Johnson: Working outside the two-party system

Most Americans went to the polls yesterday and voted for the candidates who represented the two largest political parties in the nation. What most voters didn’t see were the names of the third-party candidates at the bottom of the ballot, with the exception of Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson, who had been making headlines all year on the campaign trail with his radical ideas and his appeal to American voters frustrated with the current two-party system.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s team was worried about Johnson taking away votes from the former governor of Massachusetts even before Election Day.

When polls from this past Friday came back from Ohio saying that Johnson was projected to garner 5 percent of the vote, the Romney campaign and political pundits alike were calling him a potential spoiler in this year’s election.

Justin Alick, the president of the St. John’s College Libertarians, believes that Johnson is the right choice for America and that he is more than a spoiler.

“I met Gary Johnson a few months ago and he is one of the most relaxed people I have ever met in my life,” said Alick. “He is confident in winning votes from both of the mainstream sides of politics; the liberals and conservatives. Johnson is an outlet for people upset with both Romney and Obama.”

Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, who proclaimed himself as more fiscally conservative than Romney and yet
more socially viable than Obama, had been urging voters to “be the 5 percent of the vote,” referring
to the percentage of the popular vote that the Libertarian party needed to gain more campaign funds and have a presence on the ballot for the 2016 election.

If Johnson’s goal of garnering 5 percent of the popular vote was accomplished, he would have been the first candidate from the Libertarian party to go above 1 percent of the popular vote.

He was hovering near the 1 percent mark as of 2 a.m Tuesday morning with a little more than 1 million votes.

Max White, a senior anthropology major, voted for Johnson and felt that it was an easy choice.

“It comes down to the fact that I agree with him on the issues that are important to me,” said White. “I mostly support his ideas concerning foreign policy; seriously re-evaluating the presence our military has abroad. We’re spending a lot of money keeping troops in countries that don’t want us there and I feel like that money could be directed to improving education.”

The last time a third party candidate made a big splash was when Ralph Nader of the Green Party prevented Democratic candidate Al Gore from winning Florida in the controversial presidential election of 2000. In 1992, third party candidate Ross Perot attained 19% of the popular vote which helped to unseat George H.W. Bush and lead Bill Clinton to the presidency.

Fellow Green Party member Jill Stein took in .3 percent of the total vote after running on a platform of jobs in sustainable energy, worker’s rights and free education from kindergarten through college. Stein decided to put her name into the race after receiving 27% of the vote in the Western Illinois University Mock Election, the largest mock election in the country.