OC Register: Let Gary Johnson debate

From the Orange County Register Masthead/logo of the Orange County Register (text only) on August 1:

“So it’s settled: Hillary Clinton will square off against Donald Trump, in a full-tilt general election poised to become a hall of horrors for Americans seeking constructive debate. The tone was set this week by Trump’s suggestion that if the Russians find Clinton’s ‘lost’ emails, they turn them in to the FBI — leading Team Clinton to decry the scenario as a national security threat. Soon to be confronted with formal televised debates between these two unprecedented candidates, Americans could almost be excused for tuning out now and saving what’s left of their sanity.

“But there is a better option — indeed, as the debates are concerned, the only option: let Gary Johnson in. Don’t worry; the Libertarian candidate, a successful former governor with no ethics cloud or security problems, won’t make a mockery of things like third-party figures of yore, who typically lack the chops or the bearing to fit in with the big names.

“More to the point, he’s the only person on planet Earth — literally — who could break the debates out of what’s otherwise sure to shape up as a lurid, protracted death hug. Trump and Clinton, two monstrously unpopular egomaniacs driven by circumstance to defame one another, actually share a past so chummy and privileged it’s unseemly in its own right. Whatever train wreck or bloodsport value their televised faceoffs may have will be fully eclipsed by the psychic damage they do to American politics and the American people. Johnson has no part in this madness and yet he’s the most seasoned and mainstream third party candidate who would ever hit the stage. Amid the rancor and clamor of Trump and Clinton, his is a voice many will clutch like a life preserver, regardless of its specific content. And no mean number of voters will also notice he sometimes offers more pleasant and palpable views to the right and left of center than either Clinton or Trump, both of whom struggle with principle.

“This is no pipe dream. Although neither Trump nor Clinton shows any sign of a coming collapse, voter dissatisfaction with these choices remains high. The two are tied at around 40 percent in the polls; at least a third of Republicans are unhappy with Trump, and a quarter of Democrats with Clinton. ‘In a development not seen in any modern presidential contest, more than half of all voters hold unfavorable views of the two major party candidates and large majorities say neither is honest and trustworthy,’ the New York Times reported. ‘Only half of voters say Mrs. Clinton is prepared to be president, while an astonishing two-thirds say that Mr. Trump is not ready for the job — including four in 10 Republicans.’”

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