“The dragon that I’m jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people’s thinking in place,” says William Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts and current Libertarian party vice presidential candidate. “And they think, ‘I have to be a right-winger,’ or, ‘I have to be a left-winger.’ They’re not thinking, ‘What do I think?'”
Weld and his running mate, former Republican governor of New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, are trying to pry open the vice grip that the Republican and Democratic parties have held on electoral politics for decades. They believe the historic unpopularity of the major party candidates gives them a unique opportunity to present their brand of fiscal conservatism, social tolerance, and a non-interventionist foreign policy to the American public.
The candidates point out that a plurality of the public already broadly reflects their views. If they can make their pitch successfully, they believe they’ll garner 40 to 50 percent of the vote, enough to pull off one of the biggest electoral upsets in American history. But what is their pitch to different constituencies, and are these optimistic projections actually within the realm of possibility?
Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Johnson and Weld at FreedomFest in Las Vegas earlier this month to discuss their platform, prospects, and pitches to disgruntled Republicans and Democrats. The Libertarians have reached new heights in national polling in the weeks since, drawing 13 percent in the latest CNN/ORC survey (at the time this interview was taped, their best result to that point had been 12 percent in a July 8-12 CBS News/New York Times survey).
In a wide-ranging discussion, the nominees clarify how they would handle balancing the budget, scaling back the war on drugs, reforming entitlement programs, selecting Supreme Court justices, addressing immigration and national security policy, and more. Watch the video above for the full interview, or scroll down for downloadable versions.
Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Justin Monticello. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by RW Smith.