Gary Johnson at double-digit support in first poll vs. Trump and Clinton

See the detailed results of the Monmouth University poll here (pdf).

polldetail

Notably, Johnson polled 11% in spite of name recognition of just 25%, meaning that among voters who know who he is, Johnson polled 44%. This means it is very likely that his poll numbers will increase as media coverage of the campaign begins to snowball and he is included in additional polls.

Also noteworthy, is that Johnson’s inclusion hurts Hillary Clinton (-6 points) slightly more than Donald Trump (-4 points), despite Johnson performing better in states won by Romney in 2012 (15%) than states won by Obama (10%), and in spite of the fact that Johnson was polling at 16% among independents, 13% among Republicans, but just 4% of Democrats.

This strongly suggests that Johnson’s strongest base of support so far, outside of independents and Libertarians, is among the sizable number of Republicans who would otherwise vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

poll1

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Gary Johnson: Fox Business should include more candidates in L.P. debate


Asked about the upcoming Libertarian presidential forum on Stossel by Breitbart’s Tom Ciccotta (8:15 in the video above), Gary Johnson agrees with those saying four or five candidates should have been included, instead of just three. Based on a dubious LP.org online poll (no measures were taken to prevent repeat or automated voting), Stossel has chosen to include the likely nominee Johnson, eccentric newcomer to the party John McAfee, and semi-professional Internet troll Austin Petersen. Among the candidates excluded are Darryl Perry and Dr. Marc Allan Feldman.

Would Somebody Please Hold Austin Petersen’s Hand

GJ2016

Gov. Gary Johnson

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen has been making a lot of noise lately because Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson would not attend an event hosted by FOX Business Anchor John Stossel.  The event, which was going to be a televised debate between three of the main contenders seeking the nomination for President within the Libertarian Party (Johnson, John McAfee, and Petersen), was going to be held during the International Students For Liberty conference in Washington D.C. February 26-28, 2016.

Gary Johnson had already made a commitment to attend the Mississippi/Alabama joint state convention on February 27th for their own debate.  There was no way that he could attend both debates on the same day (Stossel was only offering his debate on the 27th and Petersen has not been invited to the ISFLC on any day other than the 27th).  Being a man of his word, Gary refused to back out of his previous commitment.  Instead, Gary will speak at the International Students For Liberty Conference on February 28th as their keynote speaker.

Gary Johnson For President 2016 Campaign Event Director Tom Mahon, responded to Austin Petersen’s ridiculous demands this way:

ROFL…the latest from Austin “I Just Can’t Stop Myself From Lying, Even After Being Busted in Biloxi” Petersen,

“After an invitation from Fox Business host John Stossel to appear on the network during this year’s Students for Liberty conference, Gary Johnson refused to accept the invitation to debate alongside fellow candidate John McAfee and myself.”

Incorrect babycakes, Gary refused to bail out of a debate alongside yourself and Mr. McAfee that was already scheduled in Biloxi, Ms. He is more than willing to debate you in this previously scheduled event.

“Johnson told our campaigns that his refusal was due to a prior engagement.”
HOLY SHIT!!! An accurate sentence…..Painful bro?

“However, when both of our campaigns offered to work together with Johnson in order to make both events possible for all campaigns, he refused to play ball with us and with McAfee.”

Sooooo……what’s stopping you and McAfee from “working together” and making both events possible for YOUR campaigns? Why does Gary need to attend?
Have you ever heard of the psychological affliction known as Co-Dependency?
Are you co-dependent Austin?
Does widdle Austin need someone to hold his widdle hand?

“We had a chance to bring national attention to the ideas of liberty, the Libertarian Party and it’s candidates, and Gary ruined that opportunity for all of us.”
Awwwwwww, poor widdle baby!!!
Big bad Gary wouldn’t break his commitment with MS/AL and now poor widdle Austin can’t play in Stossel’s sand box!! What are we gonna do with poor widdle Austin!!!!

Again NOTHING is stopping you from “bringing national attention to the ideas of liberty” on Stossel….
GO FOR IT BIG FELLA!!! Here’s your chance at Libertarian STARDOM!!! Take McAfee and go to Stossel’s show!!! DO IT!!!
(But something tells me you’d prefer a spanking, right Austin? Would that salve your hurt?)

“Gary, do you even liberty, bro?”
Austin, do you even think, sis?

