Gary Johnson and William Weld could bring a libertarian awakening
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Here in the second decade of the new millennium, the word "fascism" is being heard in America for the first time in the post-war period with serious intent: "To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today," writes Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, in a recent essay in The Washington Post titled "This is how fascism comes to America."


Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R), among the best and the brightest in the new Senate, will not be voting for either presumptive Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE or likely Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 Close the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report MORE. Nor will I. But I did not vote for either of the two traditional parties last time. Libertarian Gary Johnson got my vote then and will have it again.

I don't see how Trump is creating anything that will successfully sustain a platform for a new party. I see him more as a Trickster — one who instinctively channels random change and brings a prelude to times ahead which will be different than our own times. Whatever he does, it does appear that mainstream Republicans are turning now to him. But over the weekend, calls have come from Erick Erickson of The Resurgent and Jamie Weinstein of The Daily Caller for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney to enter the race.

But Johnson has announced with a stroke of genius that William Weld — like Romney, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts — would seek a spot on the Libertarian ticket as Johnson's vice president. Four years ago, Johnson won over 1 million votes. This year he will get more — possibly much more. Possibly enough to change the way we do politics in America.

And this is no dog-in-the-manger third-party strategy to sandbag one candidate so the other less-offensive one wins, what ring fans would call "throwing the fight" to Hillary in hopes of regrouping the old losing team again in 2020 in a faithless reconstruction. This may be the awakening of a new party; a new perspective.

Libertarianism moved out of the shadows with the rise of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to national prominence during the invasion of Iraq. Libertarian icon and Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano has called Paul "the Thomas Jefferson of our day." From this maelstrom of an election today, it is possible now, with Weld and Johnson, for libertarianism to rise to a new plateau.

I found Weld to be a deft, able and easygoing political visionary when he was governor of Massachusetts. He brought ability and grace that transcended the battle lines of class division which had plagued and embittered New England for more than a hundred years. He won reelected by the largest margin in Massachusetts history in 1994 and was as popular in Southie as he was on Beacon Hill.

Weld and Johnson will make a great team. As governor, Weld frequently referred to himself as a libertarian, and libertarianism under his watch was a very good fit for Massachusetts and New England. From New Hampshire, I wrote for several years for an outsider, unorthodox libertarian journal claiming that what the libertarians' state and regionally-based perspective could do was return New England to its own historic dharma truths of Ralph Waldo Emerson, all but forgotten as a regional avatar since the Civil War, as it could return Virginia to Jefferson and Texas to Sam Houston.

That is, regional cultures could flourish under libertarian influence and anchor the specific roots and cultural truths of each region's character. Texas is different from New England. It was meant to be. All while the two establishment parties seek to centralize leadership and power and strategically work to disemble and inhibit the cultural evolution of natural states.

Johnson-Weld might offer a new beginning and a still unformed path for Sasse, Douthat, Romney and oh-so-many other Republicans in 2016, if only because — now that Trump has commandeered their party — they have no place else to go.

Romney was already on the trail when he started using the phrase "One size does not fit all" in reference to federal programs back in 2010. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) used the phrase as well. Johnson-Weld 2016 brings auspicious new days ahead and may be taking the first intrepid steps to the brave new America.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at