All About Politics: Other Candidates, Stunning Statistics, Trump’s Travels

Jill Stein, William Weld and Gary Johnson.
Jill Stein, William Weld and Gary Johnson.

Other Candidates on the Nov. 8 Ballot

If you walk by some of the street boxes of free newspapers, you will notice a vertical card urging you to vote for Johnson/Weld. They are running on the Libertarian ticket. Gary Johnson is a former Republican Governor of New Mexico. He ran for president four years ago and received about one percent of the vote.

This year, his running mate is William Weld, who is the former Republican governor of Massachusetts. Weld also ran for the U.S. Senate and was defeated by John Kerry. This patrician Brahmin I found to be one of the most unpleasant individuals I’ve ever interviewed. He also attempted to be Ambassador to Mexico and was never confirmed. Obviously, Weld is looking for a home and something to do. Oh, he also flirted with running for Governor of New York. Quite a checkered political past.

The Libertarian team wants you, the voters, to “help them get into the debates.” (They need to poll 15 percent to gain entry.) They describe themselves as “credible, proven, capable and honest” (the last one was in bold green letters). They go on to call themselves “America’s Most Successful Governors.”

They probably take more votes away from Trump than Clinton. But right now their visibility and impact seem limited. Now, if they should get in one of the three debates, that could change. I really don’t think they will ever reach the 15-percent threshold.

Another candidate is a total unknown. His name is Evan McMullin. He might have a serious problem getting on many state ballots.

Finally, there is Jill Stein. She is the candidate of the left. She represents the Green Party. She definitely takes votes from Hillary Clinton and seeks to be the candidate of those Bernie Sanders supporters who cannot stomach Clinton and want an ideological alternative. She ran four years ago as well. I don’t see her being a factor in this election, but the Clinton forces would much rather her be ignored and not taken seriously.

Stunning Statistics

I plan to have this category in every column I write online. This format seems to lend itself to highlighting these empirical gems. Here we go.

Trump received 13 million votes in the Republican primaries. He never stops repeating this number to his adoring crowds. Half of all Republican voters who voted for him in the primaries did not have a college degree. In November for the general election, the number will drop to 35 percent of the electorate. This does not auger well for Trump.

In 2012, Mitt Romney won by double digits over Barack Obama amongst college educated white voters. This time, polls show Hillary Clinton winning this same group 49 percent to 37 percent for Trump. Another bad sign for him.

Here is a stunner. Ninety million U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election and the primaries this year did not and will not vote in 2016.

Finally, there is a bit of good news for Trump in this category — there are new voters to pursue. In the first half of 2016, new voters registered and their numbers break down in this way: white voters, 991,971; black voters, 222,649; Hispanic voters, 167,850; Asian voters, 43,400. Trump would see this as expanding his base and improving his chances.

Trump’s Travel Schedule

Trump goes to campaign in states that are not going to vote for him. For instance, New York which hasn’t voted Republican since 1984. He goes to Maine where he is 10 points down and the popular Republican Senator Susan Collins refuses to vote for or endorse him. But he insists in going to Mississippi and Texas, which he will easily carry. Doesn’t make sense.

McCain and Wasserman Schultz

On Tuesday night, 80-year-old Sen. John McCain of Arizona won his Republican primary. He faces a tough Democratic opponent in Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November. The Dems feel they can pick up this seat because of the growing Hispanic vote in the state.

I must say I have a soft spot in my heart for McCain. I stopped him once, introduced myself and he said, “You’re Mark Plotkin?” I said yes, and he proceeded to say, “I listen to you all too frequently.” (My very favorite left-handed compliment.)

Unfortunately, Debbie Wasserman Schultz won her Democratic primary in Florida with 57 percent of the vote. My beef with her is that at Politics and Prose bookstore, among a group of D.C. citizens, she never mentioned our lack of voting rights. When I asked her why, she replied, “It was not a national issue.” How disgusting! I’m overjoyed she got dumped and disgraced as DNC Chair. If she had stayed on, she would have been booed off the stage in Philadelphia this summer.


Before I leave you this week, I need to make a correction. In my column in the Aug. 10 Georgetowner Newspaper, I made a mistake. I’m usually pretty accurate when it comes to detailing presidential politics, but in that column, headlined, “Giving it the Old College Try,” I stated that the last time the Democrats won Texas was in 1968. That is incorrect. Jimmy Carter won Texas in 1976.

My friend of 40 years and a Georgetown resident, Frank Phifer, called me and told me of the error. I rationalize this infraction by going back to my own personal political history. In 1976, I first worked for the “gentle giant” Morris K. Udall, and Carter beat us in the primaries. Then, I signed on to Eugene McCarthy’s independent presidential campaign for the general election.

I can only surmise that these two associations — of which I am very proud — had a role in my inaccurate presentation of political trivia. Thank you, Phifer. I’ll make very sure it doesn’t happen again.

Political analyst and Georgetowner columnist Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a contributor to Reach him at

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