Menu Join now Search

Who the Hell is Gary Johnson Anyway?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton aren't the only presidential candidates this year, but you wouldn't know that based on the media coverage. Here's everything you need to know about Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson before voting in November. See also: Who the Hell is Jill Stein Anyway?

If you've been following the presidential race even a little bit, you know that this year has been one for the history books. Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential candidate to be nominated by a major political party. And Donald Trump has—well—kept things interesting.

Despite this election's historical significance, voters are not very pleased with their options. Both Clinton and Trump have overwhelmingly terrible approval ratings (likely fueled by hatred from opposing parties), so it is possible that a smaller party could make a good showing in the overall election. Here's everything you need to know about presidential hopeful Gary Johnson.

Affiliation: Libertarian Party

Priorities: Gary Johnson, like most Libertarians, wants to minimize the federal government, eradicate the national debt, and drastically cut the federal budget. He believes that our mounting debt is the greatest threat to national security.

On Drugs: The War on Drugs failed and cost the government lots of money. Johnson supports the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

On the Economy: It's a common belief that reducing corporate income taxes could create more jobs, but Gary Johnson would like to eliminate them entirely. He'd also like to get rid of all government subsidies.

On Education: Generally Johnson believes that the Federal Government has no place in education. He supports the creation of charter schools and would like to shift education control back to the states to promote freedom and flexibility in the classroom.

On Energy: While his positions on energy-related issues aren't entirely clear, he supports further research and experimentation on both fracking and nuclear alternatives.

On the Environment: Johnson agrees with most scientists that global warming is both real and caused by humans, but does not support the cap and trade approach to regulating pollution.

On Foreign Policy: Johnson's foreign policy knowledge is inadequate at best—see "What is Aleppo?"—but he generally believes that it is not the United States' responsibility to police the world and that funding to the military should be drastically reduced.

On Gun Control: Johnson believes that gun legislation only serves to limit the ownership of responsible gun owners, including people on the no-fly and terror watch list. He permitted New Mexico residents to carry concealed handguns and believes that it made his state safer; even more drastically, Johnson maintains that mass shootings in Orlando, Colorado and beyond could have been prevented or lessened if a patron had been armed.

On Health Care and Abortion: Federal healthcare spending would be drastically reduced under a Johnson presidency. He plans to repeal Obamacare on the basis that the Federal Government cannot afford it and would prefer free market healthcare as a long term solution. Johnson aligns himself with the Pro-Choice movement, but also believes that Planned Parenthood should take federal funding cuts along with everything else.

On Immigration: As a governor of a border state, Johnson has an intimate knowledge of the immigration issue and would like to simplify the immigration process as much as possible. He would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents and allow the U.S.'s "fair share" of Syrian refugees to enter the country as well. He is against building a wall between the United States and Mexico, of course.

On the Military: Generally Johnson believes that the United States military should serve only to keep the American people safe and would move to cut military spending by 43 percent.He's against drone strikes, in favor of more regulation on government intrusion online, and believes the War on Terror is costly and ineffective. It's worth noting that Johnson has said he's against torture, but would not attempt to close Guantanamo Bay, as it still serves a purpose.

On Labor: Like most federal support, Gary Johnson is opposed to federal-funded family and medical leave. He is also opposed to raising the federal minimum wage, because he doesn't believe it's the government's job to set wages. He once told Huffington Post that "minimum wage is much to do about nothing," which isn't exactly the phrase, but you get what he means.

On Private Prisons: Johnson believes that privately run prisons both save the government—and taxpayers—money and increase quality of life for prisoners.

On Race: While Johnson has a lot to learn about Black Lives Matter, he believes the movement is good for the American people and that the criminal justice system is unfair to Black Americans.

On LGBTQ Issues: Johnson considers LGBT issues to be civil right issues and stands for equality on that front. He supported gay marriage and is against North Carolina bathroom laws and any discrimination in the workplace.

On Social Security: The Libertarian believes the current system is flawed, and that a shift toward a more private plan would much improve it.

On Taxes: Johnson believes that the federal government needs to undergo significant tax reform, specifically simplifying tax codes and eliminating special interest loopholes. He also plans to consolidate income and payroll taxes into a consumption tax that varies based on how much you spend rather than how much you earn. If you think that sounds extreme, it certainly is.

Rachel Weeks

I'm originally from the Chicagoland area, but I recently moved from beautiful Des Moines, IA to the equally beautiful Denver, CO. I spend my days reading, binge-watching TV shows, performing and listening to comedy and, of course, writing.

More You'll Love

Close