By: Stefon Wytner
Copy edited by: Amanda Hirsch and Jared Bernhardt
Research edited by: Sean Cotnam
Format edited by: Arthur Carlton-Jones
The presidential election can be an exciting time for people who are ready to either vote in the next president or to keep the president from the previous term. Technically speaking, anybody over the age of 35 that was born in the U.S. and has lived in the U.S. for 14 years can run for president. There are also multiple parties who run for president, however, we only seem to talk about the democrats and the republicans. Third parties have always been that other side of the presidential election that gets ignored. The two main third parties are the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. While these are the most well-known minority parties, they are never a real factor in the election. At this point, will a third party candidate ever become the president? Clearly not any time soon because there has been little representation of these parties in the past elections and the current election.
There is a possibility that a third party candidate will never win the presidential election. The only parties to win the election that weren’t the democrats, republicans, or the democratic-republicans were the Union Party, the Federalist Party, and the Whig Party per PresidentsUSA. This may give people hope that a party other than the democrats and republicans could once again win the election. It is not easy to compare the past political parties to the ones now. The Whig and Federalists parties went under decades ago. The Whig Party, unlike the Federalist Party, still exists today. They are extremely minor, to the point where they don’t have a presidential candidate in this election. The Whig Party has not had a candidate in decades. The Federalist Party and Union party no longer exist since the country is no longer in a civil war. Not only that, but over the last few elections third party candidates only accumulated less than 5% of the popular votes via The Washington Post. This leaves over 95% to the two main candidates. There’s nothing hopeful in those numbers. What’s the point of even voting third party if their chances of winning are this low?
Even with all the talk of how bad the two main candidates for the current election are, polls by Real Politics and NBC show that the percentage of votes for third party candidates is only expected to go up to about 10-12% in the upcoming election. Now while that does show improvement that might make some say that minority parties are on the rise, it still leaves a majority of the vote to two candidates who many think aren’t suitable for American presidency.
Despite their lack of attention, third party candidates are always interesting. This year we have Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party. These candidates aren’t getting enough exposure to outshine the Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton saga. Eventually we will get back to having respectable candidates for American presidency and third party candidates will be forgotten again. It hasn’t happened before and it isn’t going to happen now, so why have any hope for the future?