Match Game: Website Promises Guilt-Free Voting for Gary Johnson

August 26th, 2016 by in News

This article was originally published on The Wall Street Journal.


For the many voters who aren’t happy with their party’s presidential candidate but really loathe the other team’s, a super PAC promoting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson proposes a solution: matching disaffected Republicans and Democrats so they can vote for Mr. Johnson without remorse.

The Balanced Rebellion effort aims to pair Democrats who had resigned themselves to voting for Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump with Republican voters who were planning to cast ballots for Mr. Trump to block Mrs. Clinton. People can log onto the Balanced Rebellion website and register their choice were Mr. Johnson not an option.

The website then matches members with opposite viewpoints from the same states, so when the two head to the polls for Mr. Johnson, they negate one another. For example, a Florida voter who deeply dislikes Mr. Trump would be paired with a Florida voter who deeply dislikes Mrs. Clinton.

The super PAC, Alternative PAC, wants to draw in Democrats and Republicans who would like to vote for Mr. Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, but worry their vote for him would merely help the candidate they most disdain win the election.

“This might be the ultimate perfect storm for a Libertarian presidential candidate — with both the Republican and the Democratic nominees at historical negatives,” said Matt Kibbe, the head of alternative PAC. Mr. Kibbe founded the tea party organization Freedom Works in 2004 but departed last year.

To promote the campaign, the group created a comedic video featuring Abraham Lincoln weighing the choices voters face this year and recommending Mr. Johnson.

“You can’t vote third-party ‘cause for Republicans that’s a vote for Hillary and for Democrats it’s a vote for Trump,” the character explains, “so you stick with the candidate you don’t like to stop the one you hate, splitting the nation in two.”

The campaign and accompanying video were produced by internet marketing firm Harmon Brothers, which is paying nearly $330,000 to advertise the “Balanced Rebellion” video on Facebook, a sum that Alternative PAC will report as an in-kind contribution.

Mr. Kibbe said the initial goal of the campaign is to raise Mr. Johnson’s profile just high enough to garner 15% popularity in national polls – the threshold that would permit him to appear at this fall’s presidential debates.

He did not say how the campaign would help Mr. Johnson actually win states in November’s contest, and the website has no way of ensuring that voters truly stick to their third-party plan.

Alternative PAC is particularly hoping to draw in voters under age 30, who polling suggests are especially unsatisfied with their respective parties’ nominees.

The group’s millennial pitch is unmistakable.

“You can really match with someone as disappointed as you are,” it assures watchers. “It’s like Tinder, but not gross, and it can save America.”

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