Third Party Candidates Take Center Stage

By Jakob Gates | Reporter

As the 2016 election cycle moves closer to November, and discontent and polarization within the political community continues to grow, third party candidates like Gary Johnson continue to attempt to offer voters a middle ground where they can vote on conscience, not against another candidate.

“A wasted vote is voting for someone that you don’t believe in,” Johnson has said several times on the campaign trail. “If we’re going to continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, that’s still evil.”

Senior Jared France agrees with Johnson’s point, although he says he will be supporting Jill Stein, the presidential nominee put forth by the Green Party, come November.

“I feel like it’s morally wrong to vote for somebody that you don’t support their policies,” France said. “You shouldn’t vote for someone to vote against somebody else.”

France also agrees with both Stein and Johnson that third party candidates should be brought to the debate stage along with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the nominees from the two major parties.

“I feel like the debates are where you see most of your politicians. Most people don’t just go looking for politicians,” France said. “If they are not in the debates they are going to be even more ostracized than they are being third party candidates that are outside of mainstream parties.”

Senior Mitchell Demerly partially agreed with France, saying that third party candidates should only be brought to the debate stage if they have the support to possibly win an election.

“They should be in the debates if they are polling high enough to garner public support,” Demerly said.

Both agree that while it may be a good idea to bring Johnson or Stein to the debates, it’s not likely to happen in the 2016 election cycle because the media don’t have the incentive to host them at the debates.

“I don’t think they will be in the debates, because for the most part it’s corporate controlled media and all that nonsense,” said France. “I don’t think the channels that hold these debates will support third party candidates as it’s not in their best interest.”

Demerly echoed France’s sentiments. “I don’t think they will be in the debates because of the media bias,” Demerly said.

While Demerly said that he continues to remain undecided, he doesn’t see a third party candidate throwing a major wrench in the polls come November, thanks to the setup of the electoral college.

“Not with our current voting system,” Demerly said.

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