Johnson Treated as Second-Class Candidate
Earlier today, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) seemingly announced that they had decided to invite Governor Gary Johnson to its Commander-in-Chief presidential forum. However, the press release worded the invitation as to a forum rather than the forum, leading some to worry that Johnson would be segregated from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. These suspicions were affirmed when the IAVA released a revised memo stating that the Libertarian would be invited a completely separate event.
The only reason the IAVA acknowledged Johnson’s existence at all was because of the swift outcry of Libertarians and veterans at his exclusion. As many pointed out, the Libertarian polls in first place among active members of the military.
If the IAVA believes that this consolation prize will be enough to appease supporters of Johnson (or even those simply curious of his policies), they have been sorely misled. The placement of Johnson in a secondary event is perhaps more of a figurative slap in the face than no invitation at all. The IAVA is suggesting in its actions that Johnson is not deserving of the same time or attention as the other two candidates.
The forum takes place only a few weeks prior to the first presidential debate and is therefore extremely important to perceptions heading into that important event. By playing into the two-party duopoly, the IAVA misses an opportunity to take a stand for both veterans and the American people at-large, who have made it clear that they would like a third choice.
Anyone wishing to contact the IAVA to express dissatisfaction with their handling of the forum and to demand that Johnson be placed on equal footing can call the organization at 212-982-9699 or email them at [email protected] Considering that they responded to public pressure once, it is not unforeseeable that they would do so again.