Why I'm voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president

Jesse Ventura
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Jesse Ventura

I've always had the belief that you vote for someone you believe in. When you cast your vote, you want that person to be president. You don't vote for one politician so that another doesn't become president. And yet here you have an instance where people don't want either the Democrat or Republican nominee as president! People are going to vote for Donald Trump because they don't want Hillary Clinton — and people are going to vote for Clinton because they don't want Trump. That's a horrible way to pick the next commander-in-chief.

What astounds me is that the American public willingly accepts that these are the two choices the political gangs that run our country are offering us. And until this country wakes up and realizes that there are in fact more than two choices, despite what mainstream media shoves down our throats, then this is what we're going to get.

Ron Paul mentioned that he's probably going to vote Libertarian this year. He should. After all, he was their presidential nominee back in 1988. Come November, I will join him, voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson again, just like I did in 2012. He's on the ballot in all 50 states, and this year I hope voters won't be lemmings. This is the year for a third party to rise, if there ever was one. This is the time for the people to stand up and say, "We've had enough, and we're still in charge." Whether voters exercise that option, we'll have to see.

I like everything Gary Johnson has said so far. He's fiscally conservative and socially liberal – something neither Democrats nor Republicans can offer. He also has a solid plan for bringing our troops home and restoring our economy. And, like me, he's a firm believer that marijuana should be legal.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson
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Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson

I know Gary Johnson personally — we were governors at the same time. He was always an honest, straightforward kind of guy who put the needs of the people first. That's the kind of person I want for our next president.

If you dare sit there and say a third party can't win the presidency, then I want to know how many times you've won the lottery. Seriously, if you already know the future, how come you aren't banned from purchasing lotto tickets? Well, I have news for you: There are countries that actually care about political corruption and there are countries that actually do something about it. I'd be a proud American if I could say our country was on that list, but unfortunately we're not.

In 2016, the people of Iceland elected Guðni Jóhannesson for president. He is a history professor who has never been affiliated with a political party, not even when he announced his run for president. His presidential campaign came about after an anonymous source leaked the Panama Papers and exposed top Icelandic officials of tax evasion.

Iceland's prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who was among those named in the Panama Papers, had to resign due to public pressure and the sitting president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who was in office for five straight terms (spanning a total of 20 years), announced in May 2016 that he would not seek re-election because his wife was implicated in the Panama Papers.

People, this is a man who had been president since 1996!

"I think of Iceland as a small-scale model for what we could accomplish if we stopped believing only two political parties are capable of running our country. I don't know who started that philosophy, but it's pathetically stupid."

Yes, Iceland's president is the head of state and although he doesn't hold the same position as ours does, he is the only elected position chosen by the entire country. The president appoints the prime minister, who is the head of government, and the president does have a form of vetoing power. The point is this: The position is important enough for the fact that Jóhannesson ran without any party affiliation whatsoever to really matter.

To this day, president-elect Guðni Jóhannesson says he does not support any particular political party. What are his qualifications? He is an expert on political history, diplomacy, and Iceland's constitution. That's all it took for him to win with 39.1 percent of the vote, and he wasn't the only person running for president without party affiliation. Halla Tómasdóttir, a businesswoman, came in second place with 27.9 percent, and she also ran independent, without any party affiliation.

Imagine that! The people of Iceland actually had to become educated about what their presidential candidates stood for prior to voting for them.

Folks, Iceland's presidential elections took place on June 25, 2016, and there were 10 people on the ballot running for president! And in previous years, there have never been more than six presidential candidates on the ballot. Iceland has a population of 330,000 people and they've had as many as six people running for president prior to 2016? Yet here we are, the supposed leaders of the free world, limiting ourselves to two corrupt political parties because we don't believe a third option could win? In Iceland, there are so many political parties that the parliament has no choice but to compromise and work together. They have to form alliances in order to get anything done!

Granted, I know Iceland is a smaller country than the U.S. and I know their population demographics are much different, but wouldn't it make more sense that, in a smaller country, there would be far less choices than in a larger one? You could easily say why on earth would Iceland need that many political parties? Wouldn't that just divide the small country unnecessarily? Yet the divisions cause them to come together to find common ground.

Could you imagine if there were so many political parties in the U.S. that Congress saw a benefit in coming together to pass legislation — and that legislation would therefore represent what all the people actually wanted? Well, if We the People start to vote for third parties, then this will actually happen. I think of Iceland as a small-scale model for what we could accomplish if we stopped believing only two political parties are capable of running our country. I don't know who started that philosophy, but it's pathetically stupid. And for the record, I'm case in point as to how a third party can win: I ran for governor of Minnesota under the Reform Party against the Democrats and the Republicans. They both outspent me and they both were beating me in the polls, but enough people showed up and voted for me and I was elected. It's really that simple.

And how will the new president of Iceland, who has no party affiliation, be able to work with the system as a complete outsider?

He says that since he has no political bias, he'll be able work with everyone equally to do what's best for Iceland! So maybe we should really be working to abolish all political parties completely. If you don't go into office with an agenda — an agenda that is dictated to you by the special interest groups that got you elected in the first place — then you do what's best for the people. But first thing's first: This November, the time has come to vote for the third option.

Commentary by Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota and the author of several books including "Sh*t Politicians Say: The Funniest, Dumbest, Most Outrageous Things Ever Uttered by Our Leaders" (July 12, 2016) and "Jesse Ventura's Marijuana Manifesto" (Sept. 6, 2016). He was a Navy SEAL and is a Vietnam veteran. He was also a professional wrestler from 1975 to 1986 under the ring name Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Follow him on Twitter@GovJVentura.

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