Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Taking the Same Support from Clinton as Trump

Don't assume that the Libertarian is only poaching Republicans

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The governor and the missus. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

It's the number-one question people ask about the electoral prospects of the country's leading third party: "Could Libertarian Gary Johnson Play the Spoiler in November?" Behind the query is the assumption that, in the words of The Fiscal Times, the Johnson/William Weld ticket is "playing to the advantage of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton." But that assumption runs contrary to national polling data thus far.

Since the beginning of May, there have been 10 national presidential polls that have included Gary Johnson. His average support in them has been a robust-for-a-Libertarian 8.2 percent, including 9.0 percent in June. But of the nine such polls that also asked the same respondents how they'd vote in just a Clinton vs. Trump, an interesting pattern emerges:

44%39%, Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, without Gary Johnson

41%36%8%, Clinton-Trump-Johnson

So Clinton's lead remains the same, as each major-party candidate loses three percentage points of support.

What happens when you add the Green Party's Jill Stein? Well, there have only been three such polls (including one released today) that also measure results without the smaller-party candidates, and they show this:

44%38%, Clinton vs. Trump

40%35%5%3%, Clinton-Trump-Johnson-Stein

The impact on the two-party split is once again negligible, with Hillary's lead shrinking by a statistically insignificant percentage point.

What explains such an even split? Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark told me during the Party's convention last month that, roughly speaking, Libertarian candidates these days pull about one-third each from Democrats, Republicans, and people disinclined to vote for either of the major parties. This thesis is being borne out by initial polling: Of the seven national presidential surveys here that also measured the response of "other," the insertion of Johnson into the race knocked Planet Other down from 9 percent to 5 percent (remove the rounding and the split is closer to four percentage points). And among the polls that measured it, the percentage of people responding "not voting" also went down with Johnson, from 6 percent in the two-party matchup to 5 percent with him.   

It's early yet, polls are only now digesting the end of the Democratic race, and we need a lot more survey data to feel confident about conclusions, but for now when someone tells you that Gary Johnson is spoiling it for Republicans, that someone is making an assertion not backed by any evidence.

After the jump, enjoy our interview with Nicholas Sarwark:

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  1. Why should I care if he hurts one more than the other?

    1. Because people who are afraid of “spoilers” won’t vote for Johnson if they think he’s taking more votes from their “side”.

      1. I, on the other hand, won’t vote for Johnson because I don’t think he should be president.

        1. Thats a good reason to not vote.

          But of the choices I will have, he is the best. And preferable to not voting at all, IMO.

          1. I agree with robc ? voting for someone other than the Demopublican candidates says “I bothered enough to go vote and vote for someone other than the Repocrat candidates.” and sends a stronger message of disapproval than not voting.

            I’d rather turn in a ballot with the races where I hate my choices left blank or write in “None of the above.” than not vote.

            1. You could just say you voted. What’s with everyone sending “strong messages” from inside a private voting booth on an anonymous ballot? Sounds more like making it about how you feel about yourself.

              1. Because, Turd, that would be lying. I know progs have no trouble with that, but most of us here have some integrity left. Also, there’s these things called numbers. See, it’s possible to see how many people voted and who they voted for. Why, it’s even possible to register a null vote, that’s when a person shows up to vote (thus preserving their voter registration) but declines to vote for anyone. HTH

                1. The only thing anyone is ever going to care about is whether the D candidate or the R candidate gets more votes. That’s the only message being sent.

                  1. people care about the size of the majority. It determines whether the winner is considered to have “a mandate”.
                    A guy that wins by plurality is politically weaker because can’t say a majority of the country supports him.

                    1. It’s a choice between two people. There is no message. Write your message on your blog. You and Bernie people, I swear.

                    2. A guy that wins by plurality is politically weaker because can’t say a majority of the country supports him.

                      Yeah, they say that. I don’t buy it. The office wields the same power regardless.

                      So, by the same token, a person winning with 51% of the vote has more power than a guy winning with 50.1%. I see nothing magical about being over 50%.

                    3. A lot of politics is about perceptions. Whoever wins is going to want to get reelected.

                  2. The losing party will care, particularly if a third party captures as many votes as the difference between the winner and major party loser.

                    Poor Turd is shitting himself at the thought that his candidate might lose. Delicious.

                    1. Hillary isn’t going to lose. I’m tempted to believe that the whole trump thing was a giant conspiracy to make sure she would win, despite being a horrible person, a lying incompetent criminal who is hated by the majority of the people. The powers that be had to make sure her opponent was even more unpalatable.

                    2. I don’t do conspiracy theories, but damn if you don’t have to wonder on this one. Not only is he more unpalatable when a decent Republican could easily have won this year–he’s a cartoon misogynist running against a woman.
                      I don’t think he’s in on it so much as Bill put the bug in his ear, then Trump’s ego did the rest.

                    3. I don’t think he’s in on it so much as Bill put the bug in his ear, then Trump’s ego did the rest.

                      The stupidity of 40% of the Republican party did the rest.

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              2. Well, at least if you voted, your vote will be recorded in the vote totals. If enough people vote for someone other than the two parties than sends a stronger message of dissatisfaction than not voting.

                1. ^This. I will be voting for GayJay to send a message to either party that if you could lean more fiscally conservative and take the foot off the pedal on the war and Jesus stuff, there is a vote up for grabs. My vain hope is that some loser intern sifting through voting data after the election tells his boss that there are enough third party votes out there to win next time if you can change the platform.

                  Yes, it won’t happen, but I hope nonetheless.

