"The dragon that I'm jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people's thinking in place," says William Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts and current Libertarian party vice presidential candidate. "And they think, 'I have to be a right-winger,' or, 'I have to be a left-winger.' They're not thinking, 'What do I think?'"
Weld and his running mate, former Republican governor of New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, are trying to pry open the vise grip that the Republican and Democratic parties have held on electoral politics for decades. They believe the historic unpopularity of the major party candidates gives them a unique opportunity to present their brand of fiscal conservatism, social tolerance, and a non-interventionist foreign policy to the American public.

The candidates point out that a plurality of the public already broadly reflects their views. If they can make their pitch successfully, they believe they'll garner 40 to 50 percent of the vote, enough to pull off one of the biggest electoral upsets in American history. But what is their pitch to different constituencies, and are these optimistic projections actually within the realm of possibility?

Reason TV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Johnson and Weld at FreedomFest in Las Vegas earlier this month to discuss their platform, prospects, and pitches to disgruntled Republicans and Democrats. The Libertarians have reached new heights in national polling in the weeks since, drawing 13 percent in the latest CNN/ORC survey (at the time this interview was taped, their best result to that point had been 12 percent in a July 8-12 CBS News/New York Times survey).
In a wide-ranging discussion, the nominees clarify how they would handle balancing the budget, scaling back the war on drugs, reforming entitlement programs, selecting Supreme Court justices, addressing immigration and national security policy, and more. Watch the video above for the full interview, or scroll down for downloadable versions.
About 19 minutes.
Hosted by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Justin Monticello. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Jim Epstein. Music by RW Smith.
Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notification when new material goes live.
This is a rush transcript. Check any quotations against video recording.
NICK GILLESPIE: Hi, I'm Nick Gillespie with Reason TV, and today we're talking with William Weld, former governor of Massachusetts and vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, and Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and the presidential candidate nominee of the Libertarian Party, at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. Thank you guys for talking.
GARY JOHNSON: Yeah, thanks.
WILLIAM WELD: Thank you so much.
GILLESPIE: Let's get right at it. You are, according to a most recent New York Times poll, you're at 12 percent. Why is that happening, and where does it end?
JOHNSON: Well, it's happening because, first and foremost, arguably the two most polarizing figures in American politics today, Trump and Clinton, so that's the primary factor. But secondarily, two Republican governors, two term, getting re-elected in states that are heavily Democratic. I mean, I think there's a lot here in the Libertarian ticket. I think, I think we're reflective of most Americans which, speaking with a broad brushstroke, is being fiscally conservative and socially tolerant, liberal, whatever, as long as you don't force it on me. And a big unoccupied space too, is nobody is standing up and saying, "Let's stop dropping bombs. Let's stop with the military interventions. They're having the unintended consequence of making things worse, not better." There's no peace candidate.
GILLESPIE: What is the worst aspect of a potential Trump presidency, and what is the worst aspect of a potential Clinton presidency?
WELD: I'll start with Trump. You know, I don't think Mr. Trump has made a great study of the issues. I'm not sure he's read deeply in history as it might apply to current political decisions, so I see a shallowness.
GILLESPIE: So, we'll talk, but immigration. Isn't that what people want? They want to restrict immigration. They want restrict Syrians or Arabs or Muslims.
JOHNSON: You know, having been in New Hampshire and having been in the Midwest, what I have recognized is that 30 percent of Republican voters believe the scourge of the Earth is Mexican immigration. Now, it was my voice in 2012 that said "No, that's not the case," but I know that that group exists. And you know, when things are bad, you look for a scapegoat and, in this case, "They're taking jobs that U.S. citizens could have!" Well, no, they're not. They're not murderers and rapists. And the notion of rounding up eleven million undocumented workers, how's that going to work out in New Mexico where 50 percent of the population is Hispanic? Well, they're gonna…the federal government's going to start knocking on doors? It goes and on.