Third parties: A tenable option

By Keegan Godwin (TheLorian)

2020 has been a crazy year. Wildfires, pandemics, and lives are continuously changing forever. The election is no different. For this election, all the media talks about are the antics of both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Many young voters have been living by the idea of ‘Settle for Biden’ or ‘Anybody but Biden’. It is a terrible look for the democratic system that the two candidates that are no one’s first choice are presumed as the only choices. What makes it even worse is both candidates have allegations of a history of sexual harassment. 

President Trump, obviously, is the incumbent for the Presidency making him the choice for the Republican ticket. Joe Biden, however, managed to win the Democratic nomination over 29 other candidates. One of those candidates was, surprisingly, Kamala Harris. Harris seems to be more popular than Biden now as his VP selection but failed to do well in the caucuses. Despite Biden’s victory in winning the nomination, he is not a popular choice for Democrats. But since he is not President Trump, Democrats have backed him in the election. 

President Trump’s poor handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has led to his popularity drastically dropping throughout the country. With intel and documents revealing he downplayed the pandemic with full knowledge of what it was has made his approval ratings plummet. 

Third parties in our democratic system are essential to our survival as a nation. James Madison, founding father and 4th President of the United States, argued in his Federalist Paper no. 10 that factions (political parties) are harmful to our government. However, the only way to work with factions was one of two options: ban all parties and force everyone to have the same opinion which, he argued, is a bigger problem than factions themselves. The best solution was to have an abundant amount of political parties so that no one or two parties control the government. 

As we know, we have been dominated by a two-party system for as long as we can remember. The last time someone other than the Republican or Democratic party won the Presidency was in Millard Fillmore in 1850 with the Whig party. 

It is time that we begin to expand the two-party system. Allowing more parties allows more opinions and more people to be justly represented by our government. A two-party system suppresses the ideas and values of a majority of Americans. 

This year, the two major third-party candidates are Jo Jorgenson of the Libertarian party and Howie Hawkins of the Green party. Both of these parties have the opportunity to reach 270 in the electoral college. 

Jo Jorgenson, age 63, is running as the Libertarian nominee for President. She is a professor at Clemson University and has run for the House of Representatives and Vice President under the Libertarian Party. Jorgenson believes in the following; lowering healthcare costs, reducing the size of government, creating peace rather than war, protecting the environment (she actually believes in science), and promoting education reform among many other topics. Dr. Jorgenson is the only female candidate running for the presidency at this time. Her VP candidate is Spike Cohen. 

Howie Hawkins, age 67, is running as the Green Party nominee for President. Hawkins served in the Marines in Vietnam despite his anti-war activism. He has been an activist for civil rights, the environment, and unions. He has run for Governor of New York four times and received the most votes a third-party candidate has ever received. Hawkins believes in the following; reducing the military budget by 75%, a $20 minimum wage, Medicare for all, and tax justice among other topics. His VP candidate is Angela Walker. 

None of the third-party candidates have ever been accused of sexual harassment. 

This election is one of the most important we will ever face in our life. Joe Biden has been in politics for 47 years. Donald Trump’s reputation is plummeting. It is time to vote for actual change and vote for a third party.

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