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Libertarians See Opportunity in This Election


Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

The deep unpopularity of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is causing an unprecedented level of excitement for a third party, the Libertarians, the consistent third-place finishers in a two-party race.

Thousands are gathering for the Libertarian Party convention this weekend in Orlando, to vote Sunday for their presidential nominee.

Libertarian officials said Friday as the four-day convention began that 985 delegates and 344 alternates were attending from all 50 states – a record. Dues-paying members have increased by 30 percent since the beginning of the year.

The front-runners, among the 18 declared Libertarian presidential candidates, are former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld, the former Massachusetts governor.

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

Weld has made headlines since his entry into the race for comparing Trump's proposal to deport all undocumented immigrants to Kristallnacht, a 1938 pogrom remembered to this day for brutality against the Jewish people in the leadup to WWII.

Asked if he was comparing Trump to Hitler, Weld told VOA, "No. I compared rounding people up in the middle of the night to people being rounded up in the middle of the night in Europe in the 1930s. I think that is an apt comparison to round up 11 million people.”

Weld pointed out that many of Trump's proposed policies would violate international treaties and laws.

He said should Trump win the presidency, "We will be the rogue nation. We will be the North Korea."

Watch: William Weld speaks to VOA

His running mate, Johnson, has said he "absolutely" stands by the bold comparison.

A few recent polls that have chosen to include Johnson show him hovering around 10 percent – within striking distance of the 15 percent threshold necessary to be included on the general election debate stage.

But the presidential hopeful has sobering message for the #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary voters.

"I will be the only third-party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states,'' Johnson says. "I'm it.''

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