In the end, both John McAfee and Austin Petersen agreed to skip the Stossel event and attend the Debate in Biloxi, Mississippi.  It looks like Petersen’s plan has backfired.

It would be great if the Petersen campaign would stick to the facts.  It would be great if the Petersen campaign would stop attacking other candidates and concentrate on why Austin Petersen would make a good Libertarian candidate for President.  Both of those things are just impossible to do.

Consider our endorsement of Gary Johnson here.

 

How the Constitution could let the House stop both Clinton and Trump: 12th Amendment 2016?


The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. – U.S. Constitution, Amendment XII

 

There has been an increasing amount of discussion about a possible strong third-party or independent showing in 2016, whether from an independent Republican ticket put up in opposition to Trump, or from a Libertarian or independent campaign capitalizing on popular disgust with the frontrunners for the major-party nominations: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both of whom are unlikely to muster approval ratings higher than the low-mid 40s. 

This seems like a good opportunity to review one of the lesser-known provisions of that already too-obscure institution: the Electoral College. Under the 12th Amendment, in order to be elected President a candidate must secure an absolute majority (currently 270 votes) in the Electoral College. Thanks to a strange technicality in the way the amendment is written, as little as one Electoral Vote cast for a third-party candidate, could legally result in the House of Representatives electing that candidate President of the United States.

The way it works, is if no candidate receives a 270 vote majority. Then, the newly elected House will have to choose a President, in the brief window in January between when they take office (Jan 3) and Inauguration Day (Jan 20). In this election, they are limited to choosing from among the top three candidates in the Electoral College. Adding an additional wrinkle to the process: each state gets one vote, the only time the House of Representatives votes that way. The delegations from the 43 states having more than one Representative, must vote among themselves, to decide how to cast each state’s one vote. This effectively guarantees that the Republicans would control the outcome of any election thrown to the House, even if they are no longer the majority, because of their dominance in more, smaller states. 

The Vice President is elected separately by the Senate (voting as usual), however they are limited to the top two, not three, candidates in the Electoral College.

 

So, with that basic scheme in mind (see here for CGP Grey’s excellent video explanation): consider the following scenario plays out on Election Night 2016:


HouseEC



The Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee is Donald Trump. The third candidate can be any number of possibilities: Jim Webb, Mike Bloomberg, Mark Cuban, Angus King, or an independent Republican ticket put up in opposition to Trump, such as Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. However, since it’s my personal preference, in this scenario we’ll posit that it is Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, as the Libertarian nominee. The same basic premise can be played out with any of them.

Clinton has 43% of the popular vote. Trump has 39% of the popular vote. Johnson, after being included in the debates on the calculation from both major-party candidates that he would hurt the other more, gets 16% of the popular vote. The remaining 2% scatters to other minor party candidates. (This is roughly similar to the popular vote breakdown from Clinton vs. Bush vs. Perot in 1992.)

However, the Electoral College tells a different story than 1992. Unlike Ross Perot, Johnson has won a narrow first-place plurality with approx. 34% in three smaller states: New Hampshire, Nevada, and New Mexico, totaling 15 Electoral Votes. The remaining states are near evenly divided: the Democrat ticket has 260 Electoral Votes and, despite being four points behind in the popular vote, the Republican ticket has 263 Electoral Votes.

Instantly, all eyes turn to the House of Representatives, and in particular its Republican members.

The House Republicans are now in a real dilemma. Most have refused to support or endorse Donald Trump’s disastrous campaign, which has continued in much the same manner as his primary campaign, and a small number had even openly endorsed Johnson in the final weeks.  Most of those who nominally endorsed Trump, only did so halfheartedly and insincerely. 

The Clinton campaign demands that the House confirm her, not along party lines, but because she received, by far, the most popular votes. The same percentage, they note, as Bill Clinton had received to be elected in 1992, though still well short of 50%.

The Trump campaign counters that the voters had returned a GOP-majority House (at least by state), and so the specified process in the Constitution implies that the Republican members of the House should elect their own party’s nominee. Additionally, they count that Trump was the first-place candidate in the Electoral College. 

House Republicans are in a catch-22. The vast majority consider Trump ideologically and more importantly, temperamentally, unfit to be President. Many of them have said so publicly. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of voters rejected him, and he lost the popular vote by a wide margin. The idea of a Trump presidency, particularly under these circumstances, with every Republican in Congress to blame, is seen as a nightmare scenario among GOP establishment circles.

