The libertarian candidate for president came to Indiana on Sept. 13 for a public forum at Purdue University to talk about his views on key issues.
Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue and a former governor of Indiana, invited the candidate to speak. Daniels also invited Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton but so far, Johnson is the only candidate to accept the invitation.
Near the end of the forum, Daniels told the candidate, “You just gave a string of intelligent, candid, politically risky, unpredictable answers, all apparently grounded in an apparent philosophy.”
“What are you doing in this election?” Daniels said jokingly.
Johnson answered questions from Daniels and the crowd over several topics like drug legalization, the Syrian civil war, military spending, vaccines, LGBT rights and religious freedom restoration laws.
Daniel Reagan, a Ball State political science professor, said the Libertarian Party will get federal funding if Johnson gets seven percent of the national vote, which will help the party move forward into the future.
“Seven percent would be the best performance of any third party candidate in 20 years,” Reagan said.
Reagan also thinks it’s unlikely Johnson will even make it into the televised debates, calling it a “steep hill for Johnson to climb.”
The libertarian candidate will have to poll at 15 percent in five national polls to participate. Johnson is currently polling at 6 to 12 percent in several national polls.
Brent Trauner, a freshman history major, drove from Muncie to see Johnson speak. He supports Johnson’s tax plan and fiscal conservatism, but does not think he has a chance at the presidency unless he makes it into the presidential debates.
“I don’t think he’ll make it into the debates. If he can, I’ll be very happy,” Trauner said. “I think the [15 percent requirement] for debates is too high … as long as you’re on the ballot in all 50 states, you should be allowed to debate, and Gary Johnson is.”
Jayda Day, a junior psychology major, hasn’t made up her mind for who she is going to vote for on election day but she has been looking into the libertarian ticket.
“Usually I vote republican, but after Trump was given the nomination I decided to look into other options,” Day said.
Day believes the federal government should be limited to the power of the states and thinks Johnson’s vision fits that belief. She also thinks college students are starting to support the libertarian candidate.
“Surprisingly, I have seen a lot of Bernie supporters say they are now voting for Johnson,” Day said.
Additionally, Day thinks Johnson needs to get better advisers due to the candidate’s lack of awareness of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria that has been struck by civil war since 2012.
At the forum Johnson talked about Aleppo and the Syrian civil war in full detail.
John Osterhoudt, a junior theatre directing and telecommunications major, has been a fan of Johnson since 2012. He supports Johnson because the candidate represents what he believes in compared to Clinton and Trump.
“He's for peace and letting people be free to live their own lives the way they choose to, so long as they don't infringe upon another's rights,” Osterhoudt said.
He also thinks the libertarian candidate will bring real issues into the national conversation due to his experience as governor for two terms in New Mexico.
“Trump and Hillary seem to be usually involved in only character attacks,” Osterhoudt said.