FBI investigations. Accusations of sexual assault. Vicious personal attacks.
By any measure, it’s been an ugly presidential race. As we approach Election Day, many Americans are dissatisfied with the two major party nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If you are one of them, then there are other candidates on the ballot who would be happy to receive your vote.
Here are a few of the third party candidates who are also running for president this year:
Gary Johnson – this former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico is running under the Libertarian Party banner. He chose another former Republican governor, Bill Weld of Massachusetts, as his vice presidential candidate. Johnson is socially liberal but fiscally conservative, and takes a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy. He also ran as the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012, gaining nearly 1% of the popular vote.
Jill Stein – a physician, Stein is running as the Green Party nominee, which she also represented as its presidential nominee in 2012. She is running on a platform of government support for renewable energy, cancelling student loan debt, and cutting military spending. During her campaign she has participated in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Evan McMullin – a former CIA officer and chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, McMullin is running as a “conservative alternative” to Donald Trump. He is opposed to abortion, supports free trade, and takes a more hawkish view on foreign policy than does Trump. A Mormon, he is polling very well in Utah. It is possible that he may win this state, which would mean that a third party candidate would win an electoral vote for the first time since 1972 (when a GOP elector cast a rogue vote for the Libertarian Party nominee).
Third party candidates often perform poorly in general elections. While there are exceptions, such as Ross Perot in 1992 and George Wallace in 1968, relatively few Americans vote for candidates who are outside the two main parties. The most recent third party candidate to receive more than 1% of the popular vote was Ralph Nader. He represented the Green Party in 2000 and won 2.74% of the vote.
Given the unpopularity of this year’s two major party candidates, it is likely that more Americans than usual will be voting for third party nominees. Can Gary Johnson win 5% of the vote, which would be the highest level of support for a Libertarian Party nominee ever? Can Jill Stein break Ralph Nader’s record? Will Evan McMullin win Utah? These are all possibilities in this volatile election year.
Have you considered voting for a candidate other than Trump or Clinton this year?