, Florida
Rosen Centre Hotel & Resort
May 27-29 2016


987 delegates from all across the nation convened at the Rosen Centre Hotel & Resort in Orlando, Florida between July 25 and 28 for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention. Top on the agenda in Orlando is the election of the party’s nominee for president and vice president for the 2016 presidential election.

Strong anti-establishment sentiments pervading the current national political landscape has fueled the Libertarian Party’s recent surge in popularity, and selecting the right candidates could see the party breaking the 15% polling threshold and participate in the presidential debates for the first time in its young history.

True to form, it became a contested convention when strong showings by libertarian activist Austin Petersen, riding on the #neverJohnson wave, and anti-virus legend John McAfee, probably aided by his awesome campaign videos, prevented favorite Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor, from securing the nomination on the first round of voting. Gov. Johnson clinched the nomination after winning the second ballot by capturing 56% of the delegates. However, his victory was marred when it was discovered that he threw away a replica of George Washington's Flintock pistol gifted by Mr. Petersen. Gov. Johnson was probably still smarting from several exchanges with Mr. Petersen during their presidential debates. The pair has since exchanged complimentary messages on the social media, suggesting they have buried the hatchet.

Mr. Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, faced an even tougher fight for the vice president nomination and scraped through with 50.8% of the delegates in the second round of voting. The more radical elements within the party repeatedly questioned the Libertarian credentials of the former Republican. Fellow VP nominee Alicia Dearn even asked Gov. Weld to join her on stage to make a pledge of not betraying the party.

The pairing of the two former Republican governors is the party’s most experienced presidential pair in history. Even more remarkably for a third party, Gov. Johnson and Gov. Weld possess a combined executive experience that will probably exceed that of the Democratic and Republican candidates, whoever their respective eventual VP nominees will be.

The convention also saw the reelection of Nicholas Sarwark as the chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. One of his challengers, James Weeks, caused a small commotion when he performed a striptease on stage right before announcing his withdrawal from the race.

The party also released its 2016 Libertarian Party Platform during the convention, which featured a combination of left and right-leaning policies such as calling for the repeal of the income tax and the abolishment of the IRS, advocacy of free market, defense of personal liberty and individual rights including LGBT rights, support of the Second Amendment, and repealing laws for victimless crimes such as legalized prostitution and the personal consumption of drugs for recreational or medicinal purposes.

With ballot participation in all 50 states, the party as a whole is looking very positively at the performance of Gov. Johnson against two historically unpopular candidates in November’s presidential election, especially considering that he is already polling ten times higher compared to the same time in the previous election cycle. There is also of course the growing rumor that the Libertarians will be the recipient of some funding from the Koch brothers, which if proven true, will make Gov. Johnson an even stronger general election candidate.

2016 Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson - Profile and positions


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