Almost no significant press coverage is given to third party candidates for the US presidency, a factor that helps ensure that the election is a race between two major parties even as this time around both the presumed Republican candidate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats are heartily disliked by many Americans.
Yet there are third party candidates on both the right and the left who voters can choose in states where they are able to run.
I have already written an article on the leftist choice, Jill Stein of the Green Party. This brief article is on the "right" choice Gary Johnson. I put "right" in quotes since while Libertarians are very much on the right with respect to economic issues demanding smaller governments and less government spending and reliance on free markets, on social issues or foreign policy they can very well be on the left.
Johnson has considerable experience as a politician having served two terms as Republican Governor of the state of Arizona, He won his second term even against a popular Hispanic Democratic candidate. He was widely praised for his leadership during fires in the state even by Democratic member of Congress Tom Udall. Governors are limited to two terms in Arizona.
In 1999, Johnson became the first high-ranking elected politician to advocate the decriminalization of marijuana. He claimed that the "War on Drugs" was a high-costing bust. He advocated not just decriminalizing marijuana but the adoption of harm-reduction policies for other illegal drugs. He said that illegal drug use should be considered a health issue rather than a crime problem.
In January of this year, Johnson announced that he would seek to be the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party. In May, he chose former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, William Wald as his vice-presidential running mate. On May 29 he won the nomination on the second ballot with 55.8 percent of delegates at the Libertarian nominating convention.
A recent Pew Research Center poll shows Hillary Clinton at 45 percent to 35 percent for Trump while Johnson has 10 percent. This is about twice what Jill Stein polls when she is included. However among younger millenials Johnson and Stein do reasonably well.
A Quinnipiac poll shows that among those aged 18 to 34 , Clinton polled 45 percent, Trump, 21 percent, with Johnson at 12 percent and Stein at 10 percent. The two third party candidates are obviously hurting Trump among this group.
Johnson is expected to get on the ballot in all 50 states are rare occurrence for a third-party candidate.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.