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Libertarian Candidate Says Third Party Isn’t “Throwing Away Your Vote”

While historically third party candidates have struggled in the presidential race, Libertarian candidate for the White House Gary Johnson hopes the country’s current dissatisfaction with Democrats and Republicans will have them seek a different option.

Gary Johnson
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Johnson says voters first need to stop thinking about it as “throwing away your vote”.

“I think a wasted vote is voting for somebody who you don’t believe in, that’s a wasted vote. The way we change things in this country is to vote for the person you think can actually do the job.”

Johnson, who is a former governor of New Mexico, is running on a platform that’s familiar to most Libertarians— one of lower taxes and less government intervention. However Johnson differentiates himself as someone with more progressive social views. Something he feels could be at odds with some of the tea party groups, many of whom are associated with the Libertarian movement.

“For those Tea Partiers who at their core have a social agenda I don’t resonate at all. I do believe that most Americans are socially accepted and I find that if most republicans lead with a social agenda they’ll find themselves not getting elected.” says Johnson.

During his term as New Mexico’s governor, Johnson was known as “Governor Veto” for his frequent use of gubernatorial right to veto, rejecting hundreds of bills annually.

Listen to a conversation with Gary Johnson

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“I may have vetoed more legislation than the other 49 governors in this country combined. I think it really made a difference. In a state that’s two to one democrat I should have been ridden out on a rail.” Remarks Johnson.”

The challenge historically third parties have faced is getting adequate electoral votes,often since candidates are limited in how many states list them on the ballot. Johnson won’t have that disadvantage, he will be listed on the ballot in every state currently except Michigan and Oklahoma, where their ballot access has been challenged. The next highest third party in terms of ballot representation is Jill Stein the Green Party, who will be listed on thirty nine states.

For Johnson, a social liberal and fiscal conservative, the goal –if elected–would be to work within a very partisan system that to date hasn’t won too much favor from the public.

“Challenging Democrats to be more liberal than they challenging conservatives to be more conservative than they are when it comes to dollars and cents.”

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