The 2016 election has been a bitter one. Not only have the two leading Democratic and Republican nominees taken the gloves off, so to speak, when it comes to dealing with their opponent, but the American people learned at an accelerating rate that we seriously hate the two-party system.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton receive the most press, the most financial support and the most recognition by the people. But despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to vote in a third party in the United States, it IS legally possible.
Third parties aren’t very well-funded or supported in the US, as the two-party system has been prominent realistically since George Washington was elected president as an independent. While third party candidates hold house and senate positions, they are never actually elected as American presidents.
ARE THIRD PARTIES INCREASING IN SUPPORT?
Registering as an independent in the U.S. has seen a surge of support in 2016. In 2014, Pew Research data stated that almost 80% of the country was registered as either Democrat or Republican. However, 39% of the country now identifies as an independent.
Increase in support for third parties, and a loss of faith in the two leading political parties, may see a future election that supports a third party candidate.
According to Jocelyn Kiley, a researcher at the Pew Research Center, “Younger people tend to be less likely to affiliate with parties than older people, but this is as pronounced as it’s ever been”. Kiley continued, stating that “people give some of the most negative ratings of either party [now] than we’ve seen in the last 20 years.”
Millennials especially tend to register as an independent voter. Currently, 48% of all voters 18-33 are registered as independent (compared to 28% democrat and 18% republican).
SO WHO ELSE WOULD YOU VOTE FOR?
This election is so different because there seems to be a widespread disapproval of BOTH candidates.
1. Jill Stein
Jill Stein, running under the Green Party nomination, is a Harvard Medical School graduate and physician. She is a major advocate for environmental policies, stating on her official website that she has “helped win victories in campaign finance reform, racially-just redistricting, green jobs, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxic threats. She was a principal organizer for the Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet and Peace over Profit.”
She focuses on dangerous exposure to chemicals in air and water pollution that can have dire health consequences, has written several related books and has won multiple major environmental awards.
When it comes to her political stances, she’s anti-capital punishment, pro-choice and believes police brutality needs to be addressed as it targets minorities. She believes the “War on Drugs” is “baseless, foundless, immoral and racist”, and that marijuana should be fully legalized.
She also proposes a “Green New Deal” that would employ similar Depression era tactics when it comes to revitalizing jobs and the economy.
2) Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson is running as a Libertarian, and has attracted some support from former Ron Paul supporters. He believes “stop and frisk” procedures encourage racial profiling, our drug incarceration rate is obscene, and lowering the corporate income tax rate to encourage them not to move overseas.
Johnson also believes that we should do away with all government subsidies, as well as doing away with all income tax. He has stated that “we need to stop taxing work, savings and investment. I advocate removing all income taxes, all capital-gains taxes, and replacing them with a consumption tax, kind of a national sales tax called the Fair-tax.”
He would also eliminate the Federal Department of Education, returning all control to local and state level. He does not believe college education should be free.
CAN A THIRD PARTY REALLY WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION?
The best way to get rid of a two party-system is to stop giving them your support, and encourage the people you know to do the same.
AND THE OTHER 1,840 CANDIDATES?
Those candidates will vary by state or county, some showing up in 5% of ballots and others showing up in less than 1%. To check what candidates will be in your states ballots (as well as the equally, if not more important, senate nominees), check your local state websites.
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