Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, is the most popular third-party candidate for President since H. Ross Perot in 1992. He’s closing in on 15% approval ratings in many polls, the benchmark by which candidates are invited to the nationally-televised Presidential debates.
Because Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined have some of the highest disapproval ratings of any candidates in recent history, it’s feasible that Johnson could qualify for the debates. There he’ll have a golden opportunity to state the Libertarian Party’s position. This will allow millions of undecided or dissatisfied voters to realize there really is a third option, one that doesn’t necessitate voting for the “lesser of two evils.”
If he successfully communicates his party’s platform to voters, he may garner enough votes not only to alter the outcome of the election (assuming any third-party candidate possesses that ability), but also to establish the Libertarian Party as a major political party. The ramifications of this are enough Libertarians elected to Congress to form a sizeable minority in Congress. This will necessitate deal-making by Democrats and/or Republicans with Libertarians to garner enough votes to pass important legislation.
A side effect is that most legislation may include language from
the Libertarian perspective that removes some of the overreaches that both major parties are prone to if they possess veto-proof majorities in both houses or at least have a President from their party.
The upshot is that even though most voters don’t understand Libertarians and their positions and thus fear their potential impact on the political landscape, a vitally important “third side” of the political discourse in this country will come to the forefront of the national conscience. This can only benefit our political system. Don’t forget, less than twenty years ago, Minnesota elected a third-party governor, Independent Party candidate and former pro wrestling star Jesse “The Body” Ventura. When enough voters become disillusioned with the status quo, anything can happen.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-According to an early September IBD/TPP Poll, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received a 12 percent polling figure, which is a few points short of the required 15 percent to make it to the Presidential Debate stage, and current state polls show him anywhere between 9 and 13 percent.
Since Johnson has not garnered the necessary 15 percent in recent polling, both he and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have been disallowed from being part of the presidential debate on September 26, 2016. Their exclusion from the debate was recently decided by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Whether Gary Johnson would have been able to reach the required percentage level for debate purposes, his entrance into the presidential arena would most likely not have had a drastic effect on the end of the two party political systems in the United States, or caused a change to a more permanent multi-party system that exists in European countries.
Johnson is considered a spoiler for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it is not likely that he will propel the Libertarian Party to victory, though other polling data has indicated that Americans do convey support for minor party candidates through polls, but they are not as supportive when it comes to casting their votes at the ballot box. There are further indications that Americans would consider a third party candidate but there is trepidation over such a change when it comes down to the bottom line of actual voting.
The American public has toyed with the idea of more than two political parties for eons. General election ballots have had strings of names running for president and other offices that never amounted to more than a small percentage of backers, supporters and votes, though, again, more and more citizens are looking for alternatives.
Reprisals over the two party systems has brought about the development of a number of parties over the years that include: Libertarian, Independent, Green, Constitution, Tea Party and lesser parties like the Dixiecrats, American Freedom Party, Socialist Party, Communist Party, Modern Whig Party, Black Panther Party and many others. None of these parties has really been able to acquire the necessary backing to mount a huge wave of support and significant change other than a few candidates in the past that represented them. Avowed Tea Party (Republican) candidates through the conservative movement and other candidates like Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader, George Wallace, Ross Perot, Eugene McCarthy, and Barry Goldwater all had an effect on the two-party system, but most of these candidates were members of either the Republican or Democrat parties to begin with or other disgruntled, independent factions that were offshoots of both parties.
The one impetus that could signal a breakdown in the two party systems in America would be mass rebellions and boycotts of both the Republican or Democrat parties on a huge scale. Nearly everyone of voting age in the country would have to pledge to be part of the protest and commit to follow up participation in order for any drastic changes to occur. Platforms, rules, standards and abiding covenants and selected candidates would have to exist before any voter rebellion would be recognized and a viable third party or other parties formed. The kind of impetus needed has been seen through Donald Trump’s meteoric rise as his party’s nominee for the presidency. His climb is due to dissatisfaction and discontent within the Republican, Democrat and Independent voting ranks by millions of Americans.
