The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Gary Johnson would make a better POTUS than Donald Trump

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 437 times Debate No: 90749
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Hello! It's nice to be back... I think.

For those of you who don't know me, I mostly identify as a libertarian, which means I often identify as a Libertarian. While I favor individual rights and a voluntarist society (that looks much different than the status quo), I accept that for realistic / pragmatic purposes, we sometimes have to accept the "lesser evil" if for no other reason than force. As such, I propose the best candidate running for POTUS in 2016 is the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. He is not as libertarian as I am, and he is not the Libertarian candidate I agree with most (surprisingly that would be Austen Petersen, according to iSideWith). But in this debate, I will argue that Gary Johnson is the preferred mainstream presidential candidate, and that voters should support his candidacy over the other frontrunners.

Let it be known that I am not a fan of democracy or voting in general, and the federal government is not something I generally support. Again I am looking to argue that Gary Johnson's platforms are simply better than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's, though in this debate I will focus on Donald Trump. In another, I'll throw Hillary under the bus. For the record I also believe that Gary Johnson's platforms are superior to Bernie's, and I would be open to debating that as well. For the time being however, I will assume that Hillary Clinton is getting the Democratic nomination.

While "better" is an ambiguous term in defining a president's success, for the sake of this debate we will be arguing the merit of each candidate's platforms. I am looking for a thoughtful discussion on overall better values for this country, based on where the candidates stand on key issues (not how many friends they have in Washington). I will be arguing that Gary Johnson is not only better suited to be POTUS, but that he is on the right side of many social and economic issues that Trump is not. As such, he and his platforms would be better suited to lead the United States if they were to come to fruition.

My opponent is free to make opening statements in Round 1, and/or wait for me to begin in Round 2.

Thanks for your time! - Danielle


I accept the debate!

Debate Round No. 1


Introduction: Electability & Likability

A president's temperament is one of their most important attributes. Assessing and responding to conflict is a huge part of the position. A president must stay cool under pressure. They should be mature, considerate and able to conceal their emotions; sometimes that is even necessary for security. But Donald Trump has proven he cannot hide his arrogant and condescending nature. He thrives on emotion, not reason, and his incivility would not translate well to suit the role of president. He cares more about his ego than doing what is right. In fact he is so self-righteous that he consults with almost no one, and describes himself as "his own chief adviser" while ignoring the expertise of more educated and knowledgeable authorities [1].

Donald Trump is a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, arrogant trust fund kid who quotes from the National Enquirer, peddles conspiracy theories, speaks condescendingly, mocks his critics and celebrates the creation of enemies. He's even suggested that John McCain is a loser for having been a prisoner of war. Donald Trump is so disliked, that even his own party promotes a #NeverTrump movement to emphasize their lack of support for his candidacy. If his own party's politicians (and constituents) hate him, we can assume Trump will not be able to "reach across the aisle" and accomplish many of his goals. However since his platform is so terrible, that's probably a good thing.

I'll begin this debate by highlighting the issues I feel are most important.

Military & Foreign Policy

While Gary Johnson believes it "is important to have a strong defense both at home and abroad," he also acknowledges that being bankrupt is a great threat to our national security. He would include a 43% cut to the military's budget by concentrating on defense rather than offense. Johnson believes in making better use of our military alliances at less cost. He claims the U.S. should resort to military action as the last option, and only as provided in the Constitution which is actually the legal standard [2].

At the same time, Johnson is not completely opposed to interventionism. But he acknowledges how imperative it is to our financial and national security interests to vehemently scale back our gargantuan, excessive military budget and overseas involvement in unnecessary and counterproductive conflict. Indeed the Department of Defense has admitted that our aggressive foreign policy has made us less and not more safe [3].

