Are People Ready for a Third-Party Candidate?

May 17, 2016

It may be mathematically impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic presidential nomination at this point, but he’s still in the race. And with his recent win in West Virginia over Hillary Clinton, it doesn’t look like he’s leaving anytime soon. Bernie Sanders is staying put despite calls from Democratic leadership for him to leave the race.

But with so much pressure to leave the race from the Democrats, and pressure to stay from his supporters, some, including Donald Trump, are calling on him to run as a third-party candidate. And he’s not the only one being pushed as a third-party candidate. As the Republican and Democratic conventions draw near, petitions regarding third-party candidates are growing in number. 

The majority of third-party petitions deal with frustrations surrounding the United States’ two-party system, many are calling for the Libertarian party to be included in the general election debates and polling

Specifically, several petitions call  for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, to be included in the upcoming debates between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees. 

In his petition asking the Presidential Debate Commission to include the Libertarian candidate in the general election debates, Jimmy Alexander writes, “If the Libertarians are allowed to participate, this will create a domino effect and give way to other lesser known groups to flourish. We cannot continue to be only presented two options. It’s time for a change.” 

With more than 2,400 signatures, Jimmy clearly isn’t alone in wanting a Libertarian option in the general election. Jimmy also isn’t alone in wanting more than two parties to choose from. 

Petition starter Michael Choppa is not pleased that third-party voters have been largely left out of the primary season and his more than 1,200 supporters share this feeling. In his petition, Michael asks fellow independents to not vote for Hillary Clinton and tells DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz that she can’t count on independent votes for the Democratic nominee. 

“Independent voters have since been snubbed as not important to the political process, especially in the New York Primary. Let’s send a clear message. If you don’t want our participation in the democratic political process, you won’t get it in the general election, either.” 

And with Clinton and Trump the presumptive nominees of the two major political parties, third-party voters are asking specific candidates to run as independents. 

Eric D’s petition asking Bernie Sanders to run as an independent candidate has more than 16,000 signatures.  

“Encourage Senator Bernie Sanders to run as an Independent Candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election…” he wrote. “Several closed primaries in key states have disenfranchised voters and excluded registered Independents from voting for Bernie. Early registration deadlines, Arizona’s voter suppression and the overall rigged delegate/super delegate system, have all suppressed Senator Sanders’ campaign from fairly winning the nomination as a Democrat.”

With so many voters feeling disenfranchised, it seems like third-party voters may play a bigger role than usual in this year’s presidential election. 

Would you like to see a third party candidate run for president this year? Tell us why or why not in the comments.