As the election grows closer, Joe Biden running as the Democratic candidate and Donald Trump running for his second term as a Republican, some may wonder if there are other options. In America, where the two-party system dominates the government, it’s hard for other political parties to make a dent in U.S. politics. But, a certain few have prevailed as the most influential outside of Democrat and Republican, and they are the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party.
The Libertarian Party
Likely the most well-known of the third parties is the Libertarian Party, founded in 1971 by David Nolan. The Libertarian party is described as holding financially conservative but socially liberal views, as the party supports same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, criminal justice reform, etc… while also supporting private charities, lowering taxes, eliminating the welfare state, lowering the national debt, among other conservative views. This makes the party unique, and is the reason why it has gained popularity as the years went by. When walking around outside, the only political sign you may see besides a Biden or Trump sign may be a Jo Jorgensen sign, the Libertarian candidate. Although she has no possible chance of winning, with Libertarians gaining nearly 4% of the popular vote in 2016, they may be the first fringe party to truly show up in American politics.
The Green Party
The Green Party was founded in 2001 by Howie Hawkins, and the party describes themselves as slightly more left-wing than the current Democratic party. The party centers itself around the environment, as suggested by the name, promoting anti-war ideas, environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, and other progressive views. Unlike the Libertarian party, the Green Party lacks official status in government. But, the party does appear on the ballot in most places, alerting the nation to its existence. The party typically doesn’t choose one specific candidate, and instead nominates a few, as shown this year. However, the candidate appearing on the ballot will be Howie Hawkins, the founder of the party. Like the Libertarian party and other fringe parties, the chance of this party winning stands at zero.
The Constitution Party
In stark contrast to the Green Party, the Constitution Party is a far-right party formed in 1992 by Howard Phillips. The party bases itself upon traditional interpretations of the constitution, and is extremely anti-socialism, pro traditional/nuclear family, pro second-amendment, and pro-life (anti-abortion). The party has had a difficult time gaining traction in politics, similar to the Green Party, as it doesn’t hold any representatives in the House or Senate. In the 2020 election, Don Blankenship is running, a business executive. While the party may have no chance in the election, it serves as a message to Americans that there is a farther right/traditionalist view than the Republican party.
Overall, these parties have little influence on the actual election, and the chance of seeing a third-party candidate become president in the next few elections is extremely low. But, they’re a critic to the two-party system America has held for its entire existence as a country, and could influence young voters in the next few years looking for a party more specific to their views.