Third parties are once again on the minds of voters in the presidential election, only to be cast aside as this election is winding down to the vote.
During this election, even the main party candidates faced stiff competition. There were 19 candidates who started out in the Republican stable to run for president of the United States. Closing down to the end of the primaries, the main competitors were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump.
While there were significantly less candidates running in the Democratic party, the competition between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton was intense. The only other to balance out the challenge for the Democrat front runners was Martin O’Malley.
“Many feel their vote is wasted on a third party,” said Ferris political science adjunct professor Christina Eanes. “They may fear splitting the liberal or conservative vote and securing a win for the other side ideologically. Voters aren’t exposed to third party candidates and platforms, so they’re unfamiliar unless they choose to do the research.”
While there are many different parties and candidates who try to run every election cycle in the United States, the two most recognizable are Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party.
When this election comes around Tuesday, Nov. 8, there’s going to be some names on the ballot you’ve probably never heard of.
Many people have heard of Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. Johnson’s much lesser-known running mate is Bill Weld.
According to their website, the political platform of the libertarian party promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire capitalism and the abolition of the welfare state.
A much lesser known party, except to the ultra-conservative right and possibly populated by many alt-right voters, is the U.S. Taxpayers Party also known as the Constitution Party. The presidential and vice presidential candidates are Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley.
The platform of the U.S. Taxpayers Party advocates for the party’s interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and the Holy Bible.
According to the Green Party’s website, they’re the fourth largest party in the United States, and their platform promotes environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, participatory grassroots democracy, gender equality, LGBT rights, anti-war and anti-racism. The Green Party is generally seen as left wing, and currently self-describe as eco-socialist.
Jill Stein is the Green Party’s presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate is Ajamu Baraka.
The least known of all parties and has therefore ceased to be a party since 2004 nationally is the Natural Law Party. However, they still operate in the state of Michigan only.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette– Telegraph, “Natural Law” referred to “the ultimate source of order and harmony displayed throughout creation.” The Natural Law Party platform is based on the principles of transcendental meditation and other advanced meditation techniques.
Running as the presidential and vice presidential candidates are Emidio Soltysik and Nicole Walker respectively.
“Third party candidates need to poll at 15 percent in all states to participate in the debates,” Eanes said. “So, the public never really hears from them in major televised debates.”