Gary Johnson Finally Gets Some Media Attention

40593358 - voter registration application for presidential election 2016I am amazed at the lack of media attention Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for president, has received. He’s polling at about 10%, and despite the huge negative perception many voters have of Clinton and Trump, the media rarely notes that Johnson is a relatively popular alternative.

With much discussion throughout the political spectrum about mainstream media bias, it does look like the media has pretty much chosen to ignore third party candidates. Surely, if Johnson got more media coverage, his popularity would increase. The media is keeping him from being a viable candidate.

But this past week Johnson did get media attention, when in an interview he didn’t know what Aleppo is. Interesting that a candidate who’s polling around 10% gets no media attention until he’s caught in a gaffe, causing the media to jump on him. Considering his lack of media attention so far, this recent attention may actually help him, in that people will perceive that the media is taking his candidacy seriously.

As I noted before, Johnson would not have to get a large percentage of the votes to win the presidency. If he could just get enough electoral votes to keep Trump and Clinton from getting an electoral majority, the Constitution says the House of Representatives would choose the president from among the top three electoral vote recipients. Surely the Republican House would not choose Clinton. It is likely they would choose Johnson, a former Republican governor, over Trump. The dislike many representatives have for Trump is well-known, and they could claim to be making a non-partisan choice if they chose Johnson.

Despite the media’s negative spin, Johnson’s recent media attention could give him more recognition as a serious candidate. If they started covering everything he had to say, the widespread negative perceptions people have of Clinton and Trump could push more votes his way.

Randall G. Holcombe is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, the DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, and author of the Independent Institute book Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History.
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