Not all the delegates at the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nominating Convention, held in Orlando FL this weekend, are head-over-heels in love with Gary Johnson and William Weld. However, enough delegates have agreed that these two former governors should represent their party in this November's general election.
As the story notes, neither Johnson nor Weld received a majority of delegate votes in the first round of voting for presidential and vice-presidential nominee. A second round pushed each of them just over the 50% mark.
The nomination comes amid recent revelations that Johnson was polling at 10% nationwide in a hypothetical three-way race with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with the presumed major-party nominees less than 5% apart. The fact that it's a Fox News poll does not exactly fill me with supreme confidence as to its accuracy, but I could say the same about the most reputable polling agencies.
Still, it's hard to ignore these figures, even if the poll itself ignores the fourth party (Greens). Polling 15% in three major polls gets you into the big debates; 5% in states like Texas gets your party guaranteed ballot access next time election.
I feel for the Libertarian convention delegates who don't see either Johnson or William Weld as true Libertarians, i.e. not wedded (or Welded) to the bedrock principles of their movement. The LP has a history of nominating disaffected Republicans for president, true mavericks like Ron Paul, and I'm sure that these folks would prefer an insider.
Chris Clemence, one of those Libertarians who wouldn't vote for Donald Trump for (insert your favorite incentive/bribe) analyzed it this way in a thread on Facebook:
It's no big secret that the LP draws heavily from the GOP, and I think that pragmatic Libertarians understand that. If we want to run experienced people, they have to be a D or an R, as there obviously haven't been any Libertarians in high office to this point.
If Jill Stein reached out to a well-known progressive Democrat with no Green Party pedigree, such as Dennis Kucinich, I'd be hard-pressed to object. Name recognition is not, in se, a bad thing, and it can be quite a good thing. Fortunately, unlike fellow Green candidate Kent Mesplay, I'm pretty sure that Stein has no plans to reach out to Roseanne Barr.
In 1980, I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Clark, the Libertarian nominee for president, when he spoke in the Lovett College commons at Rice. Former and future Congressmember Ron Paul was also on the bill that night. Their speeches did not lure me away from my Democratic sympathies, but I was glad to learn of this nascent anti-war, pro–personal freedom party. I was also blissfully unaware of the Libertarian dime, featuring the faces of Clark and his running-mate David Koch, until quite recently. Yes, that David Koch, the Koch Industries heir, who discovered the hard way that he would rather pull candidates' strings behind the scenes than have to dance for the voting public himself.
At this juncture, I wish the Libertarians well in their effort to raise the profile of "third parties." I have lofty hopes that more voters who consider themselves progressive—and cannot stomach another Clinton presidency—will discover the Green alternative.
As of this writing, it is just over two months until the Greens convene here in Houston. It is just a tad more than five months until Election Day. Soccer fans know that a great deal can happen in just a few minutes, especially in stoppage time. A great deal can happen between now and August, and between now and November. I will not just be sitting, popcorn in hand, watching this fascinating and appalling election year go by. How about you?
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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