In a country ran by a traditional two-party system, the other political parties can be overlooked due to the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties. It is commonplace for people to be affiliated with these parties because these are the well-established dominant parties Americans have followed for many years, but there are other platforms out there that might work for your own political beliefs.
The most popular party in the United States (that is not the Republican or Democratic Party) is the Libertarian Party, established in 1971. According to the Libertarian Party platform, the party stresses the belief of personal liberty. Individuals are free to live their lives as long as it does not infringe on the rights or well being of other individuals. Another core policy is minimizing government influence and intervention on the state and federal level. This applies to many policies like reforming current political issues such as abortion, immigration and some forms of crime and punishment.
A notable member of the Libertarian Party is former Gov. of New Mexico Gary Johnson. While running in the 2016 presidential election, Johnson gained some favor due to the prevalent unpopularity of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The national polls show his support was at 10 percent, but he did not make it to the 15 percent required to compete in the debates. His support began to wane partly because he stated that he was not familiar with Aleppo, Syria, and that was a huge topic during the election.
Johnson could have possibly set the precedent for third parties to be taken more seriously in elections on the federal level. There have been third party candidates who have received more support than usual, but Johnson is a recent example of a discontent with the current Democratic and Republican parties. Third parties are important because not everyone identifies with the conservative policies of the Republican Party or the modern liberal beliefs of the Democratic Party. Libertarians are the most powerful and popular among the third parties, but there are many others as well.
The Green Party is a party that stresses social and economic reform. According to their platform, they highly stress reform in taking economic and political power away from big business and preserving America’s ecosystems in order to ensure future prosperity. Jill Stein is a notable member of the party.
Do your research and see if you can follow the polices of these other smaller parties because you do not have to be a Democrat or a Republican in our current political environment. It may not happen in my lifetime, but if these other parties gain support, we can see a Libertarian or Green Party candidate participating in the presidential debates and possibly even win the electoral vote. Do not think of votes for these parties as a protest vote; you are using your citizen’s duty to vote for a party you believe in. Show your support if you believe and take steps necessary toward growing the party.
Jordan Boyer is a senior history major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]