The Chanticleer sat down with the Libertarian nominee for vice president, Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, prior to their rally in Birmingham on Oct. 11. Cohen is the running mate of Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, who is on the ballot in all 50 U.S. states.
Below is a transcription of the interview with Cohen.
Miranda Prescott: The last time that a third party candidate for president and vice president made a debate appearance was in 1992, when Ross Perot’s vice presidential candidate James Stockdale famously asked at the VP debate, “Who am I? Why am I here?” So, I pose the same questions to you: Who are you? Why are you here?
Jeremy “Spike” Cohen: Well, my name is Spike Cohen. I’m here because I am running for Vice President under the Libertarian Party ticket with my Presidential running mate Dr. Jo Jorgensen. We are running on a platform of setting America free and putting the power back in the hands of the American people that was taken from them by the Republicans and the Democrats and in terms of the debate, and hopefully I’m not messing up one of the questions you were gonna ask, but part of the reason why there hasn’t been someone in the debates besides the Republicrats since 1992 is precisely because of the debate we just saw a few nights back. If Jo Jorgensen or any of the other sane adults who are running for President were allowed on that debate stage, with those two clowns, the American people would see first-hand that there was really only one viable option running for President and that it certainly wasn’t the Republican or the Democrat one.
MP: What brought you to the decision to become a member of the Libertarian Party?
JC: I joined the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Movement as a result of seeing the harm that government overreach into our lives does. My background is in business and I started a web design company in my teens back in 1999. As I kept growing it into a successful company, the more successful I got, the harder the government made it for me. It was like I was doing some kind of criminal activity or hurting other people but I was doing the opposite. I was creating value for people and I was helping to create jobs and grow small start-up businesses and I was treated like I was doing something wrong. I was punished. I was essentially fined for that, because, really, that’s what taxes are is a fine for creating value and creating jobs and being able to provide for ourselves. I also saw the harm that the government did to others. I saw the harm the government was doing overseas with these pointless wars, killing countless scores of people for no good reason other than to benefit military contractors and central bankers and foreign dictators and drug cartels. I saw a war on drugs and systemic racism and police brutality here at home that was criminalizing and destroying entire neighborhoods, making people’s lives miserable. I saw an increasingly militarized and unaccountable police department and other government agencies that are running roughshod over all of us, especially the most marginalized among us and I realized that the problem wasn’t specifically politicians who were in office. The problem wasn’t even specific parties that were in office. The problem was the very nature of how the government interacts with us. That brought me to the Libertarian platform, to the Libertarian Movement and the philosophy behind it. The idea that we own ourselves, we own our lives, we own our bodies, we own our labor and we own the product of our labor, which is our property. Whenever a group of people tries to impose themselves on others and rob them of lives, rights, property and so forth, it leads to harmful and abusive inequitable outcomes. Because instead of trying to help others and trying to cooperate with others and trying to compete with each other in an open market, instead they can just point guns at everyone and force us into whatever arrangement they wish to force us into. That realization is what brought me to the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Movement. I’m running today for Vice President precisely so that I can share the message of liberty and how maximizing human freedom will give us the freedom here to be safer and healthier and a more fair and equitable society that we all wish to have in an engaging, dynamic, and empathetic way. That’s what Jo and I are doing everyday on this campaign trail.
MP: What are some things that you have accomplished thus far in your career that reflect best your personal views and the beliefs of your political affiliation?
JC: I have over 20 years of leadership experience. That’s over 20 years of experience in starting and growing and managing successful businesses, both my own and helping the growth and start of countless other start-up companies as well. I know what it takes to run a successful organization. I know what it takes to fix problems within an existing organization and how to repair those things so that it can become a well-running, well oiled machine. I know what it takes to be able to communicate with others and create coalitions and collaborate with different people who may have competing interests. Here’s what I don’t have experience in: I don’t have experience in lying and pandering the people. I don’t have experience in robbing people. I don’t have experience in having people thrown in cages for victimless crimes and I don’t have experience in sending people overseas to fight on behalf of powerful people and send them home with all sorts of health issues and trauma issues as a direct result of the wars that I inflicted upon them. I don’t have issues in harming others. I don’t have experience in harming others, which is typical of the Republicrats and their candidates for office. I do have experience in helping others and providing value in those around me and I think that is a valuable that is sorely needed, not just in D.C., but in centers of government around the country. That is typically the background for most of those running for office as Libertarians. They don’t have experience in being bloodsucking politicians. They have experience in being everyday Americans, That is a big part of what we bring when we run for office as Libertarians.
MP: One issue regarding third parties that is widely discussed is the spoiler effect, which is the idea that candidates with similar ideologies split the vote among those common ideologies, sometimes enabling a minority candidate to obtain a plurality of votes. Do you reject the notion some folks raise that third parties such as the Libertarian Party contribute to the spoiler effect in politics?
JC: No, because if anything the Republicrats are spoiling things for everyone else. It is they who share increasingly more and more in terms of their actual policies. Their rhetoric to their respective bases is the pandering that they do to get elected is widely different, but the actual policies that they implement when they actually do get into power are exactly the same. That’s why I don’t really try to differentiate between Republicans and Democrats because if I say a specific policy, and I don’t tell you which party it came from, you’re gonna have a hard time answering the question as to which party it came from. That’s become increasingly so over the years. The Libertarian Party is a distinct, completely different way of looking at how the government should be run, how the people should be allowed to live their lives and so forth. It shares little to nothing in common with either of the Republican or the Democratic Parties. Now, we do wish to spoil the election, let’s be very clear. We have a very devious plan: to take votes, if you will, from Joe Biden and from Donald Trump, thereby causing both of them to lose and the Libertarian Party to win. We are running to win. Because we recognize that we’re never going to get a solution to the problems we face from the very people who created those problems.
