Why stick with third party and independent candidates in November, if Clinton and Trump have a combined 80% of the electorate in all major polls? In an election season that is anything but usual, one trend is holding up: outside campaigns are losing support in the last months of the race.
The campaigns of Libertarian candidate Gov. Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, independent candidate Dr. Lynn S. Kahn, and Veterans Party candidate Chris Keniston responded to a short questionnaire for IVN. They commented about who supports them, and why; why folks should stick with their campaigns to the ballot box in 2016; and how voters can stay engaged after the 2016 election.
"Johnson and Weld are not focused on national poll numbers, they are focused on targeted states that, if they win, can 'force the vote into the House so no one wins the Electoral College." - Kathryn Bullington, IVN Independent AuthorWashington Post/ABC poll Sept. 6th 50 States According to campaign manager Ron Nielson, Millennials and independents are Johnson and Weld's largest voting bloc. He says other major communities supporting them are active military, Hispanics, and LGBT. National campaign manager, Ron Nielson, stated that Johnson and Weld are not focused on the national polling averages, but "on targeted states, to force the vote into the House, so no one wins the Electoral College." Nielson says that if neither major party candidate wins the 270 in the Electoral College, the House can pick an alternate candidate, and he thinks Johnson has a good chance to win a majority of votes in the House. Political Director of the National Libertarian Party, Carla Howell, made an appeal to voters in a comment for IVN: "It is very much in the interest of any voter who wants real change in this country to vote Libertarian up and down the ticket. Republican and Democratic politicians - in the end - vote pretty much the same on all issues, leaving us with with higher taxes, more regulations, more government debt, and more terrorist-provoking war. By voting Libertarian, you send a clear message to politicians. You DENY them permission to continue their assault on personal liberties and on Americans' right to earn a living and keep the fruits of their labor. Your vote instructs them to get out of the way and allow small businesses to form, expand, and create jobs. You demand an end to government debt and devaluation of the dollar. You instruct them to bring our troops home now while expanding free trade. Each vote for a Libertarian is a vote for peace, prosperity, and freedom." #teamgov -- Johnson/Weld is the first ticket in 47 years to run two governors. Two governors on the ticket is significant, according to national campaign manager Ron Nielson, because it shows that the Johnson/Weld ticket is qualified, experienced, and proven capable. #YouIn - According to Nielson, Johnson/Weld hashtag slogans are not meant to woo, or change a person's mind. #YouIn is an invitation to join a movement that challenges the two major parties. Johnson has not discussed organizing past the 2016 election, according to Nielson. However, Political Director for the national Libertarian Party, Carla Howell, told IVN that voters can stay involved in the party a number of ways:
"If either establishment party campaign should collapse, it will become a wide open race, the "lesser evil" argument will disintegrate, and we could see a historic realignment in which the progressive independent majority finally feels free to vote for the candidate who most closely represents their values." -David Schwab, Stein Campaign Communications DirectorWashington Post/ABC poll Sept. 6th 44 States, plus 3 with write-in status (Georgia, North Carolina, and Indiana). Voters in South Dakota, Nevada, and Oklahoma cannot vote for Stein/Baraka According to Stein's Communications Director, Dave Schwab, Greens' strongest support comes from "independents, progressives, young people, people of color, and low-income people." Communications Director, David Schwab commented for IVN: "Before Bernie Sanders' campaign was sabotaged by the DNC, he was leading in national polls by a large margin. Our campaign has the platform closest to Sanders'. So if Americans were informed about our campaign and we were included in the debates, we would likely be leading the race on the strength of our platform. [...] We are facing the 2 most unpopular establishment party candidates in history, and polls show that the frontrunner status of either one is based entirely on fear of the other one. So here is just one of multiple scenarios where we can win: if either establishment party campaign should collapse, it will become a wide open race, the "lesser evil" argument will disintegrate, and we could see a historic realignment in which the progressive independent majority finally feels free to vote for the candidate who most closely represents their values." "The Green Party is the only national party that refuses to take money from corporations, corporate lobbyists and super PACs. We don’t have superdelegates because we practice grassroots democracy. Thanks to these built-in firewalls against corruption and concentration of power, we have total freedom to call for the real solutions that the American people are ready for. We invite everyone who shares our love of people, planet and peace to join us in building a new major party for the greater good." -David Schwab, National Communications Director What are the Greens slogans, and what do they mean? Communications Director David Schwab explains: It is in Our Hands -- "It is in Our Hands refers to the fact that the Stein/Baraka campaign, and the Green Party, is a grassroots movement powered mostly by volunteers who are inspired to take our democracy and our future into their own hands." People Planet Peace Over Profit -- "We need a new politics, a new society, and a new economy that puts priority on the things that we value: better lives for all people, a healthy planet we can survive and thrive on, and peace between nations and in our own country. This