Students seek presidential candidate alternatives

Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson delivers remarks at Liberty University Oct. 17 in Lynchburg, Virginia.

By Clarissa Hinshaw

DeKALB | Students are considering third-party options for presidency because of their dislike for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is conservative in economic policy and with the constitution. However, he is liberal on most social issues including abortion and marijuana legalization, according to his website.

Independent presidential candidate Jill Stein is progressive and holds values similar to former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders including abolishing student loan debt and expanding women’s rights, according to her website.

Senior psychology major Jessica Jimenez said she may vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to keep Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump out of office but prefers not to vote for Clinton.

“[There are] quite a few [third party candidates] that I prefer over Clinton,” said Jimenez. “It’s always been an easy choice, but now it’s very difficult.”

Jimenez said she will not vote for Trump because she is a Mexican-American woman. She thinks Trump’s views on women and immigrants are too harsh and said she would fear for her future if he became president.

“I think [students are looking at third parties more] because negatives are so high for both Clinton and Trump, and there’s so many people who like neither candidate,” said Matthew Streb, Political Science Department chair. “Clinton and Trump’s unfavorables are so high, in both cases, that there are people looking for other alternatives. Johnson is very socially liberal. I find it surprising that some Bernie Sanders supporters have turned to Johnson. From an economic standpoint, Johnson and Sanders can’t be any further apart in what their policies look like.”

Streb said he would be surprised if a third party candidate polled more than three or four percent in this election. He said Johnson, who also ran as the Libertarian candidate in 2012, did not poll one percent four years ago, and poll numbers usually cut in half by election day.

Johnson supports religious freedom over anti-discrimination, as well as allowing women to make their own choices about abortion. He plans to grow the economy and cut back on government spending, according to his website.

Stein supports creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. She also plans to expand women’s rights, according to her website.

“I really wish we had seen a stronger third party emerge this time, based on their understanding that both republicans and democrats are dissatisfied with their candidate [in this election],” said Tammy Batson, undergraduate coordinator for economics. “It would have been a great time for a third party to emerge and unite these two groups. With our current two-party system, half the country is still mad when the whole thing is done.”