The Case for Gary Johnson

I’ve always been a fan of the underdog.

Maybe it’s the sports fan in me. Hearing the stories of David slaying Goliath from Buster Douglas’s upset over Mike Tyson, to the 1969 Amazin’ Mets, or closer to my heart, the 2011 upset of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals by the Dallas Mavericks help prove to me the famous belief uttered by noted athletic statesman Kevin Garnett that “anything is possible.”

With the caliber of candidates that the major parties have trotted out for this election, that sentiment has never rang so true. This is why when I cast my ballot for President of the United States (in a state that by some miracle might be in play this year), I’ll be voting for Governor Gary Johnson. When you examine the competition, what other choice do you have?

A Republican Primary worse than an episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and devoid of any intellectual policy substance, with a shift towards 18th century social policy thrown in, produced a candidate who is a mix between an overly orange Jabba the Hut with the temperament of the Tasmanian Devil.

The result of a civil-by-comparison Democratic Party primary process left a candidate who has technically been running for President since 2000 carrying the mantle.

Both candidates suffer from trust issues. Trump hasn’t recited a factual statement in months, and cavorting with Miss Slovenia, Miss China, and Miss Azerbaijan doesn’t really equate to international experience in the political arena. On the other side, Hillary has that large specter of the Clinton Foundation looming in her midst, causing conflict-of-interest issues from her time at the State Department.

There was a moment during the past month or two where I stepped away from my three-soccer-games-a-day routine and pondered the thought of Dr. Jill Stein as President. Then she opened her mouth. Saying wi-fi harms children, when it actually connects communities? Bashing Trump for cozying up to Russia, then meeting with Vladimir Putin and bashing the United States in the process? The fact that her running mate described a vigil for Charlie Hebdo victims as a “white power march” and said that Bernie Sanders has a “commitment to Eurocentrism and normalized white supremacy”? It’s no wonder the Green Party isn’t taken seriously in major elections.

Which brings me to Gary Johnson. Yes, some of you in the older generation might say “oh, you’re a millennial and just support him because he wants to legalize weed.” While the decriminalization of marijuana is important, it’s refreshing to hear Johnson classify drugs and the abuse of them as mental health issue, rather than one of a criminal nature.

Gary Johnson has the policy chops of Hillary Clinton, serving as the two-time Governor of New Mexico, and the business chutzpah that Donald Trump boasts about, growing a one employee company into a multi-million dollar operation. He was known as Governor Veto in office for his high use of a line-item veto, but for good reason; he wouldn’t vote for any bill that didn’t pay for itself. For those who wonder about libertarians and spending, he actually raised education spending by one third in office. Not only that, but he was praised by both parties for his handling of the Cerro Grande Fire. In fact, he actually actively battled it. Oh, and the former Republican is an active proponent of same-sex marriage.

Fine. I didn’t mention Israel. Yes, Johnson doesn’t come out and say “I will stand with Israel whenever and wherever she needs.” But maybe that’s what Israel and America both need: to be able to make decisions separate of one another. He didn’t say “Israel is the root of all evil and should be punished for everything,” which many in the pro-Israel community think a candidate believes if he doesn’t unequivocally shout his support for the blue and white.

A buffoon with the decision-making abilities of a hormonal teenage male. A woman who for all intents and purposes broke the glass ceiling, but who has a list of scandals not even Olivia Pope and Associates could control. Another woman who is a licensed physician but whose views often align with someone who shouldn’t be within a mile of an operating room.

And Gary Johnson. A former elected official whose stances on issues is shared by what seems like much of middle-class America. A likeable guy who can speak to actual, positive accomplishments that he helped achieve in one of the fastest growing states in America. Someone who may be getting up in age (he’s 63) but is more mentally and physically active (the guy has climbed Mount Everest for god sakes) than any candidate in recent years. The candidate who actually seems… normal.

Laugh at me all you want. Yes, I’ll vote for a third party that is polling less than 10% right now. Yes, I’d love for a woman to be President (in fact, part of me cringes that the Libertarian ticket is composed of two old white guys), but I don’t think Hillary is the right person. Give me the guy who hasn’t waded into this giant soap opera of 2016.

I’ll vote for the adult in the room (with apologies to Tim Kaine), Governor Gary Johnson.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

The Jewish Case for Gary Johnson

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