Jo Jorgensen. Photo courtesy Goulash Media.

Live Free or Die Tryin’

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jo Jorgensen wants to free Americans from government

The Republican Party loves spending money just as much as Democrats. That’s what Libertarian Party presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen tells Eugene Weekly in an email. Jorgensen says the current Republican Party is unrecognizable as the conservative political movement led by Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. The Trump administration is responsible for even more out-of-control spending than the Obama administration, she adds.

“Republicans don’t have to settle for a Republican in name only, and they don’t have to hold their noses and vote for a Democrat, either,” she says. “I am happy to provide a fiscally responsible, small-government option to these disaffected voters.”

Jorgensen says she would empower individuals by having the federal government step aside, and only Washington insiders would feel the shock of libertarian values. 

She says she wants to bring conservative values to the White House — like minimal government, natural rights and personal liberty. Although the 2020 presidential election will most likely end with either Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the White House, Jorgensen tells EW how she would lead the U.S. with a libertarian ideology as the country continues to deal with a pandemic and how to tackle the existential crisis of climate change. In addition to her platform, Jorgensen would bring in the U.S.’s first-ever “brony” vice president. 

“In this time of uncertainty, Americans don’t need nor want someone to rule over them,” Jorgensen says. 

Jorgensen says Democrats and Republicans often compromise by increasing domestic and military spending. 

“The other two sides have shown that they can work together to expand government,” she says. “I will demand that they work together to shrink government. Otherwise my veto pen is going to need extra ink.” 

With the U.S. in the midst of a pandemic-induced economic recession, the majority of Americans support federal assistance, according to a July poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. About three in four Americans say the government should provide stimulus checks to offset the COVID-19-related economic crisis. 

Jorgensen says she wasn’t impressed with Congress’s CARES Act or other bailout bills, since it’s filled with “waste and gave billions in corporate handouts.” 

“While some Americans received a $1,200 check and additional unemployment benefits, about 90 percent of that spending went to government cronies and special interests,” she says. 

The easier solution is to eliminate taxes permanently, she says. She’d do that by suspending IRS tax collections during the pandemic, although her ultimate goal is abolishing the tax agency.  

And Jorgensen says she would remove the FDA’s efficacy requirement, a policy that was created in a 1962 amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It requires manufacturers to demonstrate whether their products are effective. In June, the FDA lowered the efficacy rate for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to 50 percent of the people in the study.  

But Jorgensen would also want to get rid of the FDA. Eliminating the agency would help patients get new medications and procedures and make more over-the-counter drugs more available, she says. 

In 2016, part of Trump’s allure to voters was that he was going to walk into the White House and run the federal government as if it were one of his (failed) businesses.  

Jorgensen says she doesn’t think any one person should run the U.S. at all. If she were elected, she says she’d work with individuals and communities to allow them to determine how to run their lives. 

“In any other business, the gross ineptitude of the federal government to deliver for its shareholders would have led to a radical reduction in its size and scope,” she says. “And that’s what I’m promising to voters.” 

One of the largest issues that any president will face is climate change, especially since the United Nations said in March that the world is way off track for its 1.5°C or 2°C targets. To curb the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions, Jorgensen says she would remove government subsidies for fossil fuel companies. 

“The federal government gives about $15 billion annually to oil and coal companies,” she says. “This is nothing but corporate welfare: taking from the poor and giving to the wealthy.”  

She adds that bureaucratic red tape prevents cleaner and sustainable energy from entering the market, using nuclear power as an example. She says she would work with Congress to end energy subsidies to level the playing field and reduce regulations that prevent competition and preserve dirty energy. 

The 2020 election could result in some firsts for vice president diversity. Sen. Kamala Harris could be the first Black and Indian descent woman and the Green Party’s Angela Walker could be the first Black woman as vice president. 

Jorgensen’s running mate, Jeremy “Spike” Cohen could be the first “brony,” a name for adult fans of the cartoon My Little Pony. Cohen’s nickname comes from a main character from the 1980s cartoon. The cartoon is still popular today (thanks in part to a reboot), so EW asked Cohen whether he is a “brony,” a name for male fans. 

Cohen says many consider him to be the “original brony,” though he hasn’t kept up with the My Little Pony universe. “But I have been told that, ‘once a brony, always a brony,’” he adds. “Brony in, brony out, as it were.”

Libertarian Party vice president candidate Jeremy “Spike” Cohen and Eugene mayoral candidate Isiah Wagoner will host an event at Alton Baker Park 1 to 4 pm Saturday, Sept. 5. Visit for updates on the event.

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