Since a brother noder has been covering these political events for the Republican side (there being none of interest on the Democratic side), it seems fair to step in and give some notice to the oft-overlooked Libertarian nomination contest. And, really, it is not shaping up to be a 'contest,' which is probably a good thing for the party, which doesn't even get much attention when the matter is bitterly contested and comes down to multiple votes at the convention (yes Libertarians have a nominating convention). This year is a bit different from many previous years, when the Libertarian Party has either nominated a complete political outsider who would be dismissed as a gadfly in either party, or a relatively low echelon politico, a mayor or a relatively back-bench member of Congress. Perhaps the two most noted figures in this stretch have been now-perennial Republican candidate Ron Paul, who was the Libertarian nominee 20+ years ago, and the last cycle's nominee Bob Barr, likely most famous for leading the Republican side of the Clinton impeachment fight. Barr's candidacy, incidentally, recieved more votes than any Libertarian candidate had gotten since 1980, being the first candidate in that stretch to break half a million. Yes, paltry compared to the total vote count, but an interesting auger at a time when social media was only beginning to change the shape of Presidential elections.
So, onward to Florida, where just a few days after the 2012 Florida Republican Primary produced a comparatively modest victory for then-front runner Mitt Romney (but who now trails Rick Santorum in the national polls, and falls even further behind Santorum when put against Barack Obama), the Libertarian Party had a vote with a very different sort of outcome -- a clear winner, a single candidate with unquestionable momentum. Now before I seem to be making too much of an 'overwhelming victory' in the Florida Straw Poll, I must make clear that this was a poll of the comparatively small number of Libertarians who made it to the convention, for which a rather steep premium was assessed to those who wished the privilege of voting there. But this event is yet likely reflective of the strength of the winning candidate's argument for the nomination, and given his past political success (and the utterly insipid choice which voters are faced with between the heretofore major parties), a more formidable general election experience than anybody might be prepared for. So without further ado, the winning candidate, with 64% of the vote, was Gary Johnson. Who happens to be the highest ranking and most accomplished public official ever to take up the Libertarian mantle, and one who has taken it up with gusto. Johnson is a former two term Republican Governor of New Mexico, from 1995 to 2003 -- and history teaches that America likes to pick its presidents from Senators and Governors -- and indeed, Johnson has more executive office experience than any Republican candidate left in that race, has had significant business success to boot. He balanced his state's budget, cutting both taxes and spending while improving public services, was one of the highest ranking public officials to advocate the legalization of marijuana while in office (with a plan to shift drug use from criminal to health policy which met with applause from a broad political spectrum) and just to throw it out there for kicks, he runs marathons and once climbed Mount Everest. Yeah, that Gary Johnson.
So though it got virtually no media coverage, the candidacy -- and likely nomination -- of Gary Johnson as the Libertarian presidential nominee is beginning to light the embers of real change in the two party duopoly which has for so long inflicted itself upon the American voter.
>- Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, ex-Republican, wins Libertarian straw poll in Florida -- MSNBC