Column: Consider Third Party Choices

This story was written by Taylor McCune, Technician

Well, the election is only a month away and neither candidate has screwed up bad enough or done anything amazing enough to win the hearts of a majority of Americans. Frankly, I think they're still pretty indistinguishable from their respective party's status quo and, in some ways, each other.

Both candidates have an age issue. Voters say Sen. Barak Obama is too young and Sen. John McCain is too old. I've heard complaints and seen advertisements faulting both men for their plan to raise taxes for "x" group of people. Both picked running mates that have raised questions. People were asking, "Who is Gov. Sarah Palin?" when McCain announced her name. And although Sen. Joe Biden has a long history in Washington, he himself said Obama should have picked Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Which leads me to another similarity -- they're both senators, which is probably one of the better pre-presidential jobs to have. They have both shown their intelligence and dedication to the country. I think either would make an acceptable president.But neither blows me away. Perhaps it's because presidential candidates in both parties have continuously moved toward moderate positions. The biggest differences in platforms I see are the same old issues that Democrats and Republicans have always disagreed on. Both candidates have fundamentally similar opinions on many current issues.

Sadly, I feel that choosing between Obama and McCain is an overly simple process. Step one: Draw a two-column table. Label one column pro and another con. Step two: Take the following items and place appropriately --take more money from rich people/take less money from rich people; universal healthcare/not universal healthcare; kill babies (oops, fetuses) and give women a choice/don't kill fetuses (oops, babies) and take the choice away. Step three: Add up pros and cons and vote for whoever has more pros.

Now, if you're like me, there is still no clear-cut answer even when core differences are analyzed. I agree with half of a lot of things McCain says and half of a lot of things Obama says. I completely disagree with both of them on some things. There are never only two sides to an issue, and the bipartisan society we live in will never make all, or even a solid majority of us happy.

So screw the Democrats and the Republicans. Obama and McCain aren't the only people running for president - they're just the guys getting the most press.

The Libertarian, Constitution and Green parties are all in contention for president as well. Each even has a (slight) possibility of winning. On top of that, others such as the Workers World Party, the Socialist Party USA and the Prohibition party have chosen presidential nominees who can be written in on your ballot.

It's these "third" parties that do the best job of representing individual beliefs, not the primary two.

When I complain about the bipartisan system I get told that it will never change. Maybe those people are right, but maybe they're just cynical. I think that a multi-party system could exist in America; it does in other countries. Voters just have to make it a priority.

So, if you're like me, and neither McCain nor Obama feels right, consider voting Libertarian or Green or even for the Boston Tea Party or Marijuana Party. No, none of these parties will actually win... this year. But if voters stick to their convictions and continually vote away from major parties, maybe one day a new view will get to the national level.