On the other hand, Donald Trump is a war monger. He has made it clear that he does intend to promptly start or extend another war in the Middle East, specifically against ISIS [4]. While he swears he will crush ISIS -- which came to fruition from past U.S. interventions -- he doesn't want to nation build, so another terrorist group can/will likely emerge just as one has (like ISIS) every single time we have tried to intervene the way Trump suggests. Wiping out radical Islam overseas isn't necessarily possible. And Trump's "no Iran nuke under any circumstance" position could easily encourage yet another Middle East war.

In short, none of Trump's proposals seem viable at establishing or maintaining peace and diplomatic relations. He has said that his greatest priority as president would be beefing up the military and spending more money [5] despite the fact that the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 10 nations combined, most of whom are allies. Trump has no problem "bombing and taking the oil." But our over-investment in the military has cost us trillions of dollars, and there is no end in sight to conflict in the Middle East which has also cost us thousands of lives while burying us in unsustainable debt.

War on Drugs

Donald Trump used to be on the right side of this issue, correctly pointing out the WOD has been an indisputable failure. It has not been effective at deterring drug use, and it disproportionately punishes minorities while creating a cycle of poverty. It also encourages police brutality, and punishes users regardless of whether or not they cause any harm. It is single handedly responsible for creating the largest prison population in the world. Most violent crime stems from drug prohibition and not drug use itself.

You will never be able to prevent drug use for the same reason you will never be able to get rid of guns. Donald Trump recognizes that prohibition doesn't work, and he won't criminalize guns for this reason... yet he fails to see his own hypocrisy in calling to keep drugs criminalized. Gary Johnson notes the state has no business governing people's bodies. We should only punish aggressive acts; we should not continue wasting billions of dollars to make criminals out of non-violent offenders. Gary Johnson also calls for the legalization of pot which makes perfect sense, considering marijuana is far safer than alcohol. Trump has done a 180 to pander to social conservatives here, and he is now dead wrong on this very important topic which is vehemently immoral and unjustifiably expensive.

The Economy

Gary Johnson promises a balanced budget. He wants to cut federal expenditures, get rid of pork, end federal subsidies, nix government bail outs, scale down social welfare and eliminate wasteful spending. But can he deliver? His resume as a politician (whereas Trump has none for comparison) proves that he can be an effective leader. Gary Johnson ran for governor as a fiscal conservative in a blue state, won handily, cut taxes, vetoed hundreds of bills, presided over significant job growth, balanced the state budget and created a substantial reserve fund.

Compare that to Trump's budget proposals which are completely unrealistic. Trump promises to cut taxes while swearing he won't get rid of huge entitlement programs like Medicare, Social Security and Health Care. And don't forget that Trump wants to spend even more money on the military. There's no way Trump can provide a balanced budget by cutting taxes and continuing to fund massive government expenditures at the same time. Moreover, this does not consider our huge amount of debt which Johnson has made it a priority to address.

"Trump could pass his tax cut, monetize the entire trade deficit as additional revenues, somehow eliminate all federal spending except Social Security (which he has said he will protect) and still not pay off $19 trillion of debt in eight years. Nor is it remotely plausible that Trump would reduce the debt through economic growth. As the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget notes, Trump's plan would ultimately require cutting non-entitlement spending by about 90 percent, while growing at more than 20 percent each year. To put this in context: many economists were skeptical when Jeb Bush said that as president the nation would achieve four percent growth" [6].

We cannot afford an economically illiterate as president. Trump repeats economic fallacies and doesn't even understand important concepts like the trade deficit [7]. He's also anti-capitalistic insofar as being against free trade. Free trade embraces freedom and brings prosperity. But Trump's protectionism calls for high tariffs on cheap foreign imports. This makes the products average Americans buy every day more expensive, which specifically hurts the poor and middle class [8].

