Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson just admitted on CNN that, ““I guess I wasn’t meant to be president.” Meanwhile, his running mate Bill Weld just announced that he’s ceasing to campaign for his own ticket, but will continue in the election to slam Trump in hopes of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 presidential election.
It makes sense, because former Governor Weld has been known for some time as the more serious and seasoned politician on his party’s ticket after leading Massachusetts, which is a famously liberal state.
VP candidate Bill Weld told the Boston Globe that he plans to focus exclusively on attacking Donald Trump for the remainder of the campaign — essentially admitting that running mate Gary Johnson can not become president. He pointed out that he disagrees with Clinton on fiscal and military issues, though last week on MSNBC he said he’s “not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States.”
Trump has Weld’s “full attention,” he explained, because his agenda is so terrible it’s “in a class by itself.” “I think Mr. Trump’s proposals in the foreign policy area, including nuclear proliferation, tariffs, and free trade, would be so hurtful, domestically and in the world, that he has my full attention,” Weld said.
He’s not the only one conceding defeat five weeks before the November 8th election on the Libertarian ticket either. Gary Johnson has led a spirited campaign for the seat, rating a healthy 7% number in the polls as a protest vote for Republicans who hate Trump. Overall, Johnson and Weld ran the best campaign their party has seen for President in many years, they’re still going to get a lot of Republican protest votes, and they got more positive national attention for their ticket than any of their predecessors until the discussions crossed oceans.
Sadly, Johnson’s general election campaign appeal has floundered on the rocks of foreign policy starting with his infamous “Aleppo moment” and proceeding to Aleppo 2.0 where he couldn’t name a single foreign leader he admired.
The final nail in the Libertarian campaign’s implosion just arrived via Politico where Gary Johnson played up his bad grasp of geography as a good idea in a story entitled Gary Johnson: I can’t start wars with places if I can’t find them on a map, becoming a caricature of an ignorant American so self-absorbed he doesn’t even feel the need to learn about what goes on beyond our borders. Even sadder, Johnson couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer a day after the gaffe.
It's been almost 24 hours…and I still can't come up with a foreign leader I look up to.
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) September 29, 2016
Almost a week later, Johnson still could not find himself a single foreign leader to admire, either because he just doesn’t know enough about international affairs to name someone benign or because there is no other libertarian-style candidate actually in office anywhere significant around the world. Either way, it doesn’t excuse Johnson from taking a pass on what only he considered a tough question and to defensively kick the can down the road into infinity, blowing up a non-issue into a disqualifying issue.
Libertarian Gary Johnson’s honesty about his shortcomings is a great quality in any person, and surely a worthy quality of candid admission which we’d like to see in more politicians. Sadly, Johnson’s candor betrays a lack of the serious foreign affairs knowledge America needs in a President and those knowledge gaps are disqualifying for a serious nominee.
It’s a big risk for Bill Weld to make a public departure from his own ticket to oppose Trump and declare Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as the most qualified candidate. Down the road, Weld’s decision will ultimately be viewed as responsible free speech from the Libertarian candidate to put America’s real need for sane leadership above politics.
Voters should respect the Libertarian ticket’s actions of conscience and vote to dump Trump this year at the polls, which means voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton this November in swing states across America.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition