US Libertarians convene to elect presidential candidate

Party kicks off nomination process in Florida as public dislike for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump raises its hopes.

The only way I can explain the setting of the Libertarian Convention in Orlando, Florida, is a bit bizarre.

I promise I’m not making a political commentary. There is a convention happening in the same area called Mega Con. Everywhere you look you see people dressed up in the most bizarre and elaborate costumes.

To give you just a sampling; today I have seen a woman dressed up like a police officer bunny, Chewbacca from Star Wars (the full suit – it is very very hot in Florida) and more skin painted blue and animal ears on grown men and women than I can count.

One of the candidates for the presidential nomination is adding his own unworldly feel. John McAfee, the eccentric billionaire hosted a party before the debate complete with DJ and magical-looking fairy women walking around on stilts. It’s not your typical political convention and that is exactly what the libertarians want. 

They sum up their beliefs by saying that they want smaller government that does not care about what you do with your body or in your bedroom. They are also very excited about their chances this year. They realise that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the most unpopular presidential candidates in American history.

The polls are giving them reason to hope.

Forty percent of Americans no longer identify with either the Republican or Democratic Parties. Twenty percent say for this election they want a third party candidate. Twenty percent is not enough to get you the presidency but it could determine who does.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s world views make world ‘less safe’: Poll

The five remaining candidates are getting ready to debate and how the 900-plus delegates decide will probably have a huge impact on who gets to walk into the White House next January.

There is one candidate who is anti-abortion rights, most Democrats would never vote for someone with those beliefs. Other candidates are pro-choice, they are unlikely to appeal to the most conservative Republicans.

Most people assume that the Libertarian party has more potential to pull votes from the Republican nominee. I saw a recent poll that showed 6 percent of their support would come from the Democrats, only 4 percent from Republicans.

Depending on who they pick and how the numbers shake out, their choice on Sunday could very much affect the world’s future.

It is widely believed that George W Bush won only because Ralph Nader took votes from Al Gore. It is also widely believed that Bill Clinton became president only because Ross Perot took votes from George HW Bush.

Third parties have a history of determining who is president. What happens here on Sunday will go a long way in determining who is the next president of the United States. That is helping make the scene even that much more bizarre.

The fate of the world will be influenced by what happens here, a realisation I have as I watch Spider Man and a Storm Trooper get in a very heated conversation about who is more powerful.

Source: Al Jazeera