Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Ventura calls for Libertarian candidate to be included in presidential debates, Support for third party dwindles

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The super PAC Libertarian Action recently funded a video featuring former Minnesota Gov., pro wrestler, and actor Jesse Ventura that calls for former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to be included into the 2012 debates. Johnson’s name will be included on the ballot of all 50 states as the Libertarian presidential candidate, but so far there has been no third party candidate asked to join in on the Obama-Romney face offs of the upcoming weeks.

Ventura advocates for Johnson with two arguments. The stronger of the two, is the third party candidate as a “watchdog” during the debates. Ventura states, “Isn’t it time we allowed a credible third party candidate in the debates to tell Obama and Romney when they’re wrong?” Ventura’s other argument, however, is not what POLITICO writer Alexander Burns calls a “risk-free pitch.” Ventura tells viewers it was his own rhetorical finesse and debate skills that got him into office. Hopefully, this video is not a representation of that statement.

Despite Ventura’s plea, the outcome does not look promising for Johnson or third party candidates in general. A Gallup survey of 1,1017 adults conducted from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9 found Libertarian candidate Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode each drawing a mere one percent of the vote. The Libertarian Party nominee has registered up to 13 percent according to some key Mountain West battleground state surveys.These states include Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. In an interview Johnson claimed he will also do well in the “libertarian-leaning states” Alaska, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. More importantly, the polls are also showing only 46% of Americans believing the country even needs a third party involved in the election at all. The support for a third party candidate from independents dropped from 74% in 2010 all the way to 58% in this election cycle.

Ventura ends with a strong statement on our American right to freedom and the freedom of choice, but sadly it looks like it is too late for Johnson and other third party candidates in this presidential debate cycle. Still, thank you anyways, Jesse Ventura. Your determination and 70’s psychedelic t-shirt were both greatly appreciated.

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