                  1. But, to attract those liberty votes they’d have to throw someone else under the bus: free-stuffers, prohibitionists, socons, etc. Only when the number of votes to be gained by that is greater than the number of votes theyll lose will that happen.

              3. What’s with everyone sending “strong messages” from inside a private voting booth on an anonymous ballot?

                It’s called “voting,” and is often considered essential to democracy.

                1. But the only possible messages are “A wins” or “B wins.” People talk like what they do in private and anonymously for 5 minutes every four years amounts to a 15-point treatise.

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            2. Exactly, not voting could be mistaken, by the media, pollsters, etc as apathy vs actual disgust.

              1. That makes the case for NOTA to be a choice.

        2. Is there a candidate that you do think should be president or will you just not be voting?

          Does no true libertarian believe the perfect is the enemy of the good?

          1. A: I’m no libertarian.

            B: I live in New York. Our electoral votes are decided by the city machine, not the electorate.

            1. The city machine opposed Mondale?

              1. I was 2 in 1984.

                I can’t say if the people had any influence that year.

                1. Reagan won NY twice, so maybe the city machine just supports the acting industry.

              2. No. UCS’s take is a bit jaded.. What I’ll say is that, a New Yorker’s vote is functionally irrelevant. If the GOP has a snowball’s chance in New York, it’s going to be a landslide for them nationally.

            2. You’re in the wrong part of town, son.

      2. We have a choice [I believe the names will be pretty obvious]:

        1. Giant Douche

        2. Turd Sandwich

        3. Libertarian

        4. Green Party

        I guess my only hope is that no one will win, it go to the House per 12th Amendment rules, and someone not a douche or a turd [Ryan] will be appointed POTUS.

        Strange times.

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      1. I guess S.H.I.E.L.D. pays well, ‘Natasha Bruce.’

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  2. I’m kind of shocked Trump is that close. Still don’t expect Johnson to get anywhere near 9% come the election.

    1. If the typical dynamics take hold, he probably won’t.
      On Facebook, all sorts of people are telling Bernie supporters that they have to vote for Hillary, because Trump.
      And of course, on here, we have John telling us that we have to vote for Trump, because Hillary.
      Which means all sorts of libertarians are going to feel compelled for vote for either Trump or Hillary, because Trump or Hillary.

      1. The good news is, this isnt the year for typical dynamics.

        1. Yes it is.

          1. Shouldn’t you have a version number behind your name?

        2. Fwiw, I have lefty fb friends saying since Bernie lost, they’re voting for Johnson. Which I’m sure burns Tony up inside. Mwahaha

  3. 41%-36%-8%, Clinton-Trump-Johnson

    Which leaves 15% of the electorate currently undecided.
    Johnson only needs to gain about half of that to qualify for the debates.

    1. Which would be awesome. In theory he should be able to destroy both of them in the debates. He isn’t an asshole blowhard or a corrupt lying criminal.

      1. corrupt lying criminal

        He spent 8 years as governor, so [citation needed].

      2. I don’t think Gary Johnson could destroy either in debates, he’s terrible. He would destroy them if personalities didn’t matter.

        1. I agree with you. That’s why it’s all in theory.

        2. He may not be particularly likeable, but given that the other candidates are viewed as extremely unlikeable outside their core bases (not the party bases) it’s not easy to outshine them.

          1. You mean it IS easy to outshine them.

            if this were a sane universe, Gary Johnson would just have to smile and nod politely to beat both of then.

            1. That was Jeb!’s strategy. I don’t think it worked.

              1. “That was Jeb!’s strategy. I don’t think it worked.”

                Sometimes it’s good we don’t live in a sane universe.

            2. Yeah, that. Riting is hard.

        3. To be fair, Trump and Clinton’s public speaking personas aren’t exactly JFK-like themselves.

          But yes Gary will be seen as bland and/or weird if he does make it.

          1. “To be fair, Trump and Clinton’s public speaking personas aren’t exactly JFK-like themselves.”

            Yes, that is very true. I’ll go further and say Johnson’s boring persona might even win more people over than Hillary’s somewhat frightening sound if they had a one-on-one debate.

          2. Hell, even JFK wasn’t JFK-like much of the time! He was just less unlikable than Nixon.

      3. He’s not great in debates, or in public speaking at all AFAIK. But that wouldn’t be the point of getting him in debates. His appearing would tell people, “The experts think this is an important person, or they wouldn’t’ve had him in the debate. Therefore I’ll treat him seriously too.” The job one does in a debate might move you up or down a few % if you’re already at 40-60%. If you’re at 15%, your actual performance makes practically no difference, it’s just the imprimatur of the CPD that gets you respect.

        1. OTOH, Trump voters for the most part have no respect for the CPD, so a candidate’s appearing in the debate would cut no ice w them. So he wouldn’t hurt Trump, but could hurt Clinton, and possibly pick up some votes from people who wouldn’t vote otherwise.

          If OTOH Johnson were at 30%, then he’d start drawing support from the fuck-the-experts Trump voters, who might decide he’s a better protest vote than Trump is. But he’ll never have much of that cachet, because he was a state’s governor.

  4. If I remember correctly, Johnson was polling as high as 10% in 2012 right up to the day before the election and still got only 1% of the vote.

    1. It’s almost as if there is a difference between stated preference and revealed preference.

      1. People prefer to think they made a difference in choosing between two identically evil options, rather than wasting their vote on a good option that has no chance of winning. In the end people only really want to feel like they’re part of something important, even if it’s demonstrably bad.

