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12 Ways Gary Johnson Is A Hardcore Right-Wing Radical

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12 Ways Gary Johnson Is A Hardcore Right-Wing Radical


A recent NBC News/Quinnipiac poll reveals that more than a quarter of young voters—many who had supported the presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders—plan to cast their presidential ballots for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. Democrats are increasingly nervous that Johnson’s candidacy could pull more voters from Hillary Clinton than from her Republican rival, Donald Trump, especially in key states like Colorado and Wisconsin. While Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein draws mostly progressive voters, Johnson’s support hails from the breadth of the political spectrum, making it more difficult to suss out. However, because he is on the ballot in all 50 states (Stein is not), most pollsters consider his campaign to be a greater threat to Clinton’s chances in some swing states. And because the U.S. uses the electoral college system to determine the outcome of presidential elections, that could matter on November 8, no matter Clinton’s overall support among the general population.

Johnson’s former adviser, Roger Stone, is now advising the Trump campaign, and has talked in the past of how to use a third-party candidate to split an opponent’s vote.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson has emphasized his support for marijuana legalization and touts an anti-war stance in an attempt to lure progressives to his cause. But progressives are likely less aware of his links to the radical right and the Koch brothers, as well as his billionaire-coddling tax policies. AlterNet found that the largest corporate donor to his campaign is a California polluter, and that the pro-Johnson political action committee, Purple PAC, is primarily financed by a member of the radical right involved with efforts to privatize public education.

Here we examine a few of Johnson’s alarming stances and ties.

1. Opposes federal guarantees for student loans. In June, Johnson told Julia Glum of the International Business Times that the reason college tuition is so high is that federal government-guaranteed loans eliminate competition for students. At the crux of Johnson’s argument is that if you don’t have the money up front to attend college, you shouldn’t have the opportunity to attend college.

2. Opposes virtually all forms of gun control. Even more trigger-happy than most of the Republicans in Congress—who wouldn’t even pass loophole-closing gun legislation in the wake of the Orlando and Sandy Hook mass shootings—Johnson has bought into the National Rifle Association’s “good-guy-with-a-gun” trope, which argues that levels of gun violence would decrease if everybody had a gun.

3. Opposes the minimum wage. “I do not support the federal minimum wage,” Johnson told CNN in June. In July, he told the Washington Examiner, if given the chance, “I would sign legislation to abolish it. I don’t think it should be established and I, having been in business, having employed a thousand people myself, the minimum wage was never an issue.” But if you think he’s all for a state-level minimum wage, consider this: In 1999, during his first term as New Mexico governor, Johnson vetoed a bill that would have raised his state’s minimum wage from $4.25 an hour to $5.65.

4. Opposes equal-pay laws. According to the website ISideWith.com, Johnson answered the following when asked whether he supports requiring employers to pay men and women the same for performing the same job: “No, there are too many other variables such as education, experience, and tenure that determine a fair salary.”

5. Opposes collective bargaining for public employees. When it comes to his stance toward labor unions, Johnson is on par with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Like the Koch-linked Walker, Johnson opposes allowing public employees to collectively bargain. In May 1999, Johnson vetoed a bill that would have renewed the contracts of the state’s public employees, as well as one that would have renewed the state’s collective bargaining law that covered state employees.

6. Proposes cuts to Social Security and removing Medicare and Medicaid from federal control. Johnson says he believes in “devolving” Medicare and Medicaid programs to the states, and raising the retirement age for collecting Social Security. Given his druthers, Johnson would also means-test eligibility for Social Security.

7. Supports private prisons. Johnson touts the discredited notion that private prisons are more cost-effective than public facilities while adhering to state and federal standards. When Johnson came into office in New Mexico, the state was housing some 700 prisoners outside its borders because the Department of Justice had found New Mexico’s facilities to be inadequate for the number of prisoners held by the state. Johnson brought in private contractors to build two new prisons. But in April 1999, one of the prisons run by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation erupted into violence when prison administrators refused to provide Native American prisoners the firewood needed to practice their spiritual traditions, as mandated by law. That same month, Johnson vetoed a bill that would have provided enhanced oversight of New Mexico’s privately run prisons.

8. Gave a sole-bidder contract to Koch Industries. In 1998, Gov. Johnson announced that Koch Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, was contracted by the state for a $323 million highway project that involved the widening of N.M. Highway 44 to four lanes. A loophole in the controversial $62 million (on top of the construction costs) warranty provision of the contract, as well as the relegation of payment to federal highway funds (after Johnson vetoed the use of a gas tax for such projects) ultimately cost the taxpayers of New Mexico some $20 million a year in federal highway funds over the course of the next five gubernatorial administrations. After winning the contract, Koch Industries donated the maximum allowable $5,000 to Johnson’s re-election campaign.

