Unfortunately Gary Johnson is no real libertarian. Gary Johnson is the same moderate mess conservatives and true libertarians always complain about the Republican party always nominating. The only difference is Johnson has a different branding.
The main problem is Gary Johnson fundamentally does not understand the concept of liberty. More so Johnson is just a moderate Republican who at times agrees with conservatives much like Donald Trump. Unlike Trump however Johnson brands himself as a progressive. Gary has claimed religious liberty is a “black hole”, supports forcing businesses to betray their morals, endorses abortion and has claims he agrees with 73% of what Bernie Sanders says.
Americans as a whole are tired of moderate candidates and that’s just what Gary Johnson is. If you don’t believe me then just look at his poll numbers. Gary brags about one poll where he is at 13% but the average is less then 10. At this same time when Ross Perot (the last real 3rd party candidate) was running he had maxed out around a third of the vote and probably would have kept rising if he stayed in the race the whole summer. Now take into account Ross Perot ran against two fairly popular people (Bill Clinton & George Bush) compared to Johnson who is running against the two least liked people in America. If ever there was to be a third party insurgent candidate it would be now.
The difference between Perot and Johnson though is clear. Gary J. is running as a wish washy progressive with an even worse guy as his vice president. Ross P. ran as a common sense conservative with a bleeding heart. He had a bad VP pick too but at least his VP was an admiral as opposed to a gun grabbing governor. See when Perot ran he ran to attract both sides of the aisle in a different fashion then a libertarian should but it was working. The idea was to expand government but no matter what to pay for it. Johnson has a loose grasp on his message of “liberty” since a sizable amount of his stances are against liberty and some are against America (supporting the TPP). Those are things a real libertarian would never do. A sensible 3rd party candidate should realize to win they would have to take voters from both camps. Not just a far left liberal camp composed of bern-outs and moderate Kasich voters.
If a real libertarian was running for president on the Libertarian ticket you would see a mass exodus from both parties certainly large enough to get a measly 15%. For example if Republican Senator Rand Paul ran one Fox News analyst said he would be getting nearly a fifth of the vote already. And she said that at the begging of last month, Rand would probably be near 30% by now. But even if the Libertarians couldn’t get Rand if they simply would have chosen Austin Petersen I believe they would at least be at 15%.
The reason is because Gary only attracts liberals and party loyal Libertarians. Johnson not only isn’t attractive to conservatives but he pushes them away. Its as if Gary takes joy in the fact conservatives have disdain for him. Almost like the only reason Gary can’t support religious liberty and the first amendment is because he is too bitter at conservatives not voting for him when he ran as a Republican. Compare Rand to Gary to Austin and see only one person can’t get with the program. Only one of those three guys doesn’t understand that you don’t have to like something to believe someone should do it. Austin Petersen himself has even claimed he doesn’t like when people deny service based on religious convictions but it is still their right.
If the “party of principles” actually nominated someone with libertarian principals they would not only receive the liberal bern-outs and moderate Republicans they are getting now but the values driven conservative #NeverTrumpers. Glenn Beck was so close to endorsing Austin Petersen that Austin’s news-site “The Libertarian Republic” was already reporting it happening and get this his audience didn’t have a problem with it! Austin also nearly got Republican Congressman Justin Amash’s endorsement and actually received Erick Erickson and Mary Matalin’s endorsement. Compare that to Johnson who was hoping to get Bernie and Romney’s endorsment (gross). Petersen did get Conservatives may not agreed with him on everything but they agreed with him on his perspective of true liberty… something Johnson doesn’t have.
If Gary Johnson was a true libertarian meaning someone that believed in liberty he would at least double his numbers if not triple taking his measly 8.3% in the polls to a 16% or 24%. The LP had a chance to actually get someone nominated but they choose instead to nominate Gary Johnson.