Why Third Party Candidates Are A Big Deal In This Year's Election

Trump or Hillz?

As this year's presidential election draws near, this is the question on every collegiette’s mind. Who should they cast their vote for in the 2016 Presidential Election? However, this year’s election could involve a few more players than just the donkey and the elephant.

Every year, we see third party candidates attempting to make their way onto the political “big stage” and run for the presidential candidacy, however there have been very few times when we have heard as much about third-party candidates as we are hearing now. With millennials’ evident disapproval of both major party candidates, our third-party underdogs seem to be gaining some momentum.




Let’s back up a bit.

Okay, let’s back up a lot. George Washington’s Farewell Address says this: “Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”  Essentially, Washington is warning the American people against political parties. Even more, he encourages us (saying it is our duty even!!) to “restrain” the development of political parties. Fast forward 200 or so years, and it seems we have done the exact opposite.

Back to present day-ish, we can look at the 2000 presidential candidate Ralph Nader, of the Green Party. His campaign happened in a time when there was an affair scandal, and thus young people were unhappy with the democratic and republican candidates. However, the “protest vote” for third-party candidate Ralph Nader ended up costing democratic candidate Al Gore the election to former President George W. Bush, according to the New York Times.

However, even when a third party candidate gains substantial ground in a presidential election, they tend not to gain any seats in Congress, according to 2016.presidential-candidates.org. Rather, the ideas that these candidates bring up result in being discussed, experimented with, and implemented by the Democrats and Republicans.

So we have this dilemma between voting for who we believe is the most qualified, or voting for who we believe has a better chance of actually winning the election.


The Candidates

Jill Stein, Green Party: A physician from Chicago, Stein is running on a campaign motto of “People, Planet and Peace over Profit.” She is a proclaimed activist, with a strong desire to save our environment and help students pay for higher education.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian: A businessman from North Dakota, Johnson is running on a platform of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”  He is an outdoorsy dude, hoping to create a balanced budget and decrease environmental regulations.

Both candidates are in favor of legalizing abortion and promoting marriage equality. Stein believes in stricter gun control, whereas Johnson would like less regulation. Both candidates do not believe in spying on U.S. citizens, believing it is a violation of our 4th amendment rights.


For more information on the third party candidates, go to http://www.visualcapitalist.com/cheat-sheet-third-party-presidential-candidates/


What it means for this year’s election

Well, millennials do not seem too pleased with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Since millennials now outnumber baby boomers, according to the New York Times, this is big news. In the past, young voters have not been too great about showing up to the polls.  However, this election seems to be a little different. We can see that millennials have an increased interest in politics due to their previous support of candidate Bernie Sanders. College students around the country rallied to #FeelTheBern, and Sanders polled around 55% with Millennials, according to the Washington Times.  

With ⅓ of millennials opting to vote Third-Party, it seems that a similar political revolution that Sanders campaigned on is taking place. Young voters are rejecting Clinton’s established, yet secretive campaign, along with Trump’s political outsider, but sexist natured platform. So how will this play out in November?

Michelle Obama says “If you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don't vote at all, then you are helping to elect Hillary’s opponent.”

The sames goes for Mr. Trump.

So the question we all have to decide for ourselves is this: Is the time for a political revolution now, or are the stakes too high?