The front runner for the Libertarian Party nomination for President, Gary Johnson, just racked up another major endorsement. This time, it was the most successful Libertarian candidate in Virginia’s electoral history, Robert Sarvis, who endorsed Gary Johnson for President. Sarvis won 146,084 votes (6.5%) in the Virginia gubernatorial election in 2013. It was an astonishing result nearly three times larger than the party had ever seen before.
Gary Johnson had endorsed Robert Sarvis in that election so his returning the favor is not all that surprising. However, Sarvis did acknowledge he had other options in his endorsement and that it was not guaranteed. Gary Johnson earned his endorsement for several reasons that Sarvis explained his his Facebook post announcement:
Several people have asked me who I support for the LP nomination for President, so I figure I might as well post it here…
I support Gary Johnson.
It’s not a difficult choice, in my view.
In every election, big and small, we Libertarians are in the unenviable position of overcoming extreme skepticism from every single voter, simply because of the nature of our two-party system. A lot of voters won’t even consider third-party options. Those that do spend very little time on it and many are often really just looking for reasons not to bother with what they’ve been taught a hundred times over is “throwing their vote away.” There is a very narrow window in which to draw their attention, command their respect, and capture their imagination.
This year presents the LP with the rarest of opportunities—conditions are both favorable and grand. Presidential elections demand excellence in a nominee because the scrutiny is withering and the stakes are high.
Only Gary Johnson has the resume, the experience, and the credibility to combine with our party’s inspiring message of peace, prosperity, and freedom.
He has a fundamentally libertarian outlook and a track record of furthering libertarian goals in office. He has a realistic and likeable approach to politics that attracts open-minded voters to a libertarian message. And he has the kind of credibility that can’t be bought or faked, that can only be earned through admirable personal and professional achievements.
I say all of this with great respect for the many other candidates seeking the LP nomination. I’m grateful so many are willing to represent us and evangelize the gospel of greater freedom for all. And those seeking the nomination are making our eventual nominee stronger—it’s important our nominee gets as much preparation as possible for any attention he or she might receive in the general election, which if it comes will come like a bullet train.
But as for the choice of who the nominee should be, the answer is obvious. It has nothing to do with 92% v. 95% agreement on libertarian bona fides—all our candidates are pretty darned libertarian. But we Libertarians must pick our battles wisely. And our nominee must proselytize for freedom to non-libertarian voters, speaking their language, not ours, and attracting them on their terms, not ours.
When I look at the field of candidates seeking the Libertarian nomination, only one stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s Gary Johnson.