On the strength of a large portion of the #NeverTrump protest vote, it would seem. Not a choice that I would ever make – I’m voting the Constitution Party ticket for POTUS and Republican on the rest of my ballot, and besides, I’m not real big on isolationism or the rights of five-year-olds to purchase heroin – but to each their their temporary electoral home port, I guess. Assuming that it remains temporary. If Trump were to win, all bets would certainly be off in that regard.
Now bear in mind that while occasional third candidacies have done very well over the past century – Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 (27.4%, eighty-eight Electoral Votes), John Anderson in 1980 (6.6%), and Ross Perot in 1992 (18.9%) and 1996 (8.4%) – the Libertarians have only exceed 1% of the popular vote once (1.06% in 1980). So while the Libertarian label is fairly well known, that name has never translated into national electoral inroads for its national candidates.
2016, in the wake of Trumpmania, may be about to dramatically change that:
Two new polls suggest, however, that massive Republican voter dissatisfaction may lead the Libertarians to unheard of electoral heights. First, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida voters indicates that Gary Johnson is poised to take 7% of the Florida vote, almost all of which comes from the ranks of disaffected former Republican voters. Second, a national Rasmussen poll shows that Johnson is likewise poised to reach 8% nationally, which would lead the Libertarians to the promised land of Federal matching funds (which would of course lead to the hilarious question of whether the Libertarians would accept those funds).
With all the obligatory caveats of this being early June and the inevitable partisan tribalist centrifugal pull come the fall, this is a potentially YUUUUUUGE problem not just for this cycle, but potentially years to come. If the Johnson-Weld ticket can do as well as John Anderson did thirty-six years ago, with, say, two-thirds of their vote pile syphoned away from Trump. whose climb will be uphill enough as it is, that’s two popular vote percentage points tacked onto his deficit. But going forward, with the threshold of federal funding permanently infusing the Libertarian brand – a bigger deal than for random fluke candidacies like Anderson and Perot – this could create a new status quo where the conservative-Trumpoid schism becomes permanent, never heals, and the center-right vote will be perpetually split to the ongoing benefit of the Democrat Left.
A permanent Donk one-party state in America would be Donald Trump’s principle legacy, regardless of how his quixotic run turns out. Which is precisely what I’ve been saying for the past year is Trump’s core objective.
The bitterest aspect for me is that in 2016 at least, it would leave me with three tickets to vehemently oppose versus the two against which I am dead set already.
I’m telling you, this symbol is becoming more vibrantly relevant all the time.