Immigration: Economics

Trump wants to inhibit foreign labor, which also keeps cost high for American consumers. He pretends he has the power to make Mexico build a wall to keep illegal immigrants at bay (he doesn't, and Mexico has no incentive or financial ability to comply anyway). So in order to keep people out, Trump would likely spend even more tax payer money to construct an ineffective all. After all, most illegal immigrants enter this country by plane [9] which means the wall would be a futile expense. It would cost tens of billions of dollars (which is a conservative estimate) to build this unnecessary blockade [10]. This will inhibit economic freedom and propserity. A trade war with Mexico will impoverish them and encourage more illegal immigration.

R1 Conclusion

In this round I focused on Trump's immoral and ridiculously expensive platforms that would undoubtedly worsen the American economy. However Donald Trump is also wrong on immigration, sanctuary cities and refugees. In R2, I'll talk about how Trump is an enemy of the Constitution. I'll explain why he is a xenophobic, tyrannical authoritarian who puts people's civil liberties in jeopardy. I'll expand on this in relation to immigration specifically, along with his other stance on civil rights, social policy and other problematic domestic and foreign positions.




I'm going to make my case within my response to Pro's arguments

== Likeability ==

This entire argument is a giant bare assertion. Pro has provided zero evidence that Trump is incapable of being diplomatic or thinking rationally. In reality, there have been numerous instances throughout Trump's campaign where he's demonstrated the ability to project a more professional persona -- many marketing experts have argued that Trump intentionally crafts his boisterous "entertainer" persona specifically for the purpose of cultivating mass-appeal [1][2].

Ben Carson -- a former political rival of his who has actually gotten to know Trump on a personal & professional level -- had this to say about him: "There's the Donald Trump that you see on television, who gets out in front of big audiences... and there's the Donald Trump behind the scenes... they're not the same person. One's very much an entertainer, and one is actually a thinking individual... Mr. Trump is more reasonable than people realize" [3].

Contrary to my opponent's assertions, Trump has repeatedly acknowledged that he's not a policy expert. On numerous occasions, he has openly expressed his intent to recruit the most talented specialists he can find (regardless of their personal ideology, I might add) and actively seek their counsel in office [4]. The reason why Trump hasn't needed much 'expert' advice on the campaign trail is because he himself IS an expert in self-promotion.

My opponent is also incorrect in her claims that likeability is necessary for effective bipartisan leadership. Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon were both widely disliked by their fellow politicians, yet they got more done than the majority of US presidents. Leadership ability is determined by confidence, assertiveness, intelligence, and adaptability -- not "likeability."

The fact is that Trump has built and maintained a wildly successful business empire over the course of more than 40 years, which inevitably involves working with hundreds of different people on a daily basis -- that alone is sufficient reason to presume that he is an extremely competent leader, but on top of that, any impartial review of Trump's business record reveals that he has spectacular abilities when it comes to negotiating, pressuring, compromising, and political maneuvering [5].

In stark contrast, Gary Johnson did virtually nothing as Governor of New Mexico -- he was primarily known for simply vetoing all increases in government spending [6]. That certainly isn't something which requires significant intelligence, executive talent, or leadership ability. Given the gridlocked nature of Congress and the unpopularity of many libertarian policies among constituents, it's likely that he would just be yet another obstructionist, 'do-nothing' president.

Trump is a vastly superior leader to Johnson -- he will be much better at working with Congress, the federal bureaucracy, and his executive staff to do good for the country. Ultimately, that is far more important than the specific policies a candidate advocates, because the POTUS is not a legislator -- he is a figurehead, an agenda-setter, a negotiator, and an enforcer.

== Foreign Policy ==

Pro has completely straw-manned Trump's foreign policy. Trump does *not* support increasing military spending -- he has explicitly said he would like to decrease it by eliminating the enormous amounts of wasteful spending we engage in [7]. Building a stronger military is not synonymous with expanding the defense budget. Trump has also stated on numerous occasions that he wants to make our allies pay for the military protection we grant them, and that he is strongly against counter-productive efforts to dethrone secular autocrats (e.g. Iraq, Libya, Syria) [8].