        1. Worse than that, many people will look at the polls before they vote, and vote for the person who is ahead. After all, they don’t want to vote for a loser. That would make them a loser.

          1. Do people really do this?
            I think it’s more that people look at the polls and think that if the more left-right leaning candidate is behind, they HAVE TO vote for the major party candidate on their side. To make sure that the enemy (meaning the other party) doesn’t win.

            1. I think people do get a little psychologic boost from knowing they voted for the winner, even if it was the front-runner. It may not be a big factor, but it could make the difference in some elections. They’d get a bigger boost from knowing they voted for the winner in an upset, but they probably don’t try for that often.

              But there are many other factors. People voted for Obama in 2012 because if he’d been defeated, that’d’ve meant the 1st black prez was a failure, which would cast all blacks in a more negative light, while if he won, that’d mean he was a success, and helping him “be a success” would make people feel better because they didn’t want all blacks cast in a more negative light. So even if they objectively thought he’d done badly in his 1st term, the voters could fool hx by making it appear he was good, because re-elected.

        2. I have wondered about this. People do realize that they don’t receive anything special for happening to vote for the winner, right?

          It is almost like they expect anyone who votes for the loser will be sent to the gas chambers.

          1. People do realize that they don’t receive anything special for happening to vote for the winner, right?

            They are winners! They are part of the majority! They are right! And if you don’t like it you can fuck off because they’re winners! They’re the majority! They’re right! Woo hoo!

          2. People do realize that they don’t receive anything special for happening to vote for the winner, right?

            I think a lot of people in 2008 received a special feeling of self-importance when they voted on the “side of history.”

            1. HTML fail.

          3. If you voted for the winner, that means you’re with the majority (or at least plurality), & the more you’re like other people, the more popular it means you are, by definition, right?

            1. I meant “the more other people you’re like”, not “the more you’re like other people”, although the latter applies too to a lesser degree.

            2. Don’t be shtupid, be a shmarty.
              Come & join da Nazi Party!

  5. Remember all the people here freaking out about how Gary Johnson was stealing Mitt Romney’s votes in 2012? Good times.

  6. That’s not what the shrill harpy Ann Coulter says!

    1. Gary Johnson is unable to succinctly communicate why the American electorate should prefer a free society to the current morass. He looks great on paper and sounds like a stoned, non-native speaker of English when one bothers to actually listen to him.

      Besides defenestrating Governor Johnson, Libertarians need to Dump-Trump-the-Chump. A better choice is possible.

      1. Not clicking… let me guess, Wayne Allan Root?

        1. I took the bullet: Mitch Daniels.

        2. It’s the most recent George Will column from The Washington Post in case you want to look it up for yourself. (I use shorteners just to see if anyone clicks on my links. I wish there was another way to tell. 🙁 )

          The Republican Party is, like, 95% shitty. But they did give us important Supreme Court victories like Heller, MacDonald, Citizens United, etc. Meanwhile, every single week Barack Obama shocks me with his latest experiments in unilateral governance.

          A Republican with even the narrowest libertarian streak would be a welcome antidote to the last eight years.

          Daniels is smart, experienced, detail-oriented, and has salutary instincts.

          1. I use shorteners just to see if anyone clicks on my links.

            Yeah, good luck with that. A lot of us will not click on those shortened links because they could go anywhere.

            1. Yeah, I know, and that’s a valid concern.

              But some people do click (that’s what goo.gl tells me anyway).

      2. Bump Trump and Sump the Pump for Gary!

        1. More euphemisms next time, please.

      3. Gary Johnson is unable to succinctly communicate why the American electorate should prefer a free society to the current morass.

        One of the lines in Ron Paul’s final speech to Congress was something along the lines of how he was puzzled about how difficult it was to convince the American people of the value of liberty.

  7. Since the Libertarian ticket has two Republican governors on it, it stands to reason that they should pull more votes from Trump than from Hillary. Therefore, I urge all Hillary voters: if you want to hit Trump where it hurts, vote for Johnson/Weld.

    (yes, I do believe they’re dumb enough to fall for it)

    1. Who you got in a vag-off: Hillary or Weld?

      1. Hill or Will? Either way, we ALL win.

  8. The result of the Trump/NRA meeting could result in even more Republicans voting (or at least saying they will vote) for Gary Johnson.

    1. Has Johnson came out yet to say that there won’t be any compromise on the 2nd? Unless he’s changed his tune some on the 2nd, I would say he’s somewhat worse than Trump on the issue, but still a lot better than Hillary.

      It would be a huge mistake for Trump to start talking more about lists and gun control. He must be really dumb if he does not know that his so far strong stand on the 2nd accounts for a good percentage of his support.

      1. “He must be really dumb if he does not know that his so far strong stand on the 2nd accounts for a good percentage of his support.”

        Why would it be dumb? It’s not like “issues” or “principles” have mattered thus far in the campaign. Seems rather sensible, actually, that a narcissist like Trump would think that his followers would follow him no matter what he does.

        1. He’s been pretty damn consistent on what seem to be his most popular issues. I don’t like him or trust him, but let’s be honest, Trump has not wavered so far, at all, on immigration, trade, or the 2nd. He’s been, up to this point, saying exactly what he said when he first announced. The wall thing and the trade restrictions he’s been touting are about as dumb of ideas as I’ve heard in a while, but he’s stuck to them.

