This guy could choose the next President – it could even be him!

According to the latest polls*, Gary Johnson is the choice of 12% of Americans to be their next President behind Hillary Clinton on 39% and Donald Trump at 36%.

Gary is a former governor of New Mexico who is the presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, presenting himself as a sane alternative to Trump and a chilled-out alternative to Clinton.

Libertarians are against government interference in our personal and business lives. In the US, their emphasis is on letting the “free market” run the economy, which is why most American libertarians are -- or wanna-be -- rich business people. Johnson is a business dude who took time out from his job as CEO of a company called Cannabis Sativa Inc. to run for President. The company creates products made from weed as increasingly liberal laws passed across the USA allow them to.

So how come a candidate hardly anyone knows is already over 10% in the polls? Because Trump and Clinton turn so many voters off, and because many of Johnson’s policies appeal to Bernie Sanders’ voters, so he picks up followers from all three of them.

And how come Johnson might get even higher in the polls very soon? Because Libertarianism’s richest backers are extremely rich: David Koch, net-worth over $30 billion, was Libertarian candidate for Vice-President in 1980, and is considering committing hundreds of millions of bucks from his own bank accounts and his pals’, to back Gary and his running mate William Weld. Weld is a rock-ribbed member of the American aristocracy and was governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s. If Johnson-Weld can get up to 15% in the polls they will qualify to participate in the Presidential candidates’ debates alongside Hillary and Donald, and if they can win just one state on election day (November 5th), they could throw the election into new and unchartered waters.

How could they win a state? Technically, Americans don’t directly elect the President – each state counts their citizens’ votes, and announces who won their state, meaning who got the most votes. Each state has a number of “electoral college” votes equal to how many members they have in the Congress, and the candidate who gets 270 or more of these 538 votes becomes President, BUT…

…the huge BUT this year is that if Johnson wins his “own” state, New Mexico, he would have 5 electoral votes. It’s quite possible Clinton could have 268 votes by winning the coastal states that Democrats usually win, and Trump could collect 267 from the pro-Republican middle and southern states – meaning no candidate has the magic 270. Johnson could also win Colorado, a pro-pot state, and make a deadlock even more likely. Now Gary could take advice from his backers and hand over his crucial handful of votes to Clinton or Trump in exchange for … what? Making David Koch Secretary of the Treasury and Gary’s running mate William Weld Vice-President (there is no law saying the Prez and Vice-Prez must be from the same party), or something more vile and/or bizarre.

But if the electoral college is deadlocked, the Constitution says the House of Reps has to decide and the decision will be made by each of the 50 states having just one vote. So California, with 53 members of the House, and Wyoming, with one, will each have one vote. And (it gets weirder) they must choose from the top THREE candidates, ie Clinton, Trump or Johnson. And this vote will be made by the Congress elected in November, so no one knows how many Democrats or Republicans there’ll be in each state delegation.

Given how much the Republican members hate Hillary Clinton and the fact that zero Democratic members would vote for Trump, they might just compromise on … Gary Johnson. The pot-loving dude who’s climbed the highest mountains on each of the seven continents (truly) and responded to Trump calling his rival Senator Cruz “a pussy” by calling Trump “a pussy”. Just sayin’, Gary’s no dreamboat.

The Green Party is also on the presidential ballot in every state and their candidate Jill Stein is climbing up the polls, and more pollsters are now including the Greens and Libertarians in their sampling, which is a big new thing.

And then there’s the possibility Bernie Sanders gets himself on the ballot in a few states, Vermont for example, and triggers the same deadlock, and then … well, all bets were already off right?  

 

Meanwhile … HILLARY and BERNIE

Contrary to nearly every talking head you’ve heard, Hillary Clinton is not yet the Democratic nominee. Like Trump, she has to make it to the election without being indicted for a crime, and she has to hold on to the 715 “super-delegates” – Washington insiders mostly loyal to the Clintons -- whose job is to keep crazy candidates, like a guy who calls himself a socialist, from being chosen by the people who voted in the primaries.

Sanders, whose wife Jane has said straight up that she and Bern will vote for Hillary if that’s the way it goes, will focus on making Clinton commit to more government money for the common-good and less for the corporate gods.

 __________________

And about the Australian July 2nd election … more ECONOMIC UNINTELLIGENCE

TurnbullMorrison keep saying “jobs and growth” but not explaining where these tired ol’ unholy grails will come from. They say they know how business works and Labor doesn’t. ABC 7:30’s Leigh Sales reminded Turnbull last week that he’d promised to treat us voters like intelligent adults, in contrast to Abbott who treated us like dust bunnies, and the PM replied that “some people have got comfortable jobs and are feeling happy and certain in their destiny”. He got a tiny bit more specific, stating his plan to fix the economy was “innovation, defence industry investment, the export trade deals, employment programs, and business tax cuts.” So…that’s innovation spearheaded by budget cuts to our most successful innovation outfit the CSRIO; defence spending, which benefits most citizens only if there’s a war; trade deals which submit us to rule by foreign-based multinationals; and business tax cuts which have been shown to bring almost no benefit to the masses.

Meanwhile, we learned last week that the 12 French submarines Turnbull ordered, for $60 billion, are the wrong ones. According to the pro-Coalition Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) last week, “the capabilities required for our future submarine would in many ways be better performed by nuclear-powered boats”. Turnbull & Co. could point out that the very same poobahs at the ASPI said last year that people who argued “we should have ‘gone nuclear’” were “hysterical”.

Turnbull’s big fat business skills not looking so good.

 

*CNN June 10th Fox News June 10th IBD/TIPP June 6th

Phillip FrazerComment