It’s not very often you pay $1,000 for a dinner with a candidate and then end up hoping he doesn’t win. Well, that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when I paid to have a private dinner with Libertarian Party Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson.
Leading up to the night, my wife laughed at how excited I was to meet Mr. Johnson. Multiple nights before the dinner, I laid in bed thinking about what I would say and how the whole night would play out. It was going to be amazing!
Once we started talking to him, it felt a little weird. Most of his answers were things that I’ve heard 100 times in his videos that I’ve watched. It felt very insincere in the moment. We are having dinner with you, you don’t have to give us your pre-rehearsed lines that you say all day.
We spent most of our time with him discussing how does this campaign receive more votes and attention than it did in 2012. His answers were very unimpressive to us.
His answers always came back to getting his name in the polls and then getting into the debates. When asked what if he can’t get into the debates, his response was that he can’t win without it.
I was appalled at that answer. Where was his fight? He seemed entirely too passive with the opportunity at hand for the Libertarian Party’s opportunity to become a household name.
We asked him about his online campaigning and his answers again were very unimpressive. He said that he had a team of 4 working on it and they are “doing a fine job.”
What is he talking about? On his Facebook page, the only answers they ever give are three canned responses. Here’s the donation page, here’s the volunteer page, here’s the issue page. Let’s not even get into how many people are there saying they signed up to volunteer months ago with no response. Where are those 4 people then?
As a very aggressive direct digital marketer, it frustrates me when people have a great product or message, but don’t want to take do everything possible to get it out there.
After Gary Johnson left the dinner, we sat there for a little while to discuss everything. All we could get out of our mouths was how unimpressive the guy was. Here we were, donors that paid $1,000 to sit with him for 2 hours and all we could think was how disappointed we were with the entire night.
Look, I think Gary Johnson is a great dude on a personal level. However, I have serious doubts that if he were to become the Libertarian Party’s nominee for 2016 that he will be aggressive enough to do what needs to be done to get this party beyond where we currently stand.
If Gary Johnson wins the nomination, I will proudly support his candidacy, but he will not see another dollar from me. I’d rather support down ballot candidates and measures.