Is This the Year the Libertarian Presidential Candidate Decides the Election?

Posted by & filed under 2012 Election, Independent Candidates, Role of Independent Voters


Former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was recently named the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president. He’s pro same-sex marriage and has a solid track record as a budget buster. But can he and the Libertarian Party really pull between 6%-9% of this year’s presidential vote? Will his message and differentiation be enough to put a dent in the mainstream candidates and potentially disrupt the election? Michael Ames at The Daily Beast looks more closely at this:

Johnson has been polling between 6 and 9 percent nationally, a number just large enough to cover most Obama-Romney spreads. His name is expected to appear on ballots in all 50 states, and unlike the president and Mitt Romney, Johnson will spend the next six months speaking freely in language unmolested by establishment advisers or influential special interests. As the predictable election trench war digs in, the unassuming New Mexican is taking on the distinct and alarming traits of a spoiler.

And on the role of independent voters in Johnson’s election calculus:

He is making a clear play for independents, the mythical 40 percent of Americans who swear allegiance to no party and allegedly decide every major election. In a country where we have been trained to believe that the full history of Western political philosophy can be compressed into a Sean Hannity vs. Al Sharpton cage match, Johnson could be an attractive alternative for the disillusioned and disgusted. But to attain any influence, Johnson must clear not only the logistical hurdles of fundraising and organization, but also the perception that he’s a wacko outsider, or worse, the second coming of Ross Perot.

What do you think? Is Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson a viable option for you as an independent voter? Do you think there is value in his potential to disrupt the election?

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