Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Evan McMullin, and Darrell Castle made no news on Tuesday. Libertarian Johnson never broke 10% in the Real Clear Politics four-way polling average; Green Stein never broke 5%; both sank as the fun of crabbing about the Big Two gave way to the reality of casting votes for President of the United States. Johnson and Stein both won a percentage point less in actual votes than their final RCP polling numbers. Johnson didn’t break 10% in any states, either. Even in his home state of New Mexico, which he governed, Johnson topped out at 9.34%.
In South Dakota, the Libertarian Johnson/Weld ticket won 5.63% of the Presidential vote, his fifth-highest take in the country. Johnson’s best South Dakota county was Lawrence: Spearfishers and Deadwoodies (Deadwoodens? Deadwoodsmen?) gave Johnson 7.89% of their votes. Meade also went more than 7% for Johnson; the Libertarians broke 6% in Pennington, Brookings, Miner, Clark, Minnehaha, and Marshall.
In an interview with KELO Radio’s Greg Belfrage Friday, South Dakota Libertarian Party chairman Jon Boon McNutt said “personally” he doesn’t want to tell people how to vote but that “as a Libertarian, we pretty much will say, vote no all the way down on them.” Chairman McNutt singled out Amendment S, the redundant Nicholas/Glodt crime victims bill of rights, as “a little vague” and “wordy”. Asked specifically about Amendment V, the open nonpartisan primary proposal, McNutt ambivalated: “I don’t know if I’m for that, because I don’t think it helps third parties. I don’t know if it hurts third parties, either.”
I will also contend that V need not trigger the anti-lawmaking urge of the Libertarians. As I responded to an anti-regulatory neighbor, Amendment V doesn’t create more government to regulate something that isn’t regulated now. Amendment V simply changes how government runs primary elections, something that the government already has to run. Arguably, Amendment V reduces government meddling in private affairs: instead of running separate primaries for each party and favoring a few private parties with automatic access to the general election ballot, V says parties can nominate candidates as they see fit, but they will all compete on an equal footing in a nonpartisan primary for two spots on the general election ballot. V is Libertarian in that it means government makes fewer decisions.
McNutt said he is happy to take advantage of frustration with both parties to build the Libertarian Party. He said, “On the surface level, I don’t mind the Libertarian Party being the island of misfit Republicans or island of angry Democrats.”* To emphasize potential cross-party appeal beyond momentary anti-Trump/anti-Clinton angst, McNutt challenged Belfrage’s characterization of the Libertarian Party as “extremely conservative”:
We are government conservatives, fiscally conservative, but socially liberal, socially tolerant, accepting people, so there’s not one overall broad term that can describe the Libertarian Party [Jon Boon McNutt, interview with Greg Belfrage, KELO Radio, 2016.10.21].
The Johnson/Weld ticket is the only chance South Dakotans have to vote Libertarian this year. But if McNutt keeps hitting the radio, and if his party can use these Johnson events to expand their brand, we’ll see more Libertarians on the ballot in 2018.
*Update 12:00 CDT: I have expanded the quote in this paragraph to show the full sentence McNutt used on air Friday.
Can any South Dakota Republican offer an honest reason to vote for sexual predator Donald Trump for President? Rep. Kristi Noem can’t. Asked by a Bon Homme High School student yesterday about the Libertarian option, Rep. Noem misstated the facts about Gary Johnson’s ballot access:
Bon Homme High School student Jacob Olson… asked Noem if she ever considered bucking party lines to support Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, but Noem stood with Trump.
“Have I considered supporting Gary Johnson? No, I haven’t,” Noem said. “I don’t agree with some of his positions and he’s not on every single ballot in the country, there’s no path for him to win. So I want to vote for the candidate that has a real opportunity to potentially win” [Evan Hendershot, “Noem Hopes Women Understand Her Support of Trump,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.10.12].
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign said Tuesday that he will be on the ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, marking the first time in two decades a third-party presidential ticket has appeared on every state ballot.
“With a majority of Americans wanting a choice other than Donald Trump andHillary Clinton, today we now know for certain that on Election Day, every voter in America will have that alternative option,” Mr. Johnson said.
The number one quality for the next President of the United States is to be honest, the ability to tell the American people the truth. The only one I can count on to tell me the truth is one of our own, Gary Johnson [attributed to Stanford Adelstein, in campaign video, “Supports of Gary Johnson for President 2016,” 2016.10.07.
