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Why Rand Paul Is Endorsing Libertarian Senate Candidate Gary Johnson

             8/30/2018

Gary Johnson

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Republican senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, has officially endorsed Gary Johnson, the prominent Libertarian who most notably ran for president against Trump and Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. For many decades, Americans have only had two realistic choices to vote for (Democrats and Republicans) with each supporting a package deal of various, often contradictory, political positions that many begrudgingly had to vote for, but this endorsement marks a shift that could result in relevant third parties within our lifetimes.

Rand Paul is known among Republicans to be more libertarian-leaning than most in the party. Adamantly against wasteful spending programs and extremely costly wars, he distinguishes himself against the establishment and neoconservative Republicans. By supporting Johnson, he has endorsed a candidate running directly against his own party’s Mick Rich, describing Johnson as a “true fiscal conservative.” One of Paul’s major praises also included lauding Johnson’s vetoing of over 700 pieces of legislation.

In New Mexico, many expect a Democrat to win the seat up for grabs in November, assuming that all right-of-center votes will be split between Republicans and Libertarians. Democrat Martin Heinrich is currently polling at roughly 39 percent of the vote, with Johnson and Rich estimated to have 21 and 11 percent, respectively. It would then make sense for Rand Paul to support Johnson, who has the higher poll numbers of the two right-wingers. Many conservatives want Rich to drop out of the race completely, in order to give Johnson a chance to consolidate the voters, and Rand Paul’s statements only add more pressure for him to do so. Considering how Johnson leads Rich by a slim margin among even registered Republicans, Rich’s resignation would be the smarter choice for achieving right-wing political goals.

In the 2016 election, third parties received record numbers of votes. Despite still only taking single-digit percentages, they gained national attention due to the sheer unpopularity of both Clinton and Trump. Gary Johnson was particularly popular among young voters, something unusual for a right-winger, and his voter bloc had twice the percentage of blacks and Latinos than Trump’s, as well as a larger percentage of women. In New Mexico, as high as 9.3 percent of the state supported him for President.

The Democrat-Republican duopoly leaves little room for nuance and ideological variety in the modern political sphere, and both sides of the aisle are forced to compromise on important issues that run against the party line since the only alternative is even more against their principles.

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