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“The Sunday Political Brunch” – June 19, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016


One of my loyal readers (where we are syndicated at GoLocalProv) suggested that I write about viable third party candidates this year, especially the Libertarian Party ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld. This reader literally read my mind because I had intended that column for this week, so let’s “brunch” on that that:

“That’s the Ticket” – Former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) and former Governor William Weld (R-MA) are formidable Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees for the Libertarian Party. Johnson was chief executive of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and Weld was chief executive of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. Weld was also U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts for most of the Reagan administration; was a U.S. Senate nominee; and was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton to be Ambassador to Mexico, though he was never confirmed. These candidates' combined resumes are impressive.

“The Poll” – Everyone is asking "Is the Libertarian Party ticket really viable this year?" Well, a poll released from Monmouth University on March 24 suggests that it is. Hillary Clinton led the three-way race at 42 percent, followed by Donald Trump at 34 percent and Gary Johnson at 11 percent. The last third-party candidate to poll in double digits was Ross Perot in 1992. Gary Johnson is pulling voters from somewhere.

“Three’s a Crowd” – We have seen prominent third-party efforts in 1960 with Harry Byrd (I-VA), who won 15 Electoral College votes with just .42 percent of the popular vote; Governor George Wallace (D-AL) in 1968 who won 46 Electoral votes, with 13.5 percent of the popular vote; Texas businessman Ross Perot in 1992, with no electoral votes, but 19 percent of the popular vote; Perot again in 1996 with 9 percent of the popular vote, but no Electoral votes; and Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader in 2000, with 2.8 percent of the popular vote, but no Electoral College votes.

“Dissatisfaction” – I still say that the key to winning this election is tapping into the angry, frustrated, disaffected voters on both sides of the aisle. For all their ideological differences, Trump and Sanders have each amassed support among people who are fed up with the political process and the way our government is run. The public did not like Republican insider Jeb Bush, and they aren’t really giving a group hug to Democratic insider nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Whom It Helps/Hurts?”—The Monmouth Poll is fascinating, as more recent polls show Clinton and Trump in a dead heat. Such a wide gap in the March poll suggests that the Libertarian ticket is co-opting more Republicans than Democrats; but, again, that poll was almost three months ago. Bernie Sanders has many supporters who are more closely aligned with libertarianism than with the Democratic Party. Many of Sanders’ supporters say they would rather vote for Trump than Clinton, but that remains to be seen.

“What is Libertarianism” – I used to view politics as a spectrum, with a straight line pitting ultra-liberals at one end against ultra-conservatives at the other. Now I view it as more of a circle, where the most liberal and conservative meet at one point in the realm of libertarianism on issues they agree upon. Among the issues they share is a disdain for government meddling in people’s private lives. (Remember Barry Goldwater’s famous quote about the government staying out of peoples’ bedrooms.) They also object to the government's monitoring their phone calls, banking, and internet activity. Many view Edward Snowden as a hero and not as a criminal for exposing the extent of the government’s data monitoring and surveillance on all of us.

“Oh, Danny Boy” – I was already writing my column this week, when my broadcasting colleague Danny Jones - the Mayor of Charleston, West Virginia - announced Friday that he was changing his party affiliation from Republican to non-affiliate after 45 years. Danny (he does not like being called Mayor) told me that this change has nothing to do with Donald Trump, but rather decision making by the Republicans at both the local and national levels. “People who say this is about Trump are wrong. I have problems with the Republican agenda at the state and national level,” Mayor Jones told me Friday. Jones – who has been in political office over 20 years – will vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson for President.

“Why All of This Matters” – If the Libertarian Presidential ticket is truly polling at 11 percent, watch out! If the team rises to just 15 percent, it qualifies for the Presidential debates. If Libertarians get a national forum for their views - and all the traditional and new media attention that comes with it – then this party is viable. I’m not saying Libertarians could win the election, but they certainly could be the proverbial "spoiler." If they pull enough votes away from Trump or Clinton, they could determine the winner. Just ask Al Gore and Ralph Nader about how a third-party changed the outcome of Campaign 2000!


Related Slideshow: Presidential Candidate’s Social Media - 2016

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Trump Facebook

5.73 Million

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Trump Twitter

6.19 Million 

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Trump Klout

88 Score 

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Cruz Facebook

1.9 Million 

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Cruz Twitter


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Cruz Klout

89 Score

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Rubio Facebook

1.28 Million 

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Rubio Twitter

1.17 Million 

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Rubio Klout

81 Score 

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Kasich Facebook


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Kasich Twitter


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Kasich Klout

87 Score 

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Bush Facebook


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Bush Twitter


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Bush Klout

80 Score

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Carson Facebook

5.07 Million

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Carson Twitter

1.13 Million

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Carson Klout

80 Score 

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Clinton Facebook

2.46 Million 

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Clinton Twitter

5.4 Million 

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Clinton Klout

94 Score 

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Sanders Facebook

3.10 Million 

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Sanders Twitter

1.44 Million

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Sanders Klout

84 Score 


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