Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to include the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson in this year’s presidential debates.
The man who lost to President Obama in 2012 tweeted:
I hope voters get to see former GOP Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld on the debate stages this fall.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 7, 2016
Officially, candidates need to poll at least 10 percent in national polls and be on the ballot in enough states to theoretically win the elections. Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states, meaning he’ll pass the second hurdle with ease. However, the first requirement poses a problem: according to RealClearPolitics the former governor of New Mexico received 12 percent twice, and 11 percent once in recently published polls. That’s close to 15 percent, but he had to settle for a mere 7 percent in the two most recent polls.
Having said that, Johnson might be close enough to the 15 percent threshold to participate, especially now he has decided to air ads in western states hoping it’ll raise his profile and his support.
Even if his poll numbers don’t significantly improve, however, there’s still reason to include him in the debates. Both leading candidates — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — are faced with incredibly bad favorability ratings. Put differently: they’re immensely disliked. You’d think that the Debate Commission would understand that voters deserve the option to vote for someone else — someone who’s not universally disliked.
What’s more, Johnson comes closer to the 15 percent threshold than any other third-party candidate in recent election cycles. That alone should convince the commission to give him an honest shot.
Besides, the current system and requirements are clearly meant to protect the two largest parties. If large corporations did this, we’d accuse them of illegally creating cartels and destroying the free market.
Break through it: free markets work, always. Not only with regards to the economy, but also to politics.
Now, make no mistake about it: although I think that Johnson is somewhat less bad than both Clinton and Trump, he’s far from the perfect candidate for true conservatives and libertarians. Like his two main rivals, he’s essentially a Democrat.
But Trump supporters have been arguing for months now that conservatives have to support the billionaire buffoon “because he’s the least bad option.” Well, if we follow that reasoning, conservatives and libertarians should actually throw their support behind Johnson, who’s less bad than both those corrupt, bullying, lying, and deceiving candidates.
Lastly, if Johnson would get the same amount of coverage as Clinton and Trump, he’d undoubtedly surge rather fast, turning this campaign into a three-person race. That’ll be even more so if someone like Romney comes out and outright endorses him, which can very well happen if Johnson is given the opportunity to compete.
American voters should have as many choices as possible, not as few as the two major parties can get away with.