By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen
Assistant News Editor and Griffin Reporter
The 2016 Presidential Election has been one for the record books, filled with scandal, nasty exchanges, and little talk of policy and planning for the future of this country. Unfortunately, this has caused a division in both the Democratic and Republican parties and an extreme crisis for the voting population of this nation. While some Democratic supporters refuse to switch their vote from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton, other registered Republicans are not a fan of Trump and the way that he talks about certain groups such as minorities and women. Unfortunately, there are some Democrats and Republicans who do not feel that their party is well-represented by their respective candidate. Therefore, some voters, especially young adults, are saying that they will simply choose not to vote in this election because they do not feel like their vote will ultimately matter. These voters are often not aware that there may be another candidate out there that represents their views. This year, two other possible candidates that could represent these disgruntled voters are Gary Johnson, the candidate for the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein, the candidate for the Green Party.
This election year has been characterized by distrust and disappointment in both the Democratic and Republican nominees. Some of the statements you might have heard from fellow millennials are, “I don’t like either candidate, but I think Hillary Clinton is the lesser of two evils,” or “I don’t necessarily like the way Trump talks about women, but I do not trust Hillary Clinton with the national security of this country.” Either way, these statements represent the American voters’ dissatisfaction with the options they have to choose from for President. If they expanded their horizons and did some research, they would learn that there are other candidates to choose from and might even relate to one of those options. Ultimately, they might make the decision to vote for a third party candidate, such as Johnson or Stein.
Gary Johnson could be a possible option for unhappy Democrats and Republicans. Johnson, who has a past in politics as the Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 and as a Presidential candidate in 2012, has described himself as being “fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” By this, Johnson combines elements of both the Democratic Party, with progressive attitudes about certain social issues, and the Republican Party, with his conservative approach to this country’s economy. This combination of elements may be perfect for certain undecided voters, or those dedicated to finding a candidate that represents a low-government involvement future for the country.
Some of the positions that represent the “socially liberal” aspect of Johnson’s policy-making is his opinions on gay and lesbian marriage, and the use of marijuana in the United States. While Republican candidate Donald Trump has made statements that he believes that the Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriage should have been handled on a state level, Johnson has made it clear that he believes that each person should have the chance to marry the sex or gender that they love. He has expressed his views that responsible adults should be able to make the decision about who they marry and should not be subject to scrutiny from the government for this private matter. Johnson has also expressed that he is completely in favor of the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. He believes that other substances can be much more harmful than smoking marijuana, and so it would only be right to legalize it for all uses.
“On the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to overall less substance abuse because it’s so much safer than everything else that’s out there, starting with alcohol,” said Johnson.
However, some of the positions that represent the “fiscally conservative” aspect of Gary Johnson’s views are his opinion on the country’s national debt and wasteful spending, as well as his views on the most effective way to create jobs in this nation. Johnson, on his official website, does not take the side of either the former Republican President George W. Bush or the current Democratic President Barack Obama. Johnson claims that the debt was doubled by President Bush and then doubled another time by President Obama. Ultimately, he does not believe that this is any way for the country to continue and be successful economically. One of his plans to institute in his first days as President would be to present Congress with a completely balanced budget. Johnson vows to veto any bill that Congress presents that would result in deficit spending because one of his major goals is to allow America to escape the national debt that is projected to reach $20 trillion by next year. Also, Johnson believes that eliminating income tax on corporations and businesses will promote the American job market and will prevent businesses from “outsourcing” jobs to foreign countries.
“Why would any corporation move its operations off-shore when the best tax ‘haven’ on the planet is right here at home?” questioned Johnson.
However, Gary Johnson has had some struggles along his campaign. Many questioned his knowledge and ability to handle foreign policy issues when he asked an MSNBC interviewer what Aleppo, a city in Syria facing disaster and tragedy, was and Johnson was not even sure what Aleppo was. Despite recovering and stating his views on Syria, this gaffe caused people to question how Johnson would be able to handle the Presidency if he lacks this basic knowledge. However, if one is unhappy with the two-party system that this country has relied on for years, a third party candidate like Johnson could be an extremely viable option.
Those who are not interested in voting for Trump, Clinton, or Johnson have one other option: Jill Stein. Stein emphasizes her idea to implement a “Power to the People Plan.” This all-encompassing idea includes large problems that are occurring in this country and have been for a long while. Some examples of her plans to improve the country, as stated on her official website, include introducing a “New Green Deal” by completely switching over to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2030, and therefore creating millions of jobs. This idea is extremely important in a world where non-renewable resources are being consumed at a rapid rate.
Another of her ideas is “Racial Justice Now,” (she is on the only ticket which includes at least one non-white individual) which emphasizes the demilitarization of police and elimination of police controlling communities. It would instead have the communities controlling the police by way of review boards and investigators who would specifically and thoroughly look into deaths that occur in police custody. These are only a few of the major issues that Stein wishes to change. She addresses a very prominent problem that has not only been occurring for a large portion of history, but it affecting society today. With all of the reports of police brutality, this is a refreshing plan of action to hear about.
Another large issue that has many interested is whether or not The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will remain active in the coming presidency. Jill Stein is absolutely against keeping Obamacare in place because she believes that the cost of keeping it continues to skyrocket and could potentially leave even more people uninsured. In addition to this, she would like to end poverty by way of instilling free universal childcare. She hopes to, according to her website, “reform public assistance to be a true safety net that empowers participants and provides a decent standard of living,” as well as establishing the right to living wage jobs. Much like how she considers that living wages, as well as health care, should be rights, she also agrees the same for education. She would like to provide world-class public education, rid students of debt, and get rid of the Common Core curriculum. If one is unhappy with the health care system, education system, and the current state of the relationship between police and citizens, then Jill Stein may be the optimal candidate.
The Griffin attempted to reach out to students who were voting third party, but many did not support either third party candidate, or did not want to go on record with their support. However, The Griffin did manage to track one Stein supporter willing to speak out.
“I’m voting for Jill Stein because I don’t want Hillary Clinton to win with a landslide in New York,” said Brian Deflyer, ‘17.
Deflyer’s words reflect that people may have a variety of reasons for voting for their preferred candidate. The silence of other students may represent that the dominance of the two-party system will continue for at least one more election cycle. Whatever your stance, The Griffin, in this final issue before the November 8 election, encourages everyone who is eligible to vote, as every vote, if nothing else, sends a message.