Politics on Point: Third party candidtates

BUT WITH ALL THIS CHATTER ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON, AND HER OPPONENT DONALD TRUMP, YOU MIGHT THINK THEY’RE THE ONLY CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR ELECTION. NOT ONLY ARE THERE OTHER RACES ON OHIO’S BALLOT – LIKE THE SENATE RACE, WHICH WE’LL TALK ABOUT NEXT WEEK – BUT THERE ARE ACTUALLY OTHER CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT! HERE TO FILL YOU IN ABOUT THESE OTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IS NICK CASTELE.

Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Voters have two choices this election…right?

WRONG!

As of right now, there are actually 1,964 candidates for president, registered with the Federal Election Commission – including The Batman, Foot Cheese, and, my personal favorite, Captain Crunch, running as an Independent. Officially running for president is really just a matter of filling out a few forms, but you’re not likely to see Mr. Crunch, or, even Mr. Batman, at any debates or on any ballots.

That’s because the United States is primarily a two-party system. That means most voters choose from the two major parties -- either the democratic candidate, like Hillary Clinton, or the republican candidate, like Donald Trump. The other candidates are called 3rd Party Candidates. That means they belong to a party opposing the two major political parties.

Third Party Candidates rarely win elections, and there has never been a 3rd Party President. In fact, the only president without major party affiliation is our very first president, George Washington. Historically, some third party candidates -- like Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as a Progressive in 1912 -- have come close to the presidency, but, over time, the third party is getting less and less of the vote.

This is partly because third party candidates have been blamed for “spoiling” elections – like Ralph Nader, the Green Party Candidate in 2000, who was blamed for taking votes away from Democrat Al Gore, causing him to lose to Republican George W. Bush.

Because Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two of the most disliked presidential candidates in recent history, third party candidates are getting a lot of attention in the 2016 election. Together, the top third party candidates – Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein – are expected to get about 10% of the vote – but they each have enough support to be on the ballot in almost every state. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Independent Candidate Captain Crunch. But, stay Crunchy, Captain!

Instructional Links

Video & Lesson Plan: PBS Newshour, Jill Stein and the Role of Third Party Candidates in Presidential Elections | PBS NewsHour

http://ideastream.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ab77daa3-5653-4c33-9f5b-dea2822add5a/jill-stein-and-the-role-of-third-party-candidates-in-presidential-elections-pbs-newshour/

Website Article: Ballotopedia, List of Political Parties in the United States

https://ballotpedia.org/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States

Website Article: Encyclopedia.Kids, List of Political Parties in the United States

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/li/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States

Website Article: Scholastic, Junior Scholastic, What Do Parties Stand For

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4706

Website Article: Ducksters, US Government, Two-Party Systen

http://www.ducksters.com/history/us_government/two-party_system.php

Video & Lesson Plan: C-Span in the Classroom, The History of Third Parties

http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Lesson/1642/Bell+Ringer+The+History+of+Third+Parties.aspx

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