This is Why Gary Johnson Did Not Do Well

By: Jeff Caldwell, II

They said, “Gary Johnson is going to get 15% in the polls and will be included in the debates!”

“Gary Johnson is going to get 5% in the election and elevate the Libertarian Party!”

“Gary Johnson is going to win a state and force the election to Congress!”

The people are sick of the establishment and are tired of the system. They want it abolished. The “9/11 is an inside job” and “We gon’ get the globalists out of the gubment” people finally came out and voted. These people finally latched onto a candidate outside of Ron Paul and carried the candidate to victory by volunteering and reaching other voters. The Republicans who refused to vote for George W. Bush or Mitt Romney finally voted. They also carried the torch for Donald Trump.

The New York Times reports,

“Elitists may laugh at his politics,” Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser to Mr. Trump, said about Alex Jones. Stone added, “Alex Jones is reaching millions of people, and they are the foot soldiers in the Trump revolution.”


Donald Trump made it easy for these people to fall in love with him by the way he attacked the establishment: Going after Hillary Clinton, attacking the media, and wanting to end the “Free Trade Deals” like the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Gary Johnson was not able to connect with these folks. Gary Johnson did not appear anti-establishment. A ticket with two two-term governors screams establishment. Especially when Bill Weld is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Johnson was for NAFTA and the TPP. He called Hillary “a wonderful public servant” in his first Town Hall on CNN. Some of his stances on policy even flip-flopped from 2012 to 2016.


The disenfranchised Democrats just didn’t even show up to vote. Hilary Clinton received 5,075,873 fewer votes than President Barack Obama in 2012. As stated earlier, Bill Weld and Gary Johnson courted to Hillary Clinton nearly the entire campaign. At one point, Gary Johnson made a blip on a couple media sources by saying he is no longer standing behind his comment of Hillary being a wonderful public servant. This was months after the Town Hall. Courting to the most disliked candidate will earn you nothing.


There are going to be a lot of comments about Gary tripling his vote total from last election. Some might say I need to stop being a complainer and become a doer. People will say, “Articles like this is the reason why Libertarian Party Presidential candidates lose.” They will also say that the media blacked out Gary Johnson.

I volunteered. I held fundraisers. I placed signs around my city. I gave signs to citizens in my city. I worked with employees of the Gary Johnson campaign to have a protest outside of the second debate; and Ron Nielson, Gary’s campaign manager, rejected it. Everyone below him was for the event. The campaign and I were putting together a blockbuster group of Libertarian speakers, including celebrities. It would have garnered national media. An event like that would have potentially raised Gary Johnson’s percentage to 15 percent, and put him in the third debate. Nielson threw it in the trash.


The Libertarian Party and its membership need to stop being afraid of its message. They need to elect an articulate presidential candidate who espouses pure libertarian ideology. It will be a game changer.

  • Clayton Tidwell

    Larry Sharp could very well be that guy. I’d like to see him run for Gov of NY to hone his campaign skills, but I really like his message.

  • “Pure Libertarian Philosophy” frightens people. The middle of the road message played well, but in the end the lesser of two evils habit won out. I do wish Gary had been more assertive and less by gosh and by golly, but then again that’s him and it’s part of his charm.

    I will also add that if we revert to running unknown candidates with no gravitas, we will also go back to under 1%. I like Larry Sharp a lot, but he needs to get elected to something else first. The Presidency is not an entry level position.

  • Nicholas Feeley

    If people are unable to learn from their own mistakes they’re *going* to keep on making them.
    Those in the Libertarian Party establishment that are unable to realize their own candidates’ weaknesses need to be purged, replaced by people who are actually competent.

  • Tony From Long Island

    None of the other candidates who were vying for the LP nomination would have even reached 1%. Gov. Johnson is a decent and honest man who just is not a good public speaker and is a bit goofy. The LP should be thanking Gov. Johnson and Gov. Weld every single day for the exposure their candidacy brought them.
    Instead, they will do what they do best – whine, complain and nit pick. That’s the main reason I am no longer a member (well, that and the fact that I no longer align with them on issues and their dogmatic cult-like insistence on purity)

  • Barry Fitzgerald

    Why Gary did not do better is because the vast majority still buy into voting for the lesser of 2 evils rather than a candidate that that would really prefer but is unlikely to win.

    • PK

      Agree. The “two party system” is the real threat. Most people think it’s in the Constitution and is supported by law and propagated by the media. The fact the election was close just feeds the narrative.

  • MrT

    He reached out to SWJ-s and leftist voters, but he barely had anything to the other side. “nevertrump”? Really? But no “neverhillary”? Even kinda running a sidecampaign for her? The Internet campaign was totally weak. The childish temper during interviews looked weird.

  • OUWantdSum2

    Bottom line… They werent REAL Libertarians, just Liberal lite maybe, and they sucked at marketing… The Libertarian Party blew a real opportunity to nominate real Libertarians that could articulate the message of freedom… Just like they do every 4 years

  • Jeremy Bullard

    I gotta disagree. GJ didn’t do well because he’s NOT a libertarian in principle. Rather, he’s an authoritarian that espouses some libertarian policies. And policies can change.

    People were yearning for a candidate that would get government as far OUT of their lives as possible, but the more GJ talked, the more he revealed that he sees government the same way that Trump and Clinton do — as having the authority to invade the personal lives and convictions of private citizens.

    He advocates that businesses be forced to “bake the cake”, either through laws or fines or any of a number of “solutions” beyond free market influences. While that SEEMS to protect the customer’s rights, it only does so by DENYING the rights of the business owners. Libertarians DO NOT advocate the denial of rights as a means of protecting rights.

    Further, he advocates for gun control, as if law abiding citizens are ever to blame for breaking the law. Gun control is an authoritarian policy that, to one extent or another, creates a state in which the government is the only legitimate and undeniable authority.

    Time and time again, GJ demonstrates that he sees government as SUPERIOR to the individual, rather than a construct made of individuals who are the EQUAL of the individual who votes for them. This is why GJ fails to connect — not because he doesn’t speak the right language or say the right things about Trump or Clinton, but because at his core — in the principles that INFORM his policy — he is not who he claims he is.

    • PK

      Apparently some people still don’t get it. The purpose of a political party is to elect candidates to office. Let me know when “purist” libertarianism elects someone to an office higher than dog killer.
      Unless and until the LP eschews ideological utopianism it will go nowhere.