The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 26, and Gary Johnson is conducting a last-minute push in an attempt to qualify as a participant.
The Commission on Presidential Debates requires that any candidate must reach an average of 15 percent in five national polls to participate in the nationally televised series of debates, and Johnson is currently just below 9 percent with two polls left to go, according to The Associated Press.
To try to boost his numbers in the two remaining polls, Johnson is travelling around the country campaigning in states like Maine, Florida, and Washington. If he can’t get between 20 percent and 25 percent in the last two polls, he won’t hit his target.
It’s possible that recent events have moved him in the wrong direction, however. Last week, Johnson drew attention for not knowing about Aleppo, a Syrian city that has been besieged by the Syrian regime for the last five years. Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped in Aleppo without food or defenses against the artillery, bombs, and possibly even chemical weapons being used to fight in the region, according to NPR.
Johnson simply said he “blanked” on the name of the city, but the gaffe raised questions about his fitness to handle world affairs and may have hurt his credibility as a major candidate for president. Johnson will be on the ballot in 49 states plus Washington, D.C., said the Libertarian Party. He may still get on the ballot in Rhode Island before the election as well.
His running mate, Bill Weld, asserts that the majority of Americans think Johnson should be allowed to debate even if he doesn’t get to 15 percent in the polls. According to a Suffolk University poll conducted for USA Today, 76 percent of the likely voters polled thought a third-party candidate that was certified on a majority of state ballots should be included in debates.
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