Why Anti-Trump Republicans Shouldn’t Back Johnson-Weld


Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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As TheDC’s Alex Pappas reported, anti-Trump Republicans are forming a group to support the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. I’ll admit to being intrigued by the prospect of supporting the ticket of these two former GOP governors, but — upon further review — it would be just as ridiculous as backing Donald Trump.

This isn’t because I’m anti-Libertarian, either. In fact, I’m libertarian on economics (classically liberal/free market), immigration (I’m not open borders, but I’m very pro-immigration), and support the decriminalization of marijuana possession.

Granted, like Ron and Rand Paul, I’m pro-life — this is an area where libertarians can differ — but my main concern is that Johnson-Weld aren’t even good libertarians.

Don’t take my word for it, Cato’s Ilya Shapiro has written the definitive argument on this. One very important issue for Republicans is the Supreme Court, but as Shapiro notes, in a recent interview with ReasonTV, “Weld praises Justice Stephen Breyer and Judge Merrick Garland, who are the jurists most deferential to the government on everything, whether environmental regulation or civil liberties.”

Shapiro also cites an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, where Johnson refers to religious freedom as “a black hole.” Johnson, Shapiro observes, is “okay with fining a wedding photographer for not working a gay wedding — a case from New Mexico where Cato and every libertarian I know supported the photgrapher [sic] — and forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptives (where again Cato and libertarians supported religious liberty). He also bizarrely compare Mormonism to religiously motivated shootings.”

In the context of a Trump vs. Clinton paradigm, this is a huge missed opportunity for the Libertarian Party to win the votes of friends of liberty. Were Rand Paul the Libertarian nominee, I could support him without reservations. That’s not the case with Johnson-Weld.