In order for a new party to stand on its own, the influential and ineffective leaders and operatives in both the Republican and Democrat parties would have to be removed from their positions and replaced by those willing to go along with the appropriate changes. A full sweep of old party members that are unwilling to bring about the alternatives that the majority of voters want in a political party should be asked to step aside. This action would precipitate ridding the country of the wrong kind of leadership.
With the two-party system being part of long-standing tradition and outweighing any other party formations, it will be almost next to impossible to get the voting public to resist change and go along with new parties. There will, of course, always be small groups and minorities willing to radically and systematically attempt change, but without the full support of an angered, knowledgeable and informed public, these movements remain on the fringes or evolve into something much more volatile than the formation of a political party. For example, BLM (Black Lives Matter) and other splinter groups have taken it upon themselves to create chaos rather than address the real issues concerning their causes.
Gary Johnson, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and other presidential candidates have made significant waves in their presidential bids but not quite enough to push the water over the dam concerning a majority establishment and cancellation of the two party systems. Citizens get riled up, want serious changes and their needs met, but they fail to realize that any major political party formation has to be a concerted effort by millions of citizens all rallying the same cry and not splintering in a number of different directions. Fear of the unknown and apathy also causes trepidation with participation as do other factors. Gary Johnson and similar candidates may muddy the political waters, but it will take a gigantic wave of non-politicians to create political party replacements.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-If by some miracle Gary Johnson earns a place on the stage for a presidential debate, you can safely guarantee it will be the last time that’s allowed to happen. I’m going to sound a bit like a conspiracy theorist here, and maybe I am, but I’ve believed for a very long time that the entire electoral system, from your neighborhood poll workers to the folks who count the ballots to the media outlets that cover the candidates and the elections, is all constructed to further the two-party system.
Look at how hard it is to even get on the ballot in all 50 states: Each state has its own filing deadline, requirements to prove eligibility and various other hoops prospective candidates have to jump through. Establishment candidates get the advantage of having party faithful running offices in all 50 states who will make sure their standard-bearer gets on the ballot. Third-party candidates rarely have anything approaching that level of organization, and often find themselves left off the lion’s share of ballots.
Established third parties like the Greens and Libertarians have networks, but they’re ill-funded and not nearly as polished in their performance as the Dems and GOP.
If Johnson polls the 15 percent required to get him on the debate stage, he will have to walk an impossibly fine line. He’ll have to make himself distinct enough from the Pantsuit and the Hair That Roars to draw interest without coming across like a lunatic. That’s a tough row to hoe, especially when the media is slavering for any hint of instability or unconventional behavior. Remember Howard Dean? He was one of the more qualified Democratic candidates in recent history, but one ill-timed yelp during a speech effectively ended his campaign. By the time the networks got through with him, we all thought the poor man was afflicted with lycanthropy.
I wish Johnson the best, but I think he’s fighting a battle he can’t win…for now.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-History is about to repeat itself. If my memory serves me well, the last time a three person debate occurred, it was 1992, when the Republican himself, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton – a Democrat – and Ross Perot, the Independent participated.
At present, Mr. Gary Johnson is now trying to force himself into the Presidential debates, as he was selected as the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nominee. Could this change the two-party system into a permanent multi-party? I highly doubt that. It was never accomplished in 1992, why should we think differently?
Sure, Gary Johnson was the former governor of New Mexico for two terms, and he might have some tricks up his sleeves – in terms of governance – but the system is what it is and will remain that way. In fact, I highly doubt he’ll make it into the presidential debates.
Granted, a third party penetrating the system would definitely relinquish any ties or obligations to the two major parties and would be more driven to tackle the affairs of the nation, rather than personal interest. However, I believe politics is what it is – politics. It’ll always boil down to two parties going at each other. Sorry Gary, your intentions seem well, but America is what it is. Join the line with the others who want a piece of The White House.