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7:08 AM Tue, Oct. 16th

Look at all of your choices this election year (Column)

Here's something you may not know: A poll released by Monmouth University on March 24 tested a three-way race between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Gary Johnson, the ex-GOP governor of New Mexico who is now a Libertarian Party presidential candidate.

The surprising polling data shows that in a three-way race, Johnson grabs 11 percent of the vote.

Before so-called conservatives start yammering on about how a third-party run is going to ruin the GOP's chances like Ross Perot did in 1992, I urge you to consider that, in a small way, this poll seems to suggest it actually hurts Clinton more than it does Trump.

Making the magic number of 5 percent of the vote for national ballot access next year is ultimately the Libertarian Party's next goal. It looks like they're well on their way to accomplishing this task, having ballot access in 48 states already. But it's more than that. It's about real choices in an actual representative republic. Indeed, this is not limited to only Libertarians; any third party is in a position to really push its brand this election cycle.

It's becoming increasingly clear by now that a large number of independents, fiscally sane liberals and socially tolerant conservatives want absolutely nothing to do with the two front-runners in this election - and the runners-up on both sides make them squeamish or downright ill.

Anyone who believes themselves to be a constitutional conservative should be squealing with delight that someone actually interested in governance by the Constitution is running (and I don't mean that joke of a war pig candidate Ted "We'll Find Out if it Glows in the Dark" is Actually Part of the Establishment, Husband of a Goldman Sachs Managing Director Cruz).

Liberals who identify with the ideas of criminal justice reform, the abolition of mandatory minimum sentencing laws for non-violent offenders, and ending decades-long aggressive action in the Middle East, and conservatives who believe in free trade and think we should not be adding trillions to the deficit by "policing" (read: bombing) every country around the world, shelling out billions in foreign aid to countries that despise or take advantage of us, should all be jumping at the idea, or at least looking at the three Libertarian candidates for president.

If every person I've ever met who said, "That's a good idea, but they'll never win" all voted for those with a full spectrum of good ideas instead of the "lesser of two evils," we might be able to pull out of this ugly situation where reasonable human beings assume nationalism (Trump) vs. imperialism (Cruz/Clinton) vs. socialism (Sanders) are the only "answers" because "no one else will win."

We might be able to bring this funny little idea - liberty (you know, that philosophy that created the United States) - back to the forefront of American discussion. But it has to start within, it has to start with reason and it has to start with bravery.

I urge each of you to view the three leading candidates for a Libertarian presidency's positions: former Gov. Gary Johnson, tech tycoon John McAfee and strict constitutionalist and consulting firm CEO Austin Petersen, and the Libertarian Party's platform as a whole. You can view the thought-provoking party platform at www.LP.org or find it on Facebook, and view the LP's first nationalized debate that took place with John Stossel on April 1 on YouTube. The second half of that debate will air today on the same show.

There are other choices out there. And if you can't decide which of the three spoiled products you would like to purchase with your vote, perhaps it's time to try a different store.