Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson offered an outta this world solution on Sunday to the planet's environmental crises. "We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration," Johnson said on ABC's "This Week." Johnson was responding to a question about comments he made in 2011 at the National Press Club when he said people should think about global warming in the long term, because one day in the distant future, "the sun will engulf the Earth."
Josh Marshall took a long, hard look at today's shitty poll numbers—which don't look good for Clinton—and managed to pick out this kernel of corn:
Further beneath these numbers we see a persistent trend almost everywhere: Clinton does better in a head to head race than in a multiple candidate race where Johnson and Stein are added. That's great for Clinton, until you consider that in most but not all states there are four candidates on the ballot.... More optimistically, third party numbers tend to decline in the final weeks of the campaign. If that happens, it should drive Clinton's numbers up relative to Trump.
Stein isn't polling (pulling?) as well Johnson, but Stein gets more attention because she's better at trolling than Johnson is—actually, a troll is all Stein is. Johnson is the former two-term Republican governor of the semi-important, semi-swingy state of New Mexico. William Weld, Johnson's running mate, is the former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts. Johnson is pulling at roughly 10-ish percent compared to Stein's 3-ish percent. But while you might expect Johnson's support to come largely from disaffected/Never-Trump Republicans (of which there are fewer and fewer and fewer), that isn't the case.
"Johnson's support comes disproportionately from young Democrats and Independents who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary," Jedd Lugam writes at Think Progress
Name an issue Sanders ran on—TPP, Citizen's United, climate change, minimum wage, health care, free college tuition—and Johnson is on the opposite side. Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage, Johnson doesn't think there should be a minimum wage; Sanders wants a single payer health-care system, aka "Medicare for all," Johnson wants to eliminate Medicare and let the free market work its magic; Sanders opposed TPP, Johnson supports TPP; Sanders wants the federal government to guarantee free college tuition, Johnson wants to eliminate what little support the federal government currently provides to college students; Sanders thinks climate change is a threat to humanity, Johnson thinks we shouldn't do anything to address climate change because colonizing habitable planets we haven't yet discovered is the far easier solution—and, hey, Earth is going to be swallowed up by the sun billions of years from now so let's eliminate all regulations on the energy industry and destroy Earth ourselves before the sun has a chance.
"In Johnson’s America, corporations will be completely in charge of the environment, health care, retirement, trade and wages," writes Legum. "This should not be appealing to former Bernie Sanders supporters. But, up until now, it has been. And whether it remains that way could have a big impact on the outcome of the 2016 election."
Here's hoping Sanders supporters who've been telling pollsters they're voting for Johnson to register their unhappiness with their guy losing to that woman are listening to Sanders:
"This is not the time for a protest vote, in terms of a presidential campaign," Sanders said. "I ran as a third-party candidate. I'm the longest-serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we're talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be."
Third parties should start by running candidates for Congress and state legislatures... and maybe elect a governor or two before asking us to take third party candidates for president seriously? Where have I heard that before?
If you're interested in building a third party, a viable third party, you don’t start with president. You don't start by running someone for fucking president. Where are the Green Party candidates for city councils? For county councils? For state legislatures? For state assessor? For state insurance commissioner? For governor? For fucking dogcatcher? I would be SO willing to vote for Green Party candidates who are starting at the bottom, grassroots, bottom up, building a third party, a viable third party. You don't do that by trotting out the reanimated corpse of Ralph fucking Nader every four fucking years. Or his doppelgänger, whoever it is now, Jill Stein and some asshole-to-be-named four years from now.
Wanna build a third party in the United States? Great! Do it from the ground up. I'd advocate backing third party candidates in winnable state legislative races and not races for Congress, contra Sanders, because Republican control of Congress is an ongoing threat to the planet too. But electing Donald Trump—the only thing voting for Stein or Johnson could possibly accomplish—is likely to make third parties irrelevant, as there won't be a United States to vote for third parties in.
Make sure to check out The Stranger's live-Slog of tonight's presidential debate.