Independents

Gary Johnson: 2016 Libertarian Candidate (i.e., Republican Hail Mary)

If you can’t get the delegates, go Libertarian

For months now, we have heard the Republican party shift back and forth in their support (or lack thereof) for Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. With the party having several members stating that they will not support Trump, and with the failed task of finding someone who could go head to head with Trump on the ballot, some have wondered if the race would fall to a man vs. woman campaign. Then Gary Johnson entered the picture.

Wait, you don’t know who Gary Johnson is? Don’t worry most people haven’t.

“I Was Once a Republican but Now I’m Not”

Granted, Gary Johnson has been a libertarian since at least 4 years ago when he ran for the 2012 Libertarian Candidacy (he came in third). However, since before 2003 the former New Mexico governor was a Republican. Now, in the heat of the 2016 presidential debates and campaigning, he has come back onto the scene. One has to wonder if this emergence is Libertarian based or Republican based.

From the Libertarian side of things, it makes since that the former candidate which “garnered more votes than any other Libertarian candidate in history” (source: garyjohnson2016.com) would be their top choice. It also makes since that the party would want to wait to see who the two contenders for the 2016 election would be before making the move to pick someone to go against the selected Democrat and Republican.

The Republican based side of the argument is easy to see as well, even though Gary Johnson is technically a Libertarian, his politics were republican for quite a while. Republicans may be banking on the idea that his policies and his platform will be more Republican based then the presidential hopeful lets on.

And, let’s be honest, Gary Johnson and his campaign staff know that the Republican party is not unified and that there are a number of potential voters out there looking for an alternative. Why do you think the fist sentence of his website states that he used to be Republican? It is to hook those Republicans that refuse to go Democrat, but also refuse to support Donald Trump. It is a very smart power play from the Republican party.

Can Gary Johnson Win the Presidency?

If the saying that history repeats itself is true, then Gary Johnson will not win the 2016 election. Never has there been a president in the White House from the Libertarian party, and to be honest, most of the campaigning you will see for the 2016 campaign will not be focused on Libertarians. The networks have their chosen hopeful (and I am going to go out on a limb and say that FOX network will be a huge Trump supporter) and will cater the advertisements and campaigns to that candidate.

Secondly, being that the campaign for presidency has all but run its course in choosing who is who, Gary Johnson is a bit late to the campaign trail. True, he will receive a number of votes from people who do not want to vote wither Democratic or Republican, but in reality these numbers will be substantially less than that of the two main parties.

What will result is that the name of Gary Johnson will become known much like Ross Perot. He may gain a bit of publicity for other government offices, but more than likely his position in politics will fade into the background like many of the “top” independents and Libertarian hopefuls of the past.

The Republican’s Hail Mary Move?

The only way that I could see Gary Johnson winning the White House is if Ted Cruz and other top Republicans shift their support and their official status to support Gary Johnson. As there is a huge following of Cruz still (even though he is not a presidential candidate) if the former runner up for the Republican party were to switch over to the Libertarian side of things, which is very unlikely given the possibility of a Republican VP position, then the numbers may rise to competitive margins.

This is a big ‘if’ – and a very weak assessment of the candidates campaign policy. In truth, he does not at this point have enough momentum or support to win the election.

If Gary Johnson wants to have any chance of winning the 2016 election he will have to:

  1. Get strong Republican support (and voters)
  2. Turn women voters away from the democratic party (as Hillary’s campaign is largely based upon the woman vote)
  3. Select a strong VP candidate that draws in the undecided voter
  4. Debate both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump successfully.
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