In other words, his policies would substantially *reduce* military spending. Trump's foreign policy actually shares some remarkable commonalities with Johnson's... however, Trump's is definitively better because he isn't isolationist -- he has made it clear that he intends to maintain (and expand) US hegemony, which is widely acknowledged among international relations experts to be crucial for preserving global stability [9].

Pro can criticize Trump's ISIS plan all she likes, but Gary Johnson's plan is much, much worse -- withdrawing from the Middle East is the most disastrous possible course of action. Firstly, it would mean letting the RSII coalition take out ISIS and gain hegemony in the region, which is obviously problematic because none of the coalition's members (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah) are fond of us. Secondly, it wouldn't do anything to reduce anti-Western fervor -- new terrorist groups would still rise eventually (the Iraq War alone provides more than enough material for Islamist propaganda).

At the very least, Trump's plan would allow us to maintain hegemony in the region, which would put us in a much better position to deal with the underlying problem of anti-Western fervor. This process would probably involve cooperating with influential regional authorities like Saudi Arabia & Turkey, and Trump has often expressed interest in doing precisely that.

== War on Drugs ==

Again, Pro has misrepresented Trump's position on this. At no point has Trump said that he supports maintaining the status quo on drug policy. In accordance with my opponent's own observations, Trump has consistently advocated reforming our approach to drugs. As recently as late 2015, he indicated support for decriminalizing drugs on the federal level (i.e. allowing individual states to decide) and even said he'd be open to implementing full-fledged legalization eventually [10].

== The Economy ==

My opponent seems to take it for granted that balancing the budget is a pressing issue, but that's simply not the case. In fact, the consensus among economists is that budget deficit isn't a problem at all, because the US is currently able to repay its debts at a safe pace without any difficulty. "There is no magic level of debt that gets an economy in trouble... Debt is an issue only if you can't repay it or if other people believe you can't repay it... the US can literally print the money it needs to repay its debt, and it still maintains a high credit rating" [11]. Thus, Pro's argument turns against her -- Gary Johnson's economic policy is bad because he's massively cutting down on beneficial public services to solve a non-existent problem.

But anyways, Trump's policies won't increase the deficit. He acknowledges that his tax plan is only a starting point for negotiations, and that top-bracket tax rates will probably end up being significantly higher than they are in his plan [12]. So we won't lose that much revenue. As for savings... I've already shown that Trump will reduce military spending. He also plans to trim down on the wasteful inefficiencies of our federal bureaucracies. His free market healthcare reforms (many of which Johnson supports) will substantially reduce government healthcare spending [13]. And Trump's proposed corporate tax cut to 25% would actually *increase* revenue due to economic growth and higher compliance rates [14].

Pro also criticizes Trump's support of protectionism on the basis that it would result in price increases for American consumers. However, that trade-off is absolutely worth it as long as those price increases aren't burdening the lower class -- in other words, place the tariffs on goods which are primarily consumed by the middle-to-upper-class. Properly-implemented protectionist policies would bring back manufacturing jobs without significantly burdening consumers. This is extremely beneficial because it reduces unemployment rates among uneducated males, which inevitably translates to lower violent crime rates and greater social stability in general.

Economically illiterate? I think not.

== Immigration ==

Unfortunately, I don't have enough space left to fully elucidate the awesomeness of Trump's immigration policy, and looks like my opponent didn't finish talking about immigration either, so I'll save it for next round.


In conclusion, Trump is obviously the superior candidate:
-- The vast differential in executive ability between Trump and Johnson is sufficient reason on its own to prefer Trump.
-- Trump's foreign policy maintains global stability and aids the extermination of radical Islamic terrorism, whereas Johnson's would likely put us on the path to World War III.
-- Johnson's economic policy involves completely unnecessary cuts to valuable public services, whereas Trump's reduces budget deficit without incurring any such losses.
-- Trump's protectionist policies (which Johnson refuses to even consider) would significantly mitigate social maladies like unemployment, welfare dependency, and violent crime.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 2


Danielle forfeited this round.


kaido forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3



Unfortunately I won't be able to fit all of my points due to character limitations, but here goes.


