Coronation Postponed: Gary Johnson Should Be In Debates

In this space, yours truly has recently endorsed Gov. Gary Johnson based upon both the merits of the Libertarian Party positions and serious concerns about the character and temperament of the major party candidates. Gov. Johnson has advanced In the polls, but it is not clear if or when he will formally attain the 15% poll standing called for by the Presidential Debate Commission to participate in the debates.

Based upon recent events, it is clear that he is now a very viable candidate and must be allowed to state his case to the American people. Specifically, I am referring to Secy. Clinton insulting half of Mr. Trump's supporters by calling them "deplorables" and then encountering potentially significant health problems.

It is one thing to strongly disagree with supporters of the other candidate on the merits of the issues. That is what a campaign is about. It is quite another to insult their character, and doing so begs the questions of Secy. Clinton's judgment when dealing with other leaders. The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial of September 12, 2016 aptly summarized the remarks: "So she thinks half of Mr. Trump's voters are loathsome bigots and the other half are losers and dupes who deserve Democratic pity."

One can reasonably believe that this comment will siphon support from Secy. Clinton at least in part to Gov. Johnson, bringing him to or near the 15% threshold. Quite simply, this miscue makes both Gov. Johnson and Mr. Trump substantially more electable. Gov. Johnson is no longer - if he ever was - a fringe candidate.

Of equal importance is that while no one wishes ill to the Secretary regarding her health, the revelations regarding her illnesses to date call into question in the most literal sense her fitness to serve as President. The revelations permit voters to question whether this is a passing episode or something more fundamental. It is senseless for myself and/or readers to be armchair doctors. However, we need to acknowledge the potential seriousness of the situation.

Among other things, this means giving voters a full presentation of their option by including Gov. Johnson in the debates. It is at least plausible that a vote for Secy. Clinton this November is in fact a vote for Sen. Kaine, her vice presidential selection. If this what voters want, that is the nature of democracy, but at least allow them to fully evaluate alternatives to him besides Mr. Trump.

In my view, Sen. Kaine is nowhere close to be being prepared for the office and has not been vetted in these terms. His experience with public policy matters is only slightly more broad than that of Mr. Trump, is comparable to that of the woefully unprepared Sen. Obama in 2008, and no one has focused on how whatever positions he has taken in his limited time in the public eye would work in a much different arena. Hopefully, the media will now evaluate him in this regard.

There is no downside to allowing Gov. Johnson in the debates and potentially huge upside if the worst fears regarding Secy. Clinton are realized. The arbitrary 15% threshold made little sense in the first instance, but is totally inappropriate now, and probably satisfied as a practical matter anyway. Let us all call on the Debate Commission to do the right thing and have all relevant views represented in the debates. Doing so is not an endorsement of Johnson; it is simply a commitment to allowing voters access to all pertinent information.