Terps looking for alternative step up for Gary Johnson

“Loyalty should first and foremost be to one’s nation, and if you’re willing to put party before country you shouldn’t be able to vote,” junior government and politics major Lilia Abecassis said.

Abecassis said she plans to vote for Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson, although she identifies herself as Republican.

“Personally I am so turned off by both of the main party candidates and Gary Johnson is a great alternative,” she said. “Even if there is no real possibility of him winning the election, it’s important for people to know that there is another option for voting our conscience.”

Sophomore computer science major Matthew Lipsey said that he feels similarly because he believes “Hillary is corrupt and Trump is crazy.” He tabled with Young Americans for Liberty at the First Look Fair last week, where he said he met many people with libertarian beliefs and values.

Courtesy of Giphy

“The ideas of personal freedom and being able to do what you want with your life are quite popular, especially with people our age,” Lipsey said.

But in a country with a two-party political system, no third party candidate since the Dixiecrats’ in 1948 got enough votes in any one state to win that state’s electoral votes.

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Freshman economics major Thomas Montgomery said that polls show a number of Johnson’s support comes not just from “socially-leaning Republicans,” but also large numbers of Democrats, especially former Bernie supporters.

“Most outstandingly, though, Johnson is getting a lot of the unaffiliated [and] independent vote this year,” Montgomery said. “…It’s not 2012 anymore; people from across parties and backgrounds are getting behind Gov. Johnson.”

On Sept. 8, Johnson made headlines after his appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” When asked what he would do about the Syrian city that has been a regular target of the Assad regime, Johnson answered with a question: “What is Aleppo?”

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson's interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" is primarily remembered because of his lack of knowledge about Aleppo, the Syrian city that has suffered greatly from the Syrian Civil War.
Gov. Gary Johnson’s received negative press after proving his lack of knowledge about Aleppo, the Syrian city that has been bombed several times over the last few months. Courtesy of MSNBC

“Obviously [not knowing about Aleppo] wasn’t the best thing to happen to his campaign, but I think the fact that he gave a honest and valid explanation for his error was incredibly mature and respectable,” Abecassis said. “I don’t think we would see the same from the other candidates.”

The other candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, are preparing for their first debate next Monday.

The CPD has determined that third party candidates may only participate in the General Election debates if they have at least 15 percent of likely voters.

“Even though 62 percent of Americans want Johnson included in the debates, the CPD still decided to exclude him,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery and several other students plan on going to Washington D.C. this Wednesday, Sept. 21 to protest in front of the Commission on Presidential Debates building to let Johnson debate with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump next week. The protest will be at 1200 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Montgomery said.