importance of the johnson/weld ticket
Long time readers know that I am highly skeptical of third party politics. If the goal is to change policy from within the system, then third parties are an incredibly inefficient way to do it. But once in a very long while, third parties have a crucial role to play and we’ve arrived at such a moment.
Right now, the Libertarian Party has nominated two formed Republican governors, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, to be their presidential and vice presidential nominees. Normally, you could ignore this news as LP candidates do really, really badly in elections (<1%).
But this year is different. I don’t think that the LP, or any third party, could reasonably win it all, but the LP has two very important roles to play because both major party candidates have incredibly negative ratings. That means a well run third party ticket can get a few percent of the vote and actually have a serious media presence.
The popular vote count could be crucial in the event that Trump has an unexpected popular vote surge or he tries to win by getting a few swing states like Ohio and Florida. An LP ticket that hits 3-4% of the vote could easily deprive Trump of a win in a few places like New Mexico or Colorado. Losing even just 1 or 2 small states that often go GOP makes it incredibly hard for a GOP candidate to reach 270 electoral votes, even if they get lucky in Ohio. An LP ticket that hits 10% of the vote almost surely dooms the GOP candidate as most LP voters would likely be disaffected Republicans.
This is extremely important as Trump has openly declared war on immigrants, has promised to use the Federal government to hunt enemies, and is under investigation for fraud. I am not an HRC supporter, but I do genuinely think that Trump’s election would be a step toward violent nationalism, racism and cronyism.
Perhaps most importantly, the LP could use its window of visibility promote ideas that are now absent, or highly obscured, in current discourse: consistent opposition to war; immigration liberalization; and a more systematic decriminalization of drugs. Thus, having two professional politicians represent these ideas is of great benefit.
If Johnson and Weld can push these ideas while depriving Trump of a victory, then all I can say is “thank you for service.”