Never Trump is dead—as dead as Venezuela’s experiment with socialism. Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination. It’s over. But for some, voting for Donald Trump just goes a bit too far, despite the fact that the vast majority of the party is rallying around Trump as if he were any other candidate. So, where to go? Guy already pretty much said we should stick a fork in the whole David French third party alternative that’s trying to be cobbled together by what’s left of the anti-Trump wing of the GOP. I agree. Again, this will only split the party and deliver the election to Hillary Clinton. So, who else is there for anti-Trump supporters? For Bernie Sanders supporters who can never back Clinton, the same question is directed at you. What to do? Well, how about those libertarians? The Wall Street Journal described the current Gary Johnson/Bill Weld ticket as an “honorable alternative.”
The Libertarians seem willing to try as they nominated a pair of former Republican Governors as their standard-bearers at a typically raucous convention in Orlando on the weekend. Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, will be the party’s presidential nominee for the second time in a row. He’s hoping to improve on his less than 1% of the vote in 2012 with the help of running mate William Weld, the Massachusetts Governor from 1991-1997.
The 63-year-old Mr. Johnson wanted Mr. Weld as a show of seriousness to voters. “We’re at a threshold here, a real threshold to grow this party,” Mr. Johnson told the delegates. Mr. Weld won with a mere 50.6% of the vote. Some delegates suspected Mr. Weld of apostasy for having been a Republican—and, worse, having served in government.
Mr. Johnson is famous for supporting drug legalization, and he has run a marijuana company—though he says he won’t get high on either pot or power in the White House. But Mr. Johnson earned boos from the delegates for saying he would have signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Someone should tell these folks that Jim Crow was an example of state and local government tyranny that required federal intervention to break.
The challenge for Johnson-Weld will be reaching the 15% threshold in national polls that would get them on stage for the candidate debates. No third party has cracked that level since Ross Perot in 1992, and he went on to win 19% but no states.
Mr. Johnson isn’t likely to win a state, but he can still play a useful role by reminding the major party candidates that they aren’t the only choices. Mr. Trump seems to think he can say whatever he wants because millions of voters are repelled by Mrs. Clinton. The Libertarians give these voters an honorable alternative if Mr. Trump makes himself unacceptable.
So, the libertarian ticket is honorable, but they’re going to lose. In other words, you may be wasting your vote, but in this instance, you’re doing so in a principled way. I’m not so sure that sentiment is going to take hold given the levels of animosity both camps have for one another. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll, the main reason why any voter is going to back Trump is that he or she doesn’t want Clinton to win. The same goes for Clinton voters—they can’t stand the thought of Trump occupying the Oval Office. President Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton, is enough to jolt any liberal, or conservative, to hold their noses and vote for either of the respective Democratic and Republican nominees on Election Day. Surely, the thought of voting for a libertarian will cross a lot of minds disgusted by how the election has turned out. This year, there’s simply too much on the line to for most voters to cast their ballots for Johnson. Liberals are worried, among other things, that Donald Trump might nuke a country due to his thin-skinned nature. Conservatives do not want essentially what is a thirdObama term dotted with threats to the Second Amendment. Oh, and there’s the composition of the Supreme Court, which is on the minds of die-hard voters in both parties.
Again, anti-Trump folks—three words: President. Hillary. Clinton. That should terrify you. Trump is a roll of the dice, but generally speaking, that seems a lot better than Clinton, who we all know what she’ll do if elected, or Gary Johnson who has no shot at winning the presidency.