|What is Aleppo?|
Perhaps the most deluded candidate of all isn't Donald Trump. Here is Gary Johnson laying out his case for a great end run to the White House to Katie Couric, despite polling 7 per cent nationally and only 14 per cent in his home state of New Mexico. Gary actually thinks he is leading Clinton and Trump among Independent and young voters. But, it looks like he is basing his claims on what pundits have been saying rather than actual numbers. GenForward has done the most complete survey of voters aged 18-34 to date, and found that only 15% are supporting Johnson or Jill Stein.
Gary has had an unprecedented amount of media coverage for an independent candidate. CNN has graciously given him two town halls, including this one in August, and he has been the darling of talk shows throughout the election cycle, yet continues to slip in the polls. It's easy to see why as he often fumbles the simplest questions and continues to play up a false equivalence between Hillary and Trump. The only people he appeals to are the most dejected of Independent voters who can't bring themselves to align with the two front runners. Voters who would otherwise stay home on election day.
It seems William Weld even has misgivings, judging by an interview he gave the Boston Globe. Weld was never a Libertarian to begin with, having joined the ticket when his man, John Kasich, went down in the Republican primaries. Johnson struck him as the only alternative available as he couldn't bring himself to become a Clinton Republican. However, at this point Weld is focusing all his venom on Trump.
Couric asked Johnson what he thought of this and Gary gave the kind of "aw-shucks" answer we've come to expect from him. He said he would just focus more on Hillary in his attacks, which is odd since he claimed from the beginning his candidacy was about a third way. However, Johnson knows as well as anyone that he is running solely as a spoiler.
His running mate apparently doesn't want to be a spoiler, considering Trump a far greater threat as President than Hillary. Weld remains supportive of Johnson but no longer seems so intent on campaigning in battleground states where a strong Libertarian showing might actually tip the electoral college in Trump's favor.
Of course, it is very hard to say how many votes the Libertarian ticket is pulling from Trump and Hillary, if it is pulling any votes at all. Johnson and Weld are shrinking the voting base a little by potentially drawing as much as 10 per cent of the vote in a handful of states. This may or may not work in Trump's favor, although at this point he is doing a pretty good job of undermining his own campaign. Let's not forget that Bill Clinton won in 1992 despite a strong showing from Ross Perot, who won almost 20 per cent of the popular vote.
Johnson will get no where near that level of support among any demographic group. The reason is simple. He has failed to show himself as a viable alternative despite so many golden opportunities to do so. The more he talks the more stupid he sounds. It's not so much his Aleppo moment or his inability to name world leaders as it is the lack of any vision, foreign or domestic. Basically, he wants a non-interventionist government both at home and abroad, which makes you wonder why he is running for President in the first place?
If he had made this the centerpiece of his campaign he might have gotten more support among Teabaggers and other secession-minded movements, flying the Gadsden flag at his rallies. The problem is that if we left government totally up to the states, citizens would have no recourse to discriminatory laws like we have seen passed in many conservative states.
Unfortunately, Johnson isn't a very deep thinker. I wonder if he is a thinker at all, as he hasn't seemed to thought out his positions very well. The only thing he seems strongly committed to is his belief that the two-party system is a failure and that we need a third party. Yet, he like so many other independents refuse to engage at the state and local level. Instead, they air out their grievances every four years and expect us to listen.
Having lured William Weld into their circle, the Libertarians had a great opportunity to make their case for a strong third party, convincing other moderate conservatives that the Republican Party no longer represents their best interests. But, Johnson failed to close the deal, showing that he had no real awareness how this country works and reverting to non-interventionist stances when pressed to say how he would handle foreign policy issues. As he whined to George Stephanopolous a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. It is not a vote for a viable third party