On the other hand, few Republican Congressmen can go home to their districts and face a primary, having voted to install Hillary Clinton as President. The massacre in the 2018 mid-term primary elections would be historic, and they know it. They are caught between losing their seats in primaries, or losing their majority in the general election, to voter backlash in favor of the spurned Democrats. 

In this scenario, Johnson presents a strongly appealing and compelling dark-horse option. A former Republican Governor with experience in office, and a smaller-government free-market platform, he is much more acceptable to many in Washington than dangerous lunatic Donald Trump. But he also has an appeal and acceptability to the left and center that Trump utterly lacks. The same is likely true of Jim Webb, and possibly Michael Bloomberg. 

Facing deadlock and no good options in picking either Clinton or Trump,  the House Republicans make an offer: the House will elect the third-party candidate President, and the Senate (still in GOP hands), will elect the Republican nominee for Vice-President. (This is made easier, since the third-place candidate for Vice President is not eligible to be elected by the Senate).  This could be Ted Cruz, for example, or another relatively acceptable GOP Governor or Senator placed on the ticket in a failed bid to keep the GOP unified behind Trump. (Alternately, if the Democrats have retaken the Senate, they could independently elect their party’s nominee for Vice President.)

So on December 30, 2016, a press conference is called in the Capitol Rotunda. Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announce that both of their incoming caucuses had just voted in a special closed-door session, to elect a Libertarian President and a Republican Vice-President. A unity ticket among candidates who, between them, received a majority of both the popular vote and the electoral college. After being sworn in on January 3, the new Congress does exactly that. 

And that’s how, if the stars align just right, this obscure provision of the Constitution could allow members of Congress to, in effect, veto both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and elevate a third-place runner-up to the Oval Office instead. 

Far fetched? Absolutely. Impossible? I don’t think so. Unprecedented? Not quite. In 1824, a very similar scenario played out among John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay. Jackson, seen as unfit despite being the clear popular vote winner, was passed over in favor of popular runner-up Adams, thanks in part to a deal with 4th place candidate and Speaker of the House Henry Clay to appoint him as Secretary of State. 

This is not an entirely new idea, either. Throwing an election to the House has long been the goal of third-party Presidential campaigns, most famously those in 1948 and 1968 that swept the Deep South. It is a consideration that should figure heavily into any campaign strategy for a strong third-party presidential campaign.

Rand Paul: The Has-Been Who Never Was

Rand PaulFrom the very beginning (2010), when Rand Paul announced he was going to run for the U.S. Senate, many within the liberty movement thought that the Kentucky ophthalmologist turned politician would be just like his father.  I wasn’t as convinced because he was running under the TEA Party label and was branding himself as a conservative Republican.  Many said (and still claim to this day) that he was just trying to avoid what they considered the missteps of his father, by stealthily maneuvering himself within the Republican party as a libertarian without having to say he was a libertarian.  In other words: “Rand Paul’s being dishonest about who he is and what he stands for because it’s the only way he can win.”  This seems to be a recurring theme among Rand Paul supporters (now known as “Randroids”).  They claim that Rand Paul isn’t telling the truth when he says things that are anti-liberty, but that it’s the only way he can work his magic within the Republican Party.  Rand Paul made it clear from the outset that he was no libertarian.  But don’t worry, he’s just being dishonest.  The ends justify the means, according to Randroids.  But only if it’s Rand Paul.  If anyone else in the political world is dishonest, they feel immediately compelled to make a meal out of it.

One thing that has always perplexed me is the continuous excuses that Randroids make for their beloved candidate.  But the “He’s only lying to get elected” excuse, really takes the cake.  They tell you that his plan is to lie his way into the position of GOP Presidential Nominee by pretending to be in line with the Establishment Republicans on most issues.  If indeed this was Rand’s grand plan, they have just let the cat out of the bag by broadcasting Rand’s secret all over social media.  Lindsey Graham may never have sent an e-mail in his entire life, but his staffers have surely told him about the chatter they read on Facebook.

Rand Paul has flip-flopped (very clearly, I might add) on a number of key issues, with his supporters and even his own campaign staff refusing to admit that he has done so.  Rand even got “testy” with Savannah Guthrie over at NBC when she brought the issue up in a live interview being watched by millions.  You can read about his flip-flops here, here, here, and here.  It’s one thing to change your position on one or two issues once you’ve received new information.  But flip flopping on nearly every policy plank of his platform really underscores the fact that Rand stands wherever the people in the room with him want him to stand.  As the old saying goes: “Any port in a storm.”

