Opinion
The United States needs the third party vote
Old Gold & Black
By
Senior Writer
Thursday, September 1, 2016

Looking back on the last year, the build-up to the 2016 election has been crazy and unexpected, and it is still months away. When Donald Trump first entered the race, everyone laughed — no one seriously thought he had a chance of winning the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency.

On the other side of the aisle, though Hillary Clinton was always the most likely candidate to win the Democratic nominee, she encountered a surprisingly strong opposition from opponent Bernie Sanders.

Both major political parties have been faced with a populist movement that is dissatisfied with Congress and politicians in general, regardless of their affiliation.

Now faced with two unpopular choices — an understatement as they are both the most unpopular candidates since Barry Goldwater in 1961 according to Gallup — much of the country is dissatisfied with their party’s nominee and will have to settle with the lesser of two evils.

It is surprising that even after the country’s populist movement, we are faced with another Clinton in the White House, whose integrity is often called into question, and Trump who has alienated most minorities and until a couple years ago supported Clinton.

In fact, in 2007, Trump was interviewed by CNN and said, “They’re both terrific people, and I hope they both get the nomination,” referring to Clinton and opponent former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Supporting either candidate with the country’s current dissatisfaction with the political system and those who run it is foolish. Twenty-five percent of the country does not support either candidate, more than double the number who disapproved of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

From the surprising amount of support for Sanders to the even more surprising nomination of Trump, it is clear that America wants an outsider. Yet we will not find someone like that in the two major parties.

To elect a president who is truly an outsider, we must elect a president who is not a part of the two major parties, whose candidates are unpopular yet serious contenders for the presidency.

Voting for a third party is a longshot, but this year has the most promise of any election in recent history.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is polling around nine percent, needing 15 percent to get on the stage at the presidential debates. As a libertarian, he supports less government control and balancing the budget, and on social issues such as gay marriage, does not believe the government has the right to interfere.

The most common argument for not voting for a third party candidate is that voting for anyone besides the nominee in the two major parties is a wasted vote; however, according to a “Washington Post” poll, about 32 percent of voters would consider voting for a third party.

If everyone voted for the candidate they most agreed with instead of the lesser of two evils between Trump and Clinton, Johnson would be right up in the polls with the two of them.

From a more practical perspective, if Johnson reaches 15 percent in polls and has a podium in the debates, the exposure could give him a real shot.

Another common argument against voting third party is that a vote for him helps the opposing candidate.

However, according to a list of recent polls from Real Clear Politics, he is taking about the same from both sides.

Johnson has by far the lowest amount of money to spend on his campaign, since he is not supported by large corporations like Trump and Clinton.

With the amount of money his campaign has, it is amazing he has nine to ten percent in the polls. With the exposure of presidential debates, his poll numbers could skyrocket.