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Nov 6, 2012

US election, the Johnson factor

Republicans have been extremely sensitive about the entry of Governor Gary Johnson into the race as the Libertarian Party nominee.  Neither of the majors has any liking for third party candidates, but the idea of one who has qualified as a successful two term Governor, in other words, has more executive experience than either major party Nominee is a nightmare scenario for them.
The GOP though, has been the one that has attempted to place legal roadblocks in his way in every state possible with little success.  Johnson is on the ballot in 48 states and has write-in status in another.  It is worth speculating as to whether he is such a serious threat, as they seem to think.
 In winning New Mexico as Governor he had to overcome a 2 – 1 electoral disadvantage in favour of the Donks, then was re-elected for a second term.  This indicates that he is pretty good at pulling Democrat voters, something he is likely to emulate this time around.  Humble Libertarian brought out some interesting points in an interview with him:

A curious thing about Johnson’s candidacy is that if you are not a libertarian – but you are liberal who believes in basic civil rights, the right to due process, personal privacy, an unregulated Internet, a peaceful foreign policy, marriage equality, and an end to crony corporatism and pro-wall street policy-making, for example, then Johnson – not Obama – is much closer to you on policy, but you’ll probably vote for Obama. Similarly, if you are a conservative who believes in the Constitution, small government, free markets, balanced budgets and the Fed out of huge areas of your personal and economic life that could be better handled by yourself or even the States, then Johnson – not Romney – is much closer to you on policy, but you’ll probably vote for Romney. 
If you do vote for Romney or Obama, you probably have no clue who Gary Johnson is. … 
… Johnson is not a purist. He is a pragmatist, and he says as much – often. As he says, “I think libertarians need somebody who can articulate getting from A to Z. But you know, if G is achievable, how about it? Let’s get there!” …
The Republicans are energized this time around, while many of the other side have seen their hopes dashed.  Little has changed other than the national debt rising by around 50% in four years.  Unemployment is endemic, the economy is a disaster, trillions of dollars have been wasted, and Americans have just watched Muslims burn an embassy and kill their Ambassador to celebrate 9/11 while the US armed forces had to stand by impotently.
Johnson has none of the social intolerance fear factors of the Republicans to frighten liberals.  On the other hand he has no problem with issues like gay marriage, and has actively campaigned for legalization of marijuana, an area where many liberals thought that Obama would shine like a beacon until in the aftermath of the 2008 election he turned out to be the most obsessive drug war warrior ever.
Best guess; The Dems will lose a lot of votes to Johnson who has been quietly outflanking them from the left.  They have been so certain and complacent about him being a Republican problem, they have failed to see the threat of being ‘Nadered’ again.    

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