“Is this country of 300 million people only capable of being governed by two families?,” asks Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor from New Mexico, who also ran for president in 2012 on the Libertarian Party (LP) line. “The biggest factor in politics is name familiarity,” says Johnson, referring to Clinton and Bush, “and that’s the phenomenon that exists right now.”
Johnson began the 2012 campaign as a Republican, and then switched to the LP. He ended up pulling 1.2 million votes in the general election, or one percent of the total ballots cast, beating every previous candidate put forward by the party in a raw tally. But Johnson says he’s in no rush to jump back into the fray. “I just think there are more downsides than upsides to announcing at this point, and, look, I don’t have any delusions about the process,” he says. “In retrospect, 90 percent of the time I spent [trying to become president]ended up to be wasted time.”
Johson recently found his “dream job” as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a publicly traded company that markets weed products. “We want to be the Dom Perignon [of marijuana],” he explains. Johnson is also the chairman of the nonprofit Our America Initiative, which advocates for balanced budgets, defense cuts, drug policy reform, and improved ballot and debate access for third-party candidates.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Johnson at FreedomFest, an annual gathering of libertarians and conservatives that took place between July 8-11 in Las Vegas.
Approximately 18 minutes.
Edited by Meredith Bragg.