Rand Is Not A Libertarian

Rand Is Not A Libertarian

Some of the greatest minds within the liberty movement have also condemned Rand Paul for his anti-liberty stances.  Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, and Gary Johnson, are just a few who have pointed out the fallacy of being a libertarian and supporting Rand Paul.  The graphic to the right illustrates this and more.

Rand also attempted to have his Rudy Giuliani moment (which instantly fell flat) at the first GOP Presidential Debate of 2015, when he went toe to belly with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Rand may have been right in his argument, but it did little to boost his poll numbers because he’s wrong on so many other things.  His comments to Christie about “Giving President Obama a hug,” made the social media rounds for about an hour after the debate, and then disappeared into the night.

I never fell for the “He’s just lying to get elected” BS, because even if it were true, I wouldn’t be supporting a candidate who was blatantly dishonest.  Regardless of the reasons behind it.  It’s why I also wouldn’t vote for him if I lived in Kentucky, where he’s up for reelection as a Senator.  A race that isn’t as clear now as it was a year ago.

The guy who truly could have been known as a “different kind of Republican” (whatever that is), won’t even be an also ran.  Which makes that possible gig at FOX News as a “libertarian” commentator a no-go from the git-go.

If You’re A Veteran, The Dave Brat Campaign Says It Doesn’t Want Your Vote

U.S. Air Force Veteran, Hugh Traulsen.

U.S. Air Force Veteran, Hugh Traulsen.

Hugh Traulsen is a 70 year old veteran who served Stateside in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.  He trained many enlisted men during that time.

Recently, Traulsen contacted the Dave Brat Campaign to see if Mr. Brat would “witness” his absentee ballot as he filled it out and voted for Dave Brat.  He left a message with the Brat campaign.  This was not the first time he had attempted to contact the Brat Campaign concerning this matter.  Weeks before, he had attempted contact, with his phone calls going unanswered.

A few days after his last phone call, Brat Campaign Communications Director Brian Gottstein, called back to state that Mr. Brat did not care to witness Mr. Traulsen filling out his absentee ballot.  Gottstein’s stated reason for not being interested was that Mr. Traulsen had also contacted the Jack Trammell Campaign (Traulsen had contacted the Trammell Campaign when his initial phone calls to Brat went unanswered).  When Mr. Traulsen tried to explain further, Gottstein immediately hung up the phone with Traulsen in mid sentence.  For the record, Trammell’s campaign never even responded once.

We get it, Mr. Gottstein.  You don’t give a damn about our veterans.  Your response will most likely be that you had no idea Mr. Traulsen was a veteran (even though he told you that he was a verteran).  So, does that mean it’s OK to slam the phone down on a 7th District constituent as long as they are not a veteran???

The question isn’t what should we do about Gottstein.  He is really inconsequential.  The question is: What will Dave Bratt do about Mr. Gottstein?  Will he have the balls to stand up to Gottstein and tell him that his actions are ruining his (Brat’s) chances of winning the election and then apologize to Mr. Traulsen and the other veterans that his campaign has offended?  Or will he continue to allow his campaign to be represented by someone who it seems has contempt for most people in the 7th District?  Just remember.  Gottstein gets paid whether Dave Brat wins or loses.  So the outcome does not matter to him.

The Dave Brat we saw before the Republican Primary ended is not the same Dave Brat we are seeing now.  If you don’t believe me, just read this note posted on Facebook by an 18 year old 7th District constituent, who will be voting for the first time on November 4th.

If Dave Brat will allow one of his campaign staffers to treat an Air Force veteran in such a despicable manner, how can we expect Dave Brat to go to Washington, D.C. and fight for reforms within the Veteran’s Administration?

James Carr "Witnesses" Hugh Traulsen's Absentee Ballot.

James Carr “Witnesses” Hugh Traulsen’s Absentee Ballot.

The only candidate running for Congress in the 7th District that was willing to meet with Mr. Traulsen was Libertarian James Carr.  After talking with Carr about his platform, Traulsen was impressed to the point that he decided to vote for Carr.  James Carr “witnessed” Traulsen filling out his absentee ballot.

Maybe voters in the 7th District should hang up the phone on Dave Brat and go cast their votes for James Carr.  Sounds like a solid plan to me.