The "Other" Candidates for President: When Americans Vote for President This November, Their Choices Will Not Be Limited to the Standard-Bearers of the Two Major Political Parties

Article excerpt

Are you unhappy with the choice between big spending incumbent Barack Obama and the Republican Mitt Romney, who refuses to outline any significant spending cuts over Obama's agenda? Take heart! In November, you'll likely have one or more alternatives on the ballot for president who provide real differences from the two major-party candidates. In fact, third-party candidates not only provide a choice instead of an echo for those who see the race between Obama and Romney as picking the lesser of two evils, these third-party candidates could help shape the debate and even tilt the election. But even if they don't, they at least offer an alternative for those who cannot in conscience vote for either Romney or Obama. It's a factor that both the Romney and Obama camps are reportedly watching closely.

Time magazine speculated August 1 that Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode could "cost Mitt Romney the presidency." Reporter Elizabeth Dias wrote that "Goode is pulling fully 9% of Virginia's vote, according to a mid-July Public Policy Polling survey, leaving Obama ahead of Romney 49% to 35%. In a tight election where Virginia's 13 electoral college votes could make or break Romney's candidacy, even 2% for Goode could pull enough Republicans away to hand the historically red state to Obama in November." Likewise, Green Party nominee Jill Stein could slice off tens of thousands of key Obama votes.

But regardless of who actually wins the election, the constitutional powers of the presidency will continue to be less important than those of Congress, which possesses all legislative powers. As important as it may be to elect a good (constitutionally minded) president, electing a good Congress is far more important.


To better inform our readers, below we profile three third-party presidential candidates likely to make the ballot in a majority of states. They are profiled on four key issue areas: fiscal agenda, foreign policy, civil liberties, and social issues.

Libertarian Party:

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (Running mate: former California Judge Jim Gray)

Gary Johnson served as New Mexico governor from 1995-2003 as a Republican and promises a different path from Romney and Obama under the campaign slogan "live free." In a campaign ad, the former Republican presidential candidate says: "Give me one term as your president, and I will give you four years of peace, four years of fiscally conservative, socially accepting leadership."

While the Johnson campaign has not posted a progress report on ballot access, the Libertarian Party typically makes the ballot in 45-50 states. So nearly every American will be able to check off Johnson in the ballot booth.

Fiscal Agenda: As governor, Johnson was labeled by the conservative Club for Growth "one of the most anti-spending governors in New Mexico history."

Nevertheless, the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute only graded Johnson's governorship as "B" throughout his tenure, largely because he was unable to entirely overcome an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature. It wasn't for lack of trying, however. Johnson became known as "Governor No" for his 750 vetoes in his two terms as governor, vetoing more than a third of the bills crossing his desk and using the line-item veto heavily on many of the rest of them. "Johnson sports a libertarian attitude toward government," the Cato Institute said of Johnson's governorship back in 2002. "He favors school vouchers, term limits, privately run prisons, lean budgets, and deep tax cuts."

Johnson pledges to send a balanced budget proposal to Congress for fiscal 2014, the first budget of his presidency. He would do this by spending cuts, seeking entitlement reform, and an end to "excessive spending, bloated stimulus programs, unnecessary farm subsidies, and earmarks." Johnson would work toward abolition of the U.S. …