Gary Johnson

Libertarian Gary Johnson: In the Debates, Maybe?


Janet Brown of the Commission on Presidential Debates gives some frustratingly vague promises of possibilities for Gary Johnson in the debates her group hosts to U.S. News and World Report's "Washington Whispers" column:  

Brown told Whispers no decisions on candidate selection have been made yet. Those lobbying to get Johnson in the debates, she said, are "making assumptions about something that has not [happened]."

…. The commission requires a candidate to secure at least 15 percent in selected polls, which Johnson has not yet done. (Gary Johnson polled at 5.3 percent in a poll earlier this month by JZ Analytics; an April Public Policy Polling poll showed him at 6 percent.)

Since Brown doesn't say anything about giving him a pass on that 15 percent polling, this still seems like a long shot; but at least (I guess) it's good she isn't swearing that under any and all circumstances there is no way Johnson will appear on that hallowed stage. I suspect that many of Johnson's fans who complain about him being "excluded from debates" consider that 15 percent wall for a candidate who doesn't get many media opportunities (such as, duh, appearing in national debates) to be unfairly high.

Another fun fact from that article:

a electoral map generated by data from, an online app that connects voters with candidates based on their platform stances, showed that Johnson would be the next president if voters cast ballots based solely on the issues.

If only they did! (Rather than a toxic combination of tribalism, ignorance, and feckless attempts to do good.)

NEXT: Rand Paul: "We're compromising all the time to spend more money."

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  1. I wonder if ISideWith has a disproportionate number of opinionated voters who feel excluded from the process in its user base.

    1. Interesting that although they have me in agreemet 92% with Ron Paul and 89% with Gary Johnson, on immigration I’m most in agreement with B. Obama.

  2. Oh, and 15% is way too high a bar. Perot barely beat that.

    1. Particularly when many aren’t even including him in the polls in the first place.

      I think 5% should be enough or maybe a lower number the first debate and the weed them out.

      1. They should follow the BCS example and have four candidates with a preliminary playoff.

        Of course it Gary Johnson vs. Virgil Goode would be almost as bad as Alabama vs. LSU, so there could be issues.

        1. They’re following the old BCS model and just picking whomever they want.

        2. Mitt Romney is the Jordan Jefferson of presidential candidates.

          1. And Obama’s the Cam Newton.

            1. No. Obama is the Tim Tebow.

              1. You mean great in one league but mediocre in the bigs?

                1. Tebow has one more playoff game in the NFL than he ever did in college.

              2. +1
                Could become the Ryan Leif.

          2. Speaking of which, when does the next H+R fantasy football thing start? Unless I’ve been stricken from the registry.

      2. “I think 5% should be enough or maybe a lower number the first debate and the weed them out.”

        GJ: “Did someone say ‘weed?'”

      3. Actually that’s a great idea. Anyone polling 5% or more in three national polls gets in the first debate. You have to cross 10% to get into the second and 15% to get into the third.

    2. But this is ho-hum when you consider that the bipartisan commission was formed to exclude, not include. They never came out and said that, of course; their reason for being is to project that as the effect while not getting people to see that.

      What’s far more interesting was GJ’s exclusion from primary debates, which was for a much more objective reason: He’s deadly boring in TV debates.

    3. And only because he was in the debates.

      Yeah, yeah, he had big numbers earlier, but everyone does that. See Johnson’s New Mexico polling collapse.

  3. You just met me, and this is craaazzzyyy, so here’s my positions, debate me, maybe?

    1. Please kill yourself forthwith.

  4. Ol’ Gay Jay is into tape gags?

    1. He’s gay?

      How would that matter, and how do you know?

      1. I think it is short hand for Gary Johnson. Like JLo for Jennifer Lopez.

        1. I think it’s SIV’s idea of a dig at Johnson cause he supports gay marriage.

          1. EDG reppin’ LBC would be correct.
            I like it because it has a nice ring to it and Mike Riggs asked a commenter to please not use the nickname.

  5. Gary Johnson said this about a year ago:

    “We had a 11.6 percent job growth that occurred during our two terms in office. But the headlines that accompanied that report ? referring to governors, including me, as ‘job creators’ ? were just wrong. The fact is, I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor. Instead, we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”

    That’s a nice thing to hear form a politician.

    1. He’s not a politician anymore. He’s a cirrus act. When was the last time he ran for anything he had a chance in hell of winning.

      1. “…a cirrus act…”

        He may have a very slight chance of winning, but that doesn’t mean he has his head in the clouds.