          1. “Trump has not wavered so far, at all, on immigration, trade, or the 2nd. ”

            Well, that’s not true. He has flip-flopped all over the place on immigration, particularly H-1B. His proposal (written by Sen. Sessions, but still, with his name on it) calls for restricting H-1B’s, but in the debates he waffled and said he was fine with having companies import foreign workers via H-1B’s if they “really needed them”.

            He railed against amnesty, and then he proposed his own form of touchback amnesty with his whole “big wide gate” to let the “good ones” back in.

            Ask his most fervent supporters about it, and they either don’t know or don’t care.

            On the 2A, who knows what he really believes. He was in favor of the assault weapon ban, now he’s against it, then he says he’s “really strong” on the 2A, then he wants to take away guns from people on a shadowy secret list.

            1. So, yeah, I am not surprised that Trump thinks that he can do or say pretty much anything with a belief that his followers will obey him.

              1. It’s not about policy. Trump doesn’t have followers. What he has is people who want to stand alongside him & stick it to the elites.

              2. Trump’s incoherence has been described as fascist, but he’s not really enamored of violent means — populist is the term that fits him best, much more a con man than a thug, even if at one point his Mideast policy was “take the oil.”

                Trump’s only consistent principle is Trumpism. As Orin Kerr pointed out, Trump wouldn’t nominate a strict constitutionalist, he’d nominate someone who would reliably rule in Donald Trump’s favor. This is a big problem in a lot of countries, but America has a lot of traditional, institutional and cultural limits on populists, which is one reason why Donald’s been rated a 2:1 underdog by the betting markets.

                I’ll check back in July.

            2. I’ve never heard Trump mention the assault weapon ban. You mean the one that expired 12 years ago?

              And yes, I just mentioned the terrorists watch list thing, that’s what started this.

      2. He must be really dumb if he does not know that his so far strong stand on the 2nd accounts for a good percentage of his support.

        And that support would turn on him in a NY minute if he compromises. But if you’re inclined to conspiracy theories, this would be the issue on which Trump implodes and exits the race.

  9. But the Peanut Gallery keeps saying all Democrats are progressive/socialists who would never vote Libertarian.

    1. No one has said that.

    2. Nobody votes libertarian. 1% is a rounding error that could be caused my people spoiling ballots and not noticing.

    3. It’s not progressives/socialists are Democrats who would never vote Libertarian?

      1. That’s more accurate by far.

        1. But then again, proggies like shreek already know this.

      2. Only about 40% of Dems are progressive/socialists. Which is too many but they don’t control the party as old man Bernie found out with the superdelegate wipeout he experienced.

        1. What is this factoid relevant to?

          1. Distracting us from the fact that he doesn’t pay his bets?

            1. Not the mic drop!

              Try being more specific. What did I say to warrant the percentages within Democratic party, exactly?

              1. The topic (need I remind you?) is how some Democrats are supporting the Libertarian candidate. You failed to note the sizable portion of Democrats who are not progressive/socialist. So I noted just that as it pertains to the topic of the ‘Reason’ article.

                Now, you COULD have meant all Democrats are progressive/socialists but then that would need correction too.

                In either case your remark needed elucidation.

                1. “You failed to note the sizable portion of Democrats who are not progressive/socialist. So I noted just that as it pertains to the topic of the ‘Reason’ article.”

                  The first thing I said notes exactly that:

                  “It’s not progressives/socialists are Democrats who would never vote Libertarian?”

                  If there are Dems who are voting Libertarian (at least in polls) and it’s not the progressives/Socialists then it obviously must be someone else! (The size of the groups in question are irrelevant, them simply existing is all that matters.)

                  “Now, you COULD have meant all Democrats are progressive/socialists but then that would need correction too.”

                  If I meant that your correction would have at least been relevant, just misplaced.

                  1. Where, in this comment:

                    “It’s not progressives/socialists are Democrats who would never vote Libertarian?”

                    is the acknowledgement that some Democrats will vote Libertarian?

                    1. That was the topic (need I remind you?), it’s even in the title of the article.

                      Did you have the impression that I disagreed with the article (and the poll) itself?

    4. So you think he’s really going to hurt your boy Jeb’s chances in the general?

    5. “But the Peanut Gallery keeps saying all Democrats are progressive/socialists who would never vote Libertarian.”

      Blue dog democrats. And Sanders fans who hate Clinton and agree with Trump’s populist economic policies.

  10. I already voted for Gary Johnson once and what did that get me? I’m starting to think I’m never going to get that pony you all promised me back in 2008.

    1. We sold the pony to mexico to be slaughtered for use in french cuisine.

    2. You didn’t get a pony?

      I blame Bush.

    3. Don’t worry, we’re going to replace libertarian moment with free ponies, then at least you get something.

    4. I think you should have been voting for Vermin Supreme if ponies are your selling point.

      1. I just check his policies and YES. Sorry Alamanian, Vermin Supreme is getting me my pony!

  11. Well it does certainly seem that the LP has made a conscious decision to appeal more to the prog-types, than to the fiscal conservative types.

    1. Well, let me rephrase that.

      The LP certainly does seem solid on wanting to reduce the size and scope of government. But that doesn’t seem to be what they have emphasized in recent years. It’s been more about pot and gay marriage and domestic surveillance.

      1. Aren’t those three things about reducing the size and scope of government?

        1. Yes, to a smallish extent.

          The much larger problem is the gigantic regulatory state and the looming fiscal crisis when our entitlement system finally goes tits up.

          It’s great that the LP is in favor of legalizing pot, but in the big picture that’s a really small part of the problem.

