This year’s national election faces a myriad of obstacles, including a post-recession economy and rising social issues.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney represent what many call the “two-party” system. However, there are two other parties that get less attention: the Green party and the Libertarians.
Two of the most well known Libertarian and Green party candidates have emerged to help resolve the “two-party” system dilemma by voicing their politics and keeping a steady campaign.
Gary Johnson , the former Republican governor of New Mexico, is the Libertarian party’s presidential nominee. His running mate is James “Jim” Gray, who served as a judge on California’s Orange County Superior Court for 21 years, according to their campaign website.
Johnson’s platform is not like Obama or Romney’s. He wants to legalize marijuana, eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and cut defense costs, according to his campaign website. Johnson will be on 47 out of the 50 state’s ballots, including Washington, D.C.
Jill Stein represents the Green Party and is a doctor who also teaches internal medicine. According to her campaign website, she is proposing a “Green New Deal,” which deals with researching reusable energy sources while helping to create jobs and making higher education tuition-free.
Cheri Honkala, a Philadelphia native, is Stein’s running mate. Honkala ran for sheriff of Philadelphia and was the first woman to do so, according to her campaign website.
Penn State Professor Zachary Baumann, of the political science department, said voters need to choose a candidate based on their preferences.
“In other words, if a voter prefers, for instance, a Republican, then they should vote for them,” Baumann said. “However, if neither the Democrats or Republicans satisfy one’s preferences, then they should look into voting for a third party candidate.”
Jonathan Brandonisio, a member of the Penn State Young Americans for Liberty, said he watched the third party debates on Oct. 23, moderated by Larry King. .
“[I’m] really happy to see someone [holding the debates],” Brandonisio (junior-psychology) said. “I thought it was a really good idea and I wish it was on national television.”
However, several other students did not know who the third party candidates were. Although aware of the parties’ existence, Eric Heck (sophomore-bio behavioral health) said he did not know who Johnson and Stein were.
“Third parties can’t win because of the Electoral College,” he said. “I think it is unfortunate because it doesn’t matter how many popular votes they have. It’s a shame.”
Due to the “two-party” system, Heck said he believes that voting for Obama and Romney would be deciding between the “lesser of two evils.”