DemDaily: The Third Party Struggle

In an election year where the anti-incumbent factor is as strong as ever, there are many voters seeking a "third party" alternative.

It was a bruising primary for both major parties and, despite the decrease in undecided voters following the Republican and Democratic Conventions, polls show 8-11% of the voting electorate are still undetermined as to their choice for President.

Candidates are the elected voice and chosen representative of their party and its platform, regardless of whether they stick to the script or not. But it is the candidate who will ultimately be in office and decide how he or she will vote.

Qualification for a place on the ballot differs from state to state. The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in all 50 states. The Green Party has qualified in 23 states as of August 1st, is awaiting certification in 9 more, and has active petition drives in 15 others.

While the Republican party struggles to support the well-publicized rantings of their nominee, the third parties are facing similar challenges.

The Green Party's Jill Stein has come under fire for anti-vaccination stance, her opposition to her party's support of homeopathic
medicine, and claims that Wi-Fi could be damaging to children's health.

Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has provided no shortage of controversial quotes as well.

  • "I believe that every time you pass a law you take a little bite out of freedom."
  • "I don't believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None."
  • "My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current [Obama] administration."

While hoping to appeal to Sanders supporters, Johnson and running mate Bill Weld have openly courted the support of Republican leaders, including 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and conservative funders Charles and David Koch.

Johnson, who previously served as Governor of New Mexico, and his running mate, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, will participate in a New York Town Hall tonight @ 9pm ET, moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Latest CNN/ORC poll: Clinton 45, Trump 37, Johnson 9, Stein 5

Traditionally third-party support fades after the major party conventions, but 2016 is not a traditional year. Regardless, any impact is more likely to have reperussions for down-ballot races in the states than the presidential.

The ability to vote is one of the greatest privileges afforded to any US citizen - whatever your decision, and it is your own, know your candidates!

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Kimberly Scott
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