Opinion: Don’t be afraid to support third party candidates in 2020

The two party system isn't for every student and there are other options

When students think about U.S politics, they typically think of the Democratic and Republican Parties, but there are more options

However, supporting any candidate outside this two-party system can seem useless as it is often said that supporting any party outside this threshold is a waste.

It is necessary that this narrative be challenged, because if it goes unquestioned it remains the dominant narrative. Students shouldn’t hesitate to support third party candidates because as the next generation, they can be the ones to radically change the way the political system works.

“This idea that voting third party is a wasted vote is more so a narrative that’s perpetuated by the two other parties to keep them in power longer,” said David Howman, a second year master's student of justice studies and president of the College Libertarians

Personally, since the 2016 presidential election, I’ve felt like I will never be able to support either Democrats or Republicans because their views seem too similar. 

For example, Democratic President Barack Obama deported more than 5 million people. Additionally, Republican President Trump has deported over 480,000 people since 2017 according to The Wall Street Journal, and has raids planned to deport even more

These actions by both parties directly impact ASU's undocumented and DACA students.

Read more: The real cost of DACA: ASU DACA students face financial, emotional costs

On issues which deeply affect peoples lives, it would seem as if there are no major political differences between the two parties — including the issue of immigration.

“It’s very important for us to vote for people we believe in rather than voting for who we think will be slightly less terrible” Howman said.

Some of the more prominent third parties are the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The candidates of these organizations provide a different perspective that have mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters — and each have very distinguishable political platforms.

The difficulty of a third party achieving success can be blamed on constitutional design, and so parties understand that there is more to win than just an election. 

Third party candidates promote an alternative ideology for the 38% of voters who want a third option outside of a two party system according to a WSJ and NBC poll.

Some third party campaigns serve to make voters understand that change does not have to come slowly at the hands of reformism and electoral politics. These parties instead promote a mass movement of people fighting for their own rights, instead of letting disconnected, elite politicians decide what’s good for them.

“There’s all these people now that are saying, for whatever reason, that the Republicans and Democrats don’t represent them anymore, and I think that they deserve representation," Howman said. 

Presidential elections are the time when students can campaign and actively rally around issues they care about. Despite being accustomed to the two party system, students need to acknowledge its downfalls and be more open to supporting third party candidates that could better represent them politically.


Reach the columnist at amisais@asu.edu or follow @comradealexia on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the  author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its  editors.

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