The launch of the Jorgensen–Cohen 2020 16-day, 20-city campaign bus tour was covered by media over the weekend of Aug. 1–2. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bill Schackner met Dr. Jorgensen for an interview following her speech in Pittsburgh on Aug. 1. Here are highlights of his article, “Is it Trump? Biden? Nope. It’s Jo Jorgensen” (Aug. 1, 2020):
With a presidential election 94 days out, it’s no surprise that a bus was idling at Pittsburgh International Airport Saturday afternoon waiting to shuttle its candidate through a barrage of Western Pennsylvania appearances, including one in Pittsburgh.
But the words splashed across the bright blue motor coach were neither that of incumbent Donald Trump, nor his chief rival, Democrat Joe Biden.
Instead, it was a less-than-household name: Jo Jorgensen, 63, a Clemson University senior lecturer and the Libertarian Party’s candidate. She and her vice-presidential running mate, Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, are stumping separately through parts of Pennsylvania this weekend, seeking the required petition signatures by Aug. 3 to place them and other Libertarians on Pennsylvania’s election ballot.
The threshold is 5,000 signatures, but in reality, it means gathering 7,000 to 10,000 to withstand challenges, Sam Robb, the campaign’s Pennsylvania coordinator, said by phone Saturday as he drove with his family toward a campaign stop. He acknowledged difficulties created by Tuesday’s federal court ruling against granting additional time or assuring alternative parties a ballot spot given the pandemic, but he insisted the campaign will prevail.
“I am about 100 percent convinced we are going to meet or exceed what we need,” he said.
Jorgensen’s first stop Saturday was Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Commons on the North Side. There, she told about 125 people that the nation needs an alternative to Democratic and Republican candidates.
“Right now, we don’t have a choice in Washington,” she said. “We’ve got two groups pretending to be on opposite sides, two people who pretend to be at war with each other, when they both want the same thing. They both want bigger government. They want to spend more of your money.”
Jorgensen struck familiar Libertarian themes of individual freedom, less government, and personal responsibility, calling competition a better approach to health insurance and that the government has no business in contraception or in religion.
In a brief interview after climbing back aboard her campaign bus, Jorgensen reiterated a desire to abolish the Department of Education and that education, like other issues, often are best decided locally.
She said she draws on more than her experience as an educator, but suggested one area where that skill might help.
“I have been asked if I could handle Trump on stage in a debate,” she said. “I’ve mentioned that I’m a teacher. I’ve handled problem students before, so I think I could handle him in a debate.”
She said candidacies like hers tend to siphon votes equally from Republican and Democrats. “Most of our votes come from either independents or people who have never voted, so that’s who we’re really going after,” she said.
This year, her position points range from disproportionately high incarceration rates of racial minorities to harm that tariffs inflict on farmers.
On her website, the candidate asserts that the Democratic and Republicans parties have failed Americans and produced a legacy $26 trillion in debt; ongoing involvement in “expensive and deadly foreign” wars, soaring health care costs, top imprisonment rate in the world and a retirement system “unable to pay promised benefits.”