Monday, May 7, 2012

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Nominee

I feel as if I should have some comment about Gary Johnson winning the Libertarian Party presidential nomination over the weekend. As Conor Friedersdorf says in a brief history of LP presidential nominations, Johnson is easily the most conventionally qualified nominee they've ever had, beating Bob Barr and Ron Paul. I think it's also safe to say that Johnson would potentially have the most appeal to the libertarian-leaning left...which may not be an enormous group, but there are some.

Nonetheless, the former New Mexico governor doesn't, I don't think, seem poised to do significantly better than the typical LP candidate. He hasn't really demonstrated any ability to raise serious money, and he's really not at all well-known nationally. What that adds up to is that unless he's able to somehow generate some publicity, he's going to be in that same zone, under 1% of the vote, that the Libertarian candidate normally hangs out in.

The logical strategy for Johnson, then, is simple: gimmicks! If he actually can get some national attention, he's in better shape to turn it into votes than (say) Bob Barr was. Not that his upside is all that high, but I'd say it's higher than, say, 1%.

Basically, what Johnson wants to do is to monopolize any attention given to third-party candidates, and then some. Can he do that? I have no idea, but it's not an unrealistic goal; press attention is fairly random at that level, and you can be sure they'll be bored of Romney and Obama at several points over the next few months. Johnson didn't show any aptitude for that sort of thing in the Republican nomination contest, but if he or his staff can figure something out, I wouldn't rule out a strong (by historic LP standards) showing. Bring on the gimmicks!

9 comments:

  1. Honestly, for Johnson to get real votes, like in the 3% range, what he needs is Paul to endorse him over Romney, and do so before the convention.

    He's not going to get much national attention. He can get attention from the folks that pass on every story and press release about Paul to each other, or spend time patrolling the internet looking for Paul stories to comment on. Amongst a lot of them, Johnson's ideas should make sense.

    Now, I don't expect a ton of them to actually vote for him. The way you can distinguish the dyed-in-the-wool Paulites gives it away: he's "Doctor Paul." It's a much more personal faction than is willing to go to another. But, perhaps Paul can deliver some of them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. BTW, I mentioned Paul in this comment to increase your traffic 500%.
    I await the flames.

    ReplyDelete
  3. backyardfoundryMay 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    It would be fun for him to debate Obama on all of the things that Democrats pretended to care about when Bush was in office: drug war, TSA, gay marriage, on and on....

    Can you imagine how many AA votes Obama would lose if he were as for gay marriage as Johnson? Be careful using civil rights style language about that issue.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope he gets zero votes. Every vote for Johnson is a likely Republican vote that was needed to fend off President Obama and his authoritative agenda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you mean authoritarian, teach.

      Delete
    2. To add to that, I am fairly liberal and I am voting for Gary Johnson. So yeah, he pulls from both sides.

      Delete
  5. "Every vote for Johnson is a likely Republican vote that was needed to fend off President Obama and his authoritative agenda."

    You obviously didn't do any research because Johnson is pulling a larger percentage of liberals than conservatives. Also, have fun with Romney's run away debt, his refusal to end ObamaCare, his continued cronyism and bailouts from the the Bush years and his trillions in continued wars abroad that steal the lives of thousands of Moms, Dads, Brothers, sons, daughters etc.

    A vote for Obama or Romney is a validation of these and you deserve what you get!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good analysis. I’m guessing Johnson gets about 0.6% (50% more than Barr). It’s possible that he could get much more, riding the train that Ron Paul started, but I think it’s unlikely (of course, the whole Ron Paul thing was kinda unlikely…). Given Paul’s reception in areas dominated by Obama voters, I think Johnson may focus his attention there. They’re a more natural fit for him anyway (he’s pro choice and has a crunchy-granola kind of image) and lefties seem more apt to go third party. Going after Obama voters also makes “the third party problem” less of an issue for libertarians (not only is Rand Paul 2016 in people’s minds, but a number of state parties have been taken over by Paulistas, who will most likely try to prove themselves by working hard for Romney.).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and Johnson needs to get a public speaking coach. He wears his nerves the way other candidates wear American flag lapel pins.

      Delete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?