2016 should have been the year of the Libertarian Party.
Both the Republican Party and Democratic Party royally shot themselves in the foot with their nominees. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both with unfavorability ratings through the roof, were going head to head. It should have been the year when the Libertarian Party got to five percent nationally, giving it a massive boost going forward. What happened?
In June, some polls had the Johnson/Weld ticket polling as high as twelve percent nationally; unprecedented for a third party. It seemed the boost of the two nationally-disliked candidates had a chance at pushing Gary Johnson over the finish line. But then Gary Johnson got more publicity, and he started talking.
“What is Aleppo?”
There it was.
The beginning of the end for Gary Johnson’s very real chance to achieve five percent nationally. Whether it bothers Libertarians is a completely irrelevant matter. What matters is that it hurt him with liberals, and that it hurt him with conservatives. His polling numbers have dropped significantly ever since.
The fact that he couldn’t name a single world leader when he was in the spotlight didn’t help, either.
In a country where the mainstream media is a lion, always ready to pounce on any mistake you make, you cannot afford to make mistakes like that, unless, of course, you’re a major party nominee and people will vote for you not based on merit, but rather based on the (D) or (R) next to your name.
But we can’t lay all the blame on Gary Johnson.
Let’s take a moment to consider the people who identify as Libertarian. All of you. Forget liberals fighting Republicans and such shenanigans on social media. That’s to be expected. What I didn’t expect was that I would hate Libertarian interactions so much more all over the internet. Libertarians have become the biggest pieces of shit on the internet. I see it on Twitter, and I see it on Facebook, and in every online political discussion.
Liberals and Republicans fight each other because they are opposing sides of the political spectrum, but Libertarians? They fight among themselves.
In a year where millions of Democrats and millions of conservatives were willing to vote their conscience rather than vote for their party, Gary Johnson’s party has come off as more immature, more ludicrous, and even more alienating than the regressive Democrats or the ridiculous Republicans. Frankly, it disgusts me that immature children have driven the online persona of being a Libertarian so far into the ground, that liberals and Republicans who were ready to vote against their party have been so alienated that we have forced them back to a depressed vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
And let’s not forget to give a mention to Gary Johnson’s running mate: William Weld.
Someone must tell him immediately that he should want people to vote for his running mate, not Hillary Clinton. “A person of high moral character, a reliable person and an honest person.” This is Bill Weld’s opinion, and that’s fine. I disagree, but that’s fine. However, why can’t he just keep his mouth shut? This is one of multiple times Bill Weld has stood up for Hillary Clinton, an opposing presidential candidate!
All I can take away from his comments is that he’s given up. Johnson/Weld is polling between three and eight percent nationally, averaging almost exactly five percent, and the VP candidate is sticking up for an opponent whose votes they need.
In a year where the Libertarian Party had a chance – the greatest chance – to get to five percent nationally, something that would have been a huge long term benefit for both funding and guaranteed ballot spots, the Libertarian Party has royally blown it.
Gary Johnson made a lot of mistakes. I can live with that; people make mistakes sometimes. What I can’t forgive is the fact that Bill Weld continues to commit campaign suicide by publicly standing up for an opponent a week before an election, and the fact that the people who claim to be Libertarians seem terrified at the thought of the Libertarian Party achieving some form of relevancy.
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