      2. Governor of New Mexico.

        1. Most people are convinced that Arizona and Texas share a common border but, by damn, we’ve got a Governor, two Senators and even more Reps than some states that you might have even heard of!

          Prediction: The debates will ignore Johnson and I will ignore the debates.

          … Hobbit

      3. Probably one of the Triathalons he entered

  6. This is a serious election, probably the most important in our history. It’s not the season opener of Celebrity Apprentice where every no-talent attention whore kook gets to promote themselves for a few minutes so we can laugh at them. It’s supposed to be a serious discussion of the problems facing our country that the Republicans have caused.

    I’m not sure even Romney should be allowed in the debates until he releases his tax records as the president has asked him to do voluntarily.

    1. You misspelled your handle.

      1. I dunno… I read his handle as ‘douche’. Is that wrong?

        1. Most important election in our history? You’re going with that?

          1. You know, since the last one.

      2. Obvious satire.

        1. No you’re obvious satir.

          1. I’m pretty sure he’s not a dead psychoanalyst.

          2. You’re the worst character ever, mustard.

          3. In the library with a candlestick.

    2. Die, Mary, die.

    3. I am trying to refrain from all the negative invective I’ve been hurling at people like you and Tony, so I will just say:


    4. musTARD is at it again.

      I’m not sure even Romney should be allowed in the debates until he releases his tax records as the president has asked him to do voluntarily.

      Obama shouldn’t be allowed in the debates until he releases the Kill List, you know, the one he picks his assassination targets off of, without all of that messy due process, habeas corpus, or even informing the target that they are suspected of being terrorists.

      Nope, Mitt Romney’s tax returns, those are the important issue.

    5. I’m not sure even Romney should be allowed in the debates until he releases his tax records as the president has asked him to do voluntarily.

      And Obama should not be allowed in the debates until he provides his birth certificate.

      Oh, hum.

      I’m already sorry I responded to the troll.

      … Hobbit

    6. where every no-talent attention whore kook


  7. …consider that 15 percent wall for a candidate who doesn’t get many media opportunities (such as, duh, appearing in national debates) to be unfairly high.

    Romney and Obama get over twice that percent inspite of the stuff they say being reported.

  8. I can’t get the QR code to work

  9. The commission requires a candidate to secure at least 15 percent in selected polls

    The Commission on Presidential Debates (indeed!) should allow only candidates whose approval rating is at least 50%.

  10. it’s good she isn’t swearing that under any and all circumstances there is no way Johnson will appear on that hallowed stage

    She also didn’t swear that monkeys would not fly out of her ass, so there is hope there as well.

  11. Obama should insist on including Gary Johnson in all the debates.

    1. Why? So Johnson can shame him on his atrocious War on Drugs record and civil liberties policies? Obama has more to fear from Johnson than Romney does.

      1. I don’t know that that is necessarily true, If there is any representative value in the electoral map produced by ISideWith then it clearly indicates that the bulk of Johnson’s support would come from states which will end up going strongly for Romney in the real world, while Obama retains control over traditional Democrat strongholds with the exceptions of Maine and New Mexico going for Johnson and Hawaii and Vermont going for the Green party candidate. Obviously I wouldn’t expect a map from a site like that to be truly representative of what actual voters will do but it does give strong evidence that more Republicans than Democrats are likely to break from the party and vote Johnson

    2. From your lips to Obama’s ear.

      1. That’s not his ear…

    3. He should also stop killing innocent people and making it impossible to run a business in this country.

    4. Obama should insist on including Gary Johnson in all the debates.

      Johnson wins in the 3rd round by massacre.

  12. From what I’ve learned of the history of the CPD, it’s a cut-out organization created by the duopoly and staffed by former leaders of the Reps and Dems. Its purposes are (a) to provide a forum for Dem and Rep candidates to negotiate debate terms, and (b) to give Rep and Dem politicians an excuse not to debate members of other parties. Perot was a fluke – IIRC, Clinton (or was is Bush) wanted him in the debates to draw votes away from the other guy in 1992. In 1996, Perot no longer served that purpose, so he was excluded.

    The CPT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and many of the same duopoly politicians who express horror at the alleged partisanship of other nonprofits are silent about the blatant partisanship of the CPD. In the eyes of tax law, bipartisanship is a form of partisanship, so they can’t actually admit they’re trying to freeze out third parties.

    But no law requires people to defer to this organization – we now have the technology for third-party candidates to splice themselves into the debates (and post the results on YouTube).

