Thursday, September 8, 2016

Why I am not voting for Gary Johnson, part 2.

Gary Johnson at a rally in Boston. Reuters. 

Another day another reason why I am not voting for third party Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. In the past, I have said I don't like him because he isn't running as a libertarian candidate and that he is standing on the side of political correctness. He really put his foot in his mouth about illegal immigrants, alienating people like me who could consider voting for him otherwise. Well, Johnson has done it again, this time completely whiffing on a question about Syria. You can see the video of this exchange below:

As even casual followers of the Syria conflict know, Aleppo is the site of one of the biggest battles in the war. It's in the news all the time and if you even have a passing interest in Syria at all, you know about the city. Just yesterday it was in the news for a suspected chemical attack, something that should be hard to avoid knowing if you are a presidential candidate.

And it's even worse then that because when Gary Johnson was asked about the city he didn't seem to even realize that it was a city. For all he knew it was somebodies name. The questioner said what we were all thinking and asked him "Your'e kidding?" That's a level of ignorance you don't expect to see from a presidential candidate two months from the election.

I'll admit, perhaps I am reading too much into this. I don't expect the average person on the street to know what Aleppo is either. But Gary Johnson is running for the presidency. Shouldn't he at least know about the most important battle going on in Syria right now? It's a basic foreign policy fact, and I would expect him to either follow it himself or be briefed on it, correct?

Some will argue that they don't care and that they aren't going to vote for Gary Johnson because of foreign policy one way or the other. They don't like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and that enough is reason for them to vote Johnson. Others like his stance on pot or other various left-libertarian issues. He won't lose those voters because of this. But this has to play badly for Johnson in terms of potential supporters who do care about foreign policy.

He just looked completely clueless. And, sure, I can guarantee that you can find gaffes like this for Trump and Clinton as well. Off the top of my head there was the time where Trump confused the Iranian Quds force and the Kurds. And I am sure I could dig something up for Clinton as well. But the difference is that was a long time ago, not right before the election. Plus, Trump was able to give a decent answer to the question he thought he was getting, and didn't look like he was completely flabbergasted.

Both Trump and Clinton seem to be way more up to speed on foreign policy than Gary Johnson. I don't often agree with Clinton, and Trump has been known to BS through these kinds of questions, but I think both of them would have been better able to answer the question. At the very least they would have been able to bluff their way through it better than Johnson did. You know I disagree with Hillary Clinton almost completely but at this point I think she would be a better foreign policy president then Gary Johnson. At least she knows her stuff even if I completely disagree with what she wants to do.

This gaffe takes place at a critical time for Johnson. His only hope was to get into the debates was to get high enough in the polls. I don't see that happening right now. His name is in the news right now and it's for all the wrong reasons. On twitter trends right now, Aleppo and Gary Johnson are #2 and #3 on trends and all the major news outlets are covering this story. Johnson needed to get media coverage but this was the worst way to go about it. He probably won't make the debate stage now, he will lose any of the polling ground he was gaining.

Does this have a major impact on the election in general? Maybe. Remember, Johnson has been largely getting his voters from disgruntled Bernie Sanders voters who otherwise might vote for Clinton. If he loses there support and they go for her it could be bad news for Trump. But I kind of doubt they would care. I remember Sanders himself whiffing a question about Afghanistan and it didn't seem to hurt his popularity all that much, so I am guessing his former supporters don't care.

I do think that Gary Johnson is pretty much out of the race at this point though. He wasn't a serious contender anyways, but I just can't see him making too much of an impact now. He might still act as a spoiler for Hillary Clinton, but even that role seems to be diminished. This is the second major gaffe for him in recent memory, with his comments about illegal immigrants gaining negative attention for him as well.

I guess he could turn it around, but that would take a minor miracle at this point. He doesn't have much time to make up ground and even if he does somehow become credible, his opponents can just use this clip to discredit him. Stranger things have happened, but he lost a lot of credibility today.

No comments:

Post a Comment