Could This Libertarian Split the Republican Vote?

The Libertarian Party has announced their ticket – two former GOP governors – and the numbers show they may make a difference in some states come November.

By Rhonda FanningMay 30, 2016 3:14 pm

This year’s presidential election has been unprecedented for many reasons, one of which is that that the likely nominees for the two major political parties also happen to lead in another sense: both have set records on the dislike-o-meter. It’s a fair question – whether a candidate’s likability should matter, especially when the stakes are as high as they are. But it’s another thing to wonder, will it matter?

The Libertarian Party nominated two former GOP governors to lead the party, but these are far from your typical Republicans. In a year that has some shunning both the left and the right, might this be the ticket?

Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston, goes beyond the horse race to see what’s at stake with this third-party ticket.

Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, can appeal to states out west, Rottinghaus says, in part because of the party’s laissez-faire attitude.

“If you look at the electoral map, the Libertarian Party tends to do slightly better in states like Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico and Colorado,” Rottinghaus says.

Johnson supports reform of marijuana and personal income tax laws – “popular ideas in places where government’s role, people assume, should be very small and as invisible as possible,” Rottinghaus says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Who the vice president nominee William Weld is

– How the party has reacted to movements to the far right in the general GOP party

– Weld’s 1992 predictions at the Republican National Convention about the future of the party