Spoiler is an ugly word in elections. It ignites the “wasted vote” debate—such as whether voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Jill Stein for president in 2012 could help swing the final result of the presidential election. According to a national JZ Analytics  poll last week, Johnson , the ex-two term governor of New Mexico, got 2.1 percent in a five-way race with Stein, Obama, Romney and the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode. In that poll, Stein got 1.9 percent and Goode got 0.9 percent. In this same poll, another 9 percent were undecided. In Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada, Johnson cut into the Obama-Romney vote, JZ Analytics’ John Zogby said. In 2000, Ralph Nader won 2.76 percent nationally and 1.7 percent in Florida.
Who Johnson could hurt the most depends  on who you ask. Republicans have failed  to knock Johnson off of the ballot in many swing states. Zogby said Johnson is the 2012 protest candidate and is drawing more votes from Romney. But Obama’s backers think he could undercut their vote in states like Colorado, where legalizing pot is on the ballot. Johnson has been appearing at pro-pot rallies, saying he inhaled and liked it, and that government should stay away, riling up recreational smokers and medical marijuana users. So let’s change the topic from wasted votes to wasted voters, specifically Johnson’s outreach to pot smokers, such as  at the Democratic Convention. Do these voters—especially those who consider themselves liberals—know where Johnson stands on any other issue, for instance how he would gut government medical services? Let’s look at where Johnson stands, so people who want to vote for him can make a more sober case, instead of giving him a pass for his views on pot.
OnTheIssues.org describes  Johnson’s stances on two dozen issues, drawing on quotes, interviews, media appearances and giving links going back a decade. He’s a libertarian—in agreement with Ron Paul on many issues, and not far from Romney’s remarks about 47 percent of Americans being dependent on public programs and not self-reliant, code words for the agenda of America’s wealthiest 1 percent.