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Look, I Wish I Were Better At This Also

The 2016 presidential race is unlike any we’ve seen before. Americans are as fed up as they’ve ever been with establishment politics, the nation is confronted with the two least popular major-party nominees in modern history, and people everywhere seem hungry for a change to the status quo. As a result, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here for a third-party candidate to present a transformative new vision for our nation and win the support of voters all across the country. And frankly, I am just as disappointed as you are to realize I am in no way qualified to do that.

Look, I get it. I really do. I wish I were better at this too.

What can I say? I’m trying my best, but I’m just drowning out here.

Third-party candidates usually get pushed to the sidelines, where they compete for a tiny fraction of the electorate, but this year, with so many voters deeply dissatisfied with the Republican and Democratic nominees, we’re getting far more attention. As it turns out, though, being a high-profile presidential candidate requires you to do a lot of stuff you don’t have to do when you’re only pulling in 1 percent of the vote, like know all about foreign affairs and domestic policy.

The appearances on national television, the greater publicity given to my platform and qualifications, the chance to connect with a wider variety of voters—these are all things that would come as welcome challenges to a knowledgeable and competent candidate. But as you can probably tell by now, I am simply not up to the task. Not even close.

What can I say? I’m trying my best, but I’m just drowning out here.

I do think that I did a pretty good job as the Libertarian Party nominee last time. In 2012, hardly anyone was listening to what I had to say, so it’s not like I had to worry about being asked to explain my views on international relations or the feasibility of my tax policy or anything like that. This time around, we’ve been polling a lot better—which is great!—but it also means that I’ve had to field questions on all kinds of subjects I just don’t have any clue about. It’s actually been pretty embarrassing.

Like a lot of you, I didn’t expect this election season to turn out the way it has. When we started out with more than 20 candidates competing for the Democratic and Republican nominations, who would have guessed that we’d end up with two nominees who are disliked and distrusted by a majority of Americans? I figured that at this point in the year, I’d be doing the typical third-party thing: you know, scraping together a couple million votes from independents and people on the ideological fringe. Instead, tens of millions of people are taking a serious look at my candidacy, which is something I clearly was not capable of dealing with. Whoops.

It’s frustrating, because what we have here is a great chance to show voters they have options besides the Democratic and Republican parties, which keep offering the same tired ideas we’ve tried a hundred times before. But at the same time, we have me, sitting there for yet another interview where I’m asked very basic questions about current events and blanking like an idiot. I’m not just letting myself down—I’m letting down everyone who’s looking for a credible alternative to two deeply flawed major-party nominees.

It sucks! I don’t know what else to tell you.

What makes it really disappointing is that I truly believe libertarianism has valuable ideas to contribute to America’s political discourse. And just in general, I think it would be great to have at least one viable choice out there besides the two major parties, which on many issues, like corporate influence and federal spending, aren’t all that different. But boy oh boy, am I ever doing a shitty job of communicating all that. Voters deserve to hear about these policies from someone who can intelligently and persuasively represent them. But instead you’ve got me. Sorry.

Even worse is that it’s probably going to be decades before any third-party candidate has a chance like this again. The two leading candidates supported a failed war that destabilized the Middle East, backed a criminal justice system that preys on racial minorities, and come with decades’ worth of personal baggage. What more could I have asked for? This is probably the best shot we’re ever going to get, and here I am wasting it for everyone.

Oh well, at least I’m not blowing it as badly as Jill Stein.

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