HEAD TO HEAD: Independent parties for the win

Photo by: Red Black

Devan Palmero, Staff Reporter

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America is leaning over a ticking bomb, deciding whether to cut the red wire or the blue wire. It seems like we only have two options, but what about the third? A third party is a politician who does not represent the traditional ideals of the Democratic or Republican party. When voting for an independent or third party, you are not just refusing to vote for a primary party, you have to understand the viewpoints of your political party and want the changes which that representative promises.

The second biggest misconception about the voting system is that voting for an independent party is essentially throwing away your vote; the first misconception is that voting for a “lesser of two evils” isn’t. One single vote will never be the difference between one candidate or another, but the impact one vote has on the election process is more than just who wins. By voting, you are deciding where you want the country to go, and more importantly, who you think can take it there.

The Liberal representative this year is Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico. His views focus on fixing the American economy, establishing a capitalist market and lowering federal taxes. Knowing this, you can decide to vote for Johnson instead of Clinton or Trump because you agree with his viewpoints, not just because you don’t want to decide between two less-than-ideal candidates.

If there were only Democratic and Republican parties, there would be no representative for people with different opinions from what the primary parties stand for. According to a survey done by CNN on over 1,000 people, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Johnson share about 15% of the presidential vote as of July 25th. Red & Black also held a much smaller survey showing that 27.3% of students at Jefferson City High School chose an independent party. Due to technicalities in election, if this percentage of votes was reached nationally there would be a significant chance of an independent candidate winning the race.

A third party isn’t as likely to be voted for because of the illusion of a two-party system. The media focuses on the two primary candidates when it comes down to the wire as if they are the only options we as voters have, but there are always independent representatives which stand for more true beliefs and aren’t just running for president as a publicity stunt. Chad Rizner, a Social Studies teacher at JCHS, explains the impact a third party representative can have.

“The third party candidate might not win, but they certainly have an effect on the outcome of the race,” Rizner said. “When George H. W. Bush ran for reelection, Ross Perot won a pretty good chunk of the popular vote and took votes away from Bush, which helped Bill Clinton win.”

Third parties aren’t just sitting at the kids’ table while Trump and Clinton battle it out on live television. As this account shows, an independent candidate can be an important element in elections, even if they don’t win. When it comes down to it, independent parties aren’t useless and they can win against the corporate giants that are the primary candidates.