9. May have Koch backing for 2016 effort. The Daily Caller, a right-wing website,breathlessly reported in May an anonymous Johnson campaign staffer’s assertion that David Koch had pledged “tens of millions of dollars” to bankroll Johnson’s 2016 campaign. (David Koch was the Libertarian Party’s 1980 vice-presidential nominee.) According to reporter Drew Johnson, “[a] Koch spokesman declined to comment on record.” But after his article was published at the Daily Caller, Drew Johnson wrote, the unnamed spokesman said Koch had not pledged his support to any presidential candidate. So, who knows? You don’t have to pledge your support in order to pass money to a PAC.

0. Uses dirty tricksters. In his 2012 presidential campaign on the Libertarian Party ticket, the Johnson campaign employed several unsavory operatives, as documented by independent reporter Mark Ames. They included Maureen Otis, a right-wing vote-caging specialist affiliated with the anti-immigrant Minutemen Civil Defense Force militia group; Jim Lacy, also involved with the Minutemen; and birther propagandist Floyd Brown, who also created the infamous racist Willie Horton ad that many credit with having won George H.W. Bush the presidency. Then there’s Roger Stone, now an adviser to the Trump campaign.

11. Accepted $1 million in PAC money from anti-education right-wing donor.Since September 8, an entity called Purple PAC has purchased $550,000 in airtime and online advertising on behalf of Johnson. Founded by former Cato Institute president Ed Crane, Purple PAC has few donors, and is primarily bankrolled by Jeffrey Yass, an options trader whose pet cause is the privatization of public education. In the 2016 election cycle, Yass, who has donated $1 million to Purple PAC, sits on the Cato board with David Koch. Yass is also known for his work with Students First PAC, a group formed by the right-wing Betsy DeVos, a member of the Koch network and the religious right. The PAC shared its name with the Students First initiative of Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools who is a star proponent of education privatization.

12. Top corporate contributor slapped with $1.5 million pollution fine. The top corporate contributor to the Johnson campaign (as opposed to PACs) is Morning Star Packing Company, an agribusiness tomato grower and processor of tomato products. Morning Star is also the top donor to AlternativePAC, which is behind a purported “matching service” between liberal and conservative voters inclined toward Johnson in order to falsely assure such voters they won’t be skewing the election toward either Clinton or Trump should they cast a vote for Johnson. In March, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in California slapped the company with a $1.5 million fine for illegally enlarging wastewater ponds, polluting groundwater with excess salts, nitrates and organic waste.


Published by permission of AlterNet.


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  1. steve m September 23, 2016

    No on student loans Johnson’s point is when you provide easy money to pay tuition the universities feel free to raise the price of their tuition. The students have more money so they can spend more money. Then you add this to what drives the cost of higher education. Administrative costs according to a report published by the New York Times.


  2. mworther September 23, 2016

    It’s well documented that subsidized student loans have had a pass through effect on the cost of college tuition and increased indebtedness:


    There may be intelligent ways for government to expand access to education to increase upward mobility, and grants do not have as large of a pass through effect, but it’s very doubtful that subsidized student loan programs are the best way to do this.

  3. I Am Helpy September 23, 2016

    He’s a Libertarian. That’s just a Republican who smokes pot and is (somehow) even more racist.

  4. Dominick Vila September 23, 2016

    If this is true, we should send Mr. Johnson a Thank You note. Imagine Trump’s poll numbers if Johnson’s supporters switched their allegiance and moved to Trump’s camp!

  5. yabbed September 23, 2016

    Johnson is a radical crazy person with absolutely no qualifications for being POTUS. Voting for Johnson or Stein is a vote for Trump.

    1. idamag September 24, 2016

      There is a very strong possibility that the Koch brothers put him up to running to siphon votes.

      1. jmprint September 24, 2016

        That”s the reality of it.

  6. Box September 23, 2016

    This article is not true. Johnson himself says he supports BLM and “agrees with 73% of what Sanders says” and thats a quote you can google. He APPEARS right wing but in fact he is left.

    Here is a good example you can also google. He says he is pro 2nd Am and very pro Consitution in general and that made me interested in him. He also promised reduced government as any good Libertarian would and i quote, “i cannot close any agency myself but will sign any legislation put before me to close any agency.” BUT THEN….at a rally he was given a gift of (supposedly) George Washington’s gun. He showed extreme gratitude but then on the way out of the rally he was videoed throwing it in the garbage can.

    Enough said! He is the second coming of Bernie and NM/liberals dont want that, they want the votes for Hillary. Outrageous article!

    1. Eleanore Whitaker September 23, 2016

      It figures a BOXed brain like yours would hear what Johnson has to say and come up with some more distorted view of what Johnson says and does.

      Gary Johnson has been a lifelong Closet Libertarian. The very fact that you don’t know this proves you don’t leave DogPatch much.

