DORAL — Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld are campaigning in Miami-Dade County today, trying to build support for the Nov. 8 election but — more immediately — for a spot on the debate stage next month with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Former Republican New Mexico Gov. Johnson and former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Weld taped a one-hour appearance on Spanish-language Univision this afternoon and are scheduled to appear at Florida International University in the evening.
“We do believe that we occupy this big six-lane highway down the middle here, and our pitch is, you elect Trump, you elect Clinton, it’s going to be more polarized than ever. And anybody that thinks otherwise is dreaming. So what if you elect a couple of Libertarians?” Johnson said.
The key to Johnson’s hopes is getting a spot with Clinton and Trump in the presidential debates, which begin Sept. 26. The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates requires a candidate to average 15 percent support in five national polls selected by the commission.
Johnson is currently at 8.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls. But he’s optimistic that will improve if he can boost his name-recognition in the coming weeks.
“Right now I think we’re at about 30 percent name familiarity. Based on those numbers, the more people know us the more people ought to vote for us,” Johnson said in a brief interview after the Univision taping.
If he makes it into the debates, Johnson said, “Anything can happen after that. But to not be in the debate, I can predict the outcome: We’re not going to win the race.”
Johnson took positions against gun control and federal involvement in student loans and said he supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other international trade measures that both Trump and Clinton have opposed. Johnson said states should decide marijuana policy. He said he favors abortion rights and opposes efforts by some states to allow businesses to deny services to lesbians and gays if they assert moral objections.
Johnson said he’s also open to a “carbon tax” to reduce carbon emissions.
“You could implement a carbon tax that really isn’t going to be revenue-generating as much as it is going to be self-regulating, that you would actually reduce carbon emission through a tax like that and ultimately reduce costs and compliance…to reduce carbon emissions.”
Johnson said Clinton is “about bigger government” and overly “hawkish” on military policy. Weld, with Johnson’s apparent agreement, said Trump lacks the temperament to be president.
Host Jorge Ramos asked: “Do you think that Trump is a racist?”
Johnson’s reply: “Based on what he has said, yes.”