George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is realistic about his slim chances of actually capturing the White House, especially since he didn’t qualify for the general election debates.
“Regrettably, the attention I did not get in the debates, it’s real,” Johnson conceded in an interview with ABC News on Monday.
But, he said, “You never give up.”
With two weeks left to go before Election Day, Johnson is focusing his time and attention on those states where he sees he’s greatest strength: New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Alaska, Maine, and New Hampshire.
Johnson is, however, redefining what a victory would be for his candidacy.
If, for example, Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, capture at least 5 percent of the popular vote nationally in the presidential race, the Libertarian Party would qualify for public funding in future races, which could help it pay for all the work necessary to achieve ballot access in the states.
“That’s a Herculean accomplishment really to get on the ballot in all 50 states,” Johnson said.
While the Libertarian Party did get on the ballot in all the states in 2016 — the only third party to achieve that feat in this election — it would be more likely to repeat that feat if it got an infusion of public funding.
Another possible victory for Johnson — and one that could actually lead to the Oval Office — would require that he win at least one state and that Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each fail to win 270 Electoral College votes. That would punt the final decision to the House of Representatives.
The House would consider the three candidates with the most Electoral College votes.
“I think I would be the compromise candidate if it goes beyond one vote” in the House, Johnson postured, while admitting that the possibility of such a scenario is “obviously very convoluted” and remote.
Johnson maintains that U.S. politics are “rigged” in favor of a two-party system, but he rejects Trump’s notion that the election itself could be rigged.
“He’s talking about anarchy,” Johnson said of the possibility that Trump may not accept the outcome of the election.
“When it comes to counting Electoral [College] votes, when it comes to counting votes in individual states that individual states are responsible for, I think it’s a non-issue, it’s just a continuation of all the things he says that make no sense,” Johnson said of the Republican nominee.
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