Libertarian ticket is 'non-kooky'

Why can't GOP speechwriter go Libertarian this year?

Longtime Maryland Republican Richard Cross describes Donald Trump as unacceptable and Hillary Clinton as "the most divisive political figure in the past 25 years," then chooses her anyway rather than "throw away [his] vote on a kooky Libertarian ticket" ("GOP speechwriter may vote for Hillary Clinton," Aug. 17). That's a weirdly dismissive reference to former two-term governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, a ticket that moderate Republican figures like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have all said in recent weeks they'd look at as a possible alternative to Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump. Gov. Johnson, who vetoed hundreds of bills as a popular Republican governor of New Mexico, is the only candidate running as a fiscal conservative who would shrink the national debt and deficit rather than launch huge new spending programs. His is the only ticket that stands unequivocally in favor of foreign trade that crucial to the Maryland economy and Baltimore's port. His foreign and defense policies are aimed at involving the U.S. in fewer wars than would Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump and, unlike those two, he has championed civil liberties against overbearing government power. I'd call those positions outstandingly non-kooky.

While Libertarians often pull 1 percent as protest candidates, Governors Johnson and Weld have lately reached or topped 10 percent in national polls by Pew, NBC, CBS, Fox, IBD and McClatchy. Someone is taking them seriously. Why can't Mr. Cross? If his ticket reaches 15 percent, Governor Johnson will get on the presidential debate stage, a breath of fresh air amid the anger, insult, truth-shading and political calculation.

Also, as a longtime Maryland Republican, isn't Mr. Cross used to "throwing away" his presidential vote anyway? With the outcome practically foreordained in this state, it makes a perfect occasion for a conscience vote sending the message that both established major parties need to start finding better nominees.

Walter Olson, New Market

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