Two students explain how Johnson and Stein earned their vote.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two of the most disliked Presidential candidates in modern history. With such a wide disdain for both major-party candidates, many voters have turned towards third-party candidates such as Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
In the 2012 election, most people probably would have not been able to say who either of these candidates were, even though they both ran. In 2012, Gary Johnson pulled 0.99 percent of the popular vote and Jill Stein came out with 0.36 percent. According to CNN’s poll of polls, Gary Johnson is currently predicted to have 5 percent of the popular vote and Jill Stein to earn 2 percent.
One of those people supporting Gary Johnson is first time voter Cade Webb, a Communication Studies Junior at UMKC.
“Like a lot of other people, I’m voting for Johnson because of the mess the two parties have made of this election,” said Webb, who usually supports Republican candidates. “I cannot in good conscious vote for Donald Trump and Gary Johnson seems to be the most level-headed out of the three.”
Through the election process, Webb has given his support to several candidates before deciding on Gary Johnson.
“When Donald Trump first announced his candidacy, I was behind him. I thought Washington could use a change but
once he started talking, he went off the rails,” said Webb. “Once the debates started, I was a Marco Rubio guy but sadly America didn’t pick him, so I decided Gary Johnson was the lesser evil of the candidates.”
While this is the first election Webb is eligible to vote in, he has followed politics since he was in high school. Webb has always leaned towards Republican candidates and ideologies which have highly disappointed him in this election season.
“The people chose Donald Trump and because of that, I feel like it has now alienated a segment of loyal Republicans such as myself,” said Webb. “It’s really unfortunate, I almost don’t want to vote in this election but I’ve kept up with politics, done my research and I feel like I should vote. It’s just a bummer that this is my first election.”
Webb is not alone in his decision to opt for a third-party candidate. Derron Black, who ran for State Legislature for the 23rd Kansas City District as a Democrat this past summer, has decided to give his vote to Jill Stein. Black is a Political Science major and Economics minor at UMKC.
Black was originally a supporter of Hillary Clinton until a friend of his introduced him to Bernie Sanders’ platform. After that, he began to work with the Sanders campaign.
“I became more aware of progressive politics and the need to push for progressive issues,” said Black. “I don’t believe Hillary Clinton represents the issues of that political ideology to the fullest degree. I want to vote with integrity, for someone I am fully in agreement with, so I’ll be voting for Jill Stein.”
For Black, Jill Stein represents the issues that are most important to him such as environmental changes, building infrastructure, and a strong, honest commitment to people and to progress.
“I originally came to the conclusion that I was going to do a write-in, be a Bernie-or-Bust type person,” said Black. “I then saw that Jill Stein pretty much mirrored the issues that Bernie Sanders stood for and was even more committed to radical change than Senator Sanders himself.”
Black has voted in every election since 2000 and although this is his first time voting third-party, he has voted for both Republican and Democratic candidates over the years.
“I like to associate with the issue as opposed to just a strict party platform,” said Black. “I guess I’m in the party of progressives, I think it’s important to be committed to making a moderate change.”
Although Johnson and Stein are polling higher than third-party candidates have in past elections, the chances of either candidate getting past the Electoral College is very low. A candidate must receive 270/538 electoral votes to secure the Presidency.
If electoral votes were split evenly between Trump and Clinton and Johnson or Stein managed to take one state, or one electoral vote from Maine or Nebraska, then they would be considered by the House of Representatives for the Presidency. If this did happen, Donald Trump would almost be assured the Presidency because each state would only get one vote each and most states are Republican.
While both Webb and Black realize there is virtually no chance for a third-party candidate to secure this election, they both believe their votes still count for something.
“Gary Johnson will not be elected but I am trying to make a statement. I feel like myself and others voting third-party are fed up with the way this election has gone. Gary Johnson is not my ideal candidate but I can’t vote for someone I would be holding my nose for,” said Webb. “I think voting third-party will make a difference for the next election, third-party candidates are becoming more popular and this helps bring to attention that there are other people out there to vote for.”
“Integrity behind who I am casting my vote for, I believe is important. It’s not throwing away a vote because the Green Party is gaining momentum across the country,” said Black. “Sticking to your guns and being committed to a real progressive evolution is important. The fight is not over; I don’t believe Hillary or Trump will bring a change across the country or across the globe. I feel a lot more comfortable as someone who is politically aware, casting my vote for someone I totally believe in.”
Polls open at 6 a.m. in Missouri and 7 a.m. in Kansas and close at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8th. No matter who you believe in, it’s important to go cast your vote.