Gary Johnson's Polls Indicate He's Not A 'Fringe Candidate' Like Donald Trump's Quote? FiveThirtyEight Issues Declaration To 'Pay Attention'

Aaron Homer

Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who last weekend officially won the Libertarian Party's nomination for president in 2016, is hardly a "fringe candidate," as Donald Trump said Tuesday.

As the Washington Times reports, Donald Trump, speaking to reporters Tuesday, quickly dismissed the up-and-coming third party candidate when Johnson's name was brought up.

"I think he's a fringe candidate, you want to know the truth. I look at him and I watch him and I watch his motions and I watch what he says. I think that he is a fringe candidate."

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 31, 2016

But things are different in 2016. In 2012, Johnson ran against a sitting Democratic president with widespread popular support (Obama), and a token Republican candidate who could be counted on to bring out the party's base, even though he was all but predestined to lose (Mitt Romney).

Now in 2016, however, both parties have put up divisive candidates -- Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans -- who are hated by their opponents and who themselves are not fully supported by their bases. And the discontent voters on both sides of the aisle are feeling is spilling over in the polls: Johnson, an outlier in 2012, is polling in double digits this time around.

In other words, Trump (and Clinton) would do well not to disregard Johnson's candidacy.

In fact, polling data website FiveThirtyEight is now warning against discounting a Gary Johnson presidency, as well. In a May 24 report, Clare Malone warns that Johnson's double-digit poll numbers are not to be taken lightly.

"Given that Trump and Clinton are sporting historically high negative ratings, Johnson's polling makes a fair bit of sense; Gary Johnson is neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton. He might not win a state, but he could make some noise."

Johnson would need several things to happen in order to clear Trump and Clinton out of his way to the White House. First and foremost is money, and lots of it. It's a sad state of affairs that elections in the United States are bought and sold like commodities, but TV commercials and campaign stops cost money, Johnson needs it. Fortunately, with the addition of former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld as his running mate, Johnson's campaign fund may soon get a much-needed influx of cash. Weld, who has previously raised money for Mitt Romney, has a proven history of getting donors to open their wallets.

— Gary For President (@GJForPresident) May 29, 2016

Most importantly, though, Johnson needs to stay on-message with his platform of less government and more freedom. While Clinton, who may well be indicted by a federal grand jury before November, and Trump, whose campaign seems to become more outrageous by the day, sling mud at each other and alienate voters, Johnson must hammer into the voters the libertarian ideals that just might pull away enough voters from both established-party candidates to pull off a miracle and win in November.

No, Donald Trump: Gary Johnson is not a fringe candidate, and you would do well to not ignore him.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]