A Brief Look at Some Unconventional Contenders for President

Historically, the rigid framework of the two-party system has dominated American politics. This means that at any given time, one major political party has had leverage over the other major party (or vice versa), and political parties with smaller followings have had little opportunity to affect change. This year, however, the polarizing nature of each major presidential candidate has encouraged many Americans to consider other ways to cast their vote, creating a window of opportunity for third parties. If you too are looking for a candidate more deserving of your vote, look no further – HC Bucknell has you covered.

Jill Stein

Running mate: Ajamu Baraka

Party: Green Party

Key issues:

-    Stein’s plan, entitled “Power to the People,” seeks significant reform of our current political system. If elected, Stein’s focus would be on reshaping American politics from an exploitative, capitalistic economy to a “human-centered economy” that would put “people, planet, and peace over profit.”

  • Stein plans to create jobs through the implementation of clean, renewable energy nationwide.

  • Stein holds education and health care to be rights, not privileges, and would adopt characteristically European policies to provide all Americans with affordable, single-payer public health insurance and tuition-free education from the pre-K to collegiate level.

  • Stein would enact widespread environmental protections and halt any and all practices that cause serious environmental degradation, such as fracking and offshore drilling.

  • Stein’s platform advocates for the advancement of women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, and an end to mass incarceration.

Experience: Stein is a career physician, but has had an active role in politics since the 1990s. She has led coalitions aimed at protecting the environment, as well as vocally advocated for campaign finance reform. When Stein ran for President under the Green Party in 2012, she set the record for the most votes ever attained by a woman candidate for President of the United States.

Fun facts: Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. She has a husband and two adult sons.

About Ajamu Baraka: Baraka is a vocal defender of human rights, with strong involvement in the Black Liberation and anti-apartheid movements. He aims to reshape American political action through a framework of social justice.

About the Green Party: As the name implies, one of the Green Party’s priorities is promoting environmental activism and protection. However, environmentalism is only the tip of the iceberg, as the Green Party is founded on four pillars: peace, ecology, social justice and democracy.

Gary Johnson

Running mate: Bill Weld

Party: Libertarian

Key issues:

  • One of Johnson’s priorities is to balance the federal budget, as well as shut down any legislation that requires deficit spending. He plans on making large cuts to military spending and reforming entitlements.

  • In order to “create” jobs, Johnson’s approach focuses on allowing jobs to come to fruition by loosening the government’s grip on the economy and giving small businesses more of a chance to coexist among larger corporations.

  • Johnson plans to localize education legislation, allowing state and local governments to make the decisions that direct the education of their constituents.

  • Johnson aims to cut back on military spending and the number of “boots on the ground” in foreign nations. He would work to reform the United States’ historically imperialistic role as the international policeman, only going to war after careful and deliberate consideration with Congress.

Experience: Johnson served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. In this role, he made tremendous tax cuts, balanced the state budget, improved the caliber of education statewide, and carried out major infrastructural improvements.

Fun facts: According to his website, Johnson is “an avid skier, adventurer, ironman, and bicyclist.” He lives in New Mexico and has two adult children.

About Bill Weld: As governor of Massachusetts, Weld has been lauded for his large tax cuts and balanced state budget. He did so by opting to cut wasteful spending before reaching into the state’s proverbial wallet. As a leader, Weld adheres to principles of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance.

About the Libertarian Party: The Libertarian Party’s focus is on maximizing individual freedoms by reducing the amount of government control over private life. Instead of a system in which some citizens are required to sacrifice some of their property for the benefit of others, Libertarianism emphasizes a market system in which people are free to trade with one another without government intervention.


While each of these candidates holds a slim-to-none chance at winning the general election, their platforms have attracted considerably large followings in recent years. Although neither Stein nor Johnson may be victorious in 2016, the peculiarity of this year’s election may pave the way for a gradual shift in the American two-party system. Vote smart, collegiates!


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*Her Campus Bucknell neither endorses nor condemns the candidates and platforms described above.