— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) June 30, 2016
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, released a new campaign video Thursday asking Americans one thing: if you do not want Hillary Clinton, if you do not want Donald Trump, if you want candidates who have “credible, proven, capable, honest” records… then are you in?
Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico (1995-2003), and Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts (1991-1997), each tout their records as state executives in the video. Johnson states that as governor he “vetoed wasteful spending 750 times, cut taxes 14 times, and left the state with new highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, and a billion-dollar surplus without raising taxes a penny.”
Weld states that he “cut taxes 21 times, and took unemployment from the highest rate among the 11 industrialized states to the lowest.” Johnson adds that Weld did that in his first term. Both men highlight the fact that they were able to do this and win re-election in landslide victories in Democrat states.
The video was viewed by over 1.2 million people and shared over 35,000 times on Facebook in the first 12 hours. Though both served as Republican governors, Johnson and Weld say they support marriage equality, a woman’s right to choose, Internet freedom, “intelligent immigration reform,” small, efficient government, personal freedom, getting government out of the voter’s pocketbook and bedroom, and ending the wars to use those dollars here at home.
The video draws clear distinctions in their fundamental platform from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both of whom are referred to as “Clintrump” in the video.
The current presumptive nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties are broadly unpopular, as numerous surveys and opinion polls from several polling groups show. A Washington Post-ABC News Poll in June found that 7 in 10 respondents looked at Trump unfavorably, while 55 percent have an unfavorable view of Clinton.
According to the latest Real Clear Political average, in a 4-way race between Trump, Clinton, Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Johnson is polling at an average of 7.8 percent, though this number has increased from 4.5 percent in late May. Neither Trump nor Clinton poll anywhere close to a majority, with Clinton just under 42 percent and Trump under 37.
Looking at the current polling trends, there is a clear opening for a third party candidate to insert themselves in the national narrative, which has mostly been dominated by the Republican and Democratic parties. Johnson and Weld believe they can capitalize on this by capturing the “broad middle,” which they believe are consistently socially liberal and fiscally conservative.