On Friday, the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board announced its endorsement of Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. Its reasoning has one glaring flaw.
While the publication goes through lengthy reason for arriving at its conclusion, there is one glaring point that it makes. The editorial board starts by criticizing both major parties as ignoring the American mainstream.
It then launches into its reasoning, first speaking about the Republican Party nominee Donald Trump, the paper delivers a stinging rebuke. In March of this year, the paper had been clear that it would not — and could not — endorse Trump. In Friday’s endorsement of Johnson, it was clear that “in the intervening six-plus months he has splendidly reinforced our verdict” in March. It noted that Trump had gone out of his way to “anger world leaders, giant swaths of the American public, and people of other lands who aspire to immigrate here legally. He has neither the character nor the prudent disposition for the job.”
Importantly, the paper also notes that there is nothing Republican about Donald Trump — a position which is in part because it is true, and in part one of the ways that Republicans use to distance themselves from Trump. “The mystery and shame of Trump’s rise — we have red, white and blue coffee mugs that are more genuinely Republican,” the paper continues.
While acknowledging the anger and frustration many feel with the political establishment, it is clear that “inaugurating a bombastic and self-aggrandizing President Donald Trump isn’t the cure.”
Then, it moves on to the Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. In great contrast to its assault on Trump, the paper actually states that Hillary Clinton
“is undeniably capable of leading the United States. Electing her the first woman president would break a barrier that has no reason to be. We see no rough equivalence between Trump and Clinton. Any American who lists their respective shortcomings should be more apoplectic about the litany under his name than the one under hers. He couldn’t do this job. She could.”
The Tribune then launches into the reasons that it believes Johnson is the superior choice to Clinton. And therein lies THE most important point that the paper makes. It sees this race one not between Clinton and Trump, but one between Clinton and Johnson. And in a perfect world, that would certainly be the case. The Republican party has certainly turned itself into a fringe party with the vast majority of the party simply clinging on in the hopes that at least some of their agenda is addressed and with a stubborn reluctance to join another party be it the Democratic or Libertarian party.
Aside from stubborn Republicans — and Democrats, although they have much less reason to — who will not move over, he Libertarian Party simply has not had and will not have — for the foreseeable future — more than single digit support of the American people. There are many reasons for that, none of which it addresses between elections. After all, it says a lot about the Libertarian party’s depth when their ticket is two former Republican governors.
The point is that until the Libertarian Party does what it needs to do in the four years between elections — and the list of those things is long enough for a book — it will not win any presidential election.
And there is where the Chicago Tribune is wrong. The Libertarian Party is — and has been — a protest vote because it is invisible to the vast majority — over 90% — of the American population until an objectionable candidate emerges in one or both of the major parties. That is simply not a viable party.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.