Gary Johnson: Spoiler or Movement?
There often seems to be a candidate on the ballot that is considered the "spoiler candidate," there was Ralph Nader, there was Ross Perot, and now, to many news agents, it seems there is Gary Johnson. But will he really be a spoiler to the election, or is he merely the representative of a growing liberty movement?
In poll after poll, Libertarian candidate for President Gary Johnson has appeared around 7%, including recent polls in New Hampshire, and 9% in Arizona. Are these supporters voters who don't care for either Obama or Romney, or is this a sign of the changing times? Perhaps it is both.
While there are likely some who find Romney and Obama too bland or uninspiring for their tastes who are willing to support the third name on the ballot, there is also the question of the Ron Paul faction. As we heard many times throughout the campaign, many Ron Paul supporters refuse to vote for Romney or Obama in the upcoming election, insisting on writing in Paul's name in November. Perhaps, however, if Johnson's numbers pick up (and considering Johnson endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2008), they may be encouraged to back him. And what Gary Johnson needs right now is their support.
According to the Johnson campaign, 15% is the national threshold in polling to get on the debate stage in the fall. If he is only polling around 7% because of disgruntled voters, the 10% (give or take) of the country that seems to support Ron Paul could push him beyond the 15% that he needs.
There is obviously an already-present liberty faction, the Ron Paul faction. And then there is the smaller faction that is actually associated with the Libertarian Party. The Republican and Democratic parties, however, have been losing members, and independent or unaffiliated registration is growing fast. Perhaps these individuals are supporting Gary Johnson and the liberty movement?
We may not have an answer to this question until the 2014 Midterm elections, or the 2016 elections. But in the meantime, the primary victories of non-traditional liberty candidates in congressional races such as Thomas Massie and RJ Harris is evidence for a growing movement. Gary Johnson may, in fact, be the first liberty candidate for President, representing the growth of a new faction, the liberty movement.