September 09

Gary Johnson Grabs Media Attention

Any person in politics knows how important media attention is for getting a campaign off the ground. One of the major points of a campaign is name recognition. The more people hear and know your name, the more likely they are to pay attention to what you have to say, and the more likely they are to then maybe agree with you and vote for you on election day. A lot of the door to door campaigning and reasons for so many bumper stickers, yard signs, etc, is to plant the subconscious seed in voters minds that this person is the bubble to fill in on the first Tuesday in November.

So for third party candidates, name recognition is even harder than the major two party candidates. Many people have pinned a reason for Donald Trump’s rise to the top in the Republican primary on the fact that he was already a household name, and in fact, is a celebrity. Same with Hillary Clinton. There was no need to get to know either of these candidates as they have been in the media spotlight for years. Furthermore, the media’s obsession with covering Trump gave him that edge over his competition. As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Which is why, even though Governor Gary Johnson made a major slip up when he asked, “What is Aleppo?’ the pro to that situation is that he is now all over the news. While it might not be for the best reasons, many Americans are probably first, also asking what Aleppo is, and then second, asking who Gary Johnson is.

In an election where many voters are deciding to vote for the lesser of two evils, this is a chance for a third party to make a big impact. While the possibility of Gary Johnson actually becoming president is incredibly low, he will set the stage, and the question of whether a third party candidate should be a new option in American politics. In a time when people feel tired of big party machines controlling a candidate, it could be the perfect opportunity to discover if third party options would help us with our democracy, and the political process overall.

Many people might find they have a lot in common when it comes to political views with Gary Johnson. He identifies as a Libertarian, and was a Republican governor of New Mexico. He wants to tackle the debt, he thinks abortion is a personal choice, he wants no funding for stem cell research, he wants women to have full choice over their own bodies, he wants to balance the budget, he’s against government bailouts-the list goes on and on. Another big issue he is against Common Core, a battle cry for many conservatives across the country. Johnson embodies a lot of what we would consider Founding Father politics. Less government, more individual liberties-these are topics that most Americans believe to be inherent to our political foundation. Furthermore, Johnson is for prison reform and for legalizing marijuana. For many millennials, he may be their perfect candidate. His biggest problem lies in his inability to effectively spread his message on a wide scale.

Thus the reason his slip up could actually do him some good. There is already a hashtag trending on Twitter, #letgarydebate, and he wants to be allowed to stand next to Clinton and Trump for the first presidential standoff. Johnson wants people to know that if you do not like either of the candidates, there is actually another option.

In an election full of wild cards, this just might be his chance to make a splash.