Don’t be fooled into vot­ing for Gary John­son

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Bill Press Bill Press is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices. Read­ers may write to him via email at bill@bill­

Bill Press dis­cusses what vot­ing for Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date Gary John­son could do to the pres­i­den­tial race.

In many ways, this has been a dis­ap­point­ing pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, so I know what you’re think­ing: I could never vote for Don­ald Trump. But I’m not that ex­cited about Hil­lary Clin­ton, either. So, as a protest vote, I’ll vote for Gary John­son. Don’t! Please, don’t even think about it. By vot­ing for Gary John­son, you’re wast­ing a vote. You’re vot­ing for one of the most dan­ger­ous sets of poli­cies ever. And you’re just help­ing elect Don­ald Trump. That’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to un­der­stand for those, like me, who sup­ported Bernie San­ders in the pri­mary. At­ten­tion mil­len­ni­als! If you re­ally be­lieve in Bernie, don’t even con­sider vot­ing for Gary John­son, be­cause he’s against ev­ery­thing Bernie’s for. Vot­ing for him would be stab­bing Bernie in the back. Young peo­ple, es­pe­cially, find John­son ap­peal­ing be­cause he sup­ports le­gal­iz­ing the recre­ational use of mar­i­juana, which, IMHO, is a noble cause. Cit­i­zens of Colorado, Ore­gon, Alaska, Wash­ing­ton and the District of Columbia have al­ready ap­proved the same. Ne­vada, Cal­i­for­nia, Ari­zona and Maine are likely to join the ranks of le­gal pot states this year — with Con­necti­cut, Michi­gan and Rhode Is­land not far be­hind. So, on cannabis, John­son may be on the right side of his­tory. There are only two prob­lems. First, the fact that his pas­sion for recre­ational pot stems in part from his lu­cra­tive po­si­tion as CEO of the com­mer­cial mar­i­juana grower Cannabis Sa­tiva, which he re­signed only to run for pres­i­dent. Sec­ond, all the other garbage John­son brings along with him on the pot train. In­deed, as a lib­er­tar­ian, John­son’s stand on mar­i­juana is not so much pro-pot as it is anti-gov­ern­ment: against al­most every gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion of any kind. That makes him more ex­treme than Don­ald Trump. It’s a lot more se­ri­ous than his “Aleppo” mo­ments: not know­ing what Aleppo was and not be­ing able to name even one for­eign leader, in­clud­ing North Korea’s Kim Jung Un. Check out his web­site. Gary John­son is the anti-Bernie San­ders. Bernie op­poses frack­ing; John­son sup­ports it. Bernie op­poses the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP); John­son’s all for it. Bernie cham­pi­oned rais­ing the min­i­mum wage to $15 an hour; John­son doesn’t think there should be any min­i­mum wage at all. And that’s just for starters. Con­sider Bernie’s three sig­na­ture is­sues: cam­paign spend­ing; cli­mate change; and tu­ition-free col­lege. John­son’s the po­lar op­po­site. In every speech dur­ing the pri­mary, San­ders railed against the ob­scene amount of money in politics and called for over­turn­ing the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens United de­ci­sion. John­son’s all for Cit­i­zens United. He be­lieves there should be no lim­its on in­di­vid­ual or cor­po­rate cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions. In the pri­mary, no­body warned more about the dan­gers of cli­mate change than Sen. San­ders. “I be­lieve that cli­mate change is the great global cri­sis that we face,” he told crowds of his sup­port­ers. Not Gary John­son. He claims there’s no need to worry about cli­mate change, since the sun’s go­ing to burn up the earth, any­way. The so­lu­tion, he ar­gues, is for all of us to move to another planet. “Look,” he said on ABC’s “This Week”, “what it points to also is the fact that we have to in­habit other plan­ets.” Again on tu­ition-free col­lege, which both Bernie San­ders and Hil­lary Clin­ton now sup­port, John­son takes the op­pos­ing po­si­tion. He would not only abol­ish the fed­eral De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, he’d can­cel any as­sis­tance to stu­dents be­cause the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should not be “in the stu­dent loan busi­ness.”

It’s be­cause of his pas­sion on those pro­gres­sive is­sues that Sen. San­ders has de­voted the en­tire month of Oc­to­ber to stump­ing for Sec­re­tary Clin­ton, mainly on col­lege cam­puses, with a clear mes­sage: If you be­lieve in me, if you’re com­mit­ted to the pro­gres­sive agenda, got out and vote for Hil­lary Clin­ton. Don’t blow it away by vot­ing for Gary John­son. At one level, it’s un­for­tu­nate that John­son’s such a doo­fus. We need more choices in politics. Most Amer­i­cans, I be­lieve, would wel­come a vi­able third party led by a se­ri­ous, cred­i­ble can­di­date. Michael Bloomberg may have fit the bill, but not Gary John­son. Even his run­ning mate seems to ac­knowl­edge that. In an in­ter­view with NBC’s Chuck Todd this week, former Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor William Weld ad­mit­ted his con­cern about in­ad­ver­tently help­ing elect Don­ald Trump. He then ad­mit­ted: “I’m not sure any­body’s more qual­i­fied than Hil­lary Clin­ton to be pres­i­dent of the United States.”

Take it from William Weld. Don­ald Trump’s too dan­ger­ous. Gary John­son’s not qual­i­fied to be pres­i­dent. Hil­lary Clin­ton is. Don’t waste your vote.

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