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WELCH: Just to set the stage . . . four years ago today, July 15th 2012, the Gary Johnson campaign was organizing a pathetic protest outside of CNN in Atlanta. . . . Essentially it was “Please Cover us.”
(Ed Note: See prior IPR coverage of the CNN Protest HERE.)
WELSH: Now, obviously, CNN has become the venue where Johnson/Weld were given a Town Hall for 90 minutes. How they performed might be another question, but they certainly got their ideas out to a whole number of people. . . . Gary Johnson was included in two national polls in July 2012. In the past calendar month (in 2016) he has been included in at least 19 national polls. . . . It is categorically different. . . . Nick Sarwark, can you give us just a few minutes of stage setting of how different the LP’s world is from four years ago?
SARWARK: The Libertarian Party is at the apex of where we have ever been. We have been toiling in the wilderness as the only political party that is dedicated to all of your freedoms all of the time for almost 45 years . . . and we are winning. I know many of you in this room deserve a round of applause for lasting so long.
Orlando was the largest convention we have ever had. We had 1,000 delegates in the room, give or take a couple. We have nominated, fundamentally, objectively the most qualified presidential ticket in my lifetime. You have the chairman of one of the two old parties patting himself on the back right now because he managed to get a guy who almost finished a term as a governor to be the bottom of the ticket with a reality show star. Our ticket only has 16 years of experience.
We have an opportunity this year to present ourselves to the American people not just as pure principled people who believe that anyone has the right to pursue happiness in any way they choose, so long they don’t hurt anyone else or take their stuff, but as the right choice for a country that you care about. . . . You have two have two unqualified candidates, and one eminently qualified candidate. So you need to start doing what is right for America. That is really the pitch for the Libertarian Party in 2016 and it has been paying dividends. We had three percent membership growth in the past two weeks. We are on track to bring in over 100 percent more money than we have in past election years. Inquiries are through the roof. . . .
I am so excited and happy to be going into unchartered waters with all of you because I think we have the opportunity to kill off one or both of the two old parties and make a political party in America that Americans can be proud of.
WELSH: Can you speak to down-ticket races?
SARWARK: We have been toiling in the ballot access trenches for so long that we are really good at it now. We are on track to be the only political party, other than the two old ones, to be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Now that we are getting that under our belt and doing less and less of it, and getting the laws changed and suing some people, we are moving on to things like proposals to do analytics for demographic targeting to bring in members who look like us, to do microtargeting and things of that nature. The people in Washington State have been great because they have taken something horrible in Top-Two and turned it to their advantage by being strategic about it. We run people in races where the old parties do not show up. . . .
From October of 2012 to February of 2016, only one political party grew in partisan voter registration in the entire country. The Democrats are down; the Republicans are down; the Greens are down; the Constitution Party is down. Only the Libertarians are growing.
WELSH: Where is the growth coming from? Who are the people signing up?
SARWARK: The demographic split based on old party registration is still at that third-third-third; One-third people who were Republicans, one-third people who were Democrats and one-third people who just haven’t been into politics. In age demographics, we are getting the next generation. . . .
AUDIENCE QUESTION: Gary Johnson right now is at 10 or 12 percent in some polls. That is just under the threshold of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Have you talked with or heard from the debate people?
SARWARK: The last time I talked with Frank Fahrenkopf (CPD co-chair), it did not go well. It was about six years ago.
WELSH: You are suing them.
SARWARK: We are actually suing them twice. Once under antitrust theory with Our America Initiative and Fair Debates, and we’re also suing the Federal Election Commission to make them enforce their stupid campaign finance laws against their “bi-partisan” campaign commercial. . . .
I firmly believe the CPD will cheat with both hands to keep Gary Johnson out, if there is any way that they can. They have said you have to be in five polls with fifteen percent, but they have not said which five it is going to be. I would not be surprised in the least if they pick only the five polls that did not include him. That is how corrupt the CPD is.
How many sponsors did we get to boycott the CPD last time Joe?
(Ed Note: See prior IPR coverage from 2012 HERE)
SARWARK: Three major corporate sponsors that we got to pull their economic support from the CPD because it turns out that companies like to be civic-minded. They do not like to be part of bipartisan campaign commercials that are corrupt and exclude other voices. When you remind them that their customers don’t appreciate that. This time we intend to be sure that every single sponsor pulls out if they try to keep us out. . . .
BUCHMAN: One of the ways I fear the CPD may screw with us is when Gary is polling 10 or 12 percent, it is my understanding that those are three-candidate polls. If they were to start polling Dr. Jill Stein, it looks like about four percent pulls away from Gary to Jill. In other words, they are picking up an “anybody-but-Trump-or-Hillary” in the three-candidate polls. So do you think they will start polling for four or more candidates now?
SARWARK: Yes; I think they will go from two to four. They are going to do whatever they can. Being in the Libertarian Party means:
“The old parties cheat and we win anyway.”
That is what it means. If they poll all four, then we are going to run the ads and spend the money to be sure we go over fifteen percent.
We are going to get this thing. We are not giving up; we are not going away. I have got a two-year plan, but I have also got a twenty year plan. I have got little kids and they are going to grow up in a freer country than I did. With that, I will give these guys back their stage.
WELSH: The average Third Party showing in May-June-July polls ends up being more than twice as high as what happens in November historically. . . . We have a two-party country and it’s hard to let go of the thinking that got you there. . . . If there was no Donald Trump, the candidate with the biggest negatives in history of modern polling would be Hillary Clinton, but now there is Donald Trump. We have never seen people this hated. They are distrusted by two-thirds of the American population. . . . It is just such a WTF year that something strange could happen. Jill Stein should be in those polls, she is going to be on 40 ballots. One of the polls that came out this week with Johnson at 10 percent was a four-way poll.