Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, is the Libertarian candidate for president. Most people think he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning the Oval Office. However, in an election year with shouts of voter fraud and unpopular candidates in both major parties, could a third-party candidate siphon away enough votes from the Republicans and the Democrats to influence the election? Is it possible he could actually win?
Donald Trump remains controversial. While many Americans still support him, his unpopularity is growing, especially as more documents are released in the Trump University court case. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has called Trump “racist,” “sexist,” and a “bigot.”
In popularity and opinion polls, Hillary Clinton is dropping behind Bernie Sanders, according to U. S. Uncut. Many Americans are still unwilling to see a woman in the White House. Some Americans are ready for a female president, but not this particular female. Although it remains increasingly unlikely, some voters expect to see Clinton indicted on federal charges over her e-mail scandal or her actions regarding Benghazi.
Bernie Sanders, according to five different opinion polls in May compared by Real Clear Politics, beats Donald Trump in every poll. However, popularity in polls does not equal delegates at the convention. Unless Senator Sanders does very well in Tuesday’s primaries in California, New Mexico, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, and the North Dakota Democratic caucus, Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic candidate. Whether or not Sanders would run against her as an independent candidate, or whether he would support her to prevent Trump winning the election, remains to be seen.
Salon reported that Dr. Jill Stein, the presumptive candidate for the Green party, approached Sen. Sanders about the possibility of a Stein/Sanders ticket or a Sanders/Stein ticket. Salon also reported that “polls show unprecedented support for a candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.”
“This week NBC found that 47% of voters would consider a third-party candidate if Clinton and Trump were the major-party nominees. In the last week, two other polls found a large minority will vote for a third party this year. Schoen Consulting found 20% of voters would vote for a third party against Clinton and Trump with 14% undecided; Data Targeting Inc. found 21% would do so with 14% undecided. (emphasis added)”
Gary Johnson thinks he can be that candidate.
Johnson believes that many Americans are already Libertarians at heart, according to Bloomberg.
“I’m trying to appeal to the majority of Americans whom I think are libertarian, it’s just that they don’t know it. And libertarian, with a broad brush stroke — fiscally conservative, socially-accepting liberal.”
CBC News predicted Gary Johnson could act as an election spoiler, siphoning votes from Trump and Clinton, just as Ralph Nader diverted votes from Al Gore in the 2000 election. Philip Wallach, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, pointed out that Johnson could appeal to voters both on the left and on the right. Bernie Sanders supporters unwilling to support Hillary Clinton might be drawn to some Libertarian ideals, such as marijuana legalization. Republicans unwilling to support Trump might consider Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, and his running mate, William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, a more palatable substitute to Clinton or Sanders. Both Johnson and Weld are former Republicans.
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“Libertarians share with Republicans a devotion to free markets and opposition to tax increases and government spending, so their ticket might be a convenient parking spot for moderate and economically conservative Republican voters who can’t stomach the ideologically malleable Trump…. Johnson, who was governor of New Mexico from 1994 to 2003, and Weld, the Massachusetts chief executive from 1991 to 1997, will have little appeal to social conservatives because Libertarian positions on abortion and gay marriage align them with liberal Democrats. Nor are they likely to win favor from foreign policy hawks hostile to their non-interventionist views. They might have more appeal to some Democrats and independents leery of Clinton. Clinton’s negatives are unusually high among younger voters, many of whom are sympathetic to Libertarian opposition to criminal penalties for drug use.”
Does Gary Johnson have a serious chance at the White House? Can he deny Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton the election, forcing the decision from the Electoral College to the House of Representatives as required by the 12th Amendment? When many Americans are ready to vote for “none of the above,” will they choose Johnson?
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