Nelson Spear: How this solid pro-life, pro-limited government, pro-second amendment person can vote for Donald Trump
by Nelson Spear on June 7, 2016 at 10:14 AM
In 1990, I started out as a prosecutor in New Mexico prosecuting everything from DWI to capital murder.
Somehow, I found the time to get involved with the local Republicans in 1992. In 1994, New Mexico had their gubernatorial elections coming up and Nancy and I decided to hitch our wagon to one of the horses in the race. Our choice was Richard Cheney – a former state representative from Farmington. There were three other candidates for the GOP nomination for Governor including our eventual friend (and future Republican Party of New Mexico State Chairman) John Dendahl.
There was also a new name running for the nomination. When I was called and asked about supporting this new guy, I resisted because I knew nothing about him. I knew nothing about his policies. I had nothing to gauge his pro-life record on. I also did not care for his campaign manager on a professional level. Although this new guy was a self-made millionaire from a business that he started, he had no legislative track record to measure how conservative he was. I remember that there was a discussion that he grew up a son of missionaries; however, it was not clear where he stood with his faith. I will also note that during the primary, he contributed a lot of his own money to make sure that he won the primary. Some say that he bought the primary.
Nancy and I liked our pick – Richard Cheney. Nancy and I threw one huge fundraiser at our house in Hobbs for him. We really liked his campaign manager Pete Rahn (who went on to later run the Department of Transportation under the eventual Republican nominee and future Governor). Unlike the other guy, Cheney had a proven track record on the important things – a good record. He had a solid pro-life, pro-business, and pro-second amendment voting record as a legislator. And, he clearly expressed where he stood as a Christian. During, the primary season, he also contributed a lot of his own money to make sure that he won the primary. Not as much as the eventual nominee, but he did spend a lot of money on the primary as well.
In case you have not figured it out yet, that other guy and eventual GOP nominee was Gary Johnson.
On June 7, 1994, Republicans made their choice. In the four-way primary, Cheney lost the primary to the Johnson 34.48% to 33.10%. Because New Mexico does not handle their primaries like Texas does, Johnson won the GOP nomination for Governor despite the fact that over 65% of the people voted for some other candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor.
After the dust of the primary settled, many New Mexico Republicans wondered if they could get behind this unknown Republican and support him. While he was a likeable guy, the question was could we, as Republicans, trust him?
Nancy and I were not happy about the choice of Johnson as the Republican nominee for Governor (he was our third of fourth choices), but we decided to give him the opportunity to serve because: 1). he was the choice of the Republican voters and we respected the electoral process; and, 2). he was infinitely better than the popular, incumbent Democrat Governor.
We all know the rest of the story. Johnson won the 1994 gubernatorial election with less than 50% of the vote. He did so because Green Party candidate Roberto Mondragon, the incumbent Governor’s prior Lt. Governor, received more than 10% of the general election vote.
I see the 2016 race for President the same way that I see the 1994 Republican race for Governor. Donald Trump is the outsider who won the Republican primary using a lot of his own money in the process. However, in a much more crowded primary field than Johnson, Trump has won 34 states with four more contests to go. Like the 1994 Gary Johnson, the 2016 Donald Trump is infinitely better than all of the possible Democrat nominees. Finally, the best that Gary Johnson does in the 2016 November General Election is be a spoiler to the Republican ticket.
Let’s look at this last point for a second.
Gary Johnson is like the 1994 Green Party candidate Mondragon. Johnson has a great chance at spoiling the race for Trump as Mondragon did for King. However, not only is Johnson unlikely to win any electoral votes; it is very likely that Johnson will not be able to get a nation-wide threshold vote of 10% (Johnson got just 1% of the popular vote and no electoral votes four years ago). I also note that as of May 6, the Libertarian Party is only on the ballot in 32 states. My problems with Johnson go further in that Johnson is not the same person he was in 1994. His current platform is much different than the one he ran for as Governor in 1994 and in 1998. Johnson’s platform for President as a Libertarian is not even true Libertarian in many areas. His running mate is even less Libertarian than Johnson is especially in the area of the second amendment. I think that conservatives like me can support Donald Trump for President. I can do it in good conscious because I am giving Donald Trump the same opportunity that I gave Gary Johnson in 1994.