    Third party candidates can also set up their own “nonpartisan” debate organization, which can invite major and minor party candidates. And my suggestion: If a major-party candidates doesn’t show up, select a celebrity spokesperson (say, Heston for Romney and Alec Baldwin for Obama) and promote the event on Entertainment Tonight.

    1. Heston’s almost certainly going to be voting for Obama, in Chicago.

    2. Zombie Charlton Heston? I thought he was the only one immune.

      1. You can take my Obama ballot…. from my cold, dead hands!

  13. Debate by ordeal is the way to go.

    1. The Gauntlet? Or Presidential Death Match?

      1. If that is the case I’ll take the Iron Man competing Everest climbing Johnson over the field.

      2. Carousel… it’s the only way to be sure.

      1. christ. it’s bad enough having the mariners as my local team, but to lose ichiro, with all that class and talent 🙁

    1. Barf indeed. First my Sox trade Youk, then my M’s trade Ichiro. Fuck baseball this year.

      1. At least you’re not a Lastros fan 🙁

    2. I turned on YES to see if there was a game, and get treated to a press conference introducing Ichiro. Surreal.



  14. I find it disturbing that the responsibility that should inherently be associated with Freedom of the Press is so often disregarded.

    As Presidential candidates, former-Gov. Johnson and I offer refreshingly different perspectives and solutions from those of President Obama or former-Gov. Romney. It is a travesty that it is so difficult to have them heard.

    The Presidency should not be for sale nor should it go to the highest bidder. The occupant of that Office should be elected on a basis of merit rather than money.

    Gary, if the media won’t provide an outlet for our ideas, let’s find a forum of our own; not to debate the issues in a divisive way, but rather to discuss solutions in a civil manner.

    Let me know if you have an interest. I am very easy to find on the Internet.

  15. Too bad we have a candidate that has a halfway decent chance of making a nice double-digit run to build on in future elections and the two most prominent libertarians, Rand and Ron Paul, are nowhere to be seen in the vicinity.

    I have lost so much respect for those two over the past few months since it became obvious Ron was not going to win. Maybe they’re playing the long game and hoping Rand’s future as a GOP candidate will pay off, but rewarding a clearly authoritarian douche like Romney with an endorsement is inexcusable.

    1. Have fun being angry. I think Rand knows what he’s doing.

      1. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. I just wish he would let the rest of us know.

  16. wow. just WOW

    JEZEBEL rejects a ‘victim narrative’ and concludes the fact pattern does not support it!


    from jezebel, it’s mind bending.

    1. oops……..poor-katie

    2. Not really, if you assume that Jezebel is actually a Scientologist outfit. I don’t whether that would increase or reduce their fucktardedness.

  17. The easiest way to solve the POTUS debate issues, is to allow any candidate into the debates who is on enough state ballots that they could mathmatically win the electoral college.

    1. But if it was mathematically possible for a candidate to deny a win to either party, then theoretically they (or anyone else who is eligible) could be selected by Congress.

      1. Well, you could only technically deny anyone a win with 269. So let me amend my proposal: IF(A1=269, “yes”, “no”). Debate selection by excel formula, can’t be beat.

        1. Since, I can’t put the greater than symbol in, I’ll just have to write it out IF(A1greaterthanorequalto269, “yes”, “no”).

        2. You could potentially deny either candidate a win with far fewer, if you assume they’re splitting them as evenly as possible. Of course, that’s with the assumption of two major candidates. If you assume more than that, pretty much any candidate can break the race.

          1. Depending on how narrow the margin is elsewhere, a candidate can take a few states and throw the election into the House. Then at least theoretically they can get elected in the House.

            In some scenarios, a candidate could capture one or two states and deny both major-party candidates an electoral majority.

  18. We’re discussing the wrong question – not “what formula should the CPD apply” but “how can a genuinely nonpartisan group bypass the CPD and shame the Reps and Dems into debating 3rd party candidates.”

    Some 3rd party candidates would fail to make the cut even under a system designed by impartial people with fairness in mind. But the thing is to get these fair minded people and find a way to make the Reps and Dems pay a cost for ignoring their recommendations.

    The CPD itself was set up as a replacement for the League of Women Voters, which was too demanding of the candidates and once invited John Anderson. The duopolists needed a commission that did their bidding but could be spun to the public as impartial – and the public bought it with the CPD.

    Now, if a duopolist candidate is challenged for refusing to debate Ralph Nader, or Ross Perot, or GJ, they can just say, “well, I leave that sort of thing to the impartial, nonprofit CPD – and much as I’d love to debate Nader, etc., the CPD just won’t allow it. I hate it when that happens!”

