The Libertarian Party has officially reached the big leagues of presidential politics. The Hill has reported that next Wednesday at 9 p.m. eastern, CNN’s Chris Cuomo will moderate a town hall with Libertarian nominees Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. CNN has done similar events before with the Republicans and Democrats during the primaries, but this time, America’s largest third party gets to take the stage.
A nationally televised event is huge news for LP activists who are working to get the Johnson-Weld ticket into the Presidential Debates. To get on the stage, Johnson must earn at least 15 percent support in five national polls. Unless the LP succeeds with its lawsuit against the Commission for Presidential Debates, Johnson needs a surge in name recognition.
Right now, Johnson has topped double-digits in several polls. While polling at 11 percent in a Monmouth University poll before locking down the nomination, he has now jumped up a point in the latest Fox News Poll which has him at 12 percent. If recent polling is indicative of a positive trend, Johnson will just need three more points before the debates start in the fall.
Where that support will come from remains to be seen. The existing narrative is that Johnson will pull from dissatisfied conservatives, but he insists he will pull equally from both Trump and Clinton. Red Alert Politics recently ran a report arguing that Johnson actually hurts Hillary the most by picking up disaffected Sanders voters.
Regardless, the televised town hall is a massive break for the Libertarian Party that will likely garner a large and new audience looking for a third option in 2016.