In this autumn of our electoral discontent, hope springs, as it so often does in the American republic, from unexpected precincts. Much of the country is distressed by the presidential candidates offered by the two conventional political parties. And for good reason. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental moral and professional standards we have every right to expect of an American president. Fortunately, there is a reasonable — and formidable — alternative.
Gary Johnson is a former, two-term governor of New Mexico and a man who built from scratch a construction company that eventually employed more than 1,000 people before he sold it in 1999. He possesses substantial executive experience in both the private and the public sectors.
RELATED: Endorsement breaks with precedent
RELATED: The candidates and the creed
RELATED: Times-Dispatch endorsements since 1980
More important, he’s a man of good integrity, apparently normal ego and sound ideas. Sadly, in the 2016 presidential contest, those essential qualities make him an anomaly — though they are the foundations for solid leadership and trustworthy character. (At 63, he is also the youngest candidate by more than half a decade — and is polling well among truly young voters.)
As the nominee of the Libertarian Party, Johnson is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. He is, in every respect, a legitimate and reasonable contender for the presidency — but only if the voters give him a fair hearing. And that can happen only if he is allowed to participate in the presidential debates that begin on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. If the Commission on Presidential Debates wants to perform a real service to its country, it will invite Gary Johnson onto the big stage.