In a surprise result, 15 percent of economists polled by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) said Gary Johnson would be the best candidate to manage the American economy. Only 14 percent of the economists said the same of Donald Trump, while 55 percent supported Hillary Clinton.
NABE is, as its name suggests, a business-oriented group, so the fact that Johnson outpolled Trump is somewhat shocking. Johnson is a third-party candidate, after all, and he is from a party that tends to support major economic reform.
Some reasons for this result might include Johnson’s plan to deregulate the economy, which is more structured than any ideas that Trump has presented. Trump also has a history of supporting liberal economic policies, which could have hurt his popularity among the economists surveyed.
For another thing, Johnson’s libertarian policies include substantial economic deregulation, which could benefit businesses across the board, and make it easier for enterprising Americans to start their own businesses. Johnson’s libertarian stance also signals that he is pro-business, and that he is very unlikely to institute reforms, such as price controls, that would harm them.
The fact that Johnson performed so well in this poll is a good sign for his campaign, as it could lend him a sense of legitimacy among business-oriented voters. Since many Republicans and conservatives care about encouraging businesses large and small, this poll may persuade them to vote for Johnson instead of Trump.
Libertarianism is an appealing political philosophy because it prizes personal freedom above all else. Libertarians are staunchly in favor of freedom of speech, Second Amendment rights, and economic deregulation. Libertarians also support free-market economies, sometimes to such an extent that they advocate the abolition of taxes and the public school system.
While some libertarians advocate extreme ideas, many of the reforms that Johnson wants to enact should appeal to conservatives, like aggressively reducing the national debt and reforming the federal tax code while giving more power to the states. I myself find most of Johnson’s proposals to be reasonable, especially when compared with Trump’s incoherent policies. Based on economic reasons alone, I am inclined to support Johnson instead of Trump. While his proposed policies may not be perfect, and while he has some liberal positions on social issues, I would prefer his straightforward approach to Trump’s chaotic formulations.
The fact that Johnson performed so well in this poll demonstrates that a large number of people view him as a legitimate alternative to Donald Trump. It also shows that, despite coming from a third party that many Americans may be unfamiliar with, his policies may encourage desperately needed economic growth. Some conservatives might worry that supporting a third-party candidate could be a “waste of a vote,” but considering how strange this election cycle has been so far, is it really so hard to believe that a third-party candidate could earn more votes than Trump?
Whether or not Johnson could be a better choice than Trump is an important question that all conservatives must consider before they head to the polls in November.