WASHINGTON D.C. – Every four years, several third-party candidates run for the presidency of the United States but never win.However, this election cycle has allowed a breakthrough for third-party candidates, with many voters unsatisfied with the two major candidates chosen to represent them.
Indeed, many former Bernie Sanders supporters are announcing their vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton and many angry Republicans are turning Libertarian for Gary Johnson over Donald Trump.
Nonetheless, this momentum may not suffice. Presently, Gary Johnson isn’t polling over 8 points and Jill Stein is absent from the ballot in 28 states.
Philip Herrera’s (24) said his positions are closer to those of Stein but will vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prevent a Trump presidency, knowing full-well that his preferred Green Party candidate does not have a chance to win.
Many people would like to see third-parties better represented but don’t think that they have a chance of getting a sufficient amount of votes.
Said Anila D’mello, 26, they will “not [get a] vote. Not anytime soon”
Moreover, Garrett Schlichte, 21, believed third party candidates should get more attention, but won’t be getting it anytime soon.
“Third-party candidates can’t win this election,” said Chris Hartnett, “they don’t have name exposure.”
When asked to pinpoint a time at which these candidates would get greater support, Mariafernanda Zacarias as well as Chris and Mary Hartnett estimated third-party candidates will have better recognition in two election cycles.
“If not now, never.”
Meg Bentley, 42, expressed her dismay that, despite this year’s particular climate, only two parties truly have a chance, and believes that the system will not change any time soon.
According to Schlichte, “a greater diversity of thought” would be available to the voters if we exited this two party system which “just isn’t working”, said Bentley.
“We would need to rewrite the Constitution,” said Herrera.
Esmat Hanano, 22, is unsatisfied with this year’s election, but does not plan on voting, “in part because [he’s] lazy” but also due to the fact none of the major candidates deserve his support. He has not, however, looked into possible third-party candidates: like many, he does not know the lesser-known candidates by name.
He and his wife Mary both said that “voting is a privilege, […] a peaceful transition of power” but both are registered independent and don’t still know who they are voting for, only a few months away from the election.
All this goes to show that Robert Byrne was correct when saying “democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.”