News Release

A Banner Year for Third Parties with Clinton and Trump’s Negatives?

Untitled design (2) CNN is telecasting a “Town Hall” with the Libertarian Party ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld on Wednesday night.

Politico reports in “Think You’ve Got It Locked, Hillary? Meet Jill Stein” that: The longtime Massachusetts environmental activist and presumptive Green Party nominee (the Green convention is not until August 4) is hungrily eyeing disgruntled Sanders voters — many of whom have been saying that even now, with the nomination all but locked up, they still won’t vote for Hillary.”

DARCY RICHARDSON, darcyrichardson[at]comcast.net
Richardson is author of Others — a four volume series work on U.S. third parties. His most recent book is Bernie: A Lifelong Crusade Against Wall Street and Wealth. His previous books include A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign.

He said today: “As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to register unusually high negatives in what is clearly shaping up as a classic duopoly battle between the despised, the country’s nationally-organized third parties have a genuine opportunity to be more than a minor footnote in the 2016 presidential election.

“Most pundits — those who have been consistently wrong throughout this entire topsy-turvy election cycle — believe that former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, will most likely be the chief beneficiary of the widespread discontent with the two major-party candidates. In 2012, Johnson garnered 1,275,000 votes, or about one percent nationally. It was the party’s highest popular vote total in a presidential election.

“The amiable Libertarian candidate, who is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states this autumn, has been averaging approximately 9 percent of the vote in recent polls. Johnson and his vice-presidential running mate, William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, have also received the lion’s share of the mainstream media coverage devoted to third-party candidates at this relatively early stage in the campaign, a whirlwind of publicity over the past few weeks continues on CNN tonight.

“Conventional wisdom in this most unconventional year of all suggests that the Libertarian nominee will almost certainly be the most serious threat to two-party hegemony in November, but that role might actually be filled by Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated physician and pioneering environmental and health activist waging her second bid for the White House on the Green Party ticket.

“Unlike Johnson, who called for an immediate $1.4 trillion cut in federal spending four years ago — a draconian austerity measure that would have virtually destroyed the nation’s social safety net while wreaking havoc on the U.S. and global economy — and recently came out in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Stein is uniquely positioned to tap into the nearly 13 million voters who supported Bernie Sanders’ feisty insurgent candidacy in the Democratic primaries, many of whom can’t bring themselves to support Hillary Clinton. (A McClatchy-Marist poll in April showed that 25 percent of Sanders backers wouldn’t support the former Secretary of State.)

“The Green Party’s longstanding commitment to economic and social justice, particularly the party’s laser-like focus on the issues of income inequality, single-payer national health insurance, tough Wall Street regulation, climate change and racial justice, could very well be viewed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Bernie’s uncompromising and principled supporters as the most logical way to continue the Vermont lawmaker’s ‘political revolution.’

“Stein, who has largely kept pace with her higher-profile Libertarian opponent in terms of fundraising — netting $652,138 to Johnson’s $699,231 as of May 31 — despite receiving only a small fraction of the media attention lathered on the little-scrutinized Libertarian nominee, will probably appear on the ballot in 40-45 states this fall, but could still plausibly qualify in as many as 47 states.

“The Constitution Party’s Darrell L. Castle of Memphis, a former Marine officer who trained under Oliver North and served in Vietnam before eventually becoming a bankruptcy and personal injury attorney, could also make some headway in this year’s presidential campaign. Promising strict adherence to the constitution while vowing to end the Federal Reserve’s control over U.S. monetary policy, the relatively obscure Castle is realistically expected to appear on the ballot in 25-27 states, and possibly as many as 29.

“While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll witness anything remotely similar to the presidential election of 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt and his hastily-formed Bull Moose Party snorted and thundered against his major-party opposition and finished ahead of a sitting president with more than 27 percent of the vote while Socialist Eugene V. Debs garnered nearly 6 percent and little-known Prohibitionist Eugene W. Chafin tallied another 1.4 percent, this nevertheless could be a banner year for America’s minor parties.”