Should the Modern Whig Party Endorse Garry Johnson for President?

The more I watch and listen to Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, I wonder should our party endorse such a candidate?  I say yes.  He may be a Libertarian but as far as the party goes we are not so different.  There are a few core differences but in the end I believe if you watch and listen to them you will find a team that most of us in the party would actually look forward to voting for.  They both have a proven record as Governors and were both reelected to the office.  I think they are worth listening too and I really hope they get to the 15% in the polling numbers so more Americans can see them in the debates.  It would be nice to actually vote for someone you want instead of picking the lesser of to evils.  (Sorry about the spelling in the title.  I couldn't get back in to fix it.)

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  • Brandon Zicha
    commented 2016-11-02 16:21:21 -0400
    Thanks for considering my question.

    Your first point is well established. However, the evidence suggests that political parties shift only in response to more substantive challenges.. not 4 or 5%. However, if that were to happen that would quite literally kill a chance for a viable center third party run… because they would co-opt the issues of a party you don’t support (it isn’t the Whig party) while moving to the center that the Whigs hope to dominate. How does that help? I don’t see how that is helpful.

    The second point is intuitive but not backed up by the evidence. Voting returns in plurality systems like ours do seem to jump not shift. Indeed, all cases of successful third party runs in first past the post election systems follow this trend. There are many reasons for this, but the data is sufficient to render your claim falsified.

    Indeed, our political system does not adjust smoothly much at all – not in terms of policy and not in terms of politics. If anything they are characterized by a punctuated equilibrium pattern with long periods of stability punctuated by rapid changes.
  • Isaac Gipson
    commented 2016-11-01 09:50:51 -0400
    There are two reasons I think a “vote of dissent” is worthwhile.

    For the first I’ll use capitalist analogy. If shoppers can only buy their groceries at one of two stores, then the stores only have to fix their prices against the other store. And neither store really has to focus on giving their customer (the voter) a fair price based on cost to manufacture or any other metric. They only have to price their goods slightly better than the competition. Voting for a third party is the same as not shopping at either store, but finding a new store. That lost revenue matters to both stores – maybe not one shopper leaving, but many, will force change in both.

    The second reason to vote for a third party, even when you know your candidate will lose, is that tides shift they don’t jump. It seems unreasonable to think that the leading third party candidate will get 3 or 4% of the national vote one election year, and then just four short years later suddenly jump to 30 or 40% contender status. That tide will have to shift, which means some voters are going to have to commit to voting against the established parties, regardless of the odds, with the belief they are the early adopters leading the charge away from the norm. No, I don’t think a ‘vote of dissent’ is a futile gesture.
  • Brandon Zicha
    commented 2016-11-01 07:52:12 -0400
    How does a ‘vote of dissent’ help Whigs, third parties, or the Republic? I get how it helps ourselves emotionally. But what, exactly, do we think this encourages in the political system?

    I’m voting based on which candidate I think would be best for the country and will allow us to ‘fight another day’. Personally, I don’t think that is Donald Trump. Indeed, I think Donald Trump is the closest thing to Andrew Jackson that has existed. The original Whigs rose to prominence and forged their coalition, and built their cache as principled opponents of Jackson’s populism and tyrannical personality. I believe we Modern Whigs have made a tactical error not profiling and promoting themselves as an Anti-Trump, Centrist, republican (small r) coalition against Trump and conditionally in support of HRC.

    Why? Because that coalition could extract things from HRC in much the same way that the Bernie-or-busters have. In short, we could have conspired to really make change for third parties, rather than engaging in empty ‘expressions of dissent’.

    Generally, we have far more influence at the national level, while working at the local level, if we work the system that exists rather than engaging in futile gestures… or, at least, that’s my view.
  • Isaac Gipson
    commented 2016-10-31 15:26:46 -0400
    I’m not sure if endorsement is necessary, but voting for a third party candidate seems like a good idea. Specifically it seems like the fastest and most concrete way to cast a vote of dissent on the two party system and the current states of both parties.
  • Isaac Gipson
    tagged this with important 2016-10-31 15:26:46 -0400
  • Isaac Gipson
    tagged this with good 2016-10-31 15:26:45 -0400
  • Nathan Combes
    commented 2016-08-03 12:42:14 -0400
    Rather than endorse Gary Johnson, I believe that the party should actively promote Johnson being included in the debates. This would signal the MWP promoting reasoned debate, the inclusion of different perspectives, and a break from a binary voting choice moreso than a particular candidate.
  • Nathan Combes
    tagged this with important 2016-08-03 12:42:13 -0400
  • Shawn Clement
    commented 2016-07-27 17:30:54 -0400
    I tagged this topic as Important because I’d like to hear how the party as a group feels about the candidates.

    My problem with the Libertarian party is their core principle of limited government. Certainly most of us agree that a small federal government works better, but how small are they truly intending on? I haven’t seen anything about VA reform or military/veteran benefits.

    It is my perception that Libertarians want a very small military, what are their views on gays/transgenders? Females signing up for the draft? Females in combat professions? What are they thinking about the GI Bill? Retirement pay, Medical/Pharmacy co-pays? How are they planning to resolve homeless veterans or the still extremely high veteran suicide rate? What are their views regarding the 2nd Amend?

