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Another View -- Gary Johnson: As Trump collapses, we offer Republicans a better choice

October 10. 2016 2:28PM

THE ART OF POLITICS is about finding common ground with as many voters as possible without abandoning core principles of governing. It is not about sticking with candidates who are utterly flawed, just because they represent your political party.

My core principles are about limiting spending by government, defending the civil liberties in the Constitution and preserving the right of all people to live their lives as they choose.

As the former Republican governor of the predominantly-Democrat New Mexico, I have a proven record of fiscal conservatism and social tolerance.

Together with my running mate Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, we present a powerful alternative to an extreme and fearful partisanship gripping America in this presidential campaign.

When Donald Trump holds a press conference an hour and a half before the debate begins with the intent of deflecting attention from his own misogyny by trying to convince us the Clintons are worse, we probably knew everything we needed to know about this debate, and more important, this campaign.

Character and trust are everything. It shouldn’t matter whether a microphone is turned on or not. Mr. Trump’s comments about women — which we have all now heard — aren’t any more appropriate in a locker room than on national TV.

We have fallen through the looking glass. Thanks to two candidates who are each running on a platform of not being the other, we are in historically uninspiring territory.

Thanks to some great questions from the audience, however, there were a few brief discussions of issues. I even heard some things from each of them with which I agreed.

But the bigger question hanging over the entire debate is whether either of these candidates can be believed.

Without any confidence that a President will have the integrity, character and principles to actually put the nation first, nothing else matters.

Americans deserve better. Women deserve better. And Republicans, and Democrats, deserve better. They deserve candidates who are not embarrassments.

They need, and they have, another choice in Bill Weld and myself. We are on the ballot in all 50 states. We have records of success in the states we served. We are not asking voters to hold their noses or take leaps of faith. And we feel no need to have differing public and private positions.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was responsible for promoting counter-productive policies in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

In contrast, I maintain that our foreign policy and military actions must support clear U.S. interests. That seems obvious, but during the past 15 years, that has not been the case.

Our interests are our lives, our property and our freedom. They are not necessarily a desire to shape the world in our own image or to pick winners and losers in civil wars on the other side of the globe.

Our nation needs the confidence that its commander-in-chief will act predictably and responsibly to defend America, and not to aggress elsewhere in our name.

Moreover, Ms. Clinton is an advocate for government and the state, and not for the people. In speeches to New York banks, she declared the importance of having a public position and a private position on controversial issues.

That’s not being honest and straightforward with the American people.

Many Americans simply cannot bring themselves to support either of these candidates. As a former Republican, I continue to be shocked that party members allowed themselves to nominate Mr. Trump as their standard-bearer.

With the flood of Republicans withdrawing their endorsements of Mr. Trump, and House Speaker Paul Ryan refusing now to defend him, his campaign seems to be at its end. With Trump on the ticket, the Republican Party is entering a death spiral spawned by its embrace of nativism and xenophobia.

Even putting aside Mr. Trump’s outrageous policy positions on building a wall, on deporting 11 million immigrants, on imposing 35 percent tariffs, or in pledging to torture family members of terrorists, can we really know what he actually believes?

We speak often of reaching across party lines if elected to get things done for America. Today, we would like to reach across party lines to invite our Republican friends to join our campaign. There is a presidential ticket with two candidates who served honorably and effectively as Republican governors, and we are it.


Gary Johnson is the former two-term governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party nominee for President.

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