By Taylor O’Quinn | Technician – NCSU
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson spoke Thursday in Durham about the rise in libertarianism in today’s political environment. Joining him at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University were libertarian gubernatorial candidates Barbara Howe and Brian Irving.
The Libertarian party’s appearance follows on the heels of a 16 percent increase in registered Libertarian voters in the United States last month, according to Howe. She said that mostly Democrats and independents are converting to Libertarianism.
“Our country needs a new direction,” Howe said. “It needs a third party to break through.”
Howe conveyed her strong opinions on the passage of Amendment One, an anti-same sex marriage law, this previous May. Howe said shebelieves the passage of the amendment was a “slap on society.” She said shewas so upset by the passage of this amendment that she shredded her marriage license in front of the Attorney General’s office.
This is Howe’s third run for Governor of North Carolina, and to boost awareness of her campaign and the Libertarian party in general, she is organizing and participating in a 5K run in all 100 counties of North Carolina. She has already visited 84 counties and hosted what she said to be successful events. On Nov.4, the day before election day, Howe plans to end her tour in Wake County by completing a 5K in front of the Governor’s Mansion.
The Libertarian party currently has three candidates running for the House. One of whom is Brian Irving, who gave a brief speech after Howe.
“Our country has been at war my entire life,” Irving said.
He said he feels strongly abut bringing our troops home and supports an isolationist foreign policy.
“I am presenting a completely different view than twinkle-dumb and twinkle-dumber” Irving said.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, highlighted Thursday’s private press conference, and outlined his vision for a country with a smaller government.
“I think America is really hungry,” Johnson said. “Libertarianism is not only a third choice, but the only choice.”
Johnson said hebelieves most American’s identify with Libertarian views, and during his speech, he emphasized the importance of this election’s timing.
“We need to pull out of Afghanistan now, recognize marriage equality now, legalize and regulate marijuana now,” Johnson said. He also heavily advocated for repealing the Patriot Act and balancing the federal budget.
When it comes to the ever present issue of the economy, Johnson is a proponent of the fair tax and abolishing the IRS. He said he believes if the U.S. enacted these views, it would “reboot [the] American economy.”
Johnson said slashing Medicare and military spending is essential to the growth of America’s failing economy. Johnson warned if Congress does not severely cut spending across the board then “we will find ourselves without a country.”
Johnson said he fears he may be peaking early, but hope to peak during the middle of October.
“Even though my chances of winning this election are slim, I hope to at least be able to change the world of debate,” Johnson said.
Johnson is visiting more than 40 college campuses nationwide to appeal to young voters.
“College kids are screwed,” Johnson said. “Young people should revolt.”
Young voters are essential to Johnson’s campaign because he said he believes that as young minds, students are the most reasonable voters. Johnson said college-aged voters will eventually outgrow the Baby Boomer age, and it’s up to the current students’ generation to make the most influence on reforming American government.
After the event, sophomore at the UNC-Chapel Hill, Jason Wolonick, said Gary Johnson inspired him to vote Libertarian this fall.
“I loved how Governor Johnson was so enthusiastic about his campaign,” Wolonick said.
Another student attendee was Matt Van Kleunen, from Elon University. He too said he was deeply moved by Johnson’s speech.
“It’s good to see that Libertarian’s are giving this election a good fight,” Van Kleunen said. “I believe our country is moving in the direction of finally breaking away from a strict two party system.”