Third-party candidate makes campaign stop on campus
Judge Jim Gray, the Libertarian vice presidential candidate made a campaign stop at UALR on behalf of his presidential running mate, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico.
According to the campaign’s website, the goal of the campaign is to capture 5 percent of the popular vote in the upcoming national election. This will, as Johnson says in an online ad, help bring an end to the current two-party system of Republicans and Democrats. “Five percent of the vote in 2012 is all it takes to end the two-party system in America for good,” Johnson said.
The Libertarian Party was founded 41 years ago which is contrasted by the Democratic Party’s founding in 1792 and the Republican Party’s founding in 1854. Gray describes the Libertarian Party as being more socially tolerant than Democrats and more financially responsible than Republicans.
Johnson and Gray are on the ballot in every state except Michigan and Oklahoma. According to the campaign website, these two exceptions are due to the ballot’s access being in litigation. In an interview with NPR, political consultant Roger Stone alleges members of the Republican Party have been instigating these problems and challenging the Libertarians every step of the way, fearing that a vote cast for a third-party candidate will indirectly benefit President Obama and hurt Gov. Mitt Romney’s chances at winning the election.
The Libertarian Party is being bullied by Republicans in that they are hiring attorneys and private investigators to keep them off election ballots in 2012, Gray said.
“It’s despicable,” Gray said, “but it’s hardball and we know that.”
On the topic of civil liberties, Gray said he and Johnson stand for freedom, liberty and the Bill of Rights. He went on to say, “when you lose your civil liberties to the government, you almost never get them back.”
Gray continued the discussion of civil liberties and promised, “we will repeal that so called Patriot Act that he [Obama] has embraced, we will repeal that National Defense Authorization Act, where any of us could be labeled as terrorists and actually deported and held without trial.”
Gray said the biggest current threat to the United States is overextending a bad economy. He cited Ancient Rome, the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Empire as examples saying they were “never conquered from without, they overextended and collapsed from within.”
As Gray spoke to the crowd at UALR, he outlined what he and Johnson would do to cut federal spending.
Gray said if he and Johnson were elected to the White House, they would not wait until 2014 to bring home the troops in Afghanistan; they would bring them home today.
Gray said there are more than 900 U.S. military bases around the world. He and Johnson propose the government close nearly 80 percent of those that are non-essential to national security, and bring those troops home. Gray said he would like to stop sending our money, man power and resources to places that are “half a world away.”
As he continued to outline his party’s plan to reduce federal spending, Gray proposed ending the Department of Education because it is not mandated by the Constitution and said it would save the country nearly $60 billion annually.
He said the funds are dispersed through trickle-down economics going from the federal government, to the state, to the school district, to the next recipient. Gray proposes using a voucher system that would “power the parents to decide where that money will be spent.”
Gray said it would create a more competitive environment for high schools around the country. He created a scenario where, if a school administrator is not doing a good job running a school, the parent can take the voucher and apply it to a different school.
“If you’re content with the way that our country has supposedly been led for the last 10 years, vote for the Republican or the Democrat,” Gray said. “But if you’re not, vote for financial responsibility and social tolerance. Gov. Gary Johnson is the guy — I’m proud to be his running mate– he’s the guy! It’s really an amazing thing.”