Now I can hear the response from some of you already. But, he is a second tier candidate! Why should we care?
To those sorts of statements I ask, who has a heavy influence as to who is labeled as first and second tier candidate? The media! How can voters decide whether or not Gary Johnson is their preferred candidate if there is little mention of him in print, on the radio, or on T.V.? Let me give you a recent personal example. When I mentioned his name at a local Republican gathering over the weekend, many of the folks had no idea who Gary Johnson is.
But, he isn’t some novice who has never held political office before. He was the Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. Now shouldn’t the former Governor of New Mexico be treated with at least the same respect offered to a former one-term Governor from Massachusetts?
But why should you or I care? After all, my first choice is Ron Paul and not Gary Johnson. Well, although Johnson is not my favored candidate, I still respect his efforts to promote liberty. It is certainly true that he and I disagree on a number of fundamental issues such as life and immigration. Nevertheless, we should never squelch political debate just because someone happens to offer an opinion that runs contrary to our own.
I’ve seen the media try to screw over candidates before. To tie in my own political experience, back when I worked for Ron Paul in 2007/08, we faced many of the same problems that the Johnson campaign faces today. Perhaps the worst offense happened during a 2008 New Hampshire debate where Ron Paul was not invited because (I kid you not) the organizers informed us that there was not enough room on the stage. Strange that there was room for both Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson even though they were polling beneath Paul.
What a waste of time. Johnson isn’t polling well.
To counter that sort of thinking I offer three suggestions. Point number one: try actually including Gary Johnson’s name in the poll. Listed candidates always do better than fill-in-the-blanks. Point number two: give him a chance to articulate his position alongside the rest of the Republican field in the debates. His time as Governor of New Mexico alone has earned him a right to share a piece of that stage. Point number three: even if his poll numbers aren’t that high, it should be up to the American people to determine the Republican candidate, not pollsters and the press.
As this article indicates, I firmly believe that Gary Johnson ought to be given a fair shake. That is why, when asked by the Johnson campaign, I agreed to collect signatures for them alongside my effort for Dr. Paul.
You may love Gary Johnson or you may not. But that decision should rest with each voter and not the political pundits. After all, if you never hear about him, how can you ever know for sure?