In few recent election has a third party candidate posed any serious threat to the two dominant U.S. parties. This year the Libertarian ticket, led by Gary Johnson, could decide the next President of the United States. As a Republican he was Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003 and in 2012 as the Libertarian Party nominee for President earned 0.99% of the total vote with 1.27 million votes.
This time though, things look a little different. After all, hasn’t this election cycle always been a little off kilter.
He will take votes away from both Clinton and Trump, but where he does so and how many remain questions nobody can tell you. He is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. He believes in low taxes, and opposes U.S. military involvement abroad. At the same time he believes in drug decriminalization and has endorsed same-sex marriage.
He is a threat to both Clinton and Trump. He may get the endorsement of Mitt Romney, but still needs to meet the polling threshold to make the debate stage. But if he does get on the stage, a curveball will be thrown at both Clinton and Trump. Not since 1992 when Ross Perot was on the debate stage has there been a third party candidate.
As of July 13, Johnson was polling at 13% in Colorado, and he is polling at 26% in Utah. The Democrats won Colorado in 2012 with 51.2% of the vote, but the Republicans won Utah with 73% of the vote, since Romney was a Ute.
Even if he doesn’t make it to the debates, his growing number of supporters will be a key factor in the election.