The Libertarian Party decided on its 2016 presidential campaign ticket over Memorial Day weekend, choosing former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson with former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his running mate. In any other election year, this might be considered small news, but in 2016, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton earning historically high disapproval ratings, the Libertarian ticket is a possible alternative for disgusted voters.
Johnson got less than 1% of the vote in his 2012 presidential campaign as a Libertarian, but he is already enjoying much better name recognition this time around. In May, he drew 10% in a Fox News poll that asked voters to name their presidential preference. This was against Trump’s 42% and Clinton’s 39%.
So who is Gary Johnson?
Johnson’s governing style and stance on the issues can best be described as fiscally conservative and socially tolerant. He seeks to balance the federal budget with spending discipline and pro-growth policies. He proposes saving Social Security by raising the retirement age, introducing means testing, and allowing personal investments. National Review’s John J. Miller explains, “Johnson supports gay marriage and calls himself pro-choice on abortion, but he also believes Roe [v. Wade] was wrongly decided and says that abortion should be legal only ‘up to the point of the viability of the fetus, when it can be sustained outside the womb even if by artificial means.’” Johnson embraces an immigration policy that would rely on work visas and not big walls.