Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said he is comfortable with his decision to run even if he turns out to take votes from Democrat Hillary Clinton — securing a victory for Republican Donald Trump.
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric asked the former New Mexico governor to address a concern among some voters that most third-party candidates hear on the campaign trail: the possibility that his presence on the ballot would result in a spoiler effect.
“If, in fact, your candidacy helps Donald Trump become president of the United States, are you comfortable with that?” Couric asked.
Johnson, who is extremely critical of the nation’s two-party system, did not immediately talk about the possibility of a Trump victory. Instead, he brought up how he’s giving independents another option.
“Here’s what I’m comfortable with,” he said, “is that right now I am leading among independents and right now 50 percent of Americans who are going to register to vote are registering as independents. 50 percent! That’s amazing. Where’s their representation? Well, right now, I’m leading in that category.”
He also said he’s tied with Clinton among millennials and predicted that he may even surpass her for youth support by Nov. 8. But Couric returned to her initial concern about being a spoiler candidate.
“If that doesn’t happen, governor, though,” she said, “and let’s just say you are siphoning votes primarily from Hillary Clinton and you help put Donald Trump over the finish line, will you feel comfortable with that?”
“I’m feeling really comfortable about offering people their first vote,” he responded.
Couric beseeched Johnson to answer her question, and he insisted that he was. He started to say that it’s irrelevant whether or not his campaign inadvertently helps Trump, before finally acquiescing.
“Absolutely, Katie. Absolutely. I’m going to sleep well at night. I could[n’t] care less about Democrats and Republicans. I think they’ve lost touch with America.”
He contended he was polling ahead of Clinton and Trump among active military personnel — likely referencing a poll conducted by Doctrine Man — and believes that this is based upon his ideas, particularly regarding the use of the U.S. military.
“I feel great about my life. I feel great about my life. I feel great about this endeavor,” he said.
No matter the outcome, Johnson said, his team is going to continue to address the issues that need to be talked about in the United States. He accused Clinton and Trump of ignoring the need to reduce military spending and to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Johnson suggested that everything is not “just rosy” in the U.S. with the regular two parties running things.
“It’s not an option to do nothing when so many issues are facing this country.”