vision is the polar opposite of the corporate parties funded by Wall Street, fossil fuel giants and war profiteers that have consistently put corporate profits over the needs of the American people." For the Greater Good Not the Lesser Evil -- "Like most Americans, our supporters are fed up with the political establishment that has betrayed and abandoned them to serve the interests of the economic elite. We now see people waking up in unstoppable numbers to the fact that we can have an America and a world that works for all of us. Our supporters are ready to reject the lesser evil and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it - because they do." "We as Greens will continue to build our party at the local, state, and national levels. We’ll do this by running candidates for office, recruiting more members and volunteers, building infrastructure, and standing with grassroots organizations that share our values of grassroots democracy, social justice, nonviolence and ecology. We also plan to continue pushing for ranked choice voting, a simple reform to our voting system that takes the fear out of voting so that people no longer feel pressured to vote against the candidate they like most, simply to stop the candidate they like least." -David Schwab, Stein Campaign National Communications Director
"When you say , it is clear that you do not see the growing coalition of independent candidates and independent parties! You do not understand how a coalition can work together to gain significant electoral votes, and have a dramatic impact on the Electoral College." - Dr. Lynn S. KahnKahn is on the ballot in two states: as an independent in Arkansas; and as the Independent Party candidate in Iowa. She was recently taken off of the Women's Equality Party ticket in New York, and replaced by Hillary Clinton. Kahn plans to be a write-in candidate in New York if she cannot reclaim her place. The Kahn/Monohan ticket has submitted paperwork for write-in status in 19 states: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Looking for electors to apply for write-in status in 6 more states: California, Connecticut, Kentucky, North Dakota, Virginia and Washington State. Kahn will definitely not be on the ballot in 8 states: Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota According to Kahn, she has picked up most of her support from voters in small and rural towns, and through professional networks including "government reform; justice reform; juvenile services and probation reform; homeland security; border control; and related to articles written on veterans issues and peace-building from the veterans community and peace activists." "Do I expect to win? It's still possible - anything is still possible! ...I see more and more polls showing dissatisfaction with both candidates. The BIG question that is getting no coverage is: What happens if a coalition of independent POTUS candidates get past ego and competition to work together - all together we are in all states and territories and all together we could easily have more than 270 electoral votes - so from my point of view - and through discussions with other POTUS candidates - I say anything is possible!" -Dr. Lynn S. Kahn
You can read more about Kahn's partnership with other candidates here
"We watched everyone blaming each other, then realized -- people don't believe individuals can change the world. They are too scared, or frustrated to try to change things. Every individual has the power to change the world." -Deacon Taylor, Veterans Party VP Candidate 'Everyone is waiting for someone to step-up. Chris realized, 'I am someone.' It's a vet thing to jump in and fix it." -Deacon Taylor, Veterans Party VP Candidate. 2 states: Louisiana, Colorado. Write ins pending in several other states. According to VP candidate Deacon Taylor, about half of Veteran Party supporters come from veterans, and half from civilians. The bulk of their support comes from Millennials, and Generation X, Taylor said. Social media has been a major tool for the party, and older generations are not as active on social media, he explained. He said older generations get their political information from 'main stream media,' and that the Veterans Party has not been covered much by main stream outlets. "It was never just about the presidential election," VP candidate Deacon Taylor said, "It's about restoring representative government, and accountability in government...we need to be working on every level." The Veterans party has candidates up and down the ballot. "No one should feel obligated to vote for the lesser of two evils," VP candidate Taylor said, "It is important to vote for something, not against something." He said, in the cacophony of voices out there, "Your vote is your voice." #IAMSOMEONE -- "Everyone is waiting for someone to step-up. Chris realized 'I am someone.' VP candidate, Deacon Taylor said, in comments for IVN, that other people have the same feeling as they do, but they might not believe that they, as an individual, can change the world. He said vets have a 'jump in and fix it' mentality. He also commented that, "Every individual has the power to change the world." A New Choice A New Voice -- "For the last 50-70 years, two major parties have controlled the entire process of government," Taylor commented. He lamented that new voices, like the Tea Party, and Bernie Sanders' supporters, have been co-opted into the major parties. "Organization after organization has fallen into the same pattern," he said. The Veterans Party was formed, based on volunteers, to challenge this process, he said. After 2016 Keniston and Taylor will continue to organize with the Veterans Party. "It is not just about the presidential election," he said, "...we need to be working at every level."
Independent and third party candidates are not giving up, despite a drop off in poll numbers, and unlikely victories. Johnson, Stein, Kahn, and Keniston are persisting with their goals to diversify control of policy in the U.S. -- beyond Democrats and Republicans, and beyond the 2016 election.