      The one and only Libertarian meeting I attended already considered Johnson a honcho of Libertarianism. Here is what Wikipedia says about Johnson: Gary Earl Johnson is an American businessman, author, politician, and the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

      But of course, being a man like you with no balls and a big mouth, you naturally view insanity from the dimension of insanity as always. How about GET A LIFE?

    2. dbtheonly September 23, 2016

      Throwing away George Washington’s Gun! Donate it to the Smithsonian or Mount Vernon.

      Libertarianism is not a liberal philosophy. Call it Anarcho-selfishism instead. It is confused and unworkable. Look into it before you anoint a man who is more like the second coming of Bernie Madoff.

    3. Jinmichigan September 23, 2016

      Wow, that’s not even close to a logical thought.

    4. Joan September 23, 2016

      The gun was a replica, presented to him at the Libertarian Convention by a person, Austin, that Gary does not like. As usual, your ” facts” are not entirely, facts.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker September 23, 2016

    The problem the right wing can never overcome is that their ideology, like Sharia Law, does NOT work for the entire population. Nor should it. So when two men like Charles and David Koch put $$995 milliion into a campaign for the Republicans, how is that NOT buying the president “they” and not the rest of the country wants?

    Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Democracy is not one group imposing their will or forcing others to obey like good little puppies. Nor, is democracy the right of any one special interest group to FORCE their ideology on the entire country.

    So when a winger pushes, pushes, pushes, pushes their ideology in a way that indicates they intend to CONTROL the entire country, that is NOT democracy. It is DICKtatorship whether they admit it or not.

    This election is not about what the 1% want. It isn’t about what the Right Wing Home Grown Terrorists want. It isn’t about what one or more ideological groups want.

    It is about what is BEST for everyone in the country. Now, the first words out of a winger’s mouth is that equality is liberalism. AS opposed to what they offer? Slash and burn the economy, rig elections to get the president they want to buy? Prejudice law enforcement up to and including the Justice Department as AG Alberto Gonzalez did by hiring ONLY Republicans for the Justice Dept….the reason he was forced to resign or be impeached?

    Right now you have Republicans acting like spiteful little boys. They will not just slash and burn, waste your tax dollars on hideous investigations but now they are after impeaching the head of the IRS and the FBI and all because like the spoiled brats they are, they can’t have the emails that Hillary has every right not to disclose…those between her husband and her daughter.

    But you will notice how when Bush deleted millions of very incriminating emails and other government documents back in January 2001, not a peep out of these same rotten dog little boys. Don’t wonder why intelligent people in the US have had enough of these nutbags who can’t get through a single day without destructiveness. Sorry but we move forward WITH them or without them. But we ill NEVER allow them to impose THEIR My Way or the Highway BS on the entire country. They are a minority of too few!

    1. idamag September 24, 2016

      Very well said, Eleanor.

  8. FT66 September 23, 2016

    Mr. Aleppo (Gary Johnson) is the spoiler. Every adult voter knows it. Thats why he doesn’t take time to educate himself on what is going on in the world. Thanks he was not allowed to enter into the coming debate on Monday. This man is cheating young voters, he won’t help them anything (marijuana legalization will be off the window), as where he stands now at hardly 10% in polls can’t bring him in winning election. Unfortunately, young voters don’t understand his trick. I don’t blame them much because all of us passed what I call “foolish age”, where at this age everything is rosey and nothing to worry about, just enjoy time in whatever makes one feels good. Their votes to Gary Johnson are wasted votes. I think it is not too late to educate this young voters. They are lucky as there is social media which is a major means of getting news. It is not too late, we need to let them know what is the reality and that they mustn’t fall in the trap of Mr. Aleppo. He is a big cheater.

    1. Jon September 23, 2016

      I agree with your opinion concerning young voters and Gary Johnson. While many young voters are liberals, there are also a great deal of right wing nuts among them. It is alarming how many there are at Trump rallies. I don’t know which ones make up the greater percentage of Johnson voters. If there is a study showing a breakdown of the reasons they support Johnson, I haven’t seen it. I assume a fair percentage support him simply because they are both anti-Hillary and anti-Trump.

    2. johninPCFL September 23, 2016

      They’re not “wasted votes”, they’re Trump votes.

  9. pisces63 September 23, 2016

    Soooo, I was right allllll along, he’s Sponge BOb’s pet snail!!! I never trusted either one of those other runners. One seems like a nut job and the other is an ignoramus like trump.

  10. Moderate Black Woman September 23, 2016

    Wow. Ms. Stan, this is what I call a public service. I didn’t think Mr. Johnson was qualified to be President, but I had no idea he had such a checkered past. I intend to share this information with friends, and I hope others will too. Well done. Thanks!

  11. idamag September 24, 2016

    Sneaky again, they are. Nothing remotely good about the tea party.

  12. jmprint September 24, 2016

    Advisor Roger Stone says enough. Why our candidates surround themselves with these scumbags is because they have poor judgement, remember that when voting.

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