While Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are getting the lion’s share of attention in the 2016 presidential election, two other candidates are also running for President this year. The Libertarian Party is currently on the ballot in 33 states and looks like a good bet to be on all 50 by Election Day. The Green Party is currently on the ballot in 20 states and has ballot access drives under way in the remaining states.
The third party candidates get a combined 16% of the vote in a CNN/ORC poll
Jill Stein is running for president under the Green Party, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is heading the Libertarian Party ticket. If you’ve never heard of these two candidates now might be a good time to pay attention as they could have an outsized influence in the 2016 election. The most recent CNN/ORC poll showed Johnson with 9% of the vote and Stein with 7% when matched up against Donald Trump (38%) and Hillary Clinton (42%).
The Libertarian Party describes its purpose as follows:
The Libertarian Party was created in December of 1971 by people who realized that the politicians had strayed from America's original libertarian foundation, with disastrous results. Their vision was the same as that of America's founders -- a world where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, a world of peace, harmony, opportunity, and abundance.
The Libertarian Party has four general principles
• Substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut all taxes.
• Let peaceful, honest people offer their goods and services to willing consumers without a hassle from government.
• Let peaceful, honest people decide for themselves what to eat, drink, read, or smoke and how to dress, medicate themselves, or make love, without fear of criminal penalties.
• The U.S. government should defend Americans and their property in America and let the U.S. taxpayer off the hook for the defense bill of wealthy countries like Germany and Japan
The Green Party hopes to appeal to Sanders supporters
The Green Party encompasses the ‘progressive wing’ of liberal America and hopes to become home to disgruntled supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Now that Bernie appears to have failed in his drive to become the Democratic Party nominee, the Green Party is actively courting Sanders and his supporters.
We anticipate a lively and closely watched 2016 Green convention because of widespread voter dissatisfaction with the presumed Democratic and Republican nominees -- especially among Bernie Sanders supporters who want to maintain the political revolution. The Green Party and Green candidates will keep the political revolution going all the way through 2016.
— Margaret Flowers, Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland and one of the two Convention Co-chairs
While few would give either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson much of a chance of becoming president, they do have the potential to determine who the next President will be.
The third parties could determine the next president
Fortune suggests that in close battleground states the Green Party and Libertarian Party could siphon enough votes from one of the two major candidates to change the outcome. Their conclusion is that “the Green Party would likely siphon votes almost exclusively from Clinton.” The article goes on to say, “The impact of the Libertarian Party is more complex. They almost certainly would take more votes from Trump than Clinton, although “there are socially liberal, millennial-generation Democrats sufficiently turned off by the Clinton political baggage.”
With both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scoring record high unfavorable ratings with voters, the time seems right for a third party to have a major effect on the outcome of the election.
The Green Party has invited Bernie Sanders to attend the nominating convention in Houston, which is scheduled some two weeks after the Democratic convention and if Bernie should decide he wanted to be on the November ballot, the Green Party would be more than happy to accommodate him.
Sanders would still face the same sore-loser laws and ballot access issues as would a conservative independent – if he didn’t have an established party to back him. Unlike conservatives, who lack such a nationally established option, there is at least a possibility that Sanders could appeal to the Green Party. The Greens will hold their convention a couple of weeks after the Democrats do, in the first weekend of August.
— Edward Morrissey, The Fiscal Times
Coming Soon to Openvote
We'll be adding the Stein and Johnson campaign pages later this week. You'll be able to pledge your vote & recruit friends.