RNC Chairman: Gary Johnson Won’t Impact Election Results

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on Sunday that libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was “almost a non-factor” in the GOP’s state-by-state electoral calculation.

However, Republicans have still been pulling out all the stops to keep Gary Johnson off the ballot, ranging from swing states such as Pennsylvania, Iowa, Virginia and Ohio, to likely Democratic states such as Michigan, to solidly Republican states such as Oklahoma. In Michigan and Oklahoma they appear to have succeeded, overturning long-standing legal precedents that sore loser laws don’t apply to presidential candidates and that state parties trump national parties when determining candidates on the ballot.

Priebus’ statement has elicited numerous comments at sites such as Politico and Yahoo News.

44 thoughts on “RNC Chairman: Gary Johnson Won’t Impact Election Results

  1. Kyle Kneale

    We will see what the monkey thinks when Mittens loses by 500,000 votes and Gary is laughnig his a$$ off with 850,000-1,000,000 votes in the bank.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Kyle,

    Only 538 votes — those cast by electors — count.

    While 850k-1 million popular votes for Johnson would be interesting, only those cast in states where they change the disposition of electors will actually affect the outcome. And it’s not obvious that all of those would have otherwise gone to Rmoney.

  3. Wobbly Rails

    Republican actions contradict their words.

    In other news, the sun appears to have risen in the east and a man was bitten by a dog.

  4. paulie Post author

    The likely outcome is that Priebus is right.

    If he’s right, why are they fighting ballot access tooth and nail?

  5. Robert Capozzi

    That’s what they do, P, and they may be in denial. Plus, they SHOULD be able to defeat BHO, given his poor performance.

  6. Kyle Kneale

    Thomas you totally missed my point. You also made the point that my individual vote doesn’t matter. Guess I’ll stay home and not vote.

  7. Wes Wagner

    Our individual votes don’t matter in terms of outcome… which is the largest counter-point to the “wasted vote” theory. Any one individual’s vote will never matter in a presidential race in terms of affecting the outcome.

    Even, in theory, if you cast the “tie breaking vote” the lawyers would re-engineer the vote totals anyway.

    A presidential vote, by its nature, should be an expression of desire. “I want more of this…” so you will hopefully get more of what you are asking for in the future.

    Staying home and not voting is an expression as well.. one which many do willfully and not out of laziness or apathy.

  8. Wobbly Rails

    You also made the point that my individual vote doesn’t matter. Guess I’ll stay home and not vote.

    Well, that’s what Knapp is in fact campaigning for, but Wagner is right, it does matter in terms of expression of preference NOT in terms of outcome.

    Staying home sends a confusing signal. Some people stay home because they disagree with the system, some out of pessimism, some out of confidence that their vote isn’t needed, some out of apathy, some want to vote but have more pressing things to do that day. A non-vote can mean a lot of different things.

    However a vote for someone other than a Democrat or Republican clearly expresses that you disagree with those two parties and the choices they provide. If there’s more than one such other choice it also expresses the general direction you want to see things move in.

  9. MN Indy

    Sounds like a very overconfident blowhard. I hope Gary gets that 5-10% in Ohio just to screw Willard out of one very important swing state.

  10. Al Koholic

    Seems rather suspicious that they would go through so much effort to neutralize a threat if they weren’t worried.

  11. zapper

    It’s called “spin” for a reason.

    Priebus is trying to convince voters that Johnson won’t make any difference because voters want their vote to count for something. By creating the illusion that a vote for Johnson won’t count, he thereby hopes those voters will vote for Romney, where the vote will count according to Priebus.

    Of course, the only reason Priebus needs to undertake such spin is because Johnson is gaining, Johnson is likely on track to over 2 million votes, those votes will count for something and the Republicans are desperate for any miracle that could possibly help to save the foolish, floundering fop they’ve set to rot at the top of their ticket.

  12. Stewart Flood

    They are not worried. They are terrified.

    When Republicans worry, they spout venom on the radio and on tv. When they are terrified, they hire lots and lots of lawyers.

  13. NewFederalist

    I have to agree with Tom Knapp. It really doesn’t matter how many popular votes Gary Johnson receives. What might matter is WHERE he receives them. The Electoral College actually elects the president not the popular vote. If Obama beats Romney by 2,000,000 popular votes in CA alone it really doesn’t matter. Anything over a one vote margin is wasted. If Johnson has a vote total larger than the difference between tweedle dee and tweedle dum, it may be significant IF anyone can be certain just where those votes would have gone if he was not in the race. Vote your conscience and let God figure it out!

  14. Steve M

    The location of where votes are cast have at least three values.

    a) they may help swing the electoral collage.

    b) they indicate where future national candidates should spend their time looking for financial support.

    probably most importantly…

    c) they can galvanize local activists to become more active and more people to register with the party.

