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With their own party more or less onside, Johnson and Weld can shift  their focus to Clinton and Trump, who, for all their weaknesses, are more formidable propositions than the likes of Starchild and Daryl Perry. The Libertarians have already achieved what Johnson identified as their first goal: inclusion in the polls. National polls have generally only asked respondents about the two major-party candidates. In the five weeks after the Orlando convention, however, Johnson appears in five of seven national polls — and he does well, averaging ten per cent.

Fifteen is the magic number for him. The Commission on Presidential Debates stipulates that candidates must be included in the televised debates if they have ballot access in enough states for it to be mathematically possible for them to win, a hurdle the Libertarians have already cleared, and have the support of 15 per cent of the electorate according to at least five different polling companies. An appearance alongside Trump and Clinton would be as good an opportunity as Libertarians could wish for to broadcast ideals they are confident chime with millions of Americans. Johnson’s lack of visible hunger for power and relaxed candidness would probably come across well alongside Trump’s egotism and Clinton’s wooden style. There are, however, limits to Johnson’s appeal. For disgruntled Republicans, the Libertarian platform contains the same faults they identify in Trump. Those turned off by the Republican candidate’s incoherent isolationism won’t find refuge with Libertarians, for whom isolationism (though they wouldn’t call it that) is a core belief. Equally, Sanders supporters might agree with Johnson on marijuana legalisation, but they will find very little they like in his robust defence of the free market.

Yet these limits apply only to the extent that voters hold a coherent set of beliefs and make a rational choice when they cast their ballot. If this year has taught us anything, it is that politics isn’t linear and that votes move in unpredictable directions. That is not to say that Gary Johnson is on the way to the White House — but he is going somewhere.

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