In August, the Republican Party establishment violated its own rules by disenfranchising Ron Paul supporters and squelching dissenting voices now and in the future in order to assure the nomination of Mitt Romney for president.
As Election Day draws near, the same coterie of kingmakers has set their sights on the ballots in all 50 states, filing legal challenges to the presence of third-party candidates that might siphon off voters in the tight race for the White House.
One candidate targeted for ballot exclusion is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president.
Although registering “only a blip in the polls,” Johnson’s name recognition and national prominence is rising and his name will appear on the ballot in every state except Michigan and Oklahoma.
This crescendo must worry the Republican Party, although Reince Priebus, the national Republican Party chairman, is quoted in a New York Times article calling Johnson a “nonfactor.” The Times also quotes Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, saying that their campaign’s sole focus was on defeating President Obama and that “voters understand the stakes are high, and if they want to change the trajectory of this country, they’ll vote for Romney.”
Despite this official disregard of Johnson, the lawsuits continue being filed. Recently, Johnson and the party he represents scored a significant courtroom victory when a judge in Pennsylvania ruled that four Libertarian Party candidates — including Johnson — may remain on the ballot in Pennsylvania. This put an end to an attempt by the Keystone State’s Republican Party to block the country’s largest third party from keeping spots on the November ballot.
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Photo of Gary Johnson: AP Images