It seems elections bring out extremes and #TeamClinton and #TeamTrump supporters can get whipped up into quite a frenzy, but independent candidates have been getting more and more attention since the days of Ross Perot’s unsuccessful 1992 independent run.
As long as you’re a natural-born citizen and are 35 and over, you are eligible to run for the office of U.S. president, according to the U.S. Constitution. All you have to do is file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). What applicants like Sir Cookie Zealot, Butt Stuff and Ghost of Macho Man Randy Savage were lacking was the money.
An individual must receive a minimum of $5,000 in campaign contributions to officially qualify as a candidate, an FEC spokeswoman explained. Money is a major factor in campaigns and the two parties that rake in the most dough are Democratic and Republican, but the United States is not officially a two-party country. There are other parties and independent candidates—candidates with real names and real platforms.
Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party and Jill Stein, the Green party candidate, are two third-party candidates that are still in the running. Constitution party candidate Darrel Castle isn’t on the ballot in New York or Massachusetts, but Pennsylvanians can cast their vote for the former Marine if they so choose.
Judging by the increase in third party voters, Americans, some tired of voting for “the lesser of two evils,” are looking more and more to other parties.
DR. JILL STEIN
Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate, human rights activist Ajamu Baraka, are representing the Green-Rainbow party. The Green party and the Rainbow Coalition parties merged in 2002 to create the Green-Rainbow party.
Stein was outside the convention center in Philadelphia wooing Bernie Sanders supporters after Sanders failed to meet the delegate number required for the DNC nomination. The internist is on the ballot in more than 40 states, plus Washington D.C.
Stein made headlines during the campaign for her arrests at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest and for marching on Hofstra University grounds ahead of the first presidential debate.
According to her campaign website, Stein’s Power to the People Plan includes transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, “Medicare for all,” $15 hourly federal minimum wage, demilitarizing the police, and expanding rights for women, the LGBTQIA+ community and indigenous peoples.
According to OnTheIssues.org, Stein also believes in breaking up “too big to fail” banks, school choice and a pathway to citizenship. She opposes an absolute right to gun ownership, stricter punishment to reduce crime and expanding the military.
A rumor had been circulating that Stein is anti-vaccine after the candidate spoke to The Washington Post.
"As a medical doctor, there was a time where I looked very closely at those issues, and not all those issues were completely resolved," Stein told The Post. "There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed."
Stein cleared up that rumor in a July tweet, writing: “As a medical doctor of course I support vaccinations. I have a problem with the FDA being controlled by drug companies.”