Con claims that Trump's repugnant character is a rouse to gain popularity. This is a questionable tactic considering Trump's obnoxious persona is the reason he is so hated by many in his own party, and all around the world [1].

People don't like to work with others they don't like. Working with foreign leaders and being sensitive to cultural differences is important, while Trump has proven he is very me-centric and not respectful or knowledgeable enough to adapt to other people's cultural expectations. He brags about doing the opposite.

In this debate, we are mainly looking at the candidate's personality and platforms -- not the actual limitations of the presidency as it pertains to Congressional gridlock. Yet Con wants to use Trump's (questionable) record as a businessman as an indicator of his competency to guide Congress effectively.

First, Gary Johnson is multi-millionaire CEO. He got $10 million for a business he started his junior year of college and built into a 1,000-employee firm (without a small loan of a million dollars). He now runs a company in an entirely new industry, proving he does have the skill of adaptability. Trump's position is largely in part to his incredibly wealthy family who gave him every opportunity in the world. His business savvy is NOT the foremost reason for his success.

Con suggests "It's likely that [Johnson] would just be yet another obstructionist, 'do-nothing' president." However it's wrong to say that Johnson using his veto power to effectively govern is "do nothing." On the contrary, Johnson balanced the budget and created a substantial reserve fund. This required far more than simply nixing every proposal. He took proactive measures to fix the budget.

Donald Trump's list of proposed advisers is laughable at best. One of them is a 2009 college graduate who lists Model UN as a credential [2]. Others have a slew of corruption allegations [3]. Experts claim that Trump’s failure to staff up his foreign-policy team is unprecedented, and his "move to surround himself with neophytes and fringe players suggests he doesn’t grasp how Washington’s network of decision-makers collaborate on important global decisions" [3]. Everyone is baffled by his choices [4] and his own party considers his advisers "rotten" [5].

It is not a bare assertion that Trump engages in hostile conflicts; it is a well documented reality [6] and regardless of his motives, not a good indication of how Trump will deal with other important authorities.

Military and Foreign Policy

Gary Johnson is NOT an isolationist. He supports responsible interventionism. Our militaristic engagements have proven to be harmful and counterproductive, yet Trump wants to perpetuate more of our absurd policies. It was U.S. interventionism that has specifically led to the creation and empowerment of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda [7].

Con has failed to show how U.S. militaristic hegemony has preserved peace. We have been involved in perpetual militaristic conflict for decades while continuous violence has ensued despite our routine interventionism. This has had unjustifiably expensive and proven dangerous blowback that threatens our national security [8].

Con claims that Trump wants to cut military spending and cited a #7 source that did not say this at all. Instead his source confirmed my points about wasteful military spending and why it needs to be curbed. We have every reason to believe that Johnson will scale back spending while Trump will not.

Donald said he wants to build more ships and planes [9]. This is a massive expense that he cannot push on our allies. He can't control them, and he exaggerates the burden our allies put on our military anyhow [10].

Trump told Sean Hannity in March 2016 that he would increase military spending [11]. RBC Capital Markets' Robert Stallard said Trump's "typically erratic" stance on foreign policy creates enough uncertainty to imagine a serious jump in spending [12].

We know his proposals will increase DOD spending including the border fence; calling to take out ISIS with continual presence overseas; his anti-NATO stance with Russia and his condemnation of the Iran Deal, which leads to greater conflict in the Middle East. His positions on China and Japan's nuclear weapons could promote violence in Asia. He also wants to add more military personnel.

War on Drugs

Here is an exact quote from Con's very own source which is directed at Trump: "You used to think that legalization, taking the profit out, would solve that problem. What changed your mind?" As you can see, Trump changed his mind. My opponent cannot disprove my comments on the War on Drugs being a miserable failure, thus he fraudulently tries to misrepresent Trump's position.

