The Other Guys

Nadar, Barr, and McKinney
Nadar, Barr, and McKinney

Come Tuesday November 4 we all will have a choice to make.  Most of our country will vote one way or another, whether it be democrat or republican, but there is still about 30 percent of the country that could go either way or a whole other way altogether.  So for those who can’t decided or do not want to pick the main two party candidates, Barack Obama or John McCain, that doesn’t mean you’re absolved from your voting responsibility.  There are several other candidates running for President of the United States in 2008. 

There are many candidates who are either of a third party or independent.  Although most of those candidates only appear on the ballots of one state, about a dozen of them are on the ballot in at least two states.  Excluding Barack Obama and John McCain, there are four other presidential candidates who are actually on the ballot of enough states to win a majority in U.S. Electoral College, therefore making that person president.  The four people who will probably receive the most votes next to the two main party candidates are Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Ralph Nadar running as an Independent. 

Probably the most familiar of the four, and the one who’s on the ballot of most states at 45, is Ralph Nadar.  Nadar announced his fifth campaign back in February.  He is running with California political activist Matt Gonzalez as his vice-presidential nominee. 

One former congressman also in the running is Bob Barr from the Libertarian Party.  The Libertarian Party is the fifth largest party in the United States, that tends to favor minimally regulated laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, and non-interventionism in foreign policy among other things.  Barr has recently been known to call out his self appointed “arch-nemesis” if you will, Ralph Nadar, only wanting to challenge him and only him in debate.

Aside from the Democratic and Republican Parties, the party with the most membership nationwide would be the Constitution Party.  But their candidate, Charles Baldwin is probably the least well known of the major third party candidates.  Chuck Baldwin is a pastor and radio show host from Florida.  A longtime member of the Republican Party, he broke away after feeling they were going too far left. 

A little less membership than the Constitution Party, but still widely known, is the Green Party.  Their nominee Cynthia McKinney, another former member of congress, beat out opponent Ralph Nadar in their primary.  Although controversial at times, McKinney and her runningmate Rosa Clemente are focusing on things such as racial profiling, statehood for the District of Columbia, and slavery reparations.   

Just as with the previous years many fear that the spoiler effect will come in to play, particularly with Nadar being on the ballot.  There are some out there who speculate on the effect Nadar had concerning the 2000 election.  It is believed by many democrats that Nadar took votes away from Gore allowing a Bush victory.  There’s already talk of that this year.  It’s actually possible for any of these candidates.  I’m sure there will be more talk on that and other issues.  Three (excluding Barr) of the candidates have agreed to a debate scheduled for Thursday.

Not for nothin’, if you’re going to vote for any of these third party candidates, just remember one of them likely will fit the mold of everything you want from a president, but neither of them are likely to win.

Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, Ron Paul isn’t running, but he has endorsed all of the above third party candidates.

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