Could Gary Johnson Win?

The Libertarian Party has been around for a long time, and its principles of limited government fit in well with what most conservatives believe.  While that party and its nominee, Gary Johnson, are not socially conservative, neither are the nominees of either major political party this election cycle. 

Trump ought to be the first choice of conservatives, but what if Trump continues to make unforced errors that both offend conservatives and raise genuine questions about his emotional maturity?  The gratuitous swipes by Trump at Governor Martinez and Judge Curiel suggest both that Trump may be unelectable and that he might not be able to be a good president.

Gary Johnson would then become the only non-Hillary choice for conservatives, provided that Johnson can win.  Could the Libertarian Party win the 2016 presidential election?  Could its nominee enough support in the Electoral College to throw the presidential election into the House of Representatives?  Could its nominee, in fact, be chosen as the next president by the House of Representatives?

Johnson is refreshingly honest, unlike Bernie Sanders, about his chances, and Johnson says his only chance is to reach the 15% threshold necessary to get him into the presidential debates.  Hillary's numbers are appallingly low for a candidate whom virtually everyone knows and who is supported by virtually the whole leftist establishment.  Her RCP average over the last four polls, when Johnson is listed, is 39% of the vote.

Trump fares slightly worse at 38%, although the novelty of his campaign may give him some room to grow.  Still, what that means is that as the last primaries in a long season are over, the two major party nominees have a combined total of 77% of the vote.  That leaves Johnson, whose name will be on the ballot in every state, growth potential of up to 23% of the vote before the debates.

What happens if Johnson gets in the debates?  He can rightly describe himself as the only government executive on the ballot, the only candidate outside the Beltway, the only person who did not make millions while other Americans suffered, and the only choice Americans have for someone not connected to the Party of Washington (A) or the Party of Washington (B) – in short, the only real outsider.

Johnson might not move the vast American electorate profoundly unhappy with both major party nominees, but he might be able to come across as both honest and likeable.  And if he took as much from one party as the other, which Libertarians often do, then he might pull up close to both Hillary and Donald. 

Gary Johnson might also be able to win a significant percentage of the Hispanic vote and might, indeed, win the endorsement of Republican Hispanic Governors Martinez and Sandoval in the Rocky Mountains region.  He could win New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado from Hillary and also traditionally Republican states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.  Johnson also might carry states like Oregon, which are socially liberal but libertarian in many ways.

What happens if Gary Johnson is able to prevent Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton from getting a majority in the Electoral College?  The House of Representatives chooses the president from among the top three vote-getters, but it is not just a straight vote by the House of Representatives – and this is where it gets interesting.  Rather, each of the fifty states casts a single vote based upon the vote of the House delegation.  Wyoming casts the same one vote that California casts.

Based upon the current partisan breakdown of these state delegations, the Republican Party controls 32 state delegations in the House of Representatives while the Democratic Party controls only 16 state delegations in the House of Representatives, and two – Maine and New Hampshire – are split.  So the Republicans in the House could choose the next president, and Republicans could even lose control of the House of Representatives and retain enough state delegations to elect the next president.

If Donald Trump continues to run as much against "Republicans" as "Democrats," then these House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, might well choose Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, over Donald Trump, a former Democrat.

Not likely, but in the weirdest presidential election year in a century, who can rule anything out – even a Libertarian Party candidate winning the White House?

The Libertarian Party has been around for a long time, and its principles of limited government fit in well with what most conservatives believe.  While that party and its nominee, Gary Johnson, are not socially conservative, neither are the nominees of either major political party this election cycle. 

Trump ought to be the first choice of conservatives, but what if Trump continues to make unforced errors that both offend conservatives and raise genuine questions about his emotional maturity?  The gratuitous swipes by Trump at Governor Martinez and Judge Curiel suggest both that Trump may be unelectable and that he might not be able to be a good president.

Gary Johnson would then become the only non-Hillary choice for conservatives, provided that Johnson can win.  Could the Libertarian Party win the 2016 presidential election?  Could its nominee enough support in the Electoral College to throw the presidential election into the House of Representatives?  Could its nominee, in fact, be chosen as the next president by the House of Representatives?

Johnson is refreshingly honest, unlike Bernie Sanders, about his chances, and Johnson says his only chance is to reach the 15% threshold necessary to get him into the presidential debates.  Hillary's numbers are appallingly low for a candidate whom virtually everyone knows and who is supported by virtually the whole leftist establishment.  Her RCP average over the last four polls, when Johnson is listed, is 39% of the vote.

Trump fares slightly worse at 38%, although the novelty of his campaign may give him some room to grow.  Still, what that means is that as the last primaries in a long season are over, the two major party nominees have a combined total of 77% of the vote.  That leaves Johnson, whose name will be on the ballot in every state, growth potential of up to 23% of the vote before the debates.

What happens if Johnson gets in the debates?  He can rightly describe himself as the only government executive on the ballot, the only candidate outside the Beltway, the only person who did not make millions while other Americans suffered, and the only choice Americans have for someone not connected to the Party of Washington (A) or the Party of Washington (B) – in short, the only real outsider.

Johnson might not move the vast American electorate profoundly unhappy with both major party nominees, but he might be able to come across as both honest and likeable.  And if he took as much from one party as the other, which Libertarians often do, then he might pull up close to both Hillary and Donald. 

Gary Johnson might also be able to win a significant percentage of the Hispanic vote and might, indeed, win the endorsement of Republican Hispanic Governors Martinez and Sandoval in the Rocky Mountains region.  He could win New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado from Hillary and also traditionally Republican states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.  Johnson also might carry states like Oregon, which are socially liberal but libertarian in many ways.

What happens if Gary Johnson is able to prevent Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton from getting a majority in the Electoral College?  The House of Representatives chooses the president from among the top three vote-getters, but it is not just a straight vote by the House of Representatives – and this is where it gets interesting.  Rather, each of the fifty states casts a single vote based upon the vote of the House delegation.  Wyoming casts the same one vote that California casts.

Based upon the current partisan breakdown of these state delegations, the Republican Party controls 32 state delegations in the House of Representatives while the Democratic Party controls only 16 state delegations in the House of Representatives, and two – Maine and New Hampshire – are split.  So the Republicans in the House could choose the next president, and Republicans could even lose control of the House of Representatives and retain enough state delegations to elect the next president.

If Donald Trump continues to run as much against "Republicans" as "Democrats," then these House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, might well choose Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, over Donald Trump, a former Democrat.

Not likely, but in the weirdest presidential election year in a century, who can rule anything out – even a Libertarian Party candidate winning the White House?