Clinton and Trump are detested—and another candidate has something to sayby Sam Tanenhaus / September 15, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The most telling statistics in the 2016 presidential election are those showing how intensely Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are disliked. Opposites in almost every way, they meet on the precipice of public loathing and now seem handcuffed together as they plunge towards the abyss.
“Historically bad image ratings” were reported by Gallup in July: Clinton got a “highly unfavourable” rating from 33 per cent of respondents, Trump from 42 per cent. Two months later, the Washington Post put Clinton’s unfavourable score at 56 per cent—unthinkably high for a candidate normally, but still better than Trump’s 63 per cent.
“Logic and sermons never convince,” Walt Whitman wrote long ago. But arithmetic will kindle searching young minds, enamoured of data. “Nearly three-quarters of millennials would like a third-party candidate to win office,” a teenager, Eliza Jane Schaeffer, who is preparing to cast her first-ever presidential vote, wrote in Kentucky’s Louisville Courier-Journal. More than one in five millennials, she added, had made their decision.
Their choice? Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, who is running on the Libertarian ticket. The first time Johnson ran for president, in 2012, he got under 1 per cent. Now he’s polling above 10 per cent, within reach of the 15 per cent he’ll need to qualify for the first presidential debate, which tens of millions will watch. When Johnson and his impressive running mate, William Weld, also a popular former governor, did a “town hall meeting” in…