I take it back. Don’t vote for Gary Johnson.

The first presidential debate may be three days old, but discussion surrounding it has not stopped.

What’s most interesting is that the chatter most prevalent in the media and among the two campaigns has nothing to do with any policy positions that came up on Monday night — but rather, a former beauty pageant contestant.

It was the final minutes of the debate, and viewers had already somehow survived 90 minutes of incessant bickering, mostly from the left side of their screen.

But that’s when Hillary Clinton laid a perfectly executed trap. And Donald Trump took the bait.

She mentioned a former Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado, who Trump once insulted alicia-machadofor gaining weight. It was ingenious because it was a blemish against Trump that, somehow, we have never heard of before.

Of all the terrible, horrible things we’ve heard about Donald Trump over the past year and a half, his treatment of this woman was not one of them.

Instead of letting it go, Trump did what he does best — went on the defensive, and rather than calming the waters, he only proceeded to make the situation worse. And now, with the entire nation refocused on this election, we’re getting a full dose of Trump’s sexist, misogynistic tendencies. (Trump, for his part, appears to be retaliating by trying to turn the narrative to Bill Clinton’s past infidelities.)

Hillary is a lot of things to a lot of people. She’s definitely intelligent. But she’s also cunning. And honestly, I don’t think that’s the worst trait to have in a president.

For many, the debate probably validated their belief that they don’t want either candidate to be our president. And those people over the last couple of days may have taken a second look at the predominant third party candidate, Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico turned Independent, who’s polling at around 7 percent.

They should stop. Immediately.

And I know I endorsed the inclusion of Gary Johnson in this race, but, we shouldn’t give him credence simply because he exists as a third option. If he was a good third option, then fine. But recent history disagrees with that notion.

It’s been a rapid descent for Mr. Johnson in recent weeks, beginning with his failure to know anything about Aleppo, the city in northern Syria that’s facing the worst bombing the country has seen in its entire years-long Civil War.

And that coincides with his quirky-bordering-on-crazy behavior during interviews, like in this one last week with Bloomberg politics.

But the final nail in the coffin may have come on Wednesday, when, during a Town Hall-style interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, he was unable to come up with an answer when asked to name one single world leader that he respects. It was, in his own words, “an Aleppo moment.”


Maybe the problem is that we should stop expecting our presidential candidates to be perfect. I mean, if you think about it, how many world leaders around the world are there right now who are universally liked?

When you’re in the public eye, people are going to look for reasons not to like you. Most of the time, they find them.

Trust me, I wish we had a leader who kept his cool every day on the job. Who was respected in the international community. Who was well-spoken. And who kept his campaign promises and who could represent our country with the proper amount of dignity.

If only that existed.

Oh wait. It does.

His name is Barack Obama.

Oh, there’s a third dude running for president

Probably the most popular sentiment that I have heard expressed by most Americans from a political standpoint in recent months is mutual disgust over the candidates that have been put before us.

A significant reason for that is because the dominant political commentary people hear is the hateful and nasty rhetoric that has come from each side.

Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.

Hillary Clinton is a liar and untrustworthy.

That’s all they know. I don’t mind if people are unhappy with the candidates. It is what it is. But it bothers me when they express that opinion before they actually take more time to educate themselves over where each candidate actually comes from and what their candidacy would actually mean for America.

And — no need to even admit full disclosure here — this is coming from someone who detests Donald Trump and has made it known. That being said, I can’t hate on someone who fully understands Trump’s agenda, the reality of him actually implementing it, and still wants to vote for him. At least they did their due diligence. Somewhat.

However, what most people don’t realize is that they do have the ability to express their political disenchantment in the voting booth this November.

Gary Johnson.jpg

Don’t get me wrong — Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, will not be able to compete with Trump or Hillary. But he is a credible politician representing a party with a significant following. And for that, he deserves to have his voice heard.

So who is Gary Johnson? He is a former two-term Republican governor from New Mexico who later turned Independent. He supports the legalization of marijuana, is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, and believes that humans are contributing to climate change.

But since he’s an Independent, he also believes in a hands-off government. Like, really hands off. Meaning minimal regulation on Wall Street. The phasing out of Social Security.

Oh, and he’s climbed Mount Everest. Which is a metaphor that writes itself given the mountainous climb in the polls he must make to be taken more seriously.

The most famous Libertarians in recent history are Ron Paul — who actually made a respectable run at the presidency in 2012 — and his son, Rand Paul, whose presidential campaign this year was as successful as Ryan Lochte’s Olympics after-party alibi.

The problem for Johnson is our political forum is too entrenched in the two-party system. The Libertarian Party trying to get attention is basically like Khloe Kardashian trying to make people notice her between Kim and Kourtney. It’s just not happening.

But here’s where I have a problem. Despite his hopeless chances, Gary Johnson is polling at about 10 percent. Which means, naturally, that about one in every 10 registered voters wants him to be president.

And if that’s the case, then it is an injustice if he is not allowed to participate in next month’s presidential debates. To do so, he must be polling at 15 percent.

It probably won’t make a difference as far as him even winning a single state, but if 10 percent of voters support him — then how the hell can he be shunned aside by our system at the peak of when most Americans are finally paying attention?

I won’t vote for him — but people at least deserve to know that there is a third option. And one that’s gaining a little bit of traction, at that.

Because after the political shit-storm we’ve experienced the past 18 months, at the very least, we are owed a threesome.