BY CAMI MONDEAUX | JULY 5, 2020 AT 4:56 PM
UPDATED: JULY 5, 2020 AT 6:51 PMJo Jorgensen is the 2020 presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. (Photo: Jo Jorgensen campaign website)
With just four months away from the general election in November, both the Republican and Democratic parties are ramping up their campaigns. However, many voters are unaware there’s a third candidate in the ring: Jo Jorgensen.
Jorgensen was named the candidate for the Libertarian party, along with her running mate Jeremy “Spike” Cohen. The pair was nominated during the party’s national convention May 23 — making Jorgensen the first woman to lead the party’s presidential ticket.
She was previously the Libertarian vice presidential nominee in 1996.
An alternative to Republicans and Democrats
Jorgensen framed her campaign as an alternative to both Democratic and Republican policies. The two parties, she says, has created trillion-dollar deficits and unnecessary involvement in costly wars.
“Big government mandates and programs created these problems. To solve them, we need to make government smaller – much, much smaller,” she wrote on her campaign website.
Jorgensen is a lecturer in psychology at Clemson University, where she has worked since 2006. She is a life member of the Libertarian Party, securing a place as the candidate for South Carolina’s Fourth Congressional candidate in 1992.
Her presidential campaign for 2020 emphasizes a different choice from Republican President Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden. Instead, she said generations of those politicians have “failed the people of America.”
She says the two mainstream parties have given the country high healthcare costs, the highest imprisonment rates in the world, a broken retirement system and an endless immigration problem.
“Big government mandates and programs created these problems,” her website says. “To solve them, we need to make government smaller – much, much smaller.”
Where she stands on recent issues
Over the last year, the U.S. experienced several politicized circumstances ahead of the presidential election. Most notably, the impeachment trial of President Trump and the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s unclear on Jorgensen’s campaign website whether she supported or opposed the impeachment of the president.
However, she has been outspoken about the the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with NPR, the candidate explained why she was critical of the federal response.
“The Libertarian administration first wouldn’t have put everybody under house arrest,” Jorgensen told Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday. “We believe in individual freedom and that people should be able to go about their lives as they choose.”
While the NPR host argued several governors and mayors wouldn’t consider their stay-at-home orders a “house arrest,” Jorgensen said it “felt like it” to the people staying at home.
Although it would be considered wise to stay home amid a pandemic, the candidate said, the government shouldn’t mandate it. Rather, it should be an individual choice.
“In fact, when they did a survey […] maybe about a month ago and they asked people, should we be opening up the economy, something like 60 to 80% of the people said no, it’s too soon,” Jorgensen said. “That just shows that people have enough common sense to stay at home without the government telling them to.”
Jorgensen also opposed the federal stimulus checks sent out to Americans, arguing most of the money goes toward large corporations rather than everyday people who need it.
Instead, the government shouldn’t have shut the economy — which led to mass unemployment, she said.
“So this is typical where the government breaks your leg and then thinks that you should be grateful that you’re getting a crutch from them,” Jorgensen said. “If the government doesn’t break your leg to begin with, you don’t need the crutch.”
Other policy positions
Jorgensen prides herself on a platform she calls a “bold, practical, Libertarian vision for America’s future.”
The platform includes policies aimed toward fixing the problems she says have been caused by the other candidate’s parties.
Jorgensen’s position on immigration says the U.S. should not build a wall along the southern border or separate children from parents who illegally entered the country. However, she also supports deporting illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes.
“The freedom to trade and travel are fundamental to human liberty,” Jorgensen said on her campaign website. “As President, I will use my Constitutional authority to eliminate trade barriers & tariffs, and work to repeal arbitrary quotas on the number of people who can legally enter the United States to work, visit, or reside.”
Jorgensen said the underlying reasons as to why U.S. healthcare is so expensive is because of the Republican and Democratic policy decisions over the last 50 years.
The two parties spend too much time disagreeing on whether private insurance companies or government bureaucrats should manage healthcare decisions, according to Jorgensen. Rather, these policies are the “exact opposite” of what should be done, she said.
“We can reduce the cost of health care 75% by allowing real price competition, and by substantially reducing government and insurance company paperwork,” Jorgensen said. “This will make health care affordable for most Americans, while also reducing the cost of legacy programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.”
According to Jorgensen’s campaign website, the candidate opposes additional restrictions for purchasing a gun. She also opposes allowing victims of gun violence to sue firearms dealers and manufacturers.
The Libertarian candidate cites support for eliminating coal-burning and oil-burning plants in the U.S. Instead, the country should implement non-polluting, high-tech nuclear power plants — allowing the use of off-grid solar power.
“I believe we need to consider all scientific […] economic knowledge to care for our environment, not cherry-pick data to support a pre-determined outcome,” Jorgensen said. “Most pollution is generated in developing countries, so reducing pollution worldwide requires cost-efficient zero emission energy sources like nuclear.”