Third Parties in 2012

As students at Gonzaga University we will have to make some tough choices this November. We will be debating what to wear and what to eat on Thanksgiving. The men on campus will become frustrated deciding whether or not to let their beards grow out for No-Shave-November. There will be many things on our minds — some more important than others. Hopefully we will reserve some time for deciding who to vote into or out of the White House. This choice could dramatically affect our lives.

Much media attention has been focused on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but some feel that other candidates deserve some more attention. Traditionally, third parties rarely get their candidates into office. That is not to say that third parties never win elections or get their message across. The most famous example of a third party victory in American history is when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Even in recent years, third party candidates have made huge impacts on elections. In 1992, Ross Perot received 19.74 million votes or 18.9 percent of the votes cast.

This election cycle there are four candidates with ballot access in enough states that they could be elected in November. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, will be on the ballot in 47 states plus the District of Columbia according to Jill Stein, who is the Green Party nominee, will be on the ballot in 37 states according to her campaign website, Both third parties are currently seeking ballot access in some of the remaining states through litigation.

Candidates from all four parties are using social media as well as traditional media to convince voters that they are their candidate.  Facebook is being overwhelmed with advertisements for presidential candidates, gubernatorial candidates and even local candidates. There are even polls and quizzes popping up on Facebook.

A website called came up with an election quiz this year to help voters determine which candidate they agree with most. So far, more than 3.6 million people have taken the quiz. Not too surprising, the site shows that most Washingtonians who took the quiz side with Barack Obama. Most Texans who took the quiz side with Gary Johnson. Jill Stein came in second among Vermont quiz takers. Surprisingly, Mitt Romney has not won a single state in this quiz, although he is a popular second or third match for quiz takers. To take the quiz or see current results visit


By Josh Smith


Categories: Lifestyle

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