Saturday, July 09, 2016

Gary Johnson the god-emperor's godsend?

Many people who swim in libertarian circles have complained for years that Gary Johnson is an incurious intellectual lightweight.

Subway diet's been great
He makes Ron Paul, who has never worn a suit that fits, look like Percy Blakeney by comparison.

He's an open borders purist even by libertarian standards*.

His most vociferous criticism of the major party candidates so far has been reserved for the "racist" comments Trump has made during the campaign, even calling Trump a "neo-isolationist" which really must make libertarians feel good!

With regards to Hillary's selling state secrets to foreign movernments, Johnson is as spineless as Bernie Sanders.

Insipidness for the win
With NAFTA and TPP, he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Hillary, offering, as she does, the same politically expedient, disingenuous criticism about it containing too much corporatism while actually being on board with it.

On political correctness and the National Question, then--the two meta-issues that are shaping not just the presidential election but the trajectory of the entire Western world--Johnson and Hillary are on one side; Trump is on the other.

The conventional wisdom is that Johnson, the most salient third-party candidate and the only one with ballot access in every state, is another obstacle blocking Trump's road to the white house.

That assumption feels incorrect, however, and to the extent that national polling this far from November matters, the data seems to corroborate that feeling. RCP's average shows a tighter race when Johnson is included than when he is not. Johnson's presence steals 5 points from Hillary and 4 points from Trump.

Jill Stein's inclusion similarly narrows the reported Hillary-Trump gap, though in reality probably even more so than Johnson alone does. Rasmussen, which is Trump's best poll, hasn't conducted a four-way national poll so RCP's three-way and four-way averages appear to be the same but if Rasmussen conducted a four-way, Hillary's apparent advantage over Trump would be slimmest of all.

* Lew Rockwell, in contrast, argues that travelling across property of any kind requires permission from the owner of that property. If land comprising a national border is privately held it is only by the owner's permission that migration may be permitted. If the land is public, then it is in essence owned by taxpayers collectively and it is thus up to them to decide who, if anyone, is permitted to migrate.


The Z Blog said...

Libertarians in America are in one of three broad categories:

A) People who live in very liberal Yankeedom, but are not liberals. They don't want the grief that comes with being a conservative in these places, so they slink into libertarianism. These are low-tax liberals for the most part as they don't really care about anything other than low taxes.

B) Fringe weirdos that are attracted to mass movements focused on narrow issues. Militant atheists and drug legalizers are the most common, but you have a fair number of anti-war types too. These are the people who go from a question about the weather to a lecture on the 4th Amendment.

C) Granola individualists that just want to be left alone to indulge in whatever they like to pass the time while waiting for death. There's a lot of overlap between these folks and the Greens.

Johnson has no appeal to the people in column A. They look at him as a pervy pothead. Some of the people in column B will be interested in Johnson, but these are people who never vote D or R so it really does not matter. Where Johnson will impact the race is with column C. These are people who would vote Green Party or Bernie Sanders. Johnson's social liberalism and granola libertarianism appeals to these people.

Now, Sanders has been invited to run on the Green Party ticket. That was Friday and I have not seen anything in the news saying he has rejected it. Sanders is a tough read. At his age, he has nothing to gain from being a loyal soldier. I think he really hates the globalist identity politics that is posing as liberalism. Running on the Green party line would allow him to go out as a rock star to the people he likes.

On the other hand, Arkancide is a real thing and he has a family. Plus, an FBI that will run cover for Clinton will have no qualms about throwing Sanders' old lady in jail.

Anonymous said...

No way Sanders will do it. He is on record saying many times that he will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump from being elected. As has been shown so many times including here, when push comes to shove Sanders is meek and always gets in line with the powers that be.

Audacious Epigone said...


That means Johnson may be more of a threat to Trump than national polling suggests since it sounds like he'll steal more votes in red states than in blue ones.

I haven't looked at state polling systematically but my general impression is that this election cycle it appears as though third-party candidates are going to take more from the home team than from the away team, so that the "lean Hillary" and "lean Trump" states will become less comfortably so the better Johnson/Stein do.


Unfortunately, I think you're correct.

The Z Blog said...

In states like WI, MN, MI, the New England States and upstate New York, the Yankeedom states, he surely helps Trump. People who find Clinton revolting, but can't vote Republican will vote for Johnson/Stein. It will not be enough in Mass or CT to register a big difference, but it could make states like WI, MI and ME competitive.

I think Trump will end up selling very well in PA and OH and Johnson will not be a factor at all.

In the South Johnson has no impact whatsoever.

Where Johnson could be a problem for Trump are places like Virginia which has a lot of foreigners from Yankeedom now. Colorado and other western states will be a place where Johnson's hippy-dippy brand could be appealing to those unsatisfied with both choices.

