Gary Johnson has gained momentum in the presidential race after winning the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. Third Party candidates have existed since 1832, so they are not a new phenomenon. Their defining characteristic has always been what kind of impact they have. Historically, third parties have not done well when it comes to the polls but those that do usually leave a lasting impression.
Third parties usually focus on one key, headline grabbing issue and bring as much attention to it as possible. That is their usual tactic to gain votes. The Republican Party began as a third party. In 1856 they called themselves the American Party (or the Know Nothings) and brought President Lincoln into American history in 1860. The People’s Party (or the Populist Party) flourished in from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. http://www.constitutionparty.com/a-brief-look-at-the-history-of-third-parties-in-america/
Most third parties now gain popularity around presidential elections and then disappear out of the minds of American voters after. But with the current election becoming the circus that it is, a third party is a good way to break up the apparently never ending drama of the US presidential campaign.
Johnson’s popularity has not slowed down, and is not disappearing. Maybe it is because of his blatant honesty when it comes to the major party candidates. Johnson’s recent appearance on CNN’s Town Hall was an example of his honest appraisal of fellow presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
Johnson tackled Clinton’s issues like a pro, citing how she’s “beholden” to many people and groups from all the promises she made. When the subject of people finding Clinton untrustworthy came up, Johnson simply responded “I totally get it.” Johnson’s running mate as vice president, Bill Weld has a well-known friendship with Clinton, but did not come to her defense. But when it came to Trump, Weld went all out. He stated “Maybe he should consider another line of work. Anything but the President of the United States,”
Johnson has been commenting on Trump’s immigration laws. He called Trump’s tactics racist and blew him a kiss on national television at an earlier CNN interview. Johnson also stated that historically, people of color or immigration status do not view the Republican Party as their go to choice. This is because the Republican Party have traditionally not been inclusive in their policies; now embodied by the divisive policies of Donald Trump.
Johnson is not just known for attacking his candidates’ weaknesses. At the CNN Town Hall, Johnson was cordial, at least when it came to Clinton. He did not launch a vicious personal attack on her, unlike Donald Trump. Johnson acted with composure and decorum, he acted like an actual presidential candidate.
So does a third party candidate have a chance? Well, Johnson’s policies might also give him a platform to win substantial votes:
- He believes in cutting national spending the national debt.
- Advocates for the elimination of special interest tax loopholes, to get rid of the double-taxation on small businesses, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that determines your tax burden by how much you spend, not how much you earn.
- Believes abortion is a personal choice.
- Wants to legalize and regulate marijuana.
- When it comes to immigration, he states practical reform. No Walls. Incentivize assimilation.
https://www.johnsonweld.com/immigration more of his points are listed on his website.
Will Johnson candidacy matter come this year’s presidential election? After the Town Hall event, Johnson climbed to a campaign high 13% in the polls. That is 2% away from being allowed to debate with Trump and Clinton on the national stage. If Johnson somehow does not gain that 2%, his running will still have had an impact; because it says that a substantial number of Americans want a change from the two party system.
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