Viewers can watch CNN’s Libertarian Town Hall event live online and see if the ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld can take advantage of the unpopular major party picks and win over some undecided voters.
The cable news giant will be hosting a town hall on Wednesday, the first major news coverage for the third-party ticket that has been rising in the polls amid high dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Interest in Johnson — and third-party candidates in general — has surged in recent weeks, with many turning to the internet to learn about the other options that exist.
The Libertarian Town Hall will start at 9 p.m. ET on CNN, and will also be available to watch on streaming video (a link to the online video can be found below).
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) August 1, 2016
Those who watch CNN’s Libertarian Town Hall live online will get that introduction, with the experienced ticket of Johnson and Weld taking questions from audience members and giving voters an idea of what they would see under a Libertarian White House.
The pair have a level of experience rarely seen from a third-party ticket. Johnson is the former governor of New Mexico, while Weld was the governor of Massachusetts, a connection that could help the ticket score a potentially game-changing endorsement.
Weld served as Massachusetts governor before Mitt Romney, who has publicly expressed his admiration of Weld and flirted with the idea of endorsing the Libertarian ticket.
“If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president,” Romney told CNN last month (via the Deseret News). “So I’ll get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he’s someone who I could end up voting for. That’s something which I’ll evaluate over the coming weeks and months.”
Johnson told CNN that he has been in discussions with Romney about a potential endorsement.
“I think he’s considering the possibility of doing this,” Johnson said, “of actually endorsing the two of us.”
Those who watch CNN’s Libertarian Town Hall live online could also see a huge opportunity for the Johnson-Weld ticket. The pair are aiming to reach the all-important mark of 15 percent support in national polls, which is the threshold chosen by the Democratic/Republican-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates to be included in debates that take place this fall. Johnson is about halfway there, with the Huffington Post‘s Pollster noting that Johnson stands close to 8.5 percent support.
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) August 3, 2016
The audience for Wednesday’s Libertarian Town Hall could also include two very important individuals. The Johnson campaign has been trying to get the backing of billionaire donors Charles and David Koch, longtime benefactors of the Republican Party. CNN noted that the pair have been put off by Donald Trump’s campaign and could throw their support — and their checkbook — behind Johnson.
“The billionaire Kochs, unnerved by Trump’s support for protectionism and mass deportations, were forced to push back this weekend in Colorado Springs against speculation from associates that they could support Hillary Clinton. Yet because they have not said how they personally will vote, some in their powerful network of donors are holding out hope that they will back the party that David Koch represented as vice president in 1980: the Libertarians.”
It might still be a long shot. Mark Holden, the top political aide to the Koch brothers, said he would be “surprised” if they ended up supporting Gary Johnson and potentially alienating their Republican allies.
“My concern would be if people saw us go in on Johnson as a network, that would cause some concerns for people who maybe wanted us to go in on Trump,” he said.
Those who want to watch CNN’s Libertarian Town Hall live online can click here for streaming video.
[Photo by John Raoux/AP Images]