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Libertarians are ready to affect the presidential contest

By William Lewis

The Libertarian Party seems to be in a much stronger political position nationally in regard to the presidential race than it has been in past years. Recent polls show them with 10 percent of the presidential vote.

They should do much better this time than in past presidential elections. Their slate consists of two former Republican governors: Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico as the Libertarian candidate for president, and William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts as the vice presidential candidate.

Both of them have been considered liberal Republicans. They believe in less government. During the recent Libertarian Town Hall Meeting, both candidates indicated their support for lower taxes and less government spending.

Both Johnson and Weld had good things to say about Hillary Clinton and were very critical of Donald Trump.

If they get 15 percent of the vote in national polls, they will be eligible to participate in presidential debates. As Johnson pointed out, to get that 15 percent they need to get listed in the polls which up until now have not included them. Only Trump and Clinton have been listed in the national polls. How a strong campaign waged by the Libertarian Party will affect the national presidential race remains to be seen.

Johnson favors getting the federal government out of public education. He wants to raise the retirement age on Social Security.

Both Libertarian candidates oppose Donald Trump’s immigration policies. They are opposed to the building of a wall that would separate our southwest border from Mexico. They are opposed to forcing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to leave our country.

The issue of drugs being legalized was raised. The two candidates favor legalizing marijuana. In regard to other drugs, they feel that could be treated as a medical issue rather than a criminal offense to have or use drugs other than marijuana. Pertaining to our military, they want to stay out of foreign wars as much as possible. They would be opposed to most military efforts overseas.

Third party campaigns do have an effect on elections, especially presidential elections. One example of this was in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third party candidate, helping to defeat President William Howard Taft and elect Woodrow Wilson.

Many political observers are saying that this year’s presidential race is proving to be the most unusual and interesting that they have ever seen. I would add that this is one of the most important presidential races that we have had in a long time.

We can say from this standpoint that the positions of both candidates in both political parties have been so extremely different.

This year the presidential race will be one of the hardest fought races that we have seen. There seems to be much more interest in this year’s presidential race than in recent years.

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