Posted by Brad @ 1:00 pm on August 25th 2011

RIP, Gary Johnson Campaign

In an alternate universe, Gary Johnson might be a good candidate.

In this one, he seems to be there with Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty in the pantheon of candidates who look good on paper but who don’t even get a look in reality. In retrospect, the decision of Paul to run again was probably a mortal wound, as was the fact that the one issue he really distinguishes himself on – the drug war – just isn’t very live. It’s not even that it’s unpopular per se, just that it seems to be greeted with total ambivalence. Who’d have thought that, as far as pet issues goes, the War on Drugs would come off as more anachronistic and less able to stir emotions than conspiratorial-ish distrust of central banking and wonky counterfactuals on monetary policy in history.

In any case, the next Republican debate – and the first to feature Rick Perry – will be held September 6th, and Politico/NBC has set their arbitrary inclusion requirement as having polled 4% of more in any national poll.

So sharing the stage will be Rick Santorum (who snagged a 6% outlier in June) and Jon Huntsman (who once polled at 4%), but not Johnson, who can only broach 3, and will thus join the sad ranks of Thad McCotter and Buddy Roemer in the category of candidates who can’t even launch into also-ran territory.

Katrina Trinko implies that that cutoff probably isn’t accidental. She’s probably right, but at this point I’m not really sure I’d have any real good argument for his inclusion. At this point he just doesn’t have a constituency.

This is probably the death-knell for the Johnson campaign, such as it needed one. It’s too damn bad. Is it too late to get into the race for Bingaman’s Senate seat?


  1. I guess someone had to write a blog post like this. What I am wondering is at what point the author will accept delivery of his frozen crow dinner?

    Comment by Thane_Eichenauer — 8/26/2011 @ 5:35 am

  2. Thane, the group of writers and handful of readers here would be pretty happy if this post proved wrong. But do you have a case as to why it is likely? What makes you think that Gary Johnson will catch on givin his failure to do so thus far?

    Comment by Jack — 8/26/2011 @ 7:41 am

  3. Yeah – nothing would please me more than a Johnson ascent to viability. And I mean nothing, in terms of developments in this Republican race. I would be more than happy to eat crow with a smile on my face, and I won’t even make the requirements very hard – I’ll do it if Johnson hits double digits in any state’s final voting results save New Mexico.

    But I think it’s fair to say at this point that he just hasn’t found voters, he hasn’t been able to sit on a constituency. Much of that is circumstance, of course – he just has no real niche in this race, and I think the key to his campaign would have been to be Ron Paul’s successor, but Paul had other ideas – but some of it is his fault. He’s turned out to be a not very inspiring candidate, without much of an organization, and who hasn’t identified any real theme of his campaign (the Ted Kennedy question “Why are you running for President?”).

    Comment by Brad — 8/26/2011 @ 8:12 am

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