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Experiencing the Libertarian Presidential Convention

Michael Buccholz, Staff Reporter

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When you think of Orlando, what do you think about? Disney? Universal? Probably. But from the 26th to the 29th of May, Orlando was the host of the Libertarian Party National Convention. This was the event where the Libertarian Party would host events, conduct a debate amongst the candidates, and then elect the Presidential and VP nominees. The whole event was unlike any other; this was my experience.

The theme of the convention was #LegalizeFreedom. They took this theme and used that across all of their events. On the first day, the first Presidential debate took place. It was at this debate the candidates made their first pitch to the delegates on why they should be nominated. This was a good debate, but the real debate was to take place on the 28th.

The next day on the 27th, the Libertarian Vice Presidential Debate was held. In the Libertarian Party the Presidential nominee does not pick his VP, the delegates do. Presumptive presidential nominee Gary Johnson had already endorsed one of the VP candidates, Bill Weld.

Bill Weld was a two term Governor of Massachusetts. He had been a lifelong Republican, but endorsed Obama in 2008 and then endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012. Bill Weld had to repeatedly defend why he was qualified for the job during the debate. He stood strong on his platform that he is now a Libertarian and backs the Party.

The next day was the final Presidential Debate. At this point 2012 nominee Gary Johnson was still believed to be the frontrunner. He explained his positions and why he thought they would make for a better country, and why his party was better than the two major parties. Johnson had made his case, now how would that show on the nomination ballot tomorrow?

The whole convention experience was an interesting one. There were parties thrown by candidates, protesters of the convention, and feuds between the candidates not just politically but also personally. So on May 29th, when everyone was about to get ready to nominate the next Libertarian Presidential nominee, everyone wanted to see the outcome. In order to lock in the nomination you have to reach over 50% of the delegates votes.

The first ballot: Gary Johnson received 458 votes for 49.5%. A strong lead but just short of securing the nomination. The second ballot: Gary Johnson secures the nomination with 518 votes for 55.8% of the delegate votes. This was believed to be the strongest opportunity for the party in their history.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, two former governors with high approval ratings, running for President and Vice President. Today, after many mishaps and controversial aspects of their campaign the goal of the team is to receive at least 5% of the national vote in order to receive a National Minor Party status for the Libertarian Party. Will this happen, we’ll just have to wait until November 8th.

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Experiencing the Libertarian Presidential Convention