-ADY "A Regular Guy On The Issues"
Gary Johnson’s 15% strategy
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is a longshot, to say the least, in the race for the presidency.
But he told Capitol Report New Mexico on Friday (March 16) of a strategy that would get him on the same stage as President Obama and the Republican nominee as the November election approaches.
“The pie in the sky for me is to poll at 15 percent against Romney [or whoemever gets the GOP nod] and Obama. That gets me on the national stage for debates,” Johnson said by phone.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three debates for this coming fall (as well as one vice-presidential debate) and the commission’s criteria consist of:
1) candidates must meet the Constitution’s requirements for eligibility
2) must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and
3) have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.
Johnson meets the Constitutional requirement and should he win the Libertarian Party nomination, he’ll meet the requirement of appearing on state ballots. So if he can cross the 15 percent threshold on polling, he’ll get on the stage with Obama and the Republican nominee.
That’s a real hurdle but Johnson told Capitol Report New Mexico that in a three-way race between Obama, Romney and Johnson, he scored at 9 percent in a survey conducted by the Public Policy Pollingorganization — a well-respected outfit that is aligned with the national Democratic Party.
“I get a real sense from voters that they’re saying, ‘Anything but these two’ [Obama and the GOP nominee]. Maybe that becomes clearer as the campaign goes on … and if I’m the [Libertarian] nominee.”
But in recent presidential elections, notable political figures such as Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchananwere not able to muscle their way on to the debate stage. The last third-party candidate who managed to appear against the Democratic and Republican nominees was Ross Perot in 1992.
Johnson himself got shut out of nearly all the GOP debates in recent months before he resigned from the Republican Party and registered with the Libertarian Party last December.
He has since taken his campaign that combines fiscal conservativism (promising a balanced budget and sharp cuts in federal spending) and social liberalism (support for gay marriage and legalizing marijuana) across the country, trying to gain some mainstream traction.
With a couple major polls showing President Obama taking hits in favoribility ratings in recent days andMitt Romney struggling to shake off GOP rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, does Johnson feel he has an opening?
“I don’t know if it’s an opening for me as much as there is discontent,” Johnson said while he was driving to Seattle for a campaign event. “There really is discontent.”
“There’s real hatred for the status quo politics out there.”
Hatred? That’s a strong word.
“I think so,” Johnson said, “I really do sense that people are fed up.”
Johnson’s complaints about Obama ranged from budget issues — “On the fiscal side, [his term has] been a zero” — to individual rights.
“On civil liberties, it’s been about not tipping the applecart,” Johnson said. “Well, he campaigned on change and how are you going to change things if you don’t tip the applecart?”
As for the Republican race for the nomination:
“I think Santorum is so vilified because he wears [his social conservativism] on his sleeve.”
“When you press Romney on Afghanistan, we’ll be there until the ‘mission is accomplished.’ We could be there for years on end.”
“They draw a line in the sand that I don’t think any of us are well-served by … they’re competing to see who’s the most trigger-happy. Every time they beat their chests more service men and women could end up getting killed.”
“No I don’t. Perot and Anderson were their own third parties. The Libertarian Party has been around for a long time in presidential elections and is in all 50 states.”
Getting back to the presidential debates, the commission’s three scheduled debates are set for Oct. 3 in Denver; Oct. 16 in Hempstead, NY; and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, FL. The vice-presidential debate will be held Oct. 11 in Danville, KY.