Did the CNN Libertarian town hall capture the hearts and minds of disenfranchised liberty conservatives?
For this conservatarian, who watched the town hall from start to finish, I would say a definite no. I still feel there is no candidate running for president that represents my views enough for me to vote for them.
I have been very hopeful and optimistic with regards to the Johnson-Weld ticket. They appeal to libertarians and conservatives, I’ve been told. They are both former Republicans, they have executive experience, they can be the answer for liberty conservatives who will not vote for Trump of Hillary. But Johnson-Weld not only hold positions that just don’t jive with my conservatarian views, but the duo doesn’t come across as very presidential.
Johnson-Weld really let me down on the issue of abortion. Not only did Johnson say decisions about abortion should “lie strictly with the woman involved,” but he and Weld defended the governments role in abortion too. Johnson advocated for the government funding of Planned Parenthood while Weld expressed that “government should protect abortion access.” This is a big deal breaker for me and many other liberty conservatives. What about the rights on the unborn child? Why should my taxpayer money go to something I am vehemently against?
For many conservatarians, immigration policy is something that they are not only passionate about, but has had an impact on their lives. During the town hall, Johnson took the opportunity to contrast his immigration policies to Donald Trumps more extreme policies. But as someone who lies somewhere in the middle of both of their stances, I felt unsatisfied with Johnson’s response. His policy of work visas for those who are illegally here working is something I may be open to, but he took more time slamming Donald Trump than laying out what he would do. I would assume this to be because his immigration policies often fall further left than Hillary Clinton’s, with Johnson’s open border policy. I also felt that the duo was pandering during questions about immigration, with Weld interjecting at times that they do not advocate for amnesty.
One of the biggest issues I take with Libertarians/libertarians is the wishy-washy stance on foreign policy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I want a war hawk, but Johnson’s answer when asked about ISIS was weak. In typical Libertarian fashion, Johnson dodged the question of what to do now about ISIS, and instead focused on how US intervention lead to ISIS. National security is one of the biggest issues this election cycle. Liberty conservatives want a president who can offer solutions to these threats, not just point a finger at the past.
I was underwhelmed by the lack of presidential air that was exuded by Johnson-Weld . Johnson, in particular, fell short of impressing me during the town hall. He gave poor answers to many softball libertarian questions. He seemed to struggle to answer basic libertarian policies, such as his stance on 2nd amendment rights. He often appeared unprepared and passed tougher questions over to Weld to respond. And when Johnson did answer a question, he at times went off on unrelated tangents, such as when he was discussing his policy on drug legalization. As an outsider, it appeared that Weld should have been at the top of the ticket rather than Johnson.
I wasn’t convinced. This was the Libertarian Party’s time to shine. They made it to prime time! And this was the perfect opportunity to snag all those liberty conservatives who were still deciding who to vote for. But the town hall did help me decide what to do at the ballot box, and that is not to vote Johnson-Weld.