          1. Most people know through experience that the war on pot is built on lies. It is an easy target that is on the verge of collapse. It supports by a vast infrastructure of lawyers, regulators, bureaucrats, enforcers, jailers and other unsavory types. Getting them off the public teat would be a huge step forward for liberty and the budget. We have to start somewhere.

            1. Unlike the gay marriage thing, which merely extends the pain of government regulation to a formerly excluded, but now protected, group. Not really a victory in my book.

        2. Aren’t those three things about reducing the size and scope of government?

          All three *could be*; it depends on what exactly the policy (or non-policy) approach is.

          I mean, Republicans have in the past been “about” gay marriage and pot. They’ve been about opposing them with big government.

          if the LP approach is to support more “legalization and regulation”, they’re not necessarily any more ‘small govt’; they just think the govt should be ‘doing different things’ about those same issues.

          Decriminalization of weed (and removing lots of other drug laws), getting Govt ‘out of marriage’ is the libertarian position, IMO. People will argue, “BUT legalization is *still better!!*”, as though “better = good”. They’re not wrong; its just that they’re not really doing much for their own self-stated causes in the end.

          re: surveillance, encryption, etc. =

          I’ve not really heard Gay Jay putting this issue out there front. His headline seems to be a very-boring “balance the budget” pitch.

          If he has taken an absolutist stance that the govt has no business spying on American citizens, i’ve missed it. He may, for all i know. its just that i haven’t seen it highlighted in the little i’ve seen. And please don’t link me to some 2011/2012 comment on the subject to try and convince me he has some very-strong views.

          1. I correct myself – from today =

            Libertarian Gary Johnson on How NSA Is Worse Than China, and What Type of Weed Is Best.

            “China has a much lower incarceration rate than the United States, they don’t spy on their citizens like we do with the NSA,” Johnson told The Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon and senior editor Andrew Kirell during a Facebook Live interview on Thursday.

            Pressed further on that controversial point, Johnson pointed to the National Security Agency’s widespread collection of metadata from private citizens. When told that the Chinese government monitors political dissidents, he replied: “What do you call the NSA and the satellites that are trained on us and the fact that 110 million Verizon users are having everything we do on our cell phones being data-collected?”

            The Daily Beast writer decided the headline should be translated in his first paragraph thusly

            When it comes to surveilling its citizens, China is worse than the United States. So says Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson.

            ‘worse’, as in, ‘does less’? Christ, and i complain about the lack of editors here. Either that guy is an idiot, or he’s purposely trying to confuse the topic so readers just get the impression that Johnson is a goof.

            1. Actually the editor’s making Johnson look better than he said. Johnson made a stupid comparison, factually very wrong, and the editor headlined it so it could reasonably be understood as saying China is “worse” in the sense of “more evil” w.r.t. surveillance.

          2. 2013: “It’s outrageous,” Johnson said, “that 125 billion cell phone conversations have been recorded or are authorized” to be archived for future probes.

            “When you find out that a federal judge has said that it’s OK for the [National Security Agency] to gather information from 113 million Verizon users,” he complained, “to me that is not the Fourth Amendment, to me that is not due process.”

            Instead, it is “some sort of blanket ‘government-knows-best'” policy that leads to the government “search[ing] your personal archives” and doing whatever they like with it, without constraints.

            “This has got to stop,” Johnson said. “This really has to stop.”

            So yeah, he’s no surveillance activist, but he’s stated his position in the past.

          3. “BUT legalization is *still better!!*”

            Well, better *is* better.

            Criminalization = BAD!!!
            Decriminalization = Not as bad = better
            Legalization = Best

            I doubt Johnson is part of the “regulate and tax the shit out of it” crowd. A quick look at his campaign website yields vague results.

            1. If you want to be really clear about “legalization” as not including a lot of regulation, you’ll say “deregulation” or “laissez faire”. In the current state of affairs, legaliz’n even w lots of regs would be just fine to campaign on.

          4. Republicans have in the past been “about” gay marriage and pot. They’ve been about opposing them with big government.

            You might oppose pot via big gov’t, but how does the size of gov’t relate to who gets married? You might relate the latter to the amount of freedom, but not to the size of gov’t. Freedom isn’t always closely related to amount of gov’t.

      2. Pandering to disenfranchised Bern Victims. It won’t work, because they don’t care so much about the civil liberties thing. They just want free shit, and the smug satisfaction of a “political revolution” that they can circle jerk with their buddies on Facebook about. And they won’t get that from the LP.

        1. Speaking of – what impact do you think their disaffection will have on turnout. I still hear a lot of them stating that they’re in the never hillary camp. Will they actually stay home?

          I have heard at grand total of one person state that they will vote hillary. His reasoning was more of an anti-trump one than a pro-hill.

          I can’t see how people can speak with certainty and conviction that X or Y or Z will win this year. but Z has a track record of not hitting double digits as a party, so they’re harder to believe.

          1. And don’t forget the stated vs revealed preference thing, UCS. That works both ways. Some of the Bernie bros may stay home, a significant percent (blue collar union anti-immigrant types) will quietly vote Trump but never admit that to pollsters. There are some Bernie voters that will vote Johnson, but probably not in great numbers.

          2. Sanders had a small cadre of support, but much smaller than the vote turnout he got in the primaries & caucuses. The great majority of Sanders votes were votes vs. Clinton, not for Sanders. So that’s really where the disaffection is. Not many of them are going to vote for Clinton, because they didn’t want her to start w; ironically, Sanders’ cadre will probably turn out better for Clinton than the avg. Democrat voter will.

