News Feature: Third Party Candidates Offer Variety

Presidential Campaign Filled With Outliers

Carolyn Carlson
6 min read
Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate (Gary Johnson)
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Feeling a little burnt over the two main Democrat and Republican choices for president? Well smolder no more—there are more than two presidential candidates to consider.

Nearly 50 percent of registered American voters say they would support a third party presidential candidate, according to a May Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. An Independent Voters Network survey showed nearly 91 percent of millennials canvassed want a viable alternative to the two parties.

Is Three a Crowd?

Third party candidates may not win many political seats but they can greatly influence the outcome of the elections. In 1848, former President Martin Van Buren did not get the Democratic nomination so he threw a fit, started the Free Soil Party and ran as its candidate. He was only able to garner about 10 percent of the vote but that was enough to assist Whig candidate Zachary Taylor to win the White House over the Democrat candidate.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln faced two third party candidates that took nearly a third of the votes. Lincoln barely won with about 39 percent. Then there is Teddy Roosevelt who in 1912, in his second attempt at the White House, did not get the Republican party’s nomination so he started and ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket. By running, Roosevelt was able to throw the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson to spite the Republican party incumbent candidate William Taft. Talk about sour grapes.

A little more recently, the last third party presidential candidate to carry a state was in 1968 when American Independent George Wallace, himself a former Republican, tried to derail Richard Nixon’s eventual victory. In 1992, Ross Perot running as an independent candidate got about 18 percent percent of the vote. And let’s not forget about 2000: Ralph Nader’s less than three percent of the vote was enough to impact the tight race between Republican George Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Bush won because progressives were drawn away from the Democratic ticket by Nader.

Crazy Train 2016

This year’s presidential race is an example of the need for other choices. The Republican party is represented by Donald Trump, who the Washington Post calls “a unique threat to American Democracy,” an issue that has caused many longtime members to flee the GOP ship like rats.

Some Democrats are still feeling Bernie’s burn despite his loss in the primaries and
unequivocal support of Hillary at the Democratic National Convention. But Trump and Clinton are not the only presidential candidates. Here is a quick list of third party contenders. Also, there is always the option to write in your own personal choice for president.

Libertarian Party

Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is pro-choice as long as abortion services are not taxpayer funded or late-term.

He strongly supports federal legalization of marijuana. The Libertarian Party, which he represents, stands for limiting government services and regulation, and the privatization of services currently under government stewardship. He ran in 2012 and got about one percent of the vote. Johnson is currently polling at about 12 percent with a goal of at least 15 percent so he can then participate in the fall debates.

Green Party

Jill Stein is a doctor, pro-choice and an environmental activist. Her Power to the People Plan hopes to move the country from corporate capitalism to a human centered economy. She thinks basic needs like jobs, healthcare, food, water and housing are human rights. She is against fracking and extreme mineral and resource extraction techniques. She wants to cut military spending by 50 percent, close US bases on foreign soil and end financial/material support to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

Constitution Party

Darrell Castle is a lawyer and a Vietnam veteran. The Constitution Party swears to follow the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. He and his wife founded a Christian mission helping homeless Romanian children. He is pro-life and says he will veto any bill to fund any abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. Castle wants to end the United States’ membership in the United Nations and he would do away with the Federal Reserve Act. He opposes the war on drugs.

Independent American Party

Farley Anderson is a former Republican who ran as an Independent for governor of Utah. He agrees with repealing the Federal Reserve Act and is pro-defense but anti-NATO and UN. He also thinks it is the duty of all nations to recognize the God of Abraham.

Party for Socialism and Liberation

Gloria La Riva, who was born in Albuquerque, is the first vice president of Pacific Media Workers Guild, Communications Workers of America, Local 39521. She says a fair living income is a legal right and workers need to be paid fairly and that those who can’t work be guaranteed a livable income. She says she would shut down all US Military bases around the world and reallocate the money back to the people.

Socialist Workers Party

Alyson Kennedy works at a Chicago Walmart, is a former coal miner and wants $15 minimum wage with assured full time work for those that want it. She opposes all US wars and wants the government to fund the things working people need to live and support their families.

Prohibition Party

James Hedges is a former US Marine Band member who opposes any and all drugs including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine and heroin, except those regulated by the Federal Drug Administration. He would, however, help tobacco farmers and vineyard owners grow something else. He opposes free trade and wants a balanced budget amendment added to the Constitution. The Prohibition Party is the oldest third party platform founded as a right-wing party in 1869.

Veterans Party

Chris Keniston is a third-generation military veteran who was in the Air Force for over a decade. He wants to secure the southern border and is a little worried about Canada, too. He thinks the US is a bully and should not interfere in global affairs. He believes in the separation of church and state. Job creation is high on the list of priorities.

Nutrition Party

Ron Silva says he will be focused on addressing serious issues such as the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health related problems. So far only Colorado has qualified him to be on the ballot.
Jill Stein

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate

Gage Skidmore

Gary Johnson & Jill Stein

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