Is Gary Johnson actually important?

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Far below the hustle and bustle of the media’s coverage of Hillary’s next email leak or The Donald’s next vulgar comment about women, there is another candidate who has been drowned out; who has neither displayed blatant dishonesty, nor has bragged about unsolicitedly groping women, and therefore has been taken for granted as the media propagates the campaigns of major parties to outlandishly grandiose proportions.

       

Treated as nothing more than an electoral nuisance, Gary Johnson — this candidate of perceived otherness — may actually be much more consequential to the American electoral process than many care to realize. As far as most know or care to actually corroborate themselves, there are only two parties that have the power to dominate the convolutedly labyrinthine American political scene: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. This, though warned against by our first President, George Washington, has been what some might call the “gold standard” of politics (if ever there were such a thing), for almost one hundred-fifty tumultuous years, but as of late, this “gold standard” has lost some of its shimmer.

       

Petty lies, bigotry, and rejections of the truth have warped and twisted the two-party system to the point where change is inevitable and, in some people’s minds, very welcome. But what kind of change are pundits suggesting will come in the wake of such political turmoil? Some say it will be the destruction or reformation of the GOP, but others point to something that may spell an end to the two-party system we know and loathe: the rise of a third party in America.

       

Third parties are not a new anomaly to the American political landscape. Instead, they are, like a long-forgotten phoenix, rising from the ashes of their predecessors and into the national spotlight. Entities like the Green Party or, to an even more prolific extent, the Libertarian Party, have made major waves to turn the tide of this election and elections to come.

       

If the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, being on the ballot in all fifty states hasn’t already made things clear, politics are on the verge of major change in this country. Johnson, in his most prime, polled at 13 percent nationally. Even after he very candidly forgot what Aleppo was on national television, he was able to maintain decent polling among his voters.

This kind of popularity, while it may be a fluke brought upon by a general contempt felt by all Americans for either Hillary or The Donald, or even both for that matter, may also be a signal of changing times and the yearning of everyday citizens to break the proverbial mold of electoral constraint. Maybe his popularity is beckoning American voters to imagine a world where their vote could mean something more than a polarizing display of distaste for the other side of the aisle; where their vote could help bring about a new political mindset that could, in all truth, stand to benefit the country in the long run.

Because really, what has the two-party system in this country brought us? Congressional deadlock? Unfounded hatred of others based solely on a difference of opinion? Fragmentation within political parties due to unclear policy stances? Try all three. The two pillars on which our government has stood since 1869, once thought to be infallible, are now crumbling before each and every Americans’ eyes, only to be saved by a third pillar, which could change majorities into pluralities, make an indelible mark on what the status quo should be, and could even be represented in the highest office of the land.

Sure, Gary Johnson may not take the White House on November 8th, and sure, we’ll have to deal with inter-party squabbling for a few more years, but what Gary Johnson has shown us is a path to a new nation; a path to potential, positive, and profound change. That path is ours, and ours alone to travel and one day we will.

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Christopher Groneng
Christopher Groneng is the Opinion Editor and Film Critic for the Bryant Archway. He is a sophomore Politics & Law major and a Finance and Communications double minor. He is also a part of several Student Senate committees, including Ways and Means, and is on the Executive Board of the Bryant University Mock Trial Team. On top of editing the Opinion section, and writing movie reviews and editorials for the Archway, he also maintains a blog.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Why not now, Christopher? Why not today? There is nothing–literally no reason at all–to not vote for Gary Johnson on November 8th if you find your party’s candidate reprehensible. Any intellectually honest person can admit to herself or himself in their heart of hearts that neither the Democrat nor the Republican has the character to lead this country. Facts can be learned, data absorbed…but how many people every really change their fundamental character?

    Gary Johnson’s fundamental character is that of an honest, reputable, hands-on problem-solver. That’s how he was able to build his one-man handyman company into a thousand-employee construction firm. That’s how, as Governor, he was able to work with the Democrats that controlled the legislature in New Mexico, balancing the state budget every year he was in office, without raising taxes a single time.

    The people who hate Clinton, but are voting for her to stop Trump, and all the people who hate Trump, but are voting for him to stop Clinton, add up to about 40% of the electorate. Here’s an idea…vote for the honest, trustworthy, reputable proven leader who is neither Clinton nor Trump, and knows how to get things done in a bipartisan way.

    If not us, who? If not now, when?

  2. Something has got to change in our political system. Changing attitudes among younger voters are putting the squeeze on the Republican Party. Either they change to become much more libertarian, or they break up and their more libertarian elements mingle in some combination with the Libertarian party, or we will go to a 3- or 4-party system where coalitions of parties having overlapping interests will be necessary to achieve any change. I’m not sure the last possibility could go on for very long unless there were changes to the Constitution, and the first possibility would require the Republicans to disregard the short-term advantages of retaining all the hater crowd in order to secure the long-term advantages of popularity with coming generations of voters… and an inability to make short-term sacrifices for long-term good is practically a trademark of Republicans and Democrats alike. So my bet is on a strengthened and moderated Libertarian Party rising to become the natural counterbalance to the big-government, collectivist Democratic Party. With that in mind I will be voting for Gary Johnson this year, not only because he is actually the best candidate running but also because my vote this year will help the Libertarian Party reach 5% of the popular vote — a magic number that will give them major party status in future elections and the easy ballot access that goes along with that. Up until now the Libertarian Party has had to follow minor-party rules, wasting huge amounts of money and effort on petition drives in every state just to get their candidates onto the ballot everywhere, every election cycle.

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