When MSNBC's colossal bore, Chris Matthews, sprung his gotcha question on poor, befuddled Gary Johnson about what foreign leader he admires and looks up to– is there one YOU admire and look up to?– he succeeded in getting himself into the next day's news flow. But did he succeed in making a dent in Johnson's 7% national support? Probably not. I'd wager that Johnson's fans like him a lot more than they like the annoyingly shrill get-off-my-lawn asshole Chris Matthews. According to Quinnipiac almost 30% of voters under 35 said they would vote for Johnson. That's gargantuan– and a very real problem for Hillary.
What Matthews and others on Team Hillary don't seem to grok is that the vast majority of people who are willing to vote for Johnson (or Stein or McMullin), aren't voting for them because they think they should or will become president– or even necessarily because they want them to be. It's a very legitimate expression among young people that they are dissatisfied with the lesser-of-two evils choice the two dysfunctional careerist mainstream parties are offering. Is that so crazy?
What is crazy, however, is that any Bernie backers would show their displeasure with Clinton and Trump by backing Johnson rather than Stein. Stein basically agrees with everything Bernie stands for. Berniecrats in safe blue states like California, New York, Maryland, Hawaii and safe red states like Alabama, Idaho, Wyoming and North Dakota should vote for Stein. It's a luxury they and the country can afford. Voting for Johnson is a poorly conceived protest that won't do anyone any good at all.
It's not about Aleppo or other gaffes. Is it just because Johnson is a pot head? Is that the criterion? What millennial voters might want to consider before they waste a good protest vote on Johnson is that he's, at heart, just a somewhat stoned Republican who wants to repeal Obamacare, derides Hillary and Bernie for wanting to bring back free college tuition in public universities and, as Colbert pointed out above, is a Climate Change neanderthal. On top of that, he totally backs the Citizens United decision which allows the free flow of dark money into politics, backs NAFTA, CAFTA and the TPP, says private prisons are part of the solution rather than part of the criminal justice problem and– most Republican of all– wants to cut federal programs to the bone and cut taxes for the very wealthy. Just scratching the surface shows someone who disagrees with millennials on just about every important issue (but pot).
When really clueless hard-core Republican editorial boards, like the Chicago Tribune or the Detroit News, know they can't endorse Trump and won't endorse Hillary, they go for the implausible Johnson. “Today,” crowed the editors of the Detroit News, “this newspaper does something it has never done in its 143-year history: endorse someone other than the Republican candidate in a presidential contest.” Yep, every cockamamie Republican since 1873. “We abandon that long and estimable tradition this year for one reason: Donald J. Trump.” They actually cite permission from the Koch brothers to do this! And they then went on to tell their readers that Trump is “unprincipled, unstable and quite possibly dangerous. He can not be president.” OK, so they then made it easier for that to happen by urging those readers to waste their votes on Johnson and calling it “an endorsement of conscience, reflecting our confidence that Johnson would be a competent and capable president and an honorable one.”
The right-wing Chicago Tribube did much the same this morning. “The Republicans,” the editorial board whined, collectively, “have nominated Donald Trump, a man not fit to be president of the United States. We first wrote on March 10 that we would not, could not, endorse him. And in the intervening six-plus months he has splendidly reinforced our verdict: Trump has 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. The mystery and shame of Trump's rise… is the party's inability or unwillingness to repulse his hostile takeover.” They wrote that Johnson's anti-progressive agenda “appeals not only to the Tribune's principles but to those of the many Americans who say they are socially tolerant but fiscally responsible.” In other words, someone from the Greed and Selfishness wing of the Republican Party, which is what the Chicago Tribune has always represented. They usually play footsie with the Hatred and Bigotry wing of the party but… Trump just takes it a tad too far for them.
We can't afford a Trump presidency. So voters in swing states like Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, New Hampshire, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado– and even folks up in the Alagash, down in Lewiston-Auburn or those crazy and wild college students in Bangor, Bar Harbor, Presque Isle and Orono– just need to get a clothespin and help rescue the country from the MUCH greater and more existential evil. Everyone else: Jill Stein.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis