Cutthroat is always fun to play. There’s usually one weak player, and his only hope is to stay out of the way, and let the two stronger competitors beat each other up. Then he steps in and delivers the knockout to whoever’s left standing.
In the Presidential game of cutthroat, nobody’s going to beat up Gary Johnson. He’s not worth it. The 10% or so he’s got seems drawn equally from right and left, so he’s no particular threat to either one. But for the next five months we’re going to drown in mud. Clinton and Trump hate each other, and 2/3 of the country hates them. I don’t think issues of substance are what will drive this campaign. It’s attack, counter-attack, trench warfare of the ugliest kind.
And then there’s Mr. Sunshine, Gary Johnson, always with a smile on his face, talking about the great future in store for our country, once we’ve unshackled ourselves from government. It’s a great spot to be in politically. He can stay completely above the fray, refusing to wrestle these two pigs. He can talk substance, about liberty and the Constitution. It will be quite a contrast.
Bill Clinton is supposed to be a really smart politician. If he is, he’ll cede the Far West to Johnson. This is Hillary’s weakest area, and she should completely ignore it. Let as many of her votes go to Johnson as you can. Because every electoral vote Johnson wins in the Far West is a vote Trump needs to get to 270. Make him work for those EV’s, while Clinton is in the battle ground states. If it’s basically a two man race in the Far West, Johnson has a real shot. This would be Johnson’s most realistic opportunity to win EV”s, and he should concentrate his campaign there.
Other possibilities exist. There may be a blue state that Trump concedes, and in which Johnson has a chance against Clinton if it’s one on one. Cutthroat can be a fun game.
I’ve always had a hard on for the Libertarian Party. They cost me my seat in the State Senate. There was a strong Libertarian running for Governor in ’82, Dick Randolph, and he got enough conservative votes to elect the Democrat, Bill Sheffield, my mortal enemy. The Alaska Supreme Court, in the most overtly political decision in its history, overturned the ’82 reapportionment plan and allowed Sheffield to redistrict the whole state. His number one target was me, and he got me. I stuck around, and got elected to the House, and damn near got Sheffield impeached, the corrupt bastard.
I ran for a third House term in ’88 only because I thought I could get in the majority and be Speaker. But we lost a couple House races that we should have won because of Libertarian candidates siphoning off our votes. The Libertarian Party of Alaska was always a damn nuisance when I was up there.
But times change, and the times they are a’changin’ right now. Trump ran me out of the prediction business. But I have to say it’s hard to imagine a set of circumstances being more favorable to Gary Johnson than we have in 2016. My God, most people can’t stand his opponents, either one of them. That’s always a good way to start a game of political cutthroat.
I haven’t been looking forward to the next five months of a really nasty Presidential campaign. But now, when all I’ll see is mud flying, I’ll take comfort in the fact that Johnson’s not in the middle of it.