Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson goes unnoticed

Election Day is approaching and as voters make their choice, they may have forgotten someone. He is Gary Johnson, ex-governor of New Mexico and presidential candidate for the Libertarian party.

Some of you may be thinking third party candidates are spoilers who pull support away from legitimate candidates. Brian Smith, St. Edward’s University professor of political science, and interim dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, agrees.

“We love [third parties] in theory, but we never vote for them,” Smith said. “Survey after survey, they say ‘Oh yeah, America needs a third party,’ but when push comes to shove we never vote for the guys.”

It is time to change that kind of thinking, because Gary Johnson looks like the candidate many Americans are waiting for. So why are we not hearing more about him?

He’s been a tireless advocate of legalizing and taxing marijuana instead of criminalizing it. He supports giving the same rights that heterosexual couples enjoy to gay couples. He supports a woman’s right to choose, except in cases of late- term abortion, favors pulling out of Afghanistan, and has vowed not to bomb Iran.

Also, he wants to repeal the PATRIOT Act, the legislation signed five days after Sept. 11 that gave the federal government increased power and has long been decried as a travesty of civil liberties.

Conservatives get a balanced budget and Johnson’s promise never to infringe on the right to bear arms. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace the entire tax code with one tax on whatever people spend, known as the “Fair Tax.”

If that is not enough, Johnson has a seriously stellar record.

He served two terms as New Mexico’s Republican governor, stomping the Democratic nominees twice in a very Democratic state. When he left office, the state’s budget was balanced with a surplus, taxes were not raised, and he created 20,000 new jobs. He also became infamous for his near-compulsive veto use, which numbered in the thousands.

Cementing his “wow” factor, Johnson has competed in several Ironman Triathlons, and scaled Mount Everest, reportedly with a broken leg. He says he wants so summit the highest mountains on all seven continents.

If anybody deserves to be president, it is Johnson. So why can’t more people get a chance to hear him in the national debates?

According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Johnson needs a 15 percent poll rating to participate. Right now, Johnson polls at six percent nationwide, when he’s included in polls at all.

Finally, there is the fact that the Johnson’s campaign is, by today’s standards, slim on cash. Smith says that political donation is like investing: “Nobody gives money to a candidate they know is going to lose,” he said.

However, do not count Johnson out. He filed suits against the Commission on Presidential Debates and both major parties, accusing them of violating the Sherman Anti Trust Act, designed to break up corporate monopolies and encourage business competition.

He also continues on his grassroots campaign, speaking wherever he can find anyone to listen. He hosted three “Ask Me Anything” events on the website Reddit while he and his running mate, California judge Jim Gray, toured colleges across America, hoping to fire up youth.

On Sept. 24, Johnson appeared at UT-Austin.

When Johnson hit the stage, cheers filled the auditorium. He blasted Romney on immigration and other issues and slammed Obama as an under-performer.

It was a great speech, but it was hard to listen to with the elephant in the room. The current system won’t let a third-party candidate like Gary Johnson through except by a miracle. How many people agree with him and don’t know it because every camera is on Obama or Romney?

“The notion of ‘wasted vote,” he mused at the end of his speech. “What is a more wasted vote than voting for somebody you don’t believe in?”