    1. But the LWV still exists, and why would you expect any other genuinely nonpartisan group to snatch the spotlight away from the CPD when the LWV hasn’t?

      1. You would have to ask them, but the fact is they have stopped fighting.

        That wouldn’t stop some other organization from fighting.

        A Commission for Real Debates could invite the Elephant and Ass candidates, along with the leading 3rd party people (inc. Johnson), and if the Elephant and Ass candidates don’t show up have Chuck Norris appear for Romney and some large-breasted actress appear for Obama.

        If the Elephants and Asses object, they could shrug and say, “you should have accepted our invitation.”

        That would get the necessary publicity and trigger the necessary shaming.

  19. Fifteen percent is a damned high number. It is a number that statistically excludes third candidates. If the two major candidates are evenly split, it means the third candidate would have get ONE THIRD the numbers the other two are getting. Think about before you rush to say that 15% is appropriate. Are we to automatically exclude anyone who can’t pull in 1/3 of Obama’s polling?

    A 5% threshold is much more reasonable, as 5% is small enough not to deliberately exclude, big enough to actually have an effect on the election. If someone is polling enough to “spoil” the race, then they’re polling enough to be in the debates.

  20. If we had a debate sponsor which was actually interested in an informative and interesting debate, then the candidate criteria should be one of those multi-pronged, vague lists of conditions which leaves room for the application of common sense.

    I can imagine, for example, a set of fairly-applied criteria which is favorable to long-established parties (like Republicans, Libertarians, Prohibition and Greens) and independent candidates who are making waves and prompting public interest by raising relevant issues (Perot).

    In other words, if either the party or the candidate has something special to recommend them, such as longstanding presence on the political scene or willingness to debate the tough issues, then screw the polls, let them on. But if they’re polling well, let them on, too.

    So that would still allow the veto of, say, the Kill My Ex-Husband Party.

    1. but hopefully not THE RENT IS TOO DAMNED HIGH party

  21. It is a number that statistically excludes third candidates.

    John Anderson and Ross Perot both hit the mark.I’m not saying GayJay should be excluded but 15% seems like it is a fair measure for determining if it is a a 3-way race.If Johnson is included any candidate on enough state ballots to theoretically win the electoral college should be in the debate as well.

    1. Too either-or.

      It depends on how much we trust the group sponsoring the debate.

      The CPD is intrinsically, by design, untrustworthy from the standpoint of 3rd party candidates. They will never devise criteria which would allow 3rd party challengers to get into the debates. Experience has shown they’ll change the criteria as necessary.

      If the debate sponsor is made up of political wonks of varied viewpoints, including lots of bloggers, they would be able to come up with a rough checklist, and can use a judgment call on those who meet some but not all of the items on the checklist (longstanding party or person? Polling well? Ballot access? Campaign committees in all or a majority of the states?).

      And the tiebreaker could be – “does this candidate raise issues worth discussing in a Presidential debate?”

      There will always be borderline cases, but under such a system we will know that the Elephants and Asses will always be there, along with some interesting 3rd party challengers, and that the Lizard People Party probably won’t be invited.

  22. Would it matter?

    The guy has the presence of a potted plant. He never said anything memorable in the Republican debates, he never says anything on Red Eye.

    I like his politics, but his low key manner is not a great way to convince people.

    1. True. Come to think of it, his presence on Red Eye is more likely to get me to listen to Coast even if I’m not too interested in the latter’s topic.

    2. But to answer your question, yes, it would matter. Unfortunately one’s presence in such an event serves mostly to say to people, “In the opinion of experts, this is an Important Person.” And that’s the message at least a large segment will take home, more important than anything said by any of the candidates. What it means is that media people are correct when they respond to pleas for more coverage as pleas to boost a candidate.

    3. iirc he was only allowed into 2 of the Republican debates, the first and the 6th, following the 6th he briefly became the most searched person on Google for his quip that his neighbors dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than the Obama Administration. That would seem to indicate more that he was effectively excluded but performed reasonably well when he was given the chance.

      Further a lower key candidate has a much better chance of giving a good showing in a debate with 3 or 4 candidates than one with 5 +

  23. They did their damnedest to ignore Ron Paul even when he *did* have a place in the debates. If Johnson somehow made his way on stage I could see his sole question of the night as something like, “So, what do you have against apple pie?”.

    … Hobbit

    1. Alternate question: “Why do you want to give schoolkids marijuana?”

      1. “Why do you want to give schoolkids my marijuana?”

        1. “Mr. Johnson, how quickly would you implement a program to sell heroin in the public schools?”

          “Now hold on just a second. What do you mean public schools?”

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