The video is cheap and sloppy, unable to accurately name the campaign committee producing the advertisement. It misuses multiple apostrophes. It needlessly directs viewers to learn more about North and South Dakota at their respective official state government websites—wasteful, because a campaign video for a candidate should do relentlessly add value to the candidate’s campaign, and sending voters on a wild Google chase to learn more about North and South Dakota will never result in a voter saying, “Hey, great, now that I know about road conditions in South Dakota, I really want to vote for Gary Johnson!”
Overarchingly, the video engages in the strange conceit of labeling Gary Johnson a “Dakotan.” Verbally, shoehorning Johnson’s birth in Minot and his upbringing in Aberdeen into one word may be accurate, but culturally, “Dakotan” is meaningless. I have never heard anyone use that word to describe his or her identity without a “North” or “South” on the front. I doubt our Indian neighbors use it; they will say “Dakota” just as they will say “Lakota” to describe their tribal affiliation. In Minot or Aberdeen, saying, “I’m a Dakotan!” is a sure way to say that you aren’t, North or South.
If Team Johnson is using this video, they should cut everything before 0:48 and everything after 1:05 and focus on the seventeen seconds that matter, Republican Stanford Adelstein’s endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson. That endorsement from a prominent South Dakota Republican carries more weight than any of the other fluff in the video.
Adelstein advocates the option I footnotingly mentioned Sunday: instead of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s and Senator John Thune’s wishy-washy* calls for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race, Republicans can get behind a more tolerable candidate with more classical conservative credentials than Trump or Clinton who is on the ballot in all 50 states and thus can conceivably win the Presidency… if Republicans get their poop in a group and backed him.
So, Republicans, are you going to listen? Adelstein is offering you a moral path. You can wash your hands of Trump, cast a vote in good conscience, and, as the video suggests, show that you can put principle over party.**
South Dakota Republicans for Gary Johnson—think about it, Dennis, John, SDGOP. *Literally! wishing for something that it’s too late to do, trying to wash away their moral culpability for facilitating Trump’s rise.
**An image comes to mind: Republicans abandoning their Presidential nominee would be like the Russians abandoning Moscow in 1812. The Russians retreat, Napoleon marches into Moscow, hangs around for a month, then runs away with his collapsing, lice-ridden army. Replace “Trump” with “Napoleon,” “Moscow” with “GOP nomination,” and “army” with “Trump supporters.”
Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power—which accounts for more than 60 percent of our zero carbon power generation today—is one of those tools. I will work to ensure that the climate benefits of our existing nuclear power plants that are safe to operate are appropriately valued and increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power. At the same time, we must continue to invest in the security of our nuclear materials at home, and improve coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. We must also seek to reduce the amount of nuclear material worldwide—working with other countries so minimize the use of weapons-grade material for civil nuclear programs [Hillary Clinton, in Christine Gorman, “What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science?” Scientific American, 2016.09.13].
South Dakota voters seeking a non-nuclear alternative are out of luck. The Republican nominee rambles vaguely about wanting more nuclear power:
Nuclear power is a valuable source of energy and should be part of an all-the-above program for providing power for America long into the future. We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America [Donald Trump, in Gorman, 2016.09.13].
The Johnson Weld administration supports nuclear power precisely because it produces energy without greenhouse gases. Other nations have used nuclear power safely for generations. However, we recognize that a failure or security breach at a nuclear facility can have catastrophic results.
The Johnson Weld administration would maintain strict nuclear safety standards, but also investigate newer and safer lower yield reactors like breeder reactors or thorium reactors, which produce less or even reduce nuclear waste. The challenge of nuclear waste storage is, of course, a serious one. However, we believe solutions exist, and can be implemented, if decisions can be based on science and honest risk assessment, rather than the politics of pitting one state or community against another [Johnson/Weld campaign, SciDebate.org, downloaded 2016.09.22].
Green nominee Jill Stein says nuclear fission is “unsafe, expensive, and dirty,” calls for phasing out nuclear energy in ten years, and storing all nuclear waste exactly where it is, with no transport of nuclear waste anywhere, ever. But Stein didn’t make our ballot, so her stance on nuclear power is moot when we start voting tomorrow.
A Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll finds Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each holding twenty states with leads of four points or greater. Alas for Republicans, Clinton’s strong twenty states add up to 244 electoral votes, while Trump’s hold 126. If Clinton can hold the narrow lead this poll gives her in either Florida or Texas, or if she can pair Wisconsin and Michigan or Ohio and Colorado in her Win column, she wins the Presidency.
Alas, in South Dakota, WP/SM find Trump leading Clinton 51–37 head to head and 43–29 when the ballot includes Gary Johnson (who gets 19% of the vote, behind only his 25% showing in New Mexico and 23% in Utah and tied with Idaho and Alaska—which may be why we’re hearing Johnson/Weld ads on the radio in Aberdeen and Madison).
So let’s see if we can replicate those figures here! This week’s Dakota Free Press poll asks the big Presidential question: “How will you vote in the Presidential election?” Your options (the four candidates will appear in the following order on our official ballot; the seven options will appear in random order in the near-right sidebar):
write-in (writing in a name cancels your vote on that section of the South Dakota ballot but does not spoil the rest of your ballot)
leave the Presidential line blank (but still vote on other candidates and ballot questions)
not voting at all
I’ll keep this poll open until Wednesday at breakfast time, at which point we’ll discuss the results.
Vote now, tell your friends, and tell us why you’re voting the way you are here in the comment section!
Just three days after nominating their electors, South Dakota Libertarians have landed their first big endorsement from a never-Trump Republican. Appalled by Donald Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, not to mention his failure to represent his party’s “spiritual, political, or constitutional values,” long-time Republican legislator and money man Stanford Adelstein is urging his fellow Republicans to vote for the Libertarian Presidential/VP ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld:
The Johnson-Weld ticket will appear on the ballot in all fifty states for the Libertarian Party. In Johnson we have opportunity to vote for a leader whose values are in-step with our own. With Johnson on our ballot we can enter the voting booth with excitement to cast our vote for a president with the experience, heart, and judgement that this country needs [Stanford Adelstein, “Attacking a Patriot Mother’s Tears,” A Way to Go, 2016.08.02].
Adelstein hasn’t shied away from equating Trumpism and fascism. Now he says Trumpism is bad enough that Republicans should abandon their nominee and vote Libertarian.
Libertarians, are you ready to ride that wave? Team Hillary, are you?
Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson won’t be at the South Dakota Libertarian Convention here in Aberdeen Saturday afternoon, but he did at least give the Libertarians some press with a front-page phone interview with the the local paper today. Johnson, who lived in Aberdeen from age 6 to 13 before his folks took him to Albuquerque, says his growing-up time in the Midwest “immeasurably” influenced his political views… but the AAN article doesn’t really explain that influence.
Johnson does say “the root of all evil is Congress” and disavows any desire to run for House or Senate:
…[W]hen it comes to that job, being a congressperson, man or woman or even the U.S. Senate, I think that you get judged by how much bacon you bring home, and that’s the reason why we have a $20 trillion debt. Congress spends money that isn’t there, and I don’t want to be a part of it [Gary Johnson, in Katherine Grandstrand, “Ex-Aberdeen Resident Gary Johnson Happy to Be ‘Middle’ Presidential Candidate,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.07.28].
Yes, because being the President who signs that bacon and debt means you aren’t at all a part of that evil. Right.
Probably the biggest gain by the people of South Dakota in the LPSD attaining ballot access is another choice in the Presidential election. Voters do not have to choose the lesser of two evils. The Libertarian Party will have Gary Johnson on the ticket as the presidential candidate and William Weld as the vice presidential candidate. Additionally the Constitution Party of South Dakota, which also regained ballot access this year, will have presidential candidate Darrell Castle and vice presidential candidate Scott Bradley on the ballot. There is no reason for anyone to feel they have to settle for Trump or Clinton [Ken Santema, “Libertarian Party of South Dakota Recognized by SOS,” SoDakLiberty, 2016.06.17].
Johnson wants to replace progressive income tax with a regressive nationwide consumption tax (tempered by prebates on necessities), legal pot, legal abortion, no more unconstitutional surveillance, simpler immigration rules, Internet freedom, less incarceration, inaction in the face of climate change (interventions are not cost-effective, says Johnson), and universal school vouchers.