Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has said he’s considering defying Republican Party lines in order to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson in this year’s presidential election.
In recent months, Sasse has emerged to become a leading figure in the fight to block presumed nominee Donald Trump from securing the GOP ticket at July’s Republican National Convention.
The first-term Republican has been campaigning tirelessly against Trump ever since primary season kicked off in Iowa at the start of the year. He’s also been suggested as a top candidate to run in an independent bid against Trump – although Sasse has repeatedly rejected calls to join the race in November.
That being said, the U.S. Senator’s refusal to challenge Trump in the polls does not mean he’ll be falling in line with the rest of his party and actually supporting Trump for president.
Speaking to the Lincoln Journal-Star over the weekend, Sasse confirmed that he will not be voting for Trump or presumed Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton in November. Instead, he’s considering joining forces with former Republican presidential hopeful and freshly-crowned Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Political pundits are forecasting 2016 to be the Libertarian Party’s most competitive presidential bid in history.
Former New Mexico Governor Johnson will be joined by former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld in November, and pollsters are already predicting a phenomenal showing for them across a few key swing states.
According to a survey published Friday by Rasmussen Reports, the pair are poised to take in around eight percent of the popular vote. Bearing in mind that a Libertarian ticket rarely brings in over one percent of the vote, that’s a pretty big jump.
As a result, some experts are forecasting Johnson’s presidential bid to inadvertently secure a win for Hillary Clinton. In Virginia alone, Johnson is expected to eat away at Trump’s support base in order to extend Clinton’s projected victory in the state by up to six points.
Although Sasse admitted he “hadn’t really looked closely” at supporting the Libertarian Party in the past, he did go on to add that he believed America’s two-party system was on its way out.
“The Libertarian Party is something I would certainly consider in the long term,” he said. “Don’t be so sure the two-party political system continues long-term. Both parties are exhausted. They probably don’t have the big ideas for the change that is coming.”
Sasse delivered the ominous warning after addressing a group of 400 high school juniors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as part of this year’s Boys State conference.
During the address, Sasse covered a wide array of thorny political issues, including national security, foreign policy and America’s shifting economic composition.
According to Sasse, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have done “a very good job” of explaining their political platforms. Yet he continues to assert that Donald Trump’s divisive politics are particularly concerning.
“People, perhaps ten to one, are saying thanks for saying what we believe,” he said when asked how Nebraska voters had responded to his firm stance against Trump. “But definitely there are some frustrated people who say they are anti-Clinton.”
As a result, Sasse was quick to point out that this severe frustration with the Clinton campaign would be enough to push scores of disenfranchised voters to overlook their hatred for Trump and vote Republican in November.
But according to pollsters at RealClearPolitics, Clinton has still got the edge over Trump. Surveys are currently placing her around 1.5 points ahead of the real estate magnate nationwide.
That being said, a survey published last week by Quinnipiac University claimed the former Secretary of State is actually sitting four points ahead of Trump. According to that poll, Libertarian Gary Johnson should end up with closer to five percent of the national vote, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein will finish with three percent.
[Drew Angerer/Getty Images]