The Libertarian candidate for president had another “Aleppo moment” at an MSNBC town hall last night, failing to name a single world leader that he admired. “Anywhere! Any continent!” Chris Matthews goaded. “Canada, Mexico, Europe over there, Asia, South America, Africa, name a foreign leader that you respect!” Johnson came up with “the former president of Mexico,” a man he respected so much he couldn’t remember his name.
So we know that Johnson probably hasn’t looked at a map or read a newspaper in quite a while. But it’s not clear how much this hurts him with his supporters. A student of the George W. Bush school of political branding, he presents himself as a man of the people, which in his view amounts to knowing “not one thing.” This amateurish persona, in addition to smoking dad weed and being anti-interventionist and calling for a pardon of Edward Snowden, has endeared him to younger voters who won’t vote for Donald Trump but distrust slick, conventional candidates like Hillary Clinton. In head-to-head match-ups, Clinton trounces Trump with voters between the ages of 18 and 35; in four-way scenarios (including the Green Party’s Jill Stein), it is much closer, an indication that Johnson is drawing millennial voters who lean Democratic.
But there are so, so many reasons Democratic leaners should not vote for Johnson, not least of which is that protest votes won’t do anything but help Trump get elected. As governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, he was a classic “Reaganite antitax crusader.” He supports Citizens United, and is against all manner of gun control. As president, he would privatize education, roll back Obamacare, weaken Medicare, and raise the minimum age for Social Security. His proposal to simplify the tax code to a single consumption tax would place a far greater burden on lower-income earners who are taxed at a lower rate in our current progressive tax code. On top of all that, the man has a thing for spandex and wraparound sunglasses. He would be a bad president.