MP: So, that kinda follows up into my next question. An article ran last month by Forbes stating that the 2020 election was a quote “two-man race” between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. What is your response to this statement?
JC: My response to that statement is that anyone who watched that sparse of a debate a few nights ago can see why that there is a record amount of interest and support for Jo and other third party candidates precisely because if that’s true, and those are our only two options, those two fools who could barely form a coherent sentence between the two of them, who were spending more time interrupting each other and insulting each other rather than actually presenting any real concrete policy proposals, who could not even for once acknowledge the fact that it was them and their parties and their policies and plans and laws and regulations that created the situation that we are in now. If those are our only two choices that we have, then things are hopeless. Now, thankfully, things aren’t hopeless. We do have other choices. We have been conditioned often to believe that this nation of 350 million people is only able to put forward two options, they both just so happen to be terrible, they both just so happen to have a history of working together just to screw the American people over and we simply have to suck it up and vote for them. Well, we reject that entirely. If we are to have an actual democracy that’s anything other than a farce and a shell game, then we have to have more than just those two terrible choices that are constantly working together to make our lives harder.
MP: You said in a Twitter post last Saturday that “Libertarian foreign policy is diplomacy first, second, and third. We believe the best solutions are reached in collaboration, not in conflict.” Can you elaborate on what that foreign policy would look like with the administration Jorgensen and yourself plan to create?
JC: Absolutely. Jo Jorgensen proposes to end the wars, bring the troops home, and make American into one giant Switzerland: armed and neutral. Now, let’s be clear on what that means, Miranda. The federation of Switzerland has existed for just over 250 years. During that time, they have not been invaded once. They have not been in conflict once, even though they are a small country that is surrounded by larger and much more powerful countries. Even though they are in a very strategic location in Europe, and even though they have been in the center of two World Wars, and many other smaller conflicts as well, they have never once been involved in war for one simple reason: they remained neutral. They made it very clear to everyone else around the world that they want trade and good relations, or at least neutral relations, with anyone on Earth, and the only way that there’s gonna be conflict and a problem with them, is if anyone tries to aggress upon them or invade them. As a result of that, they have been able to be at peace for over 150 years. We can have that same thing, We can have that peace. We can have that prosperity that Switzerland has by simply letting the world know that the wars are over, we do not want conflict with anyone. We want peace with everyone. We want trade with whoever wishes to have it and we will only fight with anyone who would want to aggress upon us or invade us. We will also let them know that we are heavily armed, not just our military but the American people themselves. That was the intention. That was part of the intention of the Second Amendment: for the American people to have whatever weapons they wished to protect themselves and their loved ones and their families and their communities, and if need be, their country.
MP: One of the most discussed topics this year has been the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some of the things that would occur in a Jorgensen administration that would act as a response to this pandemic or any others that may potentially occur?
JC: Let’s be very clear, Miranda. The reason that the pandemic is going worse here than in any other developed country is because for the first nearly two months that the virus was here, for the first six to eight weeks that the virus was here, the CDC banned medical professionals from testing patients for COVID. This was a crucial time that we could have potentially contained this virus or, at the very least, greatly slowed its spread. There were companies in the U.S. that were manufacturing and producing approved COVID-19 test kits and they had to sell all of them overseas because it was illegal for them to sell them here. That went on for nearly two months. That was precious time, and we have no idea how many hundreds of thousands of lives will end up being lost as a direct result. We have no idea how many of those lives could have been saved if the government would have simply allowed medical professionals to do their job. We’re still seeing that now. Jo and I have talked to doctors and nurses. Other medical professionals have talked to us about a myriad of regulations that are still making it difficult for them to test and treat not just COVID patients, but other patients as well. Because now we have a situation where some hospitals, due to federal and state mandates, are only accepting COVID patients, leaving behind everyone else in that area who need things like cancer screenings and other live saving measures that are every bit as dangerous, or even more dangerous, than COVID is. This central planning of the disease response is precisely the reason why it has been so bad. We propose completely unleashing our medical professionals to test and treat COVID patients and cancer patients and patients with other chronic and severe illnesses so that they can do their job. Let’s be very clear, the government does not test or treat, diagnose or cure anyone. All they are doing is making it harder for the people who actually do that. What Libertarians would do, what Jo Jorgensen would do, is unleash them and remove the regulations and burdens that are making their job so difficult so that lives can be saved now.
MP: What is a final sentiment that you would like to leave with readers and potential voters here in Jacksonville and the Alabama area?
JC: So, folks, if you don’t like the way things are going, if you don’t like the out of control skyrocketing of the cost of living and everything from healthcare to housing to higher education and everything in between. If you are sick of seeing things like police brutality and communities being criminalized and increased discord and unrest in the streets as a direct response to those things. If you are sick of seeing endless wars overseas and if you are sick of seeing the growing gap those who have the least and those who have the most. If you want us to live in a freer and fairer and safer and healthier and happier society and if you want to be able to create a better future for yourself and your community and your children and their children, then there’s only one viable choice for that and that is Jo Jorgensen and the Libertarian Party. We are running candidates not just for President and Vice President, but up and down the ballot in all 50 states and in D.C. We encourage you to come see what we are about. If you want to find out more about our campaign, our website is jo20.com. If you want to find out more about the Libertarian platform and what we propose for a change in how the government and people interact, then I invite you to go to lp.org and find out more about us