By all accounts — or at least all the accounts that are actually worth listening to — this election looks like it might be heading for a photo finish. Hopefully, it'll be a Polaroid photo and not something we'll have to send that photo off to Congress of the Supreme Court for developing.
With that in mind, there is very little room for mistakes from here on out. From either candidate. Romney got to make all his his mistakes over the course of the last 15 months, and Obama hurried up and crammed them all into one abysmal debate. So, that's it. No more. One candidate stubs his toe on camera, and it's all over.
That why, all of a sudden, that Gary Johnson guy whom Republicans were having so much fun ignoring — the former-Republican who's currently running for president at the top of the Libertarian ticket — is suddenly not quite as funny as he once was…
Around the country, Republican operatives have been making moves to keep Mr. Johnson from becoming their version of Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate whose relatively modest support cut into Al Gore’s 2000 vote arguably enough to help hand the decisive states of Ohio and Florida to George W. Bush…
Libertarians suspect it is why Republican state officials in Michigan blocked Mr. Johnson from the ballot after he filed proper paperwork three minutes after his filing deadline.
And it is why Republicans in Pennsylvania hired a private detective to investigate his ballot drive in Philadelphia, appearing at the homes of paid canvassers and, in some cases, flashing an F.B.I. badge — he was a retired agent — while asking to review the petitions they gathered at $1 a signature, according to testimony in the case and interviews.
Sure, you can try to keep Johnson off the ballot all you want, but all he needs is to be on one ballot in one crucial swing state and get pull in just enough, and he's made his statement. There's really not all that much you can do, aside from not doing anything incredibly stupid to agitate Republicans who are looking for an excuse to cast a protest vote.
Well, I mean, from here on out.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Gary Johnson, Libertarian, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Third Party