Thursday, September 1, 2016

Observations on the Gary Johnson rally from a Marine buddy

Yesterday, I attended a Johnson-Weld rally in Boston on the Common. Since I’ve never gone to an outdoor rally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The weather was near perfect. This is what I observed.
Though it was difficult to tell how many attendees were actually there specifically for the rally–as far as I know, there was no advertising beyond a sign at several of the entrances–I saw something on the close order of 1000 people paying attention to the speeches by Bill Weld and Gary Johnson. There was a well organized "cheering section" that shouted various encouraging things in unison like "Gary, Gary, Gary!" There was a little–three cameras–TV coverage, but none from any national network, or marked as being one of the local broadcast channels. There was a "campaign store" tent selling bumper stickers, shirts and hats, etc. There appeared to be many veterans in the crowd though none were in uniform (I judged by their hats and shirts). Most of the crowd was under 45.
The speech points that got the most applause were that "We don’t want to try to evict 11 million workers," and "We favor decriminalizing use of marijuana." The latter got the most applause by far, at least double anything else. Even "We support the 2nd Amendment" got less–but that may just be Massachusetts.
My conclusions: First, they have very little money to support the campaign. Second, being in the home state of the VP nominee–a popular two-term governor–this should’ve been a HUGELY attended rally; it wasn’t, perhaps due to lack of advertising. Third, the speeches should’ve drawn a greater contrast between this campaign and the others, emphasizing their known qualities of sanity, honesty, and competence. Two two-term Republican governors of largely Democrat states who BOTH managed to reduce spending, increase employment, and had no scandals has to be the very definition of "moderation." One of the final things mentioned in the speeches was a call for volunteers. I didn’t notice many rushing to the podium to offer their time; perhaps they were doing it online via the website or had already done so, as I have. Or, maybe they just aren’t serious about their support.
After all the myriad things Massachusetts has gotten wrong, our local political parties did get one thing correct: there are no "independent" voters, only the un-enrolled. Everybody has an opinion, but the choices on the ballot are almost always reduced to two, one with a D and one with an R. More than a third of all voters–nationwide, as well as here–have expressed a desire for an additional choice this time around. Vast numbers of voters consider BOTH major party candidates to be unworthy of the office and/or dangerous to elect. This ought to be an election for the history books. And for moderates.
If they (Johnson-Weld) are able to get their message to the general electorate, I think they have a real chance to be elected. Unless they can raise money in HUGE quantities, I doubt they’ll be able to do that outreach; heaven knows the media aren’t helping at all. For the first time, I really wish I was rich.
Ron P.

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