Saturday, November 3, 2012

Third Party Candidates: The Struggle for Recognition in America

From the right: Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Virgil Goode 

A majority of Americans will admit to not knowing much about their third party candidates, consequently Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson have called on their supporters to pressure various media sources to cover the November 5th Third Party Debate. The Third Party debate comes after a 14, 000 strong petition against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which historically has excluded third party candidates in the national debates. The statement reads as follows: 

"We, the undersigned, demand presidential debates that include the real choices before the voters this November. The debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has demonstrated a minimal level of support -- meaning either 1% of the vote in a credible national poll, or qualification for federal matching funds, or both. In 2012, the Green and Libertarian party candidates both meet all of these criteria…We call on the Commission on Presidential Debates to change its arbitrary rules to include all the qualified contenders. And we urge our fellow Americans to rise up and demand democracy in our presidential elections, beginning today with the presidential debates. These debates belong to the people, not the politicians or Wall Street."

The restlessness with the status quo, bipartisan politics has sparked interest in third party alternatives, who present viable solutions to the problems of Americans. Candidates like Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, two former Republicans, are pulling votes away from Mitt Romney in key states such as Colorado, Ohio, New Mexico and Virginia. 

As an overview, Virgil Goode is on the ballot for 26 states and is a write in for 14 others. Goode a former Congressman, is a firm fiscal and social conservative who among other things wants to see more pressure on limiting immigration until unemployment is at 5%. Goode also opposes the expansion of the welfare state and Planned Parenthood funding. This staunch conservative is met with  rival Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party. Johnson is capable of acquiring 5% of popular vote which will be a significant win for third party candidates by creating a “buzz” or a possibility for a leading third party in the near future. As well, by hitting this threshold, Johnson will receive funds for 2016 by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

For those who oppose birth control, bank bailouts and farm subsidies you can take solace in Johnson’s platform. Of the most controversial pieces of legislation Johnson proposes is the complete elimination of the IRS. Johnson's appeal is uncanny and will have a large impact on Romney’s voting pool and in inevitably on the two party monopoly within the US. Johnson’s name will be on 48 state ballots come November 6th and arguably, Johnson’s votes will be made up of tea party and Ron Paul supporters.

On the other side of the spectrum is as mentioned earlier is the feisty Green Party leader Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. Presidential hopeful; Jill Stein was arrested with trespassing on Wednesday October 31st 2012 in Texas. According to the Green Party website, Stein was accompanied by three other women who were delivering food and candy for the protesters opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. This is the second arrest in the last month for Stein, as she was previously forcibly removed from the Hempstead Presidential Debates on October 16th. Stein, like Johnson is likely to reach the 5% mark for the FEC funds as she has already received these funds for 2012. Stein among other things advocates for an expansion of affordable housing projects, broaden health coverage and fights to find an sustainable energy plan for America.

The devoted progressive, Rocky Anderson, has made climate change, immigration reform and the war on drugs key issues in his campaign. Anderson has perhaps slim chances, he is only on the ballot of 15 states and only 20 states will count the write in's. Anderson has used social media and independent news sources to gain coverage, as he only accepts donations up to $100 and refuses to accept corporate sponsors.

Arguably those who are contemplating voting for one of the mentioned Third Party Candidates will likely hear the common theme that voting for such candidates will be a “wasted vote”. What-ever the decision be for Americans, one must know that there is an alternative and a vote is never wasted. Third Party Candidates rely on every vote, as it contributes to their funding for future campaigns. As we all know, a third or fourth party in America will not emerge over-night, it is unfortunately a slow and grueling process which requires committed supporters and an unbiased media. To learn more about the Third Party Candidates you can watch the November 5th Third Party Debate by clicking on this link. As well the pledge against the CPD can be found here

Mansharn Toor 
FDA Researcher and Blogger

Question For the Readers: 
By voting for a Third Party Candidate, is it a "wasted vote"? 

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