Johnson Path to Victory Much Clearer Than Trump’s
For several months, pundits have suggested that voting for Gary Johnson has no chance of victory and that therefore, a vote for him is “wasted.” However, as the election nears, it is possible that Johnson has a more rational path to victory than does Donald Trump. Look at it this way: Trump is projected to win somewhere between 190 and 240 electoral votes.
Take into consideration the fact that Trump has 100% name recognition. In spite of this, he consistently polls nearly 60% disfavorable ratings. With that being said, his reputation has been established over the past thirty years. A drastic change in public opinion within just two months is not possible, even given comparable disdain for Hillary Clinton.
Therefore, Trump’s path to victory does not exist. Even if he were to win the swing-states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, he would still lose without at least one additional state. That being said, he is trailing in all of those aforementioned states. Meanwhile, he is on the defensive in traditional Republican strongholds like Georgia and Arizona.
That having been considered, Trump’s ceiling is considerably low. He may attempt to use the debates to target Clinton, but his (lacking) debate skills showed during the Republican primaries. Particularly given Clinton’s narrative of attacking his demeanor of juvenile and dangerous, Trump could easily play right into her hands.
Meanwhile, Gary Johnson’s path to victory begins innocently enough: with inclusion in the presidential debates. Though he only enjoys a fraction of Trump and Clinton’s name identification, Johnson consistently polls around 10%. If Johnson earns that mark with few voters knowing who he is, there is reason to believe he has much upside for growth. So many have indicated that they would vote for anyone but Trump and Clinton, but know little about Johnson. Given his calm demeanor, he could appear a reasonable alternative to the status quo.
Once included in the debates, Johnson would be new and fresh to voters, rather than the other parties’s candidates, who have been covered non-stop for the past two years. Given this new branding of legitimacy, more donors and prominent figures could likely be pressed to offer dollars and endorsements to the Johnson campaign. Then heading into October, Johnson would have more momentum than any of the other candidates.
As he further articulated his policies and gained more coverage, he could at least draw even with Trump and Clinton nationally and begin leading in some libertarian-friendly mid-west states. At this rate. talk would begin of no candidate reaching the 270 electoral vote threshold. While it would remain difficult to win outright, some members of Congress may soon be pressed to indicate which candidate they would support in the event of a deadlock. This would only further bolster Johnson’s campaign.
This is not to say that any of this is likely per se, but that the turn of events which would need to occur for a Johnson victory seems far more reasonable than the instances preceding a win by Trump. Of course, the debates remain a central theme in this path, and as Johnson has said, if he is not included, it would likely be the end of any chances of victory.
Nonetheless, the Libertarian ticket has the ability to etch in stone a new standard for third-parties. This year’s election has been thus far unprecedented in numerous ways, and a good showing by Johnson would only add to that. Taking into consideration all which has occurred during the campaign, it would not be so far-fetched for a newer and stronger Libertarian Party to capitalize on the miscues of the Republicans and Democrats.