    I have been quietly talking to my friends about libertarianism and the lack of differences between the two big parties for years. This year friends on the right and left of the conventional spectrum are openly stating they have had enough and they are also going to vote for Gary Johnson.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    My take is that, given GJ is not in the race to win, his electoral votes will likely be zero. He’s not playing that game. Mostly, he’s a noise machine, so far the best the LP has fielded…by far. Most qualified, certainly. Best positioning, with one exception for me (Fair Tax.)

    The result of that will hopefully be 1MM+ votes.

  16. JT

    NewFed: “It really doesn’t matter how many popular votes Gary Johnson receives. What might matter is WHERE he receives them.”

    I don’t agree with this at all.

    First, it’s impossible to know how the voters who vote for GJ would’ve voted otherwise. Most may have voted Republican, Democrat, Green or Constitution, or not at all.

    Second, how many votes GJ receives can signal how many people want much less government so much that they’re willing to eschew the 2 competitive establishment candidates & actually vote for it.

    Is a good showing going to change America? No. But a couple million votes is a far stronger signal than we’ve had in the past, could generate more media for us since we didn’t have a celebrity or billionaire candidate, & would also energize many Libertarians & probably some non-Libertarians who are on the fence.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Kyle @ 11, NewFed @18,

    My point was not that it “doesn’t matter” how many votes Johnson gets, or that your vote doesn’t count and that you should not vote (although I do favor that latter course).

    My point was that Johnson’s ability to “affect the outcome” is not a function of raw vote totals.

    He could poll a million votes and have no effect on the outcome.

    The votes for Johnson that affect the outcome, if there are any, will be the votes in “swing states” where he changes it by covering the spread between the two “major party” candidates in a disproportionate way so as to cause the candidate who would have otherwise won that state loses it.

    It’s not obvious that all such votes would hurt Romney. Some have suggested that if Oregon pulls close, Johnson might pull enough “pro-cannabis-legalization” voters away from Obama to shift the state into the Romney column.

  18. Derek

    If GJ is lucky, he might look at being a protest vote guy rather than a spoiler guy.

    If I were Gary, I’d focus on trying to win the Congressional District electors from Maine and Nebraska!

  19. paulie Post author

    It’s not obvious that all such votes would hurt Romney. Some have suggested that if Oregon pulls close, Johnson might pull enough “pro-cannabis-legalization” voters away from Obama to shift the state into the Romney column.

    The campaign’s polling is showing that nationally Johnson is pulling about 50-50 from the big two, more from Obama in Western states such as Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon and more from Romney in other states. That 50-50 is in line with other actual polls I have seen for the LP and LP candidates.

  20. paulie Post author

    for instance when Michael Cloud ran for US Senate i 1998 , his vote total was more than the GOP guy , John Ensgn lost by to Harry Reid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_Nevada,_1998

    He likes to play up that narrative because it gets him media mentions, even though the actual – but little known – evidence is that we pull equally away from Democrats on peace and civil liberties issues.

    The media narrative is that we pull from Republicans. Root and Cloud/Howell differed on whether that is a good thing, but they both play into that misleading narrative.

    My own sense is that the LP will come into its own if and when we finally overcome it and start openly appealing to our natural left-center-libertarian constituency, primarily but not only the 18-30 demographic.

    Gary Johnson is making some very good steps on that, but it will take more than one election.

  21. Andy

    “If I were Gary, I’d focus on trying to win the Congressional District electors from Maine and Nebraska!”

    This would especially be a good strategy in Maine considering that Ron Paul did well there.

  22. Zapper

    @33 IIRC Ross Perot did very well in the CD that includes Bangor and the upper portion of Maine. He probably could have won that single electoral vote had that been a campaign goal.

  23. Wes Wagner

    In Oregon almost every poll that I have ever seen a breakdown for says that the vast majority of our non libertarian core votes come from independent voters who self identify as liberal.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    MK, hard to say, but since GJ’s on – what – four more ballots; didn’t alienate the Paulista’s much, and did much to reach out to them; doesn’t have Barr’s baggage; is running a more active campaign; is less alienating to the various wings of the libertarian spectrum; is running in an environment where it should be VERY obvious that the Rs and Ds are the source of dysfunction; etc….doubling Barr seems doable to me.

    The only factor I see that argues against doing a LOT better than Barr is that in 08 there was no incumbent. The alienate may vote Romney as a means to throw the sitting “bum” out, despite Romney’s being a weak candidate.

  25. paulie Post author

    This would especially be a good strategy in Maine considering that Ron Paul did well there.

    Maine, NH and VT have some potential as a geographic concentration. Oh well, maybe in 2016.

  26. paulie Post author

    Sorry but gary johnson’s not gonna get a million votes

    That remains to be seen. Lots of things to be yet determined in the next four weeks.

  27. paulie Post author

    In Oregon almost every poll that I have ever seen a breakdown for says that the vast majority of our non libertarian core votes come from independent voters who self identify as liberal.

    LP needs to start realizing this and stop shooting itself in both feet over and over.

