Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is proposing a controversial idea in the United States political landscape: lower or even eliminate the national drinking age.
Should the United States government lower the federal drinking age from 21? In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act where all states would be required to prohibit the sale and public possession of alcohol. Is this an antiquated law that should be reformed or eradicated? One presidential candidate says yes.
Gary Johnson, a former 2012 Republican presidential candidate who switched to Libertarian after becoming disenfranchised with the GOP, told the Daily Caller that he supports either reducing or eliminating the national drinking age minimum.
The Libertarian Party presidential candidate stated that there “shouldn’t be a drinking age,” but noted that if the age is reduced then that would be better.
“I’m always the guy to advocate for lower ages. I just believe that the lower the age the better you come to grips with what these substances are,” said Johnson, a two-term governor. “If you can go to Iraq and die, or Afghanistan and die as a service man or women at 18, and you can’t drink — I’m sorry I don’t buy into that.”
As of this writing, Johnson is the only presidential candidate to endorse the idea of lowering the drinking age. According to Newsweek, President Barack Obama told a 23-year-old Army veteran back in 2008 that he opposed decreasing the drinking age because it had helped shrink drunk driving deaths.
It seems the federal legislation has not deterred teenagers from consuming alcohol. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggested that 72 percent of students had consumed alcohol before the end of high school, while more than one-third had done so by the eighth grade.
Nevertheless, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) told the news outlet that it supports the law “because it saves lives.”
“It’s simple: Back when some states lowered the legal drinking age, alcohol-related deaths for young people increased; when the drinking age was raised back to 21, deaths decreased.”