        2. Most of the bernie voters will vote for Hillary because they want free shit. However, for those few that actually do care about civil liberties, it is worth trying to get their votes.

          Moreover, it is important to distinguish libertarianism from “republican-lite” or even “even further right than republicans”. if you just focus on economic issues, you will give voters the impression libertarians are just slight variations on Republicans, which will win you no votes. It’s important to position libertarianism as a centrist philosophy, not a bunch of crazy extremists and radicals. Given that it’s currently perceived as far-right party, that means spending a lot of time highlighting areas of agreement with the left. You need to stake out that central territory.

          1. Socially liberal and fiscally conservative candidates generally do not win votes.

            If you’re not for free stuff, you’re an anti-tax and “cut the spending” zealot to most of the electorate. Once Johnson stands up for free trade and against “living wages” on that debate stage his enemies will paint him as an extremist. His pot smoking, gay loving side won’t win him many leftist votes.

            We’re living in an era of hardcore identity politics in which BLM activists crash memorials for Orlando victims because people care more about gay deaths than black deaths. Everyone belongs to their own little camp and if a candidate doesn’t pander to them, he or she won’t win.

          2. Most of the bernie voters will vote for Hillary because they want free shit.

            Wrong, because they were mostly anti-Hillary voters, not free shit voters. They’d’ve voted for someone else in the primaries if Bernie hadn’t been the only other choice.

            if you just focus on economic issues, you will give voters the impression libertarians are just slight variations on Republicans,

            I wish that were true, but fewer Republicans (either the politicians or the voters) are making a tsimmes these days about fiscal issues. Trump isn’t, although some of his competitors for the nomination did. Libertarians who focus on fiscal issues are increasingly carving out their own niche now.

            As to economic issues other than fiscal ones, you might have a better case, because aside from int’l trade matters, Trump does seem to be a hawk vs. regul’ns.

    2. You mean the social conservative types. Which they shouldn’t try to appeal to because those fuckers are never going to support a party that supports gay marriage and drug legalization.

      1. But when it comes to prez, some of them might vote for GJ just out of spite vs. Trump. Bill Newmark, Bronx chair of the Conservative Party, says he’s voting for Johnson, although for the life of me, it seems that most of the issues Bill talks about most of the time would make Johnson a worse choice for him. Bill’s for medical marijuana, but otherwise anti-drug, anti-gay marriage, & anti-abortion. He does say he likes the way Johnson held the line on spending in NM, but Bill doesn’t make a big deal of fiscal issues when talking about candidates most of the time. It could be, however, that he likes Johnson better on int’l trade. Still, these days I think of Bill as more of a neocon combined w social conservative (i.e. traditionalist).

        It’s so funny that he used to rag on me for voting for Libertarians, and now that I’m voting for Trump, he’s voting LP for prez!

    3. If you look at Gary Johnson’s platform and record, he is most definitely a fiscal conservative type. In fact, he even seems slightly too social connish for my taste, as he opposes abortion after fetal viability.

  12. Didn’t Sarvis also pull more votes from McAuliffe than from Cucci? It’s always assumed that Ls pull more from Rs than Ds, but I don’t think the data has ever fully backed that up.

    1. Yes, I remember that. I don’t know if there’s any real meaningful stats on that. I want to assume that typically, it would be more likely that Republican voters would vote L, but apparently that’s not always the case.

    2. Even if it is not true, it matters that it is SEEN to be true. Because it’s a useful way of scaring libertarian-leaning Republicans into voting for whatever shitbag the R party nominates.

      “If you vote for the L, you’re CAUSING the D’s to win!!!” is how they keep everyone farming the Republican plantation.

    3. The camp of whoever loses always seem to complain that #3 pulled more votes away from their candidate. Bush backers are still saying that of Perot, no matter how often the contrary evidence is brought out. About the best that can be said for their argument is the momentum-change that occurred specifically at the times Perot jumped into, out of, & back into the race.

  13. The impact on the two-party split is once again negligible, with Hillary’s lead shrinking by a statistically insignificant percentage point.

    What explains such an even split?

    Noise. The most quintessential definition of it. Next question.

  14. Gary Johnson is pro-choice and pro legal pot. That makes him more Democrat than Republican anyway. It is obvious why he would pull Hil-dog dissidents over..

    1. The trouble is, I don’t trust Clinton to loosen the Federal laws on pot once she gets into the White House any more than I trust you when you say you paid up your bet.

      1. Hillary is a big time drug warrior.

      2. She hasn’t indicated she will. Hil-Dog is nowhere as libertarian as Obama is (and he is no libertarian) but among recent candidates the GOP is worse (than Obama too).

      3. Hillary won’t loosen any laws. She’s got the biggest power-boner I’ve seen since, well, ever. At least in my lifetime.

        1. The powerboner shows through her pants(uit).

      4. From her website: “Through improved treatment, prevention, and training, we can end this quiet epidemic once and for all.”

        In short, more of the same.

      5. The only thing Hillary Clinton is interested in doing is shovelling money towards Democratic interest groups and building the Democratic political machine. In other words, paying back the bribes she has taken.

  15. Nick did real well in that interview. A good spokesman for the LP. Which is unfortunately still structurally flawed BUT at least in this environment it cant mess up.

    1. Thank you for saying so, I do my best.

  16. “…the insertion of Johnson…”

    These masturbation euphemisms.

    1. That wouldn’t count as masturbation.

      1. +1 Fleshlight.

      2. “SAY MY NAME!”, said billions of fists around the world.

