(The following was originally published on the Socialist Alternative website.)
With Hillary Clinton failing to provide a genuine voice for the 99% against Donald Trump’s bigoted fake-populism, a left-wing third-party candidate like Jill Stein can act as an important pole of attraction for a section of workers and youth sick and tired of the status quo. But Stein isn’t the only third-party challenger to Trump and Clinton. Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is running for president under the Libertarian Party. Johnson has been consistently outpolling Stein, and some polls even show Johnson beating Stein among former Bernie Sanders supporters.
Given his polling results, Johnson may appear to be the best bet for building a viable challenge to the two-party system. And Johnson has a number of progressive positions on certain isolated issues, such as support for the legalization of marijuana and opposition to government surveillance. But, as socialists, we have to be clear that Gary Johnson, and libertarian politics in general, are a dead end for anyone trying to build a voice for the 99%.
While Johnson may occasionally attack “crony capitalism,” he is not opposed to capitalism in general. In fact, his libertarian ideology outdoes both Clinton and Trump in his support for pure, unadulterated capitalism. He wants to abolish the minimum wage, privatize Social Security, and abolish all government regulations protecting civil rights, labor rights, and the environment.