Is this the year a third party finally emerges?
The lesser of two evils
Donald Trump is a publicity hound without a clear, or even coherent, plan for what to do. Basically, he wants you to elect him and then his plan will unfold. I've said enough about him in another hub, so I won't waste space here.
Hillary is a pathological liar with questionable, at best, ethics. Her positions on topics seems to vary with the political winds. The only rock in her platform seems to be gun control. Then again, her husband had a similar issue with consistency, the only constant being his stance on gays in the military, and we know how that turned out. I also have a hub on her, so I won't waste more space on this one.
In the past, if the voters didn't like their party's candidate, they stayed home. They didn't seem aware there were other options.
However, if you liked other candidate, there are other parties out there. While I won't go into all 26 parties, I do intend to go over each of the major ones.
The risks of voting for 3rd party
Every year, you hear the following excuses for why not to vote for a third candidate. I'll dismantle each of them.
If you're a Democrat/Republican, and you vote against Clinton/Trump, you're voting for Trump/Hillary.
This is the same crap spewed every election since H.W. Bush lost the election due to Perot voters. Both parties do it. No, a vote against Trump is not a vote for Hillary, or vice versa. If you write in Bernie Sanders, that is not a vote for Trump. It's you saying you think Bernie is a better candidate than either. This spew this nonsense because both major parties learned to fear an outside threat from their dominance of Washington. William Jennings Bryant once nearly took two elections from them. They won't run that risk again.
They have no chance of winning.
35% of registered voters are registered Democrats. 26% are registered Republicans. What this means there are 39% of the votes in the air. Yes, another candidate can win. Besides, if you really want to send a message to the establishment in Washington, voting against the establishment is a good start. Bryant stopped running when the two parties carved up his platform between them, so that he couldn't win the next election.
The response is the same as above. Writing in Bugs Bunny, or Mickey Mouse, would be a wasted vote. But voting for a party you like, or writing in a candidate you like, is never a wasted vote. It's your vote. The only time a person wastes a vote is when they don't utilize it.
As a special message to the Democrat Party always whining about how they only lose when voter turnout is down, here's an idea. Stop sending us lackluster, boring candidates with a platform few like, and you might get better turnout.
The Libertarian Candidate: Gary Johnson
The Libertarian Party
In 2012, I wasn't voting for Barack Obama. But I felt burned in 2008 by John McCain, and as the year progressed, Mitt Romney wasn't exciting me either. The two sounded sadly similar. The only difference between the two was that Romney had more wealth. Neither had a real plan. And their debates were dull.
I'd voted for a Republican in every Presidential election I could since I'd turned 18 because all the Democrat candidates sounded like used car salesmen. Now, so did Romney. Then a friend sent me a link about this party. I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, and haven't looked back since.
The platform is lengthy, but a summary as follows:
- On the social front, you own your body and can do as you please to it, no censor and full freedom of religion. privacy (end to Patriot Act), Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships, government out of abortion, Parents should raise their children as they see fit (they don't condone abuse or neglect however), end to victim less crimes, end to the death penalty, and a right to self-defense.
- On the economic front: property rights need to be protected, the environment is murky but points out the EPA's track record is murky at best, end energy subsidies, repeal of the income tax and they support a Balanced Budget Amendment, an end to government guarantees and bailouts while also supporting combating fraud, as well as forced participation in retirement and healthcare programs, forcing union enrollment, and interference in education.
3. On the defense front, they want to avoid alliances and the draft, want transparency in government, end foreign intervention, free trade and a generally open border.
For a more detailed account of the platform, a link is provided below.
The Libertarian Party platform
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate
The Green Party
Before I go over the platform here, I have to make three statements.
1. I do not, nor will I in the future, endorse this particular party. Not my cup of tea.
2. When you hear that Hillary is the first woman nominated for President, you've been lied to. The Green Party nominated a woman in 2008, and Stein was their candidate in 2012 as well.
3. Bernie supporters will find this platform more to their liking than the DNC's platform.
In their own summary:
"The Green Party of the United States is a federation of state Green Parties. Committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing, Greens are renewing democracy without the support of corporate donors. Greens provide real solutions for real problems. Whether the issue is universal health care, corporate globalization, alternative energy, election reform or decent, living wages for workers, Greens have the courage and independence necessary to take on the powerful corporate interests. The Federal Elections Commission recognizes the Green Party of the United States as the official Green Party National Committee. We are partners with the European Federation of Green Parties and the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas.
The Green Party of the United States was formed in 2001 from of the older Association of State Green Parties (1996-2001). Our initial goal was to help existing state parties grow and to promote the formation of parties in all 51 states and colonies. Helping state parties is still our primary goal. As the Green Party National Committee we will devote our attention to establishing a national Green presence in politics and policy debate while continuing to facilitate party growth and action at the state and local level.
Green Party growth has been rapid since our founding and Green candidates are winning elections throughout the United States. State party membership has more than doubled. At the 2000 Presidential Nominating Convention we nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for our Presidential ticket. In 2004 we nominated David Cobb and Pat LaMarche, and in the 2008 presidential election, the Green Party candidates were Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.
We are grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters and regular citizens who've had enough of corporate-dominated politics."
Their full platform is below. Simply click on a topic and it explains their positions. And as stated already, the Bernie Sanders crowd will find this party more to their liking.
The Green Party platform
Jill Stein to Bernie Sanders
Darrell Castle: The Constitution Party candidate
The general platform has seven principles and is ideologically similar to the Tea Party.
- Life for all from conception to natural death.
- Freedom of conscience and action for the self-governed individual.
- Family is one husband and one wife, with children as divinely intended.
- Each individual's right to own and steward personal property without government burden.
- For the Founding Documents interpreted according to actual intent of the Founders.
- States' Rights: "Everything not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution to the states, is reserved to the states or to the people."
- American sovereignty: "American government committed to the protection of the borders, trade, and common defense of Americans, with no entanglement in foreign alliances."
The full platform on every issue, adopted in 2012, is listed below.
Again, not my cup of tea. While I agree with several principles, I'm not keen on the religious overtones. While I classify myself as a Christian, I believe our Founders wanted religion kept, to a degree, out of the government, as they used the general ideas of two known atheists Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, while determining the foundations on which our nation would be born.
With that said, Ted Cruz fans who refuse to vote Trump might want to look here.
The Constitution Party platform pdf
A discussion on the three main parties
There are actual more parties than this, but due to space limits and time I chose only to list the three largest. There is also the Reform Party and several different socialist parties.
The reason I didn't list another socialist party is that there is currently a movement between the Green Party and the various socialist and progressives parties to form one larger party to give the Democrats a serious run for the left side of the political spectrum.
And a side note, I also am glad that the Green Party's platform acknowledges that the budget deficit needs to be fixed, and has some actual proposals for doing so. (Even if I disagree with some of them. I doubt that they can accomplish cutting the deficit and increase spending on healthcare, green energy subsidies, and education, and so with only cuts to the military, foreign aid, and other subsidies.)
To be fair, I'm not sure where the Libertarian budget would come from, as a repeal of the income tax, combined with an end to tariffs, would seem to leave little in the way of government income. But maybe I just missed that.
I raised my primary objection to the Constitution Party already.
With that said, I'd vote for any of these three first.
Feel free to comment below, but please keep the comments intelligent and civil.