2016 is here, and politics-as-usual has been turned on its head. Democrats and Republicans are switching affiliation to their rival parties in historical numbers. Front-runners in the GOP and Democratic Party have the highest unfavorable, and lowest favorable ratings in presidential history, and independents outnumber Republican and Democrat voters.
Things are changing in U.S. politics. Independent and third-party candidates are geared up to offer alternatives to establishment politicians.
Tides are turning against the establishment. Packed Bernie Sanders rallies have not delivered the voter turnout needed to win a spot on the national ballot, under the DNC, but most voters see Hillary as untrustworthy, and unfavorable. GOP establishment candidates are trying desperately to stop Trump, while their members are torn between not trusting Trump as a conservative, and not trusting their own party. The people are losing faith in the two-party system to effectively carry out functions of democracy, but what choices do the people have outside the two-party system?
Third party and independent candidates are fighting to have a voice, building coalitions across the country, and providing alternatives to the Democrats and GOP.
The Green Party, which organizes and pays for its own primary, is reaching out to Sanders and his supporters to join their ticket. Jill Stein sent an open letter to Bernie Sanders asking for collaboration to, “shake the foundations of a political establishment that seemed invulnerable just a few short months ago.”
“It’s critical,” Stein said in her letter to Sanders, “that the break-through work of your campaign not be thwarted by a corporate political machine.”
The Green Party may be a good alternative for Sanders fans who do not plan on voting for Hillary, if Sanders loses the Democratic nomination, which seems likely. The Green Party doesn’t take money from corporations, lobbyists, or super PACs, and their Economic Bill of Rights resembles Sanders’ rhetoric of living wages, free education, and free healthcare.
Lynn S. Kahn, an independent candidate, who has a long record of restructuring government as an organizational psychologist, is another alternative. Kahn has formed a coalition with other third party and independent candidates to amplify their coverage in media, and strategize to get into the national view. The press release announcing the coalition of Lynn S. Kahn, Chris Keniston, Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry, and Rhett R. Smith states:
“As of today, to the greatest extent possible, the four candidates will seek ways to share interview and debate opportunities as well as point to this coalition as marking a new phase in the emergence and power of independent politics in America. The four candidates will appear in a series of Independent Presidential Debates coordinated by the Veterans Party of America beginning in June 2016.”
Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, who now identifies as Libertarian, might also appeal to voters who do not want to vote for Clinton or Trump. In a statement for IVN, Johnson said:
“Polls show anywhere from 30-50% of Americans saying they don’t want to vote for either Clinton or Trump. If that doesn’t translate into an opportunity to finally break up the two party duopoly, I don’t know what will. As Governor, I cut taxes, balanced the budget and reduced the size of government. Fiscal conservatives appreciate that record. Likewise, Bernie Sanders supporters who value civil liberties and oppose failed military interventions are being left without a home in the Democratic Party. My record on those issues should certainly be of interest to those voters, and I am reaching out to them every day.We have to break down the premise that voters only have two choices in presidential elections. This may be the year when that happens.”