I have a lot of libertarian friends and they aren't going to like to hear this, but third party candidates proved to be a big flop.
First, you need to know that libertarians love to paint themselves as some ideal best-of-both-worlds party that has the liberalism of social issues but conservatism of constitutional issues. That my friends is a bunch of crap. The reality is that libertarians differ on their views about national issues that are polarizing to the rest of us as much as any party does.
Abortion is an example.
Gay marriage is another, although on the whole they tend to be okay with gay marriage and take a similar position that I take, gub'ment don't belong in marriage.
The universal truth about Clinton and Trump is that they are polarizing. That is to say they are hated a madre.
If there were ever a perfect storm, a perfect opportunity, the ideal circumstances to attract attention from voters and get them to look at you in a somewheat credible manner, it would be this election. A large chunk of voters are scared off by Hillary and her problems with honest. An even bigger Trump are scared of Trump and his ego, mouth, lack of knowledge, rhetoric, hair, etc.
Oh, and then there is pussy-gate. Although truth be told, Gary Johnson was actually the first candidate in this election to drop the pussy bomb. He called Trump a pussy, memmur?
So if ever there were the kind of thirst and hunger from the electorate for a viable alternative party, this would be it. The libertarian ticket is polling around 9%. The Green Party ticket is even less, polling at 2%.
Of course its easy to say that the reason is because of Johnson's Aleppo moment. Well that certainly didn't help matters much, that is true. And it completely undermined any faith a potential voter would have in that ticket. But the truth is, they never really polled very high to begin with, even before "What's Aleppo?"
There was the opportunity to appeal to some disgruntled Bernie supporters after the convention but libertarian policies are innately too conservatives for most liberals.
I mean other than weed.
Mainstream Republicans who didn't want Trump as their nominee never gave the libertarians a serious look.
Taking a look at the electoral map, according to the Financial Times, Clinton has about 260 and needs 270 to win. The 260 is counting states were she has a solid lead and are states that are usually Democratic. Trump as about 165 counting the states he's leading in and that are solidly Republican. So that means Clinton is 10 short right now. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are in play. Minnesota and Maine are also pretty close. All she has to do is win one of those states with the exception of Nevada, Maine, and Iowa, and she wins. Nevada, Maine, and Iowa have less than 10 votes in the EC and she'd need to win more than just one of those states.
And if you look at the national polling, you'll see how even less significant the "other" tickets are.
If you look at this chart that shows an average of national polls, you'll see that the libertarian and Green Party candidates combined number is only slightly higher than the number of people who would rather write someone's name in.
That is essentially saying that people have more faith in a write-in person than the other party candidates. And that means you aren't delivering a message to the American people that they like or have faith in. And if you can't do it in this election, when can you realistically expect to?
Which is probably why so many of libertarians just join the GOP. (You never hear an expression like the libertarian wing of the Democratic Party by the way).
Essentially the libertarian and Green Party candididates COMBINED are polling at HALF of what Ross Perot was able to get when he ran as the Reform Party candidate.