Why Donald Trump should push for Gary Johnson debate inclusion

It’s all but certain at this point that Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson won’t make the debate stage. His polling numbers have slipped a bit after he danced a little bit in the double digits and the 15% threshold has become a longer shot. This seals the deal for the usual two-party presidential debate, this time with Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.


But what if there was a holdout? What if a candidate stepped back and refused to participate until a clearly popular candidate is included as well? Enter Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is in a world of trouble right now as the ongoing e-mail scandal grows worse with each passing day. She didn’t know the meaning of “C” (classified), had mobile devices destroyed, and entire e-mail accounts wiped. Richard Nixon was forced to resign for less.

Yet Clinton keeps winning. Though her poll numbers are starting to slip, time is running out and Trump still lags behind. This is where Libertarian Gary Johnson comes in.

Although a Libertarian Party candidate, Johnson has sold himself as a moderate alternative who tilts a bit to the left. He scolds reporters for using the term “illegal immigrant” because it’s deemed offensive, supports marijuana decriminalization, and is generally more favorable to LGBT rights. A lot of Johnson’s appeal is more to the left, whether it be Hillary Clinton supporters or Democrats who are opposed to Trump but nervous about Clinton.

Johnson has also been shown to pull more from the left than the right, even beating Clinton among voters who identify as Independent.

And it’s for this reason Trump should refuse to participate in the debates unless Gary Johnson is allowed on the debate stage.


It’s a bad spot to put the Democratic nominee in. Clinton could rip Trump for refusing to debate with some excuses about how he is afraid to participate, but it would be a clear lie. At that point, does Clinton formally go on the record as opposing debate inclusion and open elections?

Getting Johnson on the debate stage would mean legitimizing an alternative for the left and chipping away at Clinton’s vote. This benefits Trump.

To say that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson could become President may or may not be a long shot. But in appearing on the ballot in all fifty states and polling strong for a third party candidate, he’s shown himself to be a stronger third party candidate than what his party and others are used to.

Johnson’s core issues and campaign will not appeal to conservatives supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. They will appeal to potential Hillary Clinton supporters and Democrats who are nervous about supporting her, but staunchly oppose Trump.

Boosting Johnson, a candidate who steals votes from Clinton, would only serve to help Trump at this stage of the game. With the gap starting to slim, although still in Clinton’s favor, a boost for Johnson would help cut her down.

Trump wins, Johnson makes the debate stage, and the Libertarian Party moves forward. All while stopping the Democratic Party from putting an incompetent and corrupt politician in the Oval Office.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.

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