Conservative Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin was interviewed on Thursday by former Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen on Thursday in a wide-ranging and thoughtful exchange that covered many different issues that conservatives, libertarians, and millions of other Americans care very deeply about, like overreach of the executive branch of government, national defense, the war on drugs, police, the Tenth Amendment, foreign policy and others.
In the last question of the exchange, Austin Petersen, who came in second place for the Libertarian nomination behind Gary Johnson and who has endorsed Johnson, tried to encourage McMullin to drop out of the race for the greater good of breaking the duopoly of the two-party system.
McMullin answered that if a “real Libertarian” were in the race — like Austin Petersen — he would not be running for the presidency and that he probably would be supporting him instead of running (Page down to view a video of conversation).
AUSTIN PETERSEN: “You seem to share a lot of policies that overlap with Governor Gary Johnson, so I think I’d be remiss to ask this — if there is a chance to actually break the two-party system this year, it seems as if, at least from polling numbers and some of the states, especially in the key state where you’re doing well, like Utah, wouldn’t it make sense to drop out and support Gary Johnson?
I mean, why can’t we all come together and unite behind a candidate that shares mostly our principles so that we can actually stop Trump and Hillary from taking the White House. I mean, is there some beef that you have with him? I mean, what’s stopping you from supporting someone like Gary?”
EVAN MCMULLIN: “Look, if Gary Johnson were a true Libertarian, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. That’s the reality, Austin. If you were the Libertarian nominee, I probably wouldn’t be in the race — let me put it that way. Gary Johnson is not a real Libertarian — some of his tax proposals, and some of his ideas on religious liberty — they’re just not Libertarian. I’m sorry, but they’re just not.
And in addition to that, he’s been doing some very strange things on the campaign trail in the past few weeks that have me questioning his suitability for the presidency or any other position of real responsibility. So, you know, if you were the nominee, Austin, I wouldn’t be doing this — I’d probably be backing you. But you weren’t and so here we are.
And I would ask you if you would support me. If Johnson hadn’t said some of the things he’s said over the past few weeks, then fine. But you’re a smart guy, you’ve seen it too. You should have been the nominee in my opinion.”
Petersen didn’t accept the offer, saying he is a “man of his word,” a reference to his earlier promise to support the Libertarian nominee — even if it wasn’t him.
RELATED: Independent Candidate Evan McMullin Challenges Libertarian Gary Johnson to a Presidential Debate
Petersen also asked McMullin, which was pretty funny, to name a foreign leader who he respects, which unlike Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, he was able to do with ease.
In the over 20-minute interview, which can be seen here in its entirety and is very intriguing from the standpoint that you get to see firsthand the undeniable overlap in agreement on many issues between libertarians and conservatives, while also revealing some significant differences. It was interesting to hear McMullin, a more traditional conservative, be asked questions from the libertarian perspective.
As for this writer, I can relate to McMullin’s thoughts on Gary Johnson. In the same way that Republicans should be cleaning up this year with despised and utterly corrupt Hillary Clinton as the Democrat nominee, Libertarians should be able to finally gain traction with con man Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, IF they had chosen a decent nominee.
They didn’t. Much in the same way that Republicans had the opportunity to nominate Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or anyone for that matter, who would probably be crushing Hillary by 15 points right now, Libertarians could have nominated pro-life, pro-religious liberty Austin Petersen, a Libertarian nominee conservatives and Libertarians would have been able to unite behind to a large degree.
As McMullin stated, “that didn’t happen,” so “here we are,” but after watching the interview in its full length, it’s logical to think that McMullin has probably gained some support from Libertarians who formerly supported Austin Petersen and who were holding their nose to vote for Gary Johnson.
What a mess this election is! We have a Democrat who should be in the Big House not the White House, a Republican con man who’s really a liberal Democrat, and a Conservative who had to leave the Republican Party to run as an Independent.