It is usually hard to tell how a third-party candidate is doing before an election. It is not any different this time in the presidential race. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is reportedly doing fairly well in the polls, at least for a Libertarian candidate in a national election. Some polls have him as high as 3 or 4 percent and he polls even higher in some states, particularly his home state of New Mexico.
Polls don’t mean all that much though, particularly for a third-party candidate. Many voters are spooked at the last minute and don’t want to supposedly throw away their vote. They end up voting for the lesser of the two evils, whoever that may be in this case.
As I’ve written before, the Libertarian Party had a real opportunity in this election to put up a principled candidate and draw in most of the Ron Paul supporters. While Johnson may get some Paul supporters, I doubt if it will be a majority. Johnson is just not as principled. He doesn’t have that radical side that appeals to so many libertarians. Instead, we get this:
It is bad when Johnson makes the war hawks on Fox News seem happy.
I will be surprised if Johnson ends up getting one percent or more of the vote. Based on Ron Paul’s campaign, the Libertarian Party candidate should be getting at least two percent in this election. It should be by far the best showing ever for the LP, yet it won’t be. It is disappointing, because it would have been interesting if there were a principled libertarian in the general election.
The hardcore Gary Johnson supporters will be paying attention on election day. They will be disappointed. They are hoping he gets into the debates. He won’t. They are hoping he will at least be a spoiler, but how can you ever know if someone is a spoiler? People that vote for Johnson probably wouldn’t have voted for Romney or Obama anyway.
While Johnson is probably less evil than Obama and Romney, I don’t see him as having a strong set of principles. He doesn’t completely understand what it means to be a libertarian. He is not that great on economics and he apparently, from the video above, isn’t that great on foreign policy. Unless I see some dramatic change in him in the next 6 weeks, he will not be getting my vote. My vote will go to Ron Paul or nobody at all.
This will be a wasted election for the Libertarian Party, just as it was in 2008. There is almost zero chance of winning, so how can the party and the cause of liberty benefit from running a candidate? The only benefit is if the candidate helps educate others and gets more people interested in the message of liberty. Ron Paul’s campaign did that. Gary Johnson’s campaign is not doing that.