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Third-party Candidates Create More Alternatives For Voters

This story was written by Sydney Eagleton, Kansas State Collegian

Anyone who has turned on the news in the last few months knows Barack Obama and John McCain are running for president, but for students who dont support either major party candidate, there are other nominees to consider.

Just Monday I changed over to the Libertarian Party from the Republican Party, said Drew Evans, Kansas State University fifth-year student in geology. I dont think the Republicans stick to what they preach, and they are sounding like Democrats aiming to please everyone.

There are many other students who are dissatisfied with both the Republican and Democratic candidates, and they have the Libertarian, Constitution and Green Parties as well as independent candidates to choose from.

The Libertarian Party has nominated former Congressman Bob Barr; the Constitution Party has nominated pastor and radio talk show host Chuck Baldwin; the Green Party has nominated Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney; and Ralph Nader, having declined the nomination of the Green Party, is running as an independent candidate.

The Libertarian Party has the least number of registered members of all the parties but still has been influential in electing several of its candidates to public office. The party calls itself the Party of Principle, according to its Web site and supports smaller government, lower taxes, more freedom.

I think the main reason Im a Libertarian is because we strongly support our individual civil liberties as well as social tolerance, said Charlotte Perdew, senior in geology. Libertarians also think we spend too much in taxes, which I personally believe.

The Constitution Partys views on limited government mirror those of the Libertarian Party, but it is also against abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research and illegal immigration.

There is a distinction between green parties, which emphasize environmental causes, and the Green Party, which is a firm ideology.

The Green Party relies heavily on the principles of environmentalism, nonviolence, consensus decision-making and social justice, according to its Web site.

Independent candidates are those who are not politically affiliated with a single party. Each independent candidate has views that differ from those of major parties or lie somewhere in the middle of those views.

George Washington is the only elected president who has not been formally affiliated with a party, and is the only independent president that the U.S. has had.

However, political affiliation does not always completely determine a candidates stance on issues, so it is important to look at each candidate individually.

I know as well as every other Libertarian that were not going to have a Libertarian president, Perdew said, so Im going to vote for the best candidate that fits in with my views and Libertarian views because I want my vote to count.

Still, there are other students who believe their vote, whether for a major-party candidate or a third-party candidate, can make a difference, even if it isnt in deciding the next president.

You cant have a voice if you dont vote how you feel, Evans said. Voting against the major parties hopefully will make people notice that were not out here for just two parties, but were here to do the best for the country.

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