Libertarian Gary Johnson Hopes To Clear Debate Hurdle With A Final Surge In Poll Numbers: ‘Not Impossible’ To Beat Clinton, Trump
Libertarian presidential candidate is starting to believe the crazy nature of the current race may make his road to the White House a little less improbable.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, almost a full month before the first presidential debate takes place on September 26 at New York’s Hofstra University, Johnson asserted that he could majorly impact the scope — and the result — of the race if he does manage to clear the debate hurdle.
“The object is to win outright. And it’s not impossible if we go into the presidential debates with the polarization of Clinton and Trump that we might actually run the table on all of this,” Johnson told host Chris Wallace.
“You know how crazy this election cycle is. I might be the next president. You know that, right?”
Gary Johnson needs to reach 15 percent in select national polls to give him a chance to share the debate stage in New York alongside major-party candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Libertarian Party candidate himself considers reaching this goal as imperative to his chances in the presidential race. After all, Johnson is well aware that he does not have similar resources to Clinton or Trump to gain accessibility to a majority of Americans. He can certainly not outspend either of them, nor does his standing in the presidential race make him a darling of the mainstream media, meaning Johnson can only depend on his campaign to show Americans that he can provide an altogether different — and better — option than both major-party candidates.
As of now, that dream is still within reach. Most major polls have shown Johnson’s number to be in and around the ten percent mark, and while that is the best showing the Libertarian Party has ever had in a presidential race, Johnson knows that his campaign will have to show a final surge in poll numbers if there is to be any chance of sharing the debate stage come the last week of September. But he remains cautiously optimistic.
“The Presidential Debate Commission has identified five polls,” Johnson said, referring to the national polls on which qualification with a 15 percent threshold will be based, reports the Guardian.
“We’re at 10 percent flat on those five polls. And that’s an increase really of probably about four percent consensus over the last six or seven weeks. So we’re optimistic that we’re going to actually get into the debates.
“We’re spending money right now in many states. In five states right now, I’m at 16 percent. So I’m just really optimistic.”
Americans want meme-god #GaryJohnson in presidential debates – poll https://t.co/qGz7zkP6Y4 pic.twitter.com/jFcJtDMpQy
— RT America (@RT_America) August 25, 2016
As Newsweek reports, apart from the record levels of disillusionment that a majority of Americans share for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — something Johnson believes could hand him the advantage in the race — there are other smaller things for him to cheer about too. For instance, all polls which are to be used to gain entry in the first debate have his name on the ballot. Now that holds Johnson in a good stead, especially because respondents won’t have to recall his name themselves. Another poll suggests that two-thirds of Americans want Johnson to be in the debate. Another report shows that Johnson has managed to raise ten times the amount he was able to raise four years ago, showing that Americans — even if a small number presently — are seriously considering him as a potential president of the free world.
Having said that, with a month to go before the first debate takes place, the remaining days present a do or die situation for Gary Johnson. The Libertarian Party candidate has already conceded that a failure to qualify for the debate will certainly end his chances in the race. Although Johnson is pulling in at least twice as much of the vote as Henry Wallace or Strom Thurmond was in late August 1948, as Ralph Nader was in 2000, and certainly as Johnson himself was four years ago, as reported by Five Thirty Eight, Johnson needs a final surge to give Americans a real shot at looking beyond Clinton and Trump.
As Gary Johnson himself said, if he manages to reach the debate stage in New York, he might be able to do what no third-party candidate has been able to do in the history of the United States presidential elections.
You know that, right?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]