Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson has won over a few undecided voters by faking his own death. An old video of Johnson pretending to have a heart attack has garnered more interest in the third party candidate after it resurfaced on YouTube earlier this week.
Back in February 2015, Johnson - formerly Governor of New Mexico - appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference to debate marijuana legalization. Onstage with him was for U.S. Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle (R - New York), who began making an exaggerated claim about marijuana before correcting herself and reining in the prohibitionist rhetoric.
"You have a one-in-five - a higher chance of having a heart attack within the first hour after you smoke marijuana. There are legitimate side effects of this drug," she said.
Rather than argue the point, Johnson mocked Buerkle by clutching his chest and falling over on the stage.
While the audience applauded, the former congresswoman said, "I think the governor has had great fun with his humor, but this isn't funny."
Twitter disagreed. When the video started getting shared yesterday, some voters said that Johnson won their support with the stunt.
Gary Johnson won my vote with that fake heart attack— Alex (@Alex__McCrory) November 2, 2016
Others were simply amused by his antics.
Forget Trump and Hillary, this man Gary Johnson has no chill 😂 pic.twitter.com/etPUbRDKUR— Mike Solano (@Solano66) November 1, 2016
And at least one person seemed a bit concerned about the candidate.
Did Gary Johnson really fake a heart attack on tv? Wow. He really doesn't give a fuck anymore.— Jebus Van Fleet (@JebusMatoi) November 2, 2016
Johnson still trails Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump by a wide margin in the polls. According to a recent CNN poll, only 4 percent of likely voters support the Libertarian candidate while 46 percent support Clinton and 42 percent back Trump.
So the video could make things amusing in the final days before the election. But it won't be a game changer.
Johnson's fake heart attack may win him a few extra votes. But those gains could be at the expense of the legalization movement. Buerkle wasn't making up facts during the conference. She was referring to actual research that has been supported by an accredited institution.
Last June, Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center released a joint study suggesting that there was a link between marijuana and heart disease. Researchers found that people with cardiac conditions do face an increased risk of having a heart attack in the first hour after they smoke marijuana.
The reason? Marijuana increases your heart rate, which could be too much strain for people with heart disease. So Buerkle was right when she said, "There are legitimate side effects of this drug."
And those are the sorts of issues that serious cannabis advocates have to address when making the case for legalization. Especially as states like California debate legalizing recreational cannabis use while Florida mulls over medical marijuana.
But instead of taking the issue seriously, Johnson belittled his opponent and dismissed the valid concerns of Americans who are wary of marijuana's health effects.
Banner image: A father uses his cell phone to record his son speaking to Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson at Johnson's first New Hampshire campaign rally on August 25, 2016, in Concord, New Hampshire. (Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com)