A race against time for third-party candidates

Christian Vasquez, Staff Reporter

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When both major party candidates for the presidential election are the most disliked since 1980, according to a FiveThirtyEight.com, common sense dictates that third-party candidates would have a higher chance of winning. But, this hasn’t been the case as both Jill Stein, presidential nominee of the Green Party, and Gary Johnson, presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, are still struggling to meet the requirements to be present in the presidential debates.

The Commission on Presidential debates requires that each candidate must have 15 percent support from five selected national polls. According to RealClearPolitics.com, a website that averages polls across the nation, Johnson is supported by 8.6 percent of the population, while Stein is at 3.2 percent.

But poll numbers are not the only requirement. In order to participate, a candidate from any party must also be present in enough state ballots to be able to mathematically win a national election.

All parties have until Sept. 4 to meet the requirements. Johnson has said in various interviews that if he is not able to debate he cannot win the election.

The Green Party’s portrayal in the media has been regularly focused on past controversial claims. Stein has been labeled as an anti-vaxxer because of her warning of lobbyist and corporate influence over the Food and Drug Administration. But she has received larger condemnation when she was caught on video claiming that Wi-Fi was harmful to children’s brains and that they should be removed from schools. Stein has attempted to move away from these topics by saying that she is simply advocating for more research and a cautionary approach.

Stein’s vice presidential running mate Ajamu Baraka has also irritated the Bernie crowd by calling Bernie Sanders a propagator “of the Western imperial project.”

These claims by the Green Party candidates have led many potential supporters to begrudgingly accept Hillary as their next president.

The Libertarian side has received less judgement from the media because both Gary Johnson and running mate William Weld, have experience in Congress as they have both served as governors’ of New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively. Most of the Libertarian criticism comes from their campaign issues, such as getting rid of many agencies in the government.

While both parties are struggling with low poll ratings, it is one of the few things they have in common. Policy wise they are on opposite ends of the spectrum and agree only on a few points.

Concerning the economy, the Libertarians advocate for a laisse faire-type free market that eliminates many departments of the government, including the Department of Education, and privatizes them, while the Green Party seeks to expand the government by making many institutions, such as banking, public. Libertarians are the only party in this election to be outright supporters of current free-trade agreements, with Johnson in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton has supported agreements in the past, but now opposes the TPP.

On the environmental side, the Green Party promotes what they call the “Green New Deal,” where by 2030, the U.S. will completely phase out fossil fuel and nuclear industries while ending natural gas extraction; they hope to create thousands of new jobs in the process of the transition. Libertarian policy puts the free market above anything else—they believe the Environmental Protection Agency is enough to protect the environment while the government should let the market decide what forms of energy should be used.

When it comes to social equality, the Libertarians take a more hands-off approach that follows their small government model. They believe that the free market will work as a catalyst to social equality, but also believe in reproductive rights for women and marriage equality. The Green Party wants to actively expand the rights of LGBTQIA, follow indigenous treaties, equal pay and reproductive rights for women and create a path to citizenship. The Green Party also advocates for a guaranteed right to work, housing and health care.

Both parties call for the end of the Drug War and cutting military spending. They also agree that surveillance by the government has gone too far.

But the independent parties are not the only ones to have trouble in the polls. Donald Trump is behind Clinton by 4.5 points, according to RealClearPolitics.

The Trump campaign is changing their management as Paul Manafort resigned as chairman after a string of reports concerning connections with Ukrainian pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovich that includes millions of dollar in payments from their government.

One of Trump’s new advisors is Roger Ailes, founder and now former chairman and CEO of Fox News, who resigned after a wave of sexual harassment allegations, and Stephen Bannon, the former Breitbart News executive chairman, a conservative news site that was well known for its distaste of the Republican establishment.

By adding Bannon, Trump is showing that he is not going to “pivot” to a more presidential persona that many establishment Republicans have been goading him to take. In an interview with WKTB, Trump said, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well you’re going to pivot.’ I don’t want to pivot.”

Despite Hillary’s 4.5 point poll lead over Trump, she has been facing her own series of allegations. A series of emails released by Judicial Watch showed ties from the Clinton Foundation to her position as Secretary of State, where donators to the Clinton Foundation are alleged to have a direct line to the State Department.

Another Clinton scandal resurfaced from 1978, where it was alleged that former President Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick when he was the attorney general of Arkansas. The Clinton campaign has been criticized for changing a statement on their website calling for sexual assault survivors’ “right to be believed” to “right to be heard.”

Christian Vasquez may be reached at [email protected]

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