Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate for President, appeared yesterday at Macalester College, Kagin Commons, in Saint Paul, MN. Organized by Macalester Young Americans for Liberty, there were approximately 200 interested voters attending, a mix of mainly students and “third-party” supporters. In a brief interview with PNC-MN as he left for the airport, Gary Johnson announced he had just learned he was officially excluded from the upcoming Presidential Debates. He stated his campaign already had plans to file lawsuits in at least three states to contest the ruling. Civil suits were reportedly filed late yesterday against both major parties and the Commission on Presidential Debates based on violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which prohibits monopolistic practices.
Opening the afternoon was Murphy’s Midnight Rounders, a local folk pagan band, who were well received by the crowd. They played two songs with “hemp” themes which got a rise from supporters of the Grassroots Party , Libertarians, and other groups who support decriminalization of recreational drugs.
Andrew Ojeda, a Macalester undergraduate running for office in district 64A as a Republican, and Ms Yer Lor, a representative from “Minnesotans United for All Families” , both gave opening remarks. Lor implored Minnesotans to defeat the marriage amendment. Several local Pagans are supporters of this group, and the group was active soliciting signatures at Twin Cities Pagan Pride.
During the band performance Gary Johnson slipped into the audience front row, to little notice from the sizable media contingent present. Later, as former Governor Jesse Ventura arrived and sat near the PNC-MN contingent, the main stream media all shifted to front stage, to get shots of the colorful former wrestler in his Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. It appeared main stream media saw the story as Ventura’s appearance and implication of a 2016 run for President as the prime story over the visit of an existing candidate, polling 6% nationally at this point, Gary Johnson.
Ventura spoke next and praised Johnson’s efforts as a third-party candidate, and for his Libertarian, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, views. He suggested Presidential candidates should be required to wear “NASCAR style suits”, with “patches from all their biggest donors, their biggest bribers” . He said voters should know, “Who owns them, who has bought them off?” Ventura encouraged young Libertarians to fight for a constitutional amendment to remove a corporations ‘personhood”, from having rights of free speech and spending in political campaigns. He said the American political system was threatened as long as unlimited and undisclosed money can flow into political campaigns. He tells people who say a third-party candidate vote is wasted that “a vote for a Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote, because you are going to get the same thing. ” He encouraged the audience to support free speech even if the content it is not popular, because the protection is there to protect unpopular speech. He chided main stream media as being controlled by four major corporations, and no longer a “watch dog'” of the three branches of government. While he personally is not a technology or even a cell phone user, Ventura supported the internet as the last place where the “truth” can get out, saying, “Thank goodness for the internet”. He encouraged Americans to get out and vote, and stressed the importance of voting for Gary Johnson who is paving the road for future candidates.