On Tuesday, President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will square off in their second presidential debate at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York, but one candidate who has the potential to swing the election will not be present on stage: the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee Gary Johnson.
Johnson only has small support nationwide in the presidential polls, but he enjoys a dedicated following of young people and former Ron Paul supporters, enough to actually make a difference in election 2012. He is on the ballot in almost every state (not Michigan or Oklahoma), so he has the potential to have a major impact on either Obama or Romney's chances. According to the New York Times, "And with polls showing the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney to be tight, Mr. Johnsonís once-fellow Republicans are no longer laughing. Around the country, Republican operatives have been making moves to keep Mr. Johnson from becoming their version of Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate whose relatively modest support cut into Al Goreís 2000 vote arguably enough to help hand the decisive states of Ohio and Florida to George W. Bush."
The Times reports that the Romney campaign is so nervous about Johnson that it sent a campaign operative to Johnson's campaign in Iowa to conduct a surveillance operation which could be used to testify against Johnson in a lawsuit trying to prevent him from appearing on the ballot there.
Unlike Ron Paul, who attracted widespread support as a Republican during the Republican presidential primaries, Johnson opted to run as a Libertarian candidate in election 2012. It is nearly impossible for third party candidates to be a serious contender for the presidency in American politics, but it is certainly possible (think Ralph Nader) for them to impact the outcome of the election and tip the balance in one candidate or another's favor. If the 2012 election is as close as polls suggest, than Johnson could indeed play the role of spoiler.
Johnson is pro-marijuana legalization, antiwar, and fights for civil liberties and limited government instrusion in Americans' private lives. The former governor of New Mexico could have the biggest impact in the state of Nevada, where Obama and Romney are tied, but he also could cut support for Romney in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, all important swing states in the election.
Johnson will not appear on stage at the debate on Tuesday (despite a lawsuit in which he protested otherwise), but he will continue campaigning. During the previous debate, he provided live commentary on Google+, explaining why the two candidates offer no real change and only he would be different.
Here's what Johnson supporters had to say after the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney: "We didnít see a debate tonight. We saw two slightly differing versions of defending the Republican and Democrat status quo that has given us war after war after war, a $16 trillion debt, and a government that is the answer to everything. Nowhere was there a real plan for reducing government, balancing the budget any time in the foreseeable future, or a path that will actually put Americans back to work."
No doubt, Johnson supporters will say the same after debate #2 between Obama and Romney. Much like Ron Paul, Johnson has shown that he will keep fighting, regardless of being excluded from the debates.
The NY Times article quoted in the piece you posted is a pretty good one. It's not just the Romney campaign that's concerned with Johnson. His pro marijuana stance has Obama's people worried in states like Colorado and Nevada with marijuana initiatives on the ballot. If I'm recalling it correctly, they fear losing the younger voters that typically belong to Obama.
Re: The Romney Campaign extremely nervous of Gary Johnson
Originally Posted by StateOfMind12
Marijuana should only be legalized medically.
But if you told me to choose between leaving it completely illegal or having it completely legal (recreational use), I would say let it continue to be illegal.
I seriously don't understand why. I don't smoke weed, but what the hell is the purpose of it being illegal? How is the government allowed to determine what an adult consciously chooses to put into his/her body? I don't understand the anti marijuana stance whatsoever.