  17. It’s the nature of winner-take-all elections that third-party candidates can only serve as spoilers. Why this kindergarten lesson in American civics and arithmetic needs to be given every four years is completely beyond me.

    1. Why this kindergarten lesson in American civics and arithmetic needs to be given every four years is completely beyond me.

      Just like everything else.

    2. It’s the nature of winner-take-all elections that third-party candidates can only serve as spoilers established parties can rule with impunity thanks to the majority of people believing that they must vote for the established parties, even if they despise the candidates, otherwise they’re throwing their vote away on someone they might actually like.

      -ftfy

      1. So… how do you have proportional representation for a single person office?

        1. That’s not my point. If people voted for the person they liked, rather than the person who they think might win, then the two-party system would likely collapse.

        2. Put all the candidates into a blender?

          1. Fail if only based on the actual mass of the candidates.

          2. No, but selective woodchipper insertion…

        3. You can’t have proportional representation but it might be interesting to try preferential voting.

        4. APPROVAL VOTING!

      2. Oh, you’re why it needs to be re-explained every time. Let’s see if it sinks in for at least a while.

        Given:

        Candidate A: moderate liberal
        Candidate B: conservative
        Candidate C: strong liberal

        Obviously, A and C could split the liberal vote, leaving B winning with a plurality. Rational voters can see this happen in real life or could predict it by doing two minutes of thinking. Thus rational voters will tend to sort into two parties. It’s not a conspiracy.

        1. This is true, but a third party is only a spoiler if it draws strongly from one side versus the other. So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Johnson.

          1. Yes and interestingly it wasn’t the case for Perot or Nader all that much either. But these all seem like sheer accidents.

        2. Like I said, people vote not for the person who they think will best represent them, but for the person they think has the best chance of winning. If people voted for the person who they think would best represent them instead of going with the crowd, then we might see the two-party system waver or even fail.

          1. They vote for the person they think has the best chance of winning, on their “side”.

            1. I don’t think it’s even so much that. I think many people vote against the person they hate more by voting for the other one of the two people they think have a chance of winning.

              1. Correct, and this year, that dynamic is exposed especially well.
                That’s why I think that THIS year, things might be different. It’s becoming too obvious that voting for candidate X, because Y is worse, locks people into voting for a system in which they are not being represented. neither the Democrats nor Republicans have to nominate a decent candidate if they can count on the hatred of the other side to keep the voters in line.

              2. Correct, and this year, that dynamic is exposed especially well.
                That’s why I think that THIS year, things might be different. It’s becoming too obvious that voting for candidate X, because Y is worse, locks people into voting for a system in which they are not being represented. neither the Democrats nor Republicans have to nominate a decent candidate if they can count on the hatred of the other side to keep the voters in line.

        3. .. and eeventually we get the current election:

          Candidate A) Corrupt fascist who fucked her way into power.
          Candidate B) Corrupt fascist who seems to be bulshitting his way into power using money he inherited.
          Candidate C) Insane commie pretending to be only a fascist because it gives him a shot at winning the election (now neutered).
          Candidate D) Weirdo pothead that seems driven to live the most quixotic life he can.

          And most people recognize C) and D) have no choice, and some are so scared of A) that they will vote for a fascist, and most of the rest are so scared of B) that they will vote for a corrupt fascist.

          And the people who just say fuck it, if we are doomed to get a fascist fuck-stick, might as well ignore the charade are the idiots! 😉

          1. They’re idiots if they think they get to opt out of having a president.

            1. Um, yeah. That’s what he said. Idiot.

              1. The choice is Clinton or Trump. No third choice by any description. Any action you take, even if you think you’re taking no action, benefits the candidacy of one or the other. In other words, you’re in hell.

                1. My personal hello is to have an unlimited supply of cherry jello and no spoon.

                  1. Mine would be that except substitute vodka for spoon.

                2. Any action you take, even if you think you’re taking no action, benefits the candidacy of one or the other.

                  Yawn.

                  1. Fucking commerce clause! What *can’t* it do?

                3. My choice is Johnson because if enough other people vote for him, then the Libertarian Party might actually get a voice in the next presidential debate. I can’t vote for either Trump or Clinton. Just can’t do it. Turd Sandwich or Giant Douche. I can’t.

                  1. I just told you that you have no choice, even if you sit at home and hide under a blanket.

                    1. I just told you that you have no choice, even if you sit at home and hide under a blanket.

                      True. That’s why I don’t really waste time on the stupidity. I’ll spend my time on more valuable pursuits. For example, during the time it takes to go and vote, I could probably teach myself how to gargle the overture from Bizet’s Carmen. Even that exercise would be a better use of my time than casting a vote for any of the losers.

                    2. I vote because there are other measures on the ballot. Like one to legalize marijuana, and another to require all private gun sales go through a dealer. And of course the bonds that always pass. But mainly I’ll be showing up to vote against the gun bill.

                    3. Like one to legalize marijuana, and another to require all private gun sales go through a dealer.

                      Yep. That’s about the only reason why I still vote. Just cast votes on the citizens’ referenda. I also get a perverse pleasure from refusing the “I voted” sticker.

                    4. I refuse the “I voted” sticker and, as loudly as I can without risking arrest for disturbing the peace, complain about such a waste of taxpayer’s money.

                      Living, as I am, behind the Nutmeg Curtain, no Hefalump has a chance of winning anything. Voting for Trump is every bit as much “throwing my vote away” as voting LP. Why not vote for the party that actually represents my views? The spoiler argument, if it cuts ice anywhere, only does so in states with close races.

