at a gathering where many feel it is oppressive for the government to require driver’s licenses.

Advertisement

The party’s slogan, “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom,” is simplistic, but perhaps no more so than the idea that a wall across our southern border will make America great again. It is too early to say whether the Libertarians deserve to be included in this fall’s presidential and vice-presidential debates, but it is encouraging that the party has chosen two qualified, even-tempered candidates and is making an attempt to appeal to voters beyond its narrow base. The two major parties deserve the competition.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 4 months ago
I get the civility argument but I'm surprised the Editors failed to mention that both Johnson and Weld are pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage (Mr. Johnson's position is to "support women's rights to choose up until viability of the fetus.") https://alibertarianfuture.com/2016-election/the-five-differences-between-gary-johnson-and-rand-paul/. Civility is a low bar for selecting a presidential candidate but, I guess it is something when the alternatives are accepted liars and frauds: see this for Clinton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dY77j6uBHI, and pick any speech of Trump's.
william lupinacci
1 year 4 months ago
They chose "experience over novelty?!!?? How do you explain this then? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d45x4OpMoow
J Cosgrove
1 year 4 months ago
My guess is that if this was a socialist party taking away votes from the Democrats, the editors would find a way to be against it.
Vincent Gaglione
1 year 4 months ago
There was neither prudence nor wisdom in this editorial. It was a juvenile reaction to the candidates of our two party system who don't espouse and perfectly align with the editor's personal points of view. Any party whose members, even if a minority, would boo the Civil Rights Act deserves revile and revulsion, certainly not any kind of weak-knee'd endorsement as a positive contribution to political discourse and debate. The bigots of this nation have had their time already. Enough already.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis issues public correction to Cardinal Robert Sarah on who has final say over liturgical translations.
Gerard O'ConnellOctober 22, 2017
It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017