Monday, June 20, 2016

What impact will Gary Johnson have on the 2016 election?

Johnson is the Libertarian nominee and might have an impact on the election by pulling enough vote from either mayor party's candidate to tip the vote in competitive states one way or another. The question is whether Democratic or Republican voters are more likely to defect.

It's generally held that Libertarian candidates pull votes from Republicans while Green Party candidates pull them from Democrats, but the trendy prediction now is that Johnson might hurt Clinton more then Trump. Some also think his candidacy will deny Trump or Clinton a majority vote in the electoral college, which would thrown the election to the House of Representatives for the first time since 1824.

Some thoughts:

- The National Review: It will take some maneuvering, but Gary Johnson can make the difference.
Because the Libertarian platform is much closer to the Republican platform than to the Democratic, the conventional wisdom is that Johnson will pull many more votes from Trump than from Clinton. And that will probably prove to be the case. But if Trump’s campaign is willing to try something radical — and the evidence suggests it is — it can use Johnson to keep Hillary out of the White House. If Trump’s campaign is willing to try something radical — and the evidence suggests it is — it can use Johnson to keep Hillary out of the White House. 
At the moment, there is limited general-election polling that includes Johnson; a Trump–Clinton–Johnson race has been polled in only a handful of states. And, this long before the election, what polling there is is suspect. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that there are three solid Democratic states in which polling shows support for Johnson exceeding Clinton’s lead over Trump. Which means that if Trump’s supporters were to vote Johnson, Hillary could be denied those states’ reliably Democratic electoral votes.

- From Yahoo News: This time around, Gary Johnson’s third-party bid makes sense.
Johnson — who will be on the ballot in all 50 states — is approaching the national electorate this year more from the left than the right. He’s appealing to Bernie Sanders supporters on the basis of his pro-pot, pro-gay rights, anti-surveillance views.
“Of all the candidates left, running for president, I side most with Bernie Sanders,” Johnson told Politico’s Glenn Thrush this week.
Going after Sanders supporters makes sense. Many of them are loath to support Clinton, and even Trump made explicit overtures to them this week.
But the resistance to Trump among conservatives equals and probably dwarfs the distaste for Clinton among liberal progressives. Many on the right hate Clinton, are disgusted with the idea that they might have to vote for Trump to stop her, and are desperate for an alternative.
Yet the barriers for social conservatives to support Johnson are just as high as they are for liberal progressives, if not higher.
Johnson will have to convince progressives that cutting government spending by 23 percent, eliminating the personal and corporate income tax, payroll, Medicare and Medicaid taxes, and moving to a 28 percent consumption tax on goods and services — are good ideas.
But social conservatives are resolute on the issue of religious liberty, and Johnson has sided decisively with gay rights when discussing cases over the past few years in which bakers, photographers and others have declined to provide services for gay weddings.
Johnson is clear that social conservatism was one of the things that bothered him most as a Republican governor and presidential candidate.

And a handful more, it you care to check them out:

- CBS News: 2016 by the numbers: Will Gary Johnson disrupt Clinton vs. Trump race?
- The Fiscal Times: Could Libertarian Gary Johnson Play the Spoiler in November?
- USA Today: Gary Johnson could give us President Paul Ryan.

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