Recent polling data shows that roughly eight to 11 percent of voters will be supporting a third party candidate in the 2016 general election. The bulk of those votes will be cast for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson.
The central argument fueling many third party voters’ decision not to support either of the two major party’s candidates is that Clinton and Trump represent a “broken” system. A vote for Johnson is a vote in protest of said system.
Further, many of these voters claim to hate Trump and Clinton, and see Johnson as the mature and responsible candidate.
A study of Johnson, however, suggests that he is wholly unsuited to be the President of the U.S.
One of the most pressing global issues of the past five and a half years has been the Syrian Civil War. The war began when the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group with intentions to topple oppressive Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad and his government, took control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Aleppo has since been at the center of the war, one that is responsible for an estimated 470,000 lives.
The U.S. is heavily involved in this conflict, as are the rest of NATO, Russia, Turkey and a number of other major countries. When Johnson was asked on MSNBC about the situation in Aleppo, one would think that a man who wants to be the next leader of the free world would have a solid, well versed response. Not Johnson. Instead, he responded, “What is Aleppo?”
Unfortunately for Johnson, this was not even his most glaring lack of global knowledge.
Just days later, on a televised town hall forum, when asked to name his “favorite foreign leader,” he merely claimed, “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment.” He did not even need to name his favorite foreign leader. He just needed to name a respected foreign leader and he could have come away looking okay.
Yet he failed to think of one acceptable head of state, and managed to draw everyone’s attention back to the fact that he has absolutely no idea what is happening in the Middle East.
These “Aleppo moments” are unacceptable coming from a man who wants to be the President of the United States. The President cannot afford to have any “Aleppo moments” once he is in power.
It makes sense that folks are upset about this election. It is highly upsetting that neither Trump nor Clinton are favored by more than 50 percent of Americans. This statistic could quite possibly be the symptom of a broken system.
However, voting for a man as unqualified as Johnson, in an election that he already cannot conceivably win based on current polling numbers, is not a smart solution.
It is a vote thrown away. If you want to be an agent of change, volunteer, donate money, write articles and get involved in government.
And if you really cannot decide between Trump and Clinton, a possible deciding factor could be to ask yourself which of the two would be more capable of answering the questions that Johnson could not.