    I know Johnson is big on gun control, in fact when he was nomitated his opponent offered him a replica pistol symbolizing his support. Johnson threw the replica in the trash in front of the guy.

    I know most of the party will disagree with me, but I will be voting for Trump this year. He has held two retired military leaders as his advisors and I like General Flynn. If he is willing to listen to military leaders of that quality, he will be a much better advocate for veterans and be one heck of a Commander in Chief. Don’t listen to the lies the liberals are spouting, listen to his speaches.
  • Shawn Clement
    tagged this with important 2016-07-27 17:30:54 -0400
  • Brandon Zicha
    commented 2016-07-13 22:54:04 -0400
    When I look at the Modern Whig Platform and Classical Whig perspectives, combined with the ideological core of centrism in the Whig Party, I see similarities that are more cosmetic than real.

    The MWP advocates for a strong role for the government in economic development, as did the classic Whigs. This is anathema to Libertarian Ideology.

    The MWP stands for education policy intervention. Again. Anathema.

    The MWP stands for a strong active family support policy. Again. Anathema.

    The MWP stands for a strong safety net aimed at encouraging risk taking. The Libertarian Party simply does not accept that a safety net can do that.

    Most fundamentally the MWP stands for reasoned, experimental, and evidenced based approaches to attaining popular goals. Libertarians stand for approaches that maximize liberty (as they define it) as an end in itself – even if this means twisting the evidence to justify their positions.

    … indeed, if you look at the party platforms side-by-side it is hard to see where we meet up other than a conviction about fiscal responsibility.

    However, I think it often feels like the Whigs and Libertarians are similar because of our common appreciation of classic constitutional concerns (though I think Libertarians have a deeply ahistorical view) of limited government, and we often have similar lines of argument on certain key questions. Also, we have demographic similarities in terms of the types of people that are likely to support the parties. However, I think our differences run deep. Very deep. In the coming weeks I will be putting out a new blog and be asking for contributors to join to discuss Modern Whiggism, Politics, and Policy. One of my first posts will be on where I see the ideological heart of the Whig movement (which is open and flexible and in favor of independent thinking, but also commits to and supports our core values) and how it differs in every conceivable way from the left-right ideological war that the Libertarians, GOP and Democrats represent. Stay tuned!

    In the meantime, I invite everyone to take a close look at the Libertarian Party Platform. I recommend reading it after re-reading the MWP platform. I think you will share the shock I felt at how NOT similar these two parties are, despite how they often feel to be so.
  • Theodore Theopolos
    commented 2016-07-10 21:21:10 -0400
    That’s a bit of a tough question, more so because I am skeptical to a certain extent. This skepticism does not stem from the aspect of the guy’s character, quite the opposite. Gary Johnson took time out of his 2012 campaign to stop at my high school and answer questions to the entire senior class over public policies; in that regard he earned my respect. My problem with this potential endorsement dwells within the realm of long term ramifications and the relationship with third parties in the future. You did not misspeak in stating that both parties share some similarities, but that begs the question: “Would we end up a poor man’s third party?” in the sense we will be merely seen as an imitators not innovators. I am not confident that all Whigs understand our differences with the Libertarians, in how we attempt to situate ourselves in the center of the political spectrum while Libertarians apt to be on the edge of it. If we too closely associate ourselves with it, then I fear the populace will not recognize us as something equally different from the current two leading political parties; like Green Party to the Democratic Party or the Constitutionalist Party to the Republican Party. What this entails would be a bad habit of defaulting to voting Libertarian instead of exercising the admirable principle of examining each candidate on merit and character. From there, we would alienate many people who oppose the Libertarian platform, and remain independent as well as pay no mind to us. Eventually, we will engage in a bitter debate on who bears the mantle of classical liberalism because we need this separation to garner the identity we want to see in our party and what we want others to see us. Identity becomes my biggest concern because I have read on the Whig’s Facebook discussion page and it seems nothing but Libertarian-leaners posting Libertarian online articles and news, so much so I stopped following it. Unlike other third party’s, we usurp ourselves as the inheritors of great statesmen and political thought. Yet, instead of rediscovery ourselves with this fortunate heritage and thought, we just borrow from another party, state that we are also do this (or should do this). How can this be exercising critical thinking? Sadly, I cannot fight this germinating horror that our fellow Whigs just eat up what the Libertarian think-tank churns out, posting hashtags of blind support of the idea rather than researching the subject themselves. Such a continuation would dissolve any chance to an distinguish identity; and, the potential that if we do manage to be on ballots, simply beg for support of Libertarian PACs and millionaires rather than sticking to our guns as a grassroots movement. Sure, we all want to see a third party succeed so it can open up the door for others, but there comes a point when support becomes confused with being what you support. My apologies for this flurry of personal agitations, their not targeted at you, Steve. In short, we can vote for Gary Johnson in a gentlemen’s agreement fashion as admirers of third party aspirations (and because we rue the other two choices), but a public endorsement would merely shove us onto a slippery slope of identity disintegration.
  • Steve Robert
    published this page in Whig Forums 2016-07-06 22:48:42 -0400