Will There Be Three-Way Debates?

Monday, August 29, 2016

It would appear that conversations like one I recently had with a relative are hardly unusual in this election cycle. The Christian Science Monitor reports that significant numbers of unhappy voters want a choice besides Crooked Hillary and a husk of dead skin and hyperbole:

[The latest Quinnipiac University] poll gave Libertarian Gary Johnson, the top third-party presidential candidate, just 10 percent of the vote, but noted 62 percent of those surveyed said they wanted to see a third-party candidate in the presidential debates, and 37 percent said they were looking to vote independent of the two major parties this November. [bold added]
Based on the Libertarian Party's pandering to the left, including Johnson's support of a carbon tax (!), I am not sure how productive this will be, but this number surprises me. It means, particularly with the awful major party candidates, there is a chance worth considering of Johnson winning or having major influence in this election.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus:

I find third-party voting to be a waste of time. They will never get enough of the popular vote or any electoral votes to succeed. Due to their lack of philosophic consistency they do not have a snowballs chance in hell to win. I've made up my mind, I will be abstaining this year. I did the same in 2008.

Bookish Babe

Gus Van Horn said...


Ordinarily, I'd agree with "snowball's chance", but I am amazed that so many people are thinking of a third option. Of course, with Johnson looking more and more like a Democrat, "waste of time" might be a best-case scenario. (To any degree he's viable, Jim May came by here and made a point that he might be the best "buying time" vote. Make of that what you will; I'm on the fence.)

As for me, I'm most likely to protest by voting for the GOP for Congress and Clinton for President or GOP/abstain for President. And it will only be a protest since my state, Maryland, is robotically Democratic.


Steve D said...

Gary Johnson returned to his earlier position on carbon taxes a few days ago, almost immediately after coming out in favor of them. In any case I am weary of taking off hand remarks made in the middle of a stressful campaign as the gospel of a politician’s beliefs. It is especially true when he/she quickly disavows it. (The uh oh, I said something stupid syndrome – too bad Trump doesn’t get that)


Without a strong ideological base for freedom and what it requires, something like carbon taxes might seem like a 'free-market' mechanism to address the problem to him. That said, I would take the views of conservatives regarding Gary Johnson with a grain of salt – they are his opponents after all. They have a vested interstate in making Johnson seem as left wing as possible to discredit him (Jim May said something similar). For example he is the only candidate that has come out unequivocally for free trade.

With exception of the conservative base (which might be marginally better), I am not at all certain the Republicans have more ideological consistency than the Libertarians nowadays, especially given their recent nomination fiasco.

‘As for me, I'm most likely to protest by voting for the GOP for Congress and Clinton for President or GOP/abstain for President.’

Is there a statistic for that, though? One advantage of a protest vote for Johnson is that it is more visible. If he gets 10% people would sit up and take notice and so even if he doesn’t win he might have an effect on moving the other candidates towards more reasonable positions. It’s the same issue for not voting as a protest – also not very visible. In addition it may also be a good idea to consolidate protest votes into one column; again to increase their impact and visibility.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for mentioning the reversal on carbon taxes and noting how conservatives would use that statement.

You make an interesting point regarding protest votes for Johnson.

I haven't made up my mind yet (and am not sure I can until Election Day), so thanks for the further information and thoughts.