Back in October, I wrote an editorial urging the Loyola community to check out Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. The successful entrepreneur turned two-term governor of New Mexico garnered nearly 10 percent of the vote in his home state and 3.3 percent nationally, the most a third party presidential candidate has received since independent Ross Perot 20 years earlier.
OK, Johnson still didn’t win and never had a chance—what’s your point, Ricardo?
I’m so glad you asked.
In 2008, the Libertarian candidate got 523,715 votes or 0.40 percent of the popular vote. In 2012, Gary Johnson’s first run for the presidency saw 1,275,971 votes or one percent of the popular vote. And this past election cycle, 4,488,931 American voters thought a Libertarian was a better choice than the Democrat under F.B.I. investigation and the Republican who was a reality TV star Cheeto.
One of the main reasons Johnson didn’t have a fair chance was because he, along with Green Party candidate Jill Stein, was excluded from the nationally televised presidential debates. The official reason is that he and Stein didn’t have the polling numbers to be admitted.
But the bar gets raised higher and higher. Third party candidates are virtually always excluded.
The debate commission calls itself non-partisan and yet the way it operates benefits the two major parties to the detriment of the American people who deserve to hear another voice—one that might actually reflect what they think and feel.
Many voters are afraid to vote for a third party candidate because of what’s called “the spoiler effect.” They fear that by voting for a less popular candidate who actually represents a majority of their views, they are taking away votes from a more popular candidate who doesn’t represent a lot of what they want but is better than another major party candidate who is the polar opposite.
Ralph Nader, who ran as a Green in 2000, is often criticized as stealing the election from Al Gore and enabling George H.W. Bush to win, despite evidence to the contrary.
The takeaway message: research the philosophy of libertarianism, see if you agree and when you’re ready to fight the two-party system and promote policies of freedom, register to vote as a Libertarian.
Our national platform states that Libertarians stand for the political freedom of everyone, including our ideological opponents.
For more information, visit the College Libertarians at Loyola University New Orleans Facebook page.