  28. paulie Post author

    Of course he won’t impact election results – he’s not a democrat or a republican.

    Is that why the Republicans are working so hard to knock us off the ballots, and now hiring whole boiler rooms of people to convince likely LP voters to stay home or vote for Romney?

    latest LP fundraising letter:


    Libertarian Party Fights Back Against

    NEW Republican Party Attacks

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Dear Fellow Libertarian,

    Today, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Senior Judge James Gardner Colins is expected to rule on the Republican Party’s final attempt to nullify the Libertarian Party’s hard-won ballot status for 2012.

    How did the Republicans try to nullify LP ballot status? They falsely claimed that we falsified thousands of petition signatures.

    The truth? According to legal testimony and documents filed with Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, Pennsylvania Republicans hired Reynold Selvaggio, “a private investigator to pose as an FBI officer and visit people who had gathered signatures for the Libertarian Party, offering them $2,000 in exchange for saying in court that the petitions they had gathered were falsified.”

    Bribery? Suborning perjury to knock the Libertarian Party off the ballot?

    That’s what we’ve been up against. That’s what we have to overcome.

    Do you think that’s the end of the Republican Party’s Dirty Tricks to undermine and sabotage the Libertarian Party during this 2012 Election?

    Not hardly.

    Republicans have mounted a targeted stealth campaign to neutralize, compromise, and con our voters into staying home – or voting for Mitt Romney.

    Which voters? Libertarian Party members, Ron Paul supporters, fiscal conservative independents, and True Blue Tea Party loyalists in razor-close Tipping Point states – New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado – and even Montana.

    Hundreds of these stealth Republicans, pretending to be Libertarians or Ron Paul activists, are regularly calling into Talk Radio shows, and telling listeners why they just can’t, can’t let Obama win – why they must, must vote for Mitt Romney.

    These Republican Judas Goats are trying to use ‘Social Proof’ – a manipulation strategy – to trick liberty lovers into voting for Big Government Mitt Romney for President.

    We have reports from Colorado and Montana of boiler room telephone operations – with fakers, counterfeits, and imposters pretending to be ‘tormented,’ ‘struggling,’ and ‘torn’ over whether to vote for Gary Johnson or Mitt Romney…and deciding that they must, must vote for Republican Mitt Romney.

    Are YOU torn between voting for Libertarian Presidential candidate, Governor Gary Johnson – and Republican Mitt Romney?

    Me neither!

    Then there’s the direct mail flood from “Libertarians” for Romney, “Ron Paul Activists” for Romney, “Tea Partiers” for Romney. All trying to wear you down. Trying to convince us that Big Government Mitt Romney is really on our side. Trying to plant doubts, undermine our resolve, weaken our efforts – so we give up and stay home, or, vote Republican.

    Talk Radio, phone calls, direct mail – and, of course, all over the Internet and Social Media.

    Lies, half truths, and cons to talk our supporters out of voting Libertarian. To shut us up, grind us down, and demoralize us during these last 4 weeks before Election Day.

    Republicans are working hard to drive down voter turnout for Libertarian Party candidates up and down the ticket.

    The Mitt Romney Republicans will say anything and do anything to silence your voice for liberty. Your vote for liberty. And the votes of everyone that you and I win over to the cause of freedom.

    Especially to push down the votes and turn out for our Libertarian Presidential Ticket: 2-Term Governor Gary Johnson and 25-Year Superior Court Judge Jim Gray.

    Fight back. Help us fight back. We only have 28 days left.

    Are you able to donate $10,000 or $5,000 to help us cancel out the Republican lies to Libertarian voters? Will you please step forward and donate now?

    Or, are you a libertarian who can contribute $2,500 or $1,000 to help us revitalize Libertarian supporters and voters this election? Will you please donate it now?

    Or, do you have a budget that would allow you to give a one-time $500 or $250 donation now to make sure that hundreds of thousands of Americans hear our freedom message? Will you, please?

    Or could you possibly give $150 or $85 or $50 or $25 today – to take advantage of this only-once-every-four-years opportunity?

    Please either click and donate now or mail your donation to the address below with “Fight Back 2012” in the memo.

    Thank you.

    Yours in liberty,

    Carla Howell, Executive Director

    Libertarian Party

    P.S. Don’t let the Republican Dirty Tricks Gang get away with it. We only have 28 days. Please help our Libertarian Party candidates get publicity, get news coverage, and get votes – NOW. Will you please donate $25 or $50 or $150 or $1,000? Your donation is our budget.

  29. paulie Post author

    Ross Perot had an impact* but he couldn’t get elected.

    Ross Perot was at 40% before he dropped out, ahead of Bush and Clinton. Yes, he could have won.

  30. paulie Post author

    We need to outlaw political parties.

    Terrible idea.

    The big money political machines will have the funds and manpower to push their ideas and candidates.

    Smaller, ideologically based parties will lose the means to communicate to their voters who their candidates are.

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