                    5. You still hide under the blanket? My kid got over that at age five. Dude, you need some help.

                    6. Oh man, i know who Tony is now! He’s that guy who, when you can’t decide if you want to go to a party or not, you see that he’s going and then you’re like “Yeah, i’ll just stay home.”

                4. Any action you take, even if you think you’re taking no action, benefits the candidacy of one or the other.

                  By thinking this way, you are buying into the logic that reinforces the hegemony of the two party system. If only enough people decided they wouldn’t be cowed by fear into voting for either a Democrat or a Republican, we would have choices other than Democrats or Republicans.

                  1. I liked my response better Hazel. Yours was more wordy than strictly necessary. 😉

                  2. By thinking this way, you are buying into the logic that reinforces the hegemony of the two party system. If only enough people decided they wouldn’t be cowed by fear into voting for either a Democrat or a Republican, we would have choices other than Democrats or Republicans.

                    Don’t accuse Tony of thinking. He doesn’t think. He emotes. If he could think then he’d realize that he’s a fountain of horse shit.

                  3. The two-party hegemony is not a result of wrong-thinking on behalf of millions of individual people, it’s a natural consequence of the way our ballots are designed.

                    1. The two-party hegemony is not a result of wrong-thinking on behalf of millions of individual people, it’s a natural consequence of the way our ballots are designed.

                      It is driven, but not determined, by the way our ballots are designed. Things may tend towards two dominant parties, but which two parties can change. The Republicans need to die.

            2. “Shut up,” Tony explained, then resumed jacking to this.

    3. Maybe it’s time to change the math.

      It brought us to THIS. Clinton vs. Trump. Something’s gotta change.

  18. the Johnson/William Weld ticket is “playing to the advantage of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.” But that assumption runs contrary to national polling data thus far.

    Aside from the fact that I have nothing but contempt for polls and the people who run them…

    I see Republicans as being far more desperate for an alternative. The hard core “I’m a Bozo for Bernie” crowd will just stay home, I suspect.

  19. I guess shreek’s AddictionMyth sock hand must have gotten tired.

  20. Isn’t this the case in most elections?

  21. … but for now when someone tells you that Gary Johnson is spoiling it for Republicans, that someone is making an assertion not backed by any evidence.

    That’s actually too bad. The only way a Team will start to cater to libertarian concerns is when they need us to win. Being the spoiler should be the goal.

    He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing.

    1. Hey Frank, of topic, but I saw your question about the kick on you .280 the other night. A .280 has (roughly) the same total kick as a .30-06, as the .30-06 is the parent case. However, since it is a smaller caliber, the recoil will be faster, resulting in a higher felt recoil. You also mentioned that it is a lighter gun, so that exacerbates the effect. I have a heavy .308 bolt action with a solid walnut stock and a bull barrel, and single shot .243 with a light synthetic stock. The .243 has a much more noticeable recoil for the same reason, despite both cartridges having the same powder load.

    2. Except when being considered the spoiler hurts Rand, Amash, etc.

      Trump wins, libertarian Republicans are ignored; Trump doesn’t win, libertarian Republicans are blamed.

      1. Blame? I’ll take credit.

  22. What is worse for Libertarian self-esteem: Mitt Romney’s tentative endorsement, or a raft of demented Hillbots pulling the lever for Johnson?

  23. I mean, come on, Canada. Is this the best you can do? You keep big rats in your zoos and expect us to get excited when one of them escapes??

    “One capybara caught, one on the loose after escape from Toronto zoo”

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2…..cmp=hplnws

    1. Canadian zoo escapes are only 85% as exciting as American ones, it is known.

      1. I look forward to the anguish that will pour forth when, one day, a small Canadian child falls into a capybara enclosure and the gentle rodent has to be shot by a reluctant zoo keeper.

        1. Zookeeper: “I’m sore-y, little guy!”

        2. There are no guns in Canadia.

    2. Those things can weigh up to 150lbs?

      *locks doors*

      1. Aww, it just wants to go hot tubbin’* with you!

        *not a euphemism

          1. MUCH more beer. Looks like the hot tub at the Ramada Inn during the annual Mary Kay convention.

            1. Crusty would. In hindsight, i shouldn’t have provided him with such primo j/o fodder during business hours.

  24. Phrasing? Reads like Trump & Johnson are taking the same support from Clinton.

  25. We have a choice [I believe the names will be pretty obvious]:

    1. Giant Douche

    2. Turd Sandwich

    3. Libertarian

    4. Green Party

    I guess my only hope is that no one will win, it go to the House per 12th Amendment rules, and someone not a douche or a turd [Ryan] will be appointed POTUS.

    Strange times.

  26. Remember this Clinton voters – she’s a bigger war monger than Dick Cheney and she’ll continue the racist war on drugs.

    If Clinton supporters vote for her, they’re voting for a racist war monger.

  27. I’m trying to avoid politics right now, but this Gary Johnson thing could happen. In this field, he’s arguably the most credible candidate.

    I donated. If he can get in the debates, I’ll be a max donor.

    It’s a long shot, but weed and gay marriage happened, so who the fuck knows.

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  41. I’m glad to see that Gary Johnson is taking from both candidates but hopefully he’ll actually get into the debates. The same goes for Jill Stein of the Green Party. In order for them to get into the debates they need to get 15% or higher. I have started a petition to the major networks to let them into the debates so they can gain more support and make a bigger impact on the election. The link is below.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com…..e/#updated

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