The Senate Vote That Really Matters

Written by Jimmy Mengel
Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:35AM

I just returned from "The Land of Enchantment": New Mexico.

I spent all of last week covering Governor Gary Johnson’s campaign for Senate. He’s running as the Libertarian candidate against the incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and the upstart, no-experience Republican candidate Mick Rich.

And he's doing pretty damn well...

If Gary Johnson were to win, he’d be the first Libertarian in the entire history of the United States to win a statewide election. That would be historic.

For those who aren't familiar with Gov. Johnson, here are his credentials: he's a two-time Republican Governor in the blue state of New Mexico. He's also run two very successful campaigns for President of the United States.

And after following him around New Mexico, getting to know him personally, and watching how engaged voters were with his honest, positive, and straight-up likable campaign style, I think he has a damn good chance to become the swing vote in the U.S. Senate.

In an era that is defined by bitter party politics, Johnson is a breath of fresh air in the midst of a complete dumpster fire. If he were to show up in Washington, I believe he could be a clear voice of reason that could unite the 45% of Americans, on average, who identify as political independents.

He’s already polling at 21% despite entering the race at the last minute and running exactly zero television ads.

We followed Governor Gary Johnson's Senate campaign through Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, all the way to Roswell — the epicenter of unexplained phenomena.

I brought along a video crew to document his campaign.

I’ll have a complete video series coming to you soon, but let’s start with my very first interview with Gov. Johnson, at his campaign headquarters in Albuquerque...

Jimmy Mengel: Welcome everybody. I'm here with Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, sitting down to have a free wheeling conversation about his Senate race.

Gov. Gary Johnson: Complete surprise, okay. If you've ever heard me say anything about running for the U.S. Senate, I've said no way. That's a job that's all about bellying up to the trough and the last thing we need is more spending in this country.

Do you know, Jimmy, that if the 17th amendment to the constitution were to have never been implemented, we would have a balanced budget today. And the 17th amendment of the constitution allowed for the direct election of U.S. senators. Prior to 1913, U.S. senators were appointed by state legislatures. You think as a U.S. senator, you could go and take money from states, give back money to states, mandate to states your employer what they can and couldn't do. No way.

Jimmy Mengel: Would you repeal that as senator?

Gov. Gary Johnson: I'd love to repeal that. Once again, there would not be a deficit in this country today but for the 17th amendment, elected officials whose only goal is to get money back to their states, forgetting that the money came from the states in the first place.

Jimmy Mengel: Sure. Rinse and repeat. Take the money.

Gov. Gary Johnson: Washington wash and dry cycle that takes in 12 cents and gives you back 10. Great formula there.

Jimmy Mengel: So let me back up a bit because you're running as a libertarian, which is a very ambitious thing to do for a senator. That hasn't ever happened, right?

Gov. Gary Johnson: Hasn't ever happened. I maintain that, well, 45 percent of the population today registers as independent. That's in New Mexico, that's nationwide. Where's that representation? And I'm paraphrasing George Washington here. But George Washington said that if this country ever devolves into political parties, we're done for. It should be about independent people getting involved, making a contribution, getting out. I'm a firm believer in term limits. I think term limits would be a silver bullet.

Jimmy Mengel: Yeah, it's interesting you say that too. So just some background on myself as a third party enthusiast. I think it's crucial that we have more voices in our democracy. And funny enough, not to flatter you, but my father and I voted very differently for our entire lives. I grew up, my first vote was for Ralph Nader in 2000. My dad was a Ross Perot guy. Then through some act of fate, we had talked after election day and he said, "You know, I voted for Gary Johnson." I said, "Really? I did too!"

It was the political equivalent of a hug between a father and son.

Gov. Gary Johnson: Jimmy, you've made my afternoon...

Jimmy Mengel: Coming together. I think more people are becoming that way. Famously, libertarianism is socially liberal, economically conservative.

Gov. Gary Johnson: Well and socially, whether it's liberal or conservative, not give a damn as long as whatever you do with your life doesn't adversely affect mine.

Jimmy Mengel: So, why are you running for Senate. What's riding on all of this?

Gov. Gary Johnson: Potentially having the swing vote! I make the pitch, I'm the guy you want in that role, that, look, I'm predisposed to doing the right thing, that's what I'm predisposed to. And the right thing, you know, you base that on information. Look, if you base your premises on the wrong premises and find out that you've been wrong on what you thought were the facts, you need to change your mind.

And it's okay to change your mind, but I think you need to be really transparent on why you did that and when you do that, you actually change a lot of other people's minds.

Jimmy Mengel: Well, I just think it would be nice to have somebody in Washington that isn't drawing lines in the sand. But just like, hey, sometimes I'm going to agree with you guys, sometimes I won't, but, as you've said in the past, at least you'll be telling the truth, and whether it's politically popular or not, you'll be able to do that.

Gov. Gary Johnson: I was going to say that one of the biggest surprises for me having been elected governor, and I'd never been involved in politics prior to getting elected governor, but I really naively thought that at the end of the day, Democrats and Republicans would vote their conscience as opposed to voting this party line thing that I think common sense took a back seat to party line.

Jimmy Mengel: It's not how people's brains really operate. People aren't like that.

Gov. Gary Johnson: People aren't like that. If there were no political parties and people genuinely voted their conscience, I have to say things would be a lot better.

I honestly couldn't agree more. I'll bring you part two of my interview with Gary Johnson tomorrow

If you're interested in having Gary Johnson's voice heard in Washington, D.C. here's an organization that can help.

You can watch our documentary about the Johnson campaign right here:


Jimmy Mengel

follow basic @mengeled on Twitter

Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of the personal finance advisory, The Crow's Nest, and cannabis stocks advisory, The Marijuana Manifesto. For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.

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