Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson rallied a crowd of University of Wyoming students and Laramie community members Thursday night.
To begin the rally, he began by explaining why he was running for president.
“I would not be standing here before you if I didn’t think I could do a really good job at being president,” Johnson said.
In demonstrating to the crowd why he would be a good fit for president, Johnson used an example of his past entrepreneurial experiences and how he would take more of a business than political approach to being president.
Johnson also said he thought of himself as a good presidential candidate because of how much determination he has.
“No matter what we plan on in our lives, nothing goes according to plan,” Johnson said. “When that happens, you have two choices. One is to lie back on the couch and to be a victim, and the other is to just understand that this is part of the process and move forward. My point is you are listening to someone who has no quit whatsoever.”
Johnson went on to discuss his positions on certain social issues including his beliefs that marriage equality is a “constitutionally guaranteed right” and that the drug war “should be ended by legalizing marijuana.”
He said he wants to legalize marijuana because nearly 50 percent of Americans support its legalization and “2.3 million people are behind bars,” with the majority of them in jail for drug-related reasons.
Johnson also offered his plan for turning around the economy.
“Medicare is a system that has to be slashed. By extension, we pay $30,000 into a benefit that we receive a $100,000 benefit from. It’s unsustainable,” Johnson said. “We can do this, but it has to be a mutual sacrifice on all our parts.”
Johnson also suggested balancing the federal budget by reducing the $1.3 trillion in federal spending.
“We’re going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse,” Johnson said. “A monetary collapse is when the dollars in our pocket don’t buy a thing because of the accompanying inflation that is going to go along with borrowing and printing money to the tune of 43 cents out every dollar that we do spend.”
His plan for balancing the federal budget would include cutting Medicare, Medicaid and military spending. He also said he would advocate for eliminating corporate tax, income tax and the Internal Revenue Service in favor of creating one federal consumption tax. As a way to create stronger U.S. dollar policies, Johnson also said he would be in favor of signing legislation that would abolish the Federal Reserve, which is the central banking system of the United States.
Johnson also addressed concerns that voters might have about “wasting votes” because they feel uncomfortable voting for someone who is not a primary candidate.
“What’s a wasted vote other than voting for someone that you don’t believe in?” Johnson said. “We change things in this country by voting for somebody who we believe in.”
Prior to Johnson taking the stage, Libertarian candidate for Wyoming State Representative Bethany Baldes gave a brief overview of third-party candidates and also addressed concerns of wasting votes.
“Third parties are much more important than people realize,” Baldes said. “No matter who you vote for, it is never a wasted vote. We have to change this frame of thinking.”
Keith Goodenough, an independent candidate for Natrona County Commissioner, also took the stage Thursday night prior to Johnson to discuss why he felt third parties were important.
“The two-party system is not going to reform itself without some significant push from outside,” Goodenough said. “It’s up to you and it’s up to me.”
Following Johnson’s speech, it was opened up to questions where audience members addressed concerns about living conditions for Native American reservations, global warming, and prosecution of members of Wall Street.