If you scripted Gary Johnson's character in a movie, critics would roll their eyes and advise you to tone it down. A self-made millionaire who serves two terms as a popular state governor and climbs Mount Everest before running for president is a bit much. But he's a real character, and very arguably, was the best qualified candidate in yesterday's presidential election, running, as he was, against a Democratic incumbent who had never held a real job and had all of one unfinished term in the Senate under his belt before putting in four truly unimpressive years in the White House, and a wishy-washy, one-term governor Republican challenger. For his efforts, Johnson pulled in, according to Google's election coverage, 1,139,562 votes and just one percent of the vote. Those are the most total votes every gained by a Libertarian presidential candidate, and a hair under Ed Clark's 1.1 percent in 1980.
The question, once again, is: Are libertarians best-advised to continue expending time, sweat and tears on a political effort that seems doomed to batter its head against a closed system? ..
Given the closed, kabuki-theater nature of American politics, in which the state seems to ever-metastasize no matter which party claims momentary favor, I think a strong case can be made that running or supporting candidates for office is entirely a dead end. Ballot initiatives certainly look more promising, as do lawsuits. Much can also be said for working on technologies, like encryption, that help to put areas of life beyond the state's reach. Or supporting organizations, like Wikileaks, that can short-circuit policies and humiliate officials.