There is no way that a third party candidate can win the general election if they can’t get into the Presidential debates. The debates are controlled by a commission and there’s currently a 15% threshold to get in. That’s a fair standard but the problem is the commission doesn’t require that polling firms include third party candidates. It’s a Catch-22 that has left Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson out in the cold. Until now. The Presidential Debate Commission’s Co-Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf recently said “my view is [polling firms] should include [Gary Johnson]”. This could finally be the game changer that the Libertarian Party has been waiting for.
If the Commission on Presidential debates would encourage polling firms to include Gary Johnson in their general election polls he could get to 15%. All that’s required is that they put his name up against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In a historic election year like this, with each candidate normally polling around 40%, Gary Johnson could meet the 15% threshold. That’s even more likely if the firms would start including his name now. There’s still six months to the election. That’s plenty of time to increase from 11%, Gary Johnson’s previous high point, to 15%.
The Presidential Debate Commission Co-Chairman continued with his reasoning saying that Gary Johnson’s candidacy “certainly creates an obligation for some of the polling companies to look very close in including him to figure out if his [support] is real”. Saying that it’s an obligation to include Johnson is the strongest language the Commission has ever used to encourage polling firms to change their standards. This is the closest that libertarians have ever come to the inclusion that they deserve.
Monmouth and Public Policy Polling have already included Gary Johnson in their polls and have said they will continue to do so. Apparently, Ipsos “has begun poll-testing Johnson and will have results shortly”. Suffolk has also said that they plan to include the Libertarian Party nominee in future polling.
If this progress keeps up Gary Johnson could meet the 15% threshold and make it into the Presidential debates alongside Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If that happens, this election will truly be historic. The people will finally have the three choices they have always deserved.