During Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, who was shut out of the debate, provided live online reactions on Google+.. Johnson became the preferred choice of the Liberty Movement after Ron Paul declined to run on a third-party ticket after being defeated by Romney for the Republican nomination. The former New Mexico governor offered commentary during last night's debate via Twitter as well, after a lawsuit he filed seeking inclusion in the debate failed. Whether he will do any additional crowd-surfing between now and the election remains to be seen:
8:17pm: New Mexico elected Gary Johnson twice as governor. Come November, it will have likely voted for Obama twice as well. Does this mean that the Libertarian Party is ideologically closer to the Democratic Party than the Republican Party... even though Johnson was a Republican back then? Probably not, but it's an interesting thought experiment.
7:44pm: Live-blogging from a bar could be dangerous. Too much drink available, and spotty wifi. Stay tuned.
6:58pm: Little-known fact: Back during the Republican primaries, the Most Interesting Man in the World endorsed Gary Johnson:
Stay thirsty, my friends.
6:53pm: Ron Paul looks like he's standing pat on not endorsing any candidate for office. Ideologically he stands with Johnson, but may be reluctant to buck the GOP out of concern for his Rand, who might face repercussions. Politics is indeed a nasty game.
6:35pm: One of the great paradoxes of American politics is that the two major parties are consistently held in extremely low regard, and yet the vast majority of voters continue to accept the two party system. Sad to say, many Americans have learned to live with the "lesser of two evils" approach to voting, which is a very dangerous premise.
6:25pm: Here are all of Gary Johnson's responses from that time he was actually allowed into the Republican presidential debate:
5:50pm: Here's the list of Libertarian Party nominees for president, and how they performed in the general election. If you're a squeamish Libertarian Party member, I suggest you not look. Notice the vice presidential nominee in 1980. Koch, a self-described libertarian, supports Romney's bid for the presidency and held a $50,000 per person fundraiser for Romney in the Hamptons in July.
5:46pm: If Gary Johnson were to somehow win the presidential election, Ron Paul would do this:
5:26pm: Gary Johnson wins the award for most intense presidential campaign ad of 2012:
5:12pm: The banner behind Johnson is this photo is sadly just one of the reasons he's not taken seriously by the two major parties, or the mainstream media:
In case you were wondering, NORML stands for National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
4:42pm: Here's 1988 Libertarian Party nominee Ron Paul (you might have heard of him), speaking back then on a libertarian presidency. It pretty much all still applies today:
4:25pm: So far, two debate sponsors have withdrawn from the first presidential debate to protest Johnson's exclusion from it. The Philips Corporation and the YWCA dropped their sponsorship after being indundated with emails and phone calls from Johnson supporters, reports U.S. News.
4:06pm: Are you going?
PolicyMic will be covering Johnson's reactions live, as well as provide third-party insight on tonight's debate, which features only the Democratic and Republican nominees. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes them, requires that presidential candidates poll at a minimum of 15% in a major national poll as a condition for inclusion in debates. This is an enormously high barrier for third parties, which are already at a major disadvantage when it comes to press coverage.
In addition to Johnson, other candidates include Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who ran unsuccessfully against Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial race, and Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, a former Republican Congressman for Virginia 5th district. Goode was almost booted from Virginia's state ballot after state Republican Party of Virginia, which is concerned that Goode will siphon votes from Romney in this crucial swing state, challenged the legitimacy of the petition Goode's campaign submitted to the Virginia State Board of Elections. But Goode will remain on the ballot after Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office found nothing that would justify Goode's being kept off the ticket. At last check, the conservative Goode was polling around 2% — an insignificant number for him, but one that could loom large for Romney in a state where he just so happens to trail Obama by 2%, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.