NEWS AND OPINION:
It is a promising development for Libertarian presidential hopefuls who have been excluded from officially sanctioned debates. The Fox Business Network aired a presidential forum for three candidates of the Libertarian persuasion Friday night, moderated by prime-time host John Stossel. On stage: Likely nominee Gary Johnson, technology entrepreneur and cybersecurity guru John McAfee, and Austin Petersen, founder of Libertarian Republic, a free market news and opinion site.
“Isn’t it time we heard from the pro-freedom alternative?” Mr. Stossel tells Inside the Beltway.
The exchanges between the candidates were noteworthy when they squared off over religious liberty and discrimination.
“I think that if you discriminate on the basis of religion, I think that is a black hole,” Mr, Johnson said. “I think you should be able to discriminate for stink or you’re not wearing shoes or whatever. If we discriminate on the basis of religion, to me, that’s doing harm to a big class of people.”
Mr. Petersen wanted to know, however, whether a Jewish baker should be required to bake a Nazi-themed wedding cake.
“That would be my contention, yes,” Mr. Johnson replied.
“If you’re the only baker in town, it may be a problem,” said Mr. McAfee. “But no one is forcing you to buy anything or to choose one person over another. So why should I be forced to do anything if I am not harming you? It’s my choice to sell, your choice to buy.”
See a clip here.
Each Libertarian is clear about his own attributes.
“I believe I am the only candidate who can build a coalition of disaffected conservatives, reasonable Democrats, and independents, because I am the only pro-life and pro constitutional LP candidate running. I may be the youngest candidate in the race, but younger men than I founded this country, and it will be young people’s responsibility to save it,” says Mr. Petersen.
Mr. Johnson — who has enjoyed rising poll numbers and is knee-deep in major media appearances — ran for president as the Libertarian standard-bearer in 2012 and snagged 1.2 million votes. And he’s ready for more.
“I intend to offer Americans the alternative they seek. Liberty and the freedom to succeed are the real American values, and I’m running for president to restore those values, make America genuinely safe, and put an end to a tired status quo,” says Mr. Johnson.
“One of the few constitutionally sanctioned duties of the federal government is to provide for the national defense, and our government, in addition to being corrupt to the core, is woefully unprepared to defend our nation from the very real threat of cyberwar. And yet, at the same time, this criminal enterprise masquerading as a government encroaches on our personal freedoms at every turn, and that’s why I’m running for president as a Libertarian,” declares Mr. McAfee.
VOTERS: LIFE STINKS
Public complaints about life in America fuel campaign rhetoric. But these complaints are very real. Dissatisfied, alarmed voters say life isn’t what it used to be, and it’s driving their politics.
An extensive new Pew Research Center survey reveals that overall, 46 percent of registered voters say life in America today is worse than it was 50 years ago “for people like them.” The partisan divide here is epic. Among Republicans, 66 percent say life has gotten worse in this country — compared to 28 percent of Democrats. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
THE GOP IS HERE TO HELP
Weekend reading? Well, maybe. The Republican National Committee has just launched a helpful guide to the ins and outs, backdoors, side exits and mysteries of the upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland, now just over 15 weeks away. Find it at ConventionFacts.gop
A NUKE BALLOON
Well this ought to draw some attention: Anti-nuke activists plan to unleash a four-story tall, inflatable “nuclear missile” at a public park a few blocks from the White House at high noon Friday. Organized by Global Zero — an organization seeking to rid the planet of nuclear weapons altogether — the demonstration is aimed at world leaders attending the National Security Summit.
“The inflated missile represents one of more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, many of which are kept on ‘hair-trigger alert’ and ready to launch instantly,” the organizers advise. “Global Zero’s action calls on participating world leaders at the summit to expand their approach to advancing nuclear security by developing time-bound, actionable plans for the phased, verified elimination of all nuclear weapons globally.”
And if it rains, the rally will be moved to the exotic and historic Sphinx Club, a popular event site just down the street.
WEEKEND CANDIDATE TRACKER
It is a Wisconsin weekend for most. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has two jumbo rallies scheduled in Rothschild and Eau Claire. Sen. Ted Cruz will attend a showing of the movie “God’s Not Dead” in Ashwaubenon, plus rallies in two more cities; wife Heidi is on the Badger State campaign trail with Carly Fiorina and Sen. Mike Lee. Gov. John Kasich will be in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Friday before departing for events in Wisconsin, followed by a dash to Huntington, New York, on Sunday.
For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton will be in Syracuse, New York, on Friday and appear later in the day at a fundraiser in New Jersey. Fresh from appearances in Pennsylvania and New York, Sen. Bernard Sanders will host five rallies this weekend across Wisconsin, notably in Sheboygan, Green Bay and Madison.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: “The Lindens” estate, originally built in 1754 in Danvers, Massachusetts, then dismantled in 1930 and rebuilt in the Kalorama district of Washington, D.C. Authentic Colonial floor plan on five levels; six bedroom, seven baths, 8,820-square-feet of living space, 11 fireplaces, original wide plank flooring. Two kitchens, “embassy sized” living and receiving rooms, spa with sauna, tavern room, movie theater, secret passage way, three car garage, extensive landscaping. Priced at $8.75 million through WFP.com; enter DC9558681 in the search function.
POLL DU JOUR
• 67 percent of U.S. voters are “frustrated” by politics today; 56 percent of Donald Trump supporters, 69 percent of Sen. Ted Cruz supporters, 77 percent of Gov. John Kasich supporters, 63 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters and 74 percent of Sen. Bernard Sanders supporters agree.
• 59 percent of U.S. voters are frustrated by the federal government; 48 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters agree, as do 62 percent of Mr. Cruz’s, 72 percent of Mr. Kasich’s, 57 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s and 65 percent of Mr. Sanders’.
• 23 percent overall are angry over politics; 40 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters agree, as do 24 percent of Mr. Cruz’s, 18 percent of Mr. Kasich’s, 18 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s and 14 percent of Mr. Sanders’.
• 22 percent overall are angry over the federal government; 50 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters agree, as do 30 percent of Mr. Cruz’s, 18 percent of Mr. Kasich’s, 6 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s and 13 percent of Mr. Sanders’.
Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,787 registered U.S. voters conducted March 17-27.
• Snarls and exasperation to email@example.com.