On Saturday August 20, Low Riders lined the walkway up to the convention center. The most popular third party candidate, Gary Johnson at 11% according to a recent four way poll by NBC News, riled up his supporters inside.
Loosely spaced in one of the convention center’s smaller rooms, over 600 people attended the rally. The turnout was a far cry from the thousands who attended Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump's rallies earlier this summer in Albuquerque. But those who did show up eagerly cheered Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, his vice presidential running mate, as they outlined their vision for a new America.
Weld took the stage and laid out the path to winning the presidency, which includes: advertising themselves and their platform over the next month to begin polling consistently over 15 percent which would qualify them to be part of the televised presidential debates. Then use the debates as a platform to reach a national audience and pitch their ideas and unique policy positions even further. Weld noted that the media will have a field day with a third party insurgency in the midst of this year’s already crazy presidential election, thus focusing the national dialogue back onto where they stand on the issues. Which will result in convincing over 50 percent of eligible voters to vote for them and winning the election.
High hopes for a third party, yet nonetheless Gary Johnson followed by summarizing what he would do differently on a range of issues as President of the United States in a refreshingly concise 25 minute speech.
“Let’s stop the military interventions that have resulted in a less safe, not more safe world.” Johnson began, “If we’re attacked we are going to attack back. But how about judicial use of our military? Let’s stop being the world’s policemen. The minute we inject ourselves into regime change there is always unintended consequences: Iraq, Syria, Libya.” Johnson’s anti-interventionist stance is in stark contrast to Clinton’s history of hawkishness and Trump’s bewildering statements saying that he may even nuke european nations in certain circumstances.
Pivoting from foreign policy, Johnson turned to the economy, stressing entrepreneurship and minimal regulation to spur job growth, “Create your own job, create jobs for others,” Johnson said, “You know, I think the model for the future is Airbnb; it’s the sharing economy...Uber everything: Uber doctor, Uber lawyer, Uber accountant, Uber electrician, Eliminating the middleman, allowing you the entrepreneur to directly provide your goods and services.” Johnson also said that he is the only candidate that supports free trade and the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.
In addition, Johnson promised that he will submit a balanced budget to congress in the first 100 days of his presidency. Juxtaposed to the increased spending Clinton and Trump have planned, Johnson stressed fiscal responsibility by the government. As Weld had put it, “There is no such thing as government money, there is only tax payers money,”
Johnson enthusiastically embraced open immigration. Disagreeing with Trump, Johnson said, “We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come into this county and work to get a work visa.” Johnson lamented the inherent inefficiencies of immigration quotas, saying that a surplus of jobs and a demand for them is the driving cause of immigration and no quota will be able to stop the flow of migrants.
“I guess the Olympic pole vault finals are today, and Donald Trump is watching those very closely, determining how high the Mexican pole vaulters can go.” Johnson quipped, “Look building a fence across the border is crazy. That is not the country that we are.”
“I’m planning on voting for Johnson,” Jennifer Montano said as the crowd of supporters dispersed and the low riders vanished, “Everyone has chance.”