Here are several more sources where Trump flip-flops and claims he is NOT opposed to the War on Drugs [13, 14, 15].

Extend every single one of my arguments regarding Johnson's policy being superior to Trump's in this regard.

The Economy

Con claims that U.S. debt isn't a problem. As the national debt per capita increases, "it reduces the amount of tax revenue available to spend on other governmental services. Over time this will cause people to experience a lower standard of living" [16]. Corporations will have to raise the prices of goods to accommodate lending margins. People will have to pay more for things, thereby resulting in inflation. Plus the cost of borrowing money (specifically for homes) will increase for Americans [16].

Increased government debt means productivity is stifled; the economy does not grow and people lose jobs [17]. So yes debt IS a big deal. "Perhaps most importantly, as the risk of a country defaulting on its debt service obligation increases, the country loses its social, economic and political power. This in turn makes the national debt level a national security issue" [16].

By cutting public services, Gary Johnson is diverting public jobs to the private sector where they belong. Tax payers do not have to overpay and people in the private sector are taxed, which actually contributes to the tax pool whereas taxing public employees is redundant and does not alleviate our tax burden. The private sector is more efficient [18, 19, 20] so Con has not proven Johnson's economic policy is bad.

Trump's plan has been called impossible [21] and would allegedly add trillions to our debt [22]. He wants to cut taxes but not remove some of our greatest expenditures. Trump is not fiscally conservative.


Con does not contest the border fence will cost billions - which Con says is perfectly fine; that it will not cover all U.S. borders; and that most illegal immigrants enter the U.S. by plane, thereby making this a moot "solution." Therefore most of the crime Con attributes to immigrants would still exist even with Trump's wall.

But most immigrants do not engage in violent crime which I've sourced in the last round, and here's another saying that only a tiny percentage of the nation’s violent crimes are attributed to immigrants [23].

The vast majority of violent crime (especially by immigrants) is a direct result of the War on Drugs which I've addressed. Still, according to FBI crime stats, only 8%murderers in this country were known to be Hispanic let alone illegal immigrants [24], and violent crime has decreased while illegal immigration has increased [25].

Con says the wall is about screening. But Gary Johnson WOULD ALSO screen immigrants. He is in favor of background checks for immigrants [26] because "federal authorities DO need to know who is crossing our borders and be able to prevent criminals from entering the country" [27].

Donald Trump = Enemy of the Constitution.

A) Trump wants to undo birthright citizenship and gut the 14th amendment.

B) Trump declares war on the 5th amendment and its protections for property rights [28].

C) Trump has called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States, which offends multiple Constitutional principles including religious liberty, due process and equal protection.

D) The First Amendment forbids the government from shuttering houses of worship, yet Trump has unabashedly called for the state to close down mosques.

E) Trump has said that he believes in internet censorship - a blatant violation of free speech.

F) Trump wants to gut libel law so that it will be easier for him to sue (and thus silence) those journalists who write unkind things about him, which inhibits freedom of the press.

G) While he said he "hates the concept," Trump has praised FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans which he felt was necessary during a time of war. Trump suggested he may have supported it and could support it again in relation to Muslims [29].



kaido forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 5 months ago
This is shaping up nicely. :)
Posted by kaido 5 months ago
I would like to accept this debate.
Posted by EvanescentEfflorescence 5 months ago
Why do people get so interested in presidential candidates? It's not like your knowledge of them is going to change anything, nor is the knowledge going to be relevant for long. Not to mention the amount of guess work involved in determining their personalities. I'm not just blaming the instigator of this debate. It's everyone on and off this site. Just seems so frivolous.
Posted by TrumpTriumph 5 months ago
I'd might be interested in accepting this, if no one else wants it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 months ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. Yes pro also missed a round, but con missed two, and made zero arguments in another.