The Republican Primary has a long way to go but 3rd party possibilities are lingering this year with stronger chances than ever. This is not saying much but if Ron Paul has proven anything, it is that there is an opening. There are two big names on the libertarian front: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson was involved in only a couple Republican debates and there were a couple interesting moments. At one point they asked candidates who they would support if they if they were not running. Johnson was first up and said Ron Paul, which makes sense because he voted for Paul in 2008. When it came to Paul he said he would have to see where the candidates stood at the end of the race. Johnson probably did not expect an endorsement but that had to sting. Gary Johnson is in line with most all of what Paul says regarding what the role of government should be, the military, drug war and so on. The only clear difference would be on abortion but both concede it should be a state issue like everything else. Paul also forgot about Johnson when he challenged the other candidates to a bike race in Texas, which Johnson would win (Newt Gingrich–not so much).
It was telling though because some supporters of Gary Johnson were probably gaming for a Paul/Johnson ticket. Gary Johnson is a great candidate to beat Obama & Romney but only if he has the full support of the Ron Paul crowd. This could probably only fully occur with an endorsement but it is difficult to imagine that happening or Paul even bowing out after Republican race. An endorsement from Paul is unexpected but for Johnson to have any chance Ron Paul must stop after GOP bid.
Gary Johnson said when announcing he was defecting from the GOP to run for the Libertarian Party,
While Ron Paul is a good man and a libertarian who I proudly endorsed for president in 2008, there is no guarantee he will be the Republican nominee.
He is obviously trying to keep the door open, with that quote, to Paul winning or also running 3rd party. A Ron Paul-Gary Johnson ticket would technically be the best 3rd party ticket right now. Two bike riders to talk about various facets of the Libertarian philosophy is a perfect scenario.
But let’s look at potential…
If Ron Paul decided not to run for a 3rd party, a Gary Johnson-Rand Paul ticket would be a dream team. The problem is, Rand Paul is a TEA Party Republican Senator and I think he likes to be a Republican Senator. With a Johnson/Rand Paul ticket he could enjoy, instead, being VP. In my world Johnson would be President and Rand VP because Rand Paul could use the experience. This could all be outside the realm of remote possibility but it would start out at 20% support nationally right away. After that, Johnson could chisel away at the liberal leaning crowd and Rand Paul is loved by Republicans more than his dad. On top of all of that, you would have Ron Paul campaigning and shift all of his resources to making it happen. If anybody has any better suggestions please share. Or is this just impossible for some reason unbeknownst to me?