Third parties: the forgotten option


Megan Overbey

Ralph Nader was in the Green Party of the United States from 1991 to 2003.

Megan Overbey, Writer

With the vivacious power of the Democratic and Republican parties, many Americans tend to forget that there are other political groups looming behind their shadows. In this year’s election, people may find themselves confused and undetermined on which direction their vote will go. If you are one of those citizens who is not pleased with any of this year’s candidates, you may want to consider a candidate from one of the national third parties.

Firstly, there is a widely known party who go by Libertarians. This group takes aspects from both the Democrats and the Republicans, being that they believe the national government should be extremely limited while the citizens are allowed a maximum amount of freedom. As stated in the Libertarian Party Platform, “we hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.” For example, Libertarians do not believe that the government has any right to interfere with the principle of gay marriage or sexual orientation and that consenting adults should have the freedom to conduct their own personal and private relationships as they choose. This aspect of the party  may attract people who hold socially liberal views.

On the other side, the Libertarian Party also attracts people who may tend to lean more to the right side of the economic spectrum. Libertarians are fiscally conservative, as seen in their party platform. “All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.”

If you hold a more left-winged view, you may want to check out the Green Party. The Green Party of America holds most of the same views as Democrats, but they demand change in a more radical and immediate way. On the Green Party’s official website, they stress an important list of 10 key values for the members of their party to follow and base their beliefs around.

The seventh value on their list is an entire category dedicated to feminism and gender equality. The Green Party believe that society has “inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience.”

As their name insists, The Green Party is also very focused on the future security of our planet. The party believes that “our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or ‘unmaking’ all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. Make the quality of life, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking.”

These parties listed are just a few of the many third party options that exist throughout the country. If you are one of the many people in this country who find themselves frustrated with the current political system, consider looking into the third party route for a new kind of platform that might interest you. Some prominent players in the realm of politics believe that voting for a third party candidate is a waste of a vote, but as seen in history, if enough people believe in change, the voters will rally behind that candidate and push these new concerning issues to the forefront.