You’re stuck. In the 2016 presidential election, both the Democratic and Republican candidates seem to rub you, like many Americans, the wrong way. But luckily, the options on the ballot don’t end there.
President George Washington warned against “the baneful effects of the spirit of Party” in his farewell address, so despite the fact that the United States has developed a two party system, forming Third Parties to advance the specific issues is a common American practice. The Libertarian Party, Green Party and Constitution Party among others have nominated candidates for president along with the countless Independents campaigning. If you’re among the Americans who don’t want to cast a vote for Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton, staying home on Election Day isn’t the answer. A Third Party or Independent candidate could be the perfect fit for you.
Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)
One of the most prominent of the Third Parties is currently the Libertarian Party, which advocates for lower taxes, expanding personal liberties and an overall small government. The party’s convention nominated Gary Johnson at the annual convention in late May, and to complete his place on the ballot, he chose Bill Weld, his biggest competition in his primary race, as his potential VP. From 1994 to 2003, former-businessman Johnson governed New Mexico by vetoing over 750 bills and earning himself the reputation of being extremely fiscally conservative. In fact, Johnson has been credited the “most conservative candidate in this [presidential] race” by RedState even though he does not identify as a conservative in his political endeavors. If elected to office, Johnson plans to balance the country’s budget, establish term limits, limit the government’s regulation of personal liberty and defend America abroad against danger. To see Johnson’s full plan, visit this site.
Jill Stein (Green Party)
Although her candidacy will not be official until after the Green Party convention in early August, physician Jill Stein has all but clinched the nomination and named a vice president. Having run in the 2012 Presidential Race, Stein is not new to politics and activism, and currently--this will, of course, change in the general election with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee-- holds the record for most votes for a female candidate in the presidential general election. Previously, Stein has also represented the Green-Rainbow Party in a race against Republican Mitt Romney for Massachusetts governor as well as a 2004 State Representative race and an election for Secretary of State in 2006. Stein advocates for the environment as a “human right,” an end to poverty, an increase in living-wage jobs, universal healthcare and education through universities and a halt to climate change. To view Stein’s platform and perspective on various issues, visit her campaign site here.
Darrell Castle (Constitution Party)
The Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle and VP candidate Scott Bradley are both strict adherents to the Constitution and if elected, plan to defend the rights given to Americans in the document’s words. A Marine Corps veteran from the Vietnam War, Castle currently resides in Tennessee, where he works as an attorney and political activist. His firm, Darrell Castle and Associates, opened in 1984 and has since focused on bankruptcy and personal injury cases. In 2008, Castle ran as Constitution presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin’s VP and has served the Constitution Party in various ways. As a president, Castle would adhere to the words of the Constitution, withdraw from the United Nations, end the Federal Reserve and protect private property. For more developed stances on issues, visit Castle’s presidential election site here.
Even if the two major candidates don’t represent you or your views, voting is your civic duty, and therefore it’s imperative that you find a Third Party or Independent candidate to complete your ballot. Maybe your one vote won’t determine the outcome of the election, but in the United States of America, we have the opportunity to represent our beliefs easily and often, so the act of voting should never be taken for granted.
Lead Image: Kelley Minars via Flickr Creative Commons