A third party goes beyond the fringe

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to supporters and delegates at the National Libertarian Party Convention, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

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.


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
2 years 7 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
2 years 7 months ago
They chose "experience over novelty?!!?? How do you explain this then? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d45x4OpMoow
J Cosgrove
2 years 7 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
2 years 7 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.


The latest from america

Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 15, 2019
In preparation for the gathering in Abu Dhabi, I find myself asking why my conversations with the future Pope Francis so powerfully affected both of us.
Abraham SkorkaJanuary 15, 2019
Photo: iStock
Included on the list is John T. Ryan, S.J., who from 1989 to 1994 was an associate editor for development at America.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 15, 2019
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? What sins did Jesus have to repent of? Nothing.
James Martin, S.J.January 14, 2019