The thing to keep in mind is that third party candidates have a history of harming the establishment more than the challenger. Perot certainly damaged Bush in '92. John Anderson hurt Carter more than he hurt Reagan. In this election, Clinton is the status quo candidate. If Stein, Johnson or Sanders is going to hurt anyone it will be Clinton.

Audacious Epigone said...


Hold Romney's states and flip Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania from 2012 and Trump gets there. He doesn't necessarily need Wisconsin, Michigan, or Colorado. Oregon looks like it could possibly be competitive. Having lived in the northwest for a couple of years (Seattle), Johnson's presence will probably make an upset there tougher. Oregon is full of the C) category from your first comment.

The Z Blog said...

Trump has a number of advantages. One is that he is facing a stupid opponent. People forget that Team Clinton did not know how delegates were allocated in 2008. They thought they could run the table on Super Tuesday and knock out Obama. They failed to understand that winning the state did not win all or even most of the delegates. Hillary has a habit of stepping on rakes.

The other advantage is Trump is not trying to re-run the last election. The GOP was prepared to re-run 2012 just with a slightly less cucky candidate. Trump plans to run a national election. Look at where he is doing rallies. Once it becomes clear that the map will not look like the last time, Team Clinton will have to scramble to change strategy.

The thing I keep looking at is Hillary is not doing better than Obama anywhere. She is under-performing with every group. That does not mean Trump wins going away, but the window is open. A new poll has him up by 5 I think. It may be 4, but there's a clear momentum shift. If he makes a solid call on the VP and the BLM riots at the conventions, it's 1980 all over again.

Cicatrizatic said...

"The thing I keep looking at is Hillary is not doing better than Obama anywhere. She is under-performing with every group. That does not mean Trump wins going away, but the window is open."

I think so too. Despite some of the media general election polls that show Clinton with a huge lead, Clinton's margin in polls in key swing states like OH, FL, PA, NH, and VA is worse than Obama's performance in 2012. This is one reason that has led me to be skeptical of some of the national polls, in addition to their using a sampling that is non-representative of the makeup of the electorate on election day.

Also, it seems that there is an abnormally large number of people responding with other / undecided / I'd vote someone else / or I won't vote. That seems to indicate a lot of uncertainty and volatility. I think it's possible for Trump to improve his favorability ratings over the next 4 months - I have a hard time imagining how Hillary could so.

Audacious Epigone said...


Right. I'm surprising myself with how difficult a time I'm having shaking off the same perception. If it comes down to Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, it'll be an astoundingly 'conventional' electoral race in the end.


Yes, potential sampling problems and the likelihood of deep red states becoming less deeply red, especially in the cuck corridor, Utah being the prime example.

Paul Davis said...

I posted on RedState in reply to a pipe dream of attempting to replace Trump at the convention (to "save the party") to which I replied to someone who said Rubio:

Sure, you'd have redder red states with Cruz or Rubio being picked, but would that swing the purple states to red or blue? I can't see PA switching sides by this (in fact, I see it becoming blue if that happens) Maybe, if you're lucky, you flip FL if you pick Rubio. From 2012, that still leaves Hillary with 303 EPs. Flip CO and you're at 294EPs. And you manage to flip OH and Iowa - Hillary has the 270 to win. This assumes NC doesn't flip to her side. What other states do you see flipping on a Rubio ticket (since we gave FL to his side) that will push Rubio over 270?

No one had an answer.

Audacious Epigone said...


There is no way stealing the nomination from Trump would lead to anything other than a massacre in November for the GOP. For those who genuinely don't want Trump, they should resignedly say they'll support him as the lesser of two evils and then not actually vote for him.

A few possible scenarios with #NeverTrump fighting on:

- Trump wins big -- #NeverTrump looks irrelevant and ridiculous
- Trump wins narrowly -- #NeverTrump looks irrelevant and ridiculous
- Trump loses narrowly -- Trump voters and most Republicans are mad as hell at #NeverTrump and blame the movement for Hillary
- Trump loses big -- #NeverTrump claims they were right all along. Some Republicans agree, others leave the Republican party forever, refusing to vote for a candidate they are lukewarm towards since others in the party refuse to do the same

Scenarios with #NeverTrump accepting Trump and at least officially--if tepidly and reluctantly--offering him support:

- Trump wins big -- #NeverTrump has a seat at the table but all the way down at the end
- Trump wins narrowly -- #NeverTrump is in a surprisingly strong position, probably the strongest possible one they could be in
- Trump loses narrowly -- #NeverTrump claims they were right all along. Most Republicans agree, a few leave forever
- Trump loses big -- #NeverTrump can try to reassume leadership of the party

Xenophon said...

Recall Karl Denninger's work in the last Gary Johnson run.

Mr "cut spending" still doubled state debt loads and grew a lot of programs. Won't get rid of monopoly protection for healthcare companies, either, but that's a different issue.

MC said...

The idea that a private landowner can just invite any foreigner onto his land irrespective of national borders is one of those kooky, utterly unrealistic libertarian ideas that make you wonder if this is all just a big LARP to them.