POLITICS

Hey, What's Up With Gary Johnson?

Is he maybe running for president?

Now that it's looking like one party's nomination is in the bag, and the other party's nomination is all but decided, it's time for our quadrennial expression of dissatisfaction. You might be part of that. Perhaps you think the two-party system is flat-out busted. Or that it's crazy that elites still govern our choices. Maybe you think it's crazy that this is the best we can do as a nation. 

These feelings are natural. But hey, anyone know what Gary Johnson is up to? Is he maybe running for president? Let's ask Politico's Eliza Collins:

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has joined the crowded 2016 presidential race. But he's not making any promises about his ability to defeat the likes of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

“I am announcing my candidacy right now for the Libertarian nomination,” Johnson said on Fox Business’ “Coast to Coast” with Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. “I do believe that crony capitalism is alive and well. It’s Democrats and Republicans that contribute to that. I’d like to be that choice that is not going to succumb to that.”

Oh, look at that. Johnson is going to be running for president, making his second bid to represent the Libertarian Party on the ballot. With deep-fried tangelo Donald Trump alienating a goodly portion of the center-right, Johnson might have a "real opportunity" to attract disaffected voters. Maybe "this year [will] be different." Maybe the Libertarian Party will "blow their big chance."

Of course, maybe Libertarians aren't your bag. I understand that. But Johnson has a lot of unimpeachably good qualities. He's a really nice and decent guy. He's a triathlete and an avid outdoorsman who has actually climbed Mount Everest. He met his wife, Kate Prusack, on a bike ride, which is pretty romantic. He built his own home, likes legal weed, humane immigration policies, and ticks off that "fiscal conservative/social liberal" box many people say they like. I can't recall him ever going out of his way to make anyone feel bad.

He was also the governor of New Mexico, and if you haven't noticed, New Mexico still exists. He didn't destroy it. Read about it here, courtesy of the New Mexico Political Report.

So, you know, not too shabby! But is he really a choice for president? Like, a serious choice?

Look, choosing a president is a lot like going to a restaurant. You've got to order the prime rib or the fish, right? That's what you feel you're there for, to have the big meal, and hope that the consequences aren't dire afterward.

But here's the thing: You don't actually have to do that. You can experiment, you can sample, put off the big entree choice till later. You can pair a couple of appetizers and have that as your meal. Maybe get the chicken wings plate and the roasted brussels sprouts. Or a bowl of mussels and that chickpea thing. That's what Gary Johnson is: a couple of apps you try out once in a while. And if the portions are too big, you can just share them. "Hey, wanna try some of my Gary Johnson," you'll say to your dining companion. "This is really good," he'll say, "I'm definitely ordering this the next time."

In the end, maybe you come back around to picking the steak, or the fish, or maybe you're some sort of vegan and you've got to just get whatever dish has the highest concentration of quinoa. That's okay. Isn't it comforting, though, knowing that there's another choice out there, one that likes bicycles, isn't an asshole, and didn't burn New Mexico to the ground? That's got to make you feel a little bit better about our politics.

Here's a fun game you can play right now, through the start of the fall. Next time a pollster calls you, just tell them that you're way, way into Gary Johnson. This doesn't mean you have to pick him in the end -- telling a pollster something doesn't obligate you to do anything, other than question if you really need that landline, it's 2016 for Pete's sake. But if enough people tell pollsters that they're interested in Gary Johnson, then the people who decide who gets to be on the teevee and who gets to participate in the debates will be obligated to open up those venues to Gary Johnson. I don't think this is something that you'll regret.

Look, I'm not endorsing Gary Johnson for president here. I just noticed that lots of you are bummed and I'm endorsing the idea that you might take the opportunity that Gary Johnson's candidacy provides you to mess with the status quo a little bit. It's going to be a long summer. Got anything better to do?

Besides, if you don't shake things up, you know what's going to happen? That's right: Bill Kristol is going to do it instead.

Damn, ain't nobody got time for that.

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