According to recent polling, seven out of every ten Americans are “frustrated” with the 2016 presidential election. It’s no secret that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are widely disliked even within their own parties, and if ever there were a viable chance for a third party candidate this certainly seems to be it.
Enter former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Johnson was elected as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate over the weekend; and on Monday the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which is usually reliably Republican, urged voters to consider Johnson as an alternative to Trump and Clinton (via the Washington Examiner):
“Third-party presidential candidates are usually gadflies who have little impact, and that includes the nominees of the Libertarian Party over the years,” said the Journal, which has been highly critical of Trump, who has enough delegates to clinch the GOP nomination. “But if there’s going to be an exception, this might be the year given how flawed and widely disliked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are.”
The paper said Johnson would offer policy alternatives to Trump and Clinton, but acknowledged that his campaign would likely be a bust.
“Mr. Johnson isn’t likely to win a state, but he can still play a useful role by reminding the major party candidates that they aren’t the only choices,” the Journal said. “Mr. Trump seems to think he can say whatever he wants because millions of voters are repelled by Mrs. Clinton. The Libertarians give these voters an honorable alternative if Mr. Trump makes himself unacceptable.”
Of course, the drawback here is that many consider a vote for a third party candidate to be a vote for Clinton. And while the number of Americans who identify as independents is at a record high, more of them lean Democratic than Republican.
Unfortunately, for voters who want a true rock-ribbed conservative in the White House, there’s no good way to spin this election.