Third-Party Candidates: Pick Your Poison

In our first-past-the-post electoral system, only candidates fielded by the two major political parties can win the presidential election. True, a proportional electoral system would be more democratic. But we don’t have that, so a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for the unqualified orange fascist running on the Republican ticket.

Given our choices of third-party candidates, this is not a bad thing. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are ridiculous candidates with ridiculous positions.

Johnson defines himself as a libertarian who values freedom above all else. But in a January interview, he stated his support for a ban on burqas. His justification for this absurd position was that under sharia law “women are not afforded the rights of men.” It is unclear why he thinks wearing a burqa constitutes the imposition of Shariah law.

His hypocrisy is not confined to burqas. Although Johnson wants to accept Syrian refugees into the US (presumably once he figures out where Aleppo is on a map), he also wants to monitor them for ties to terrorists using the American intelligence apparatus. Johnson’s stance on reproductive rights is similarly disappointing: He wants to let states determine their own abortion laws. In sum, Gary Johnson is in favor of freedom—as long as it is the freedom of cisgender white Christian men to smoke weed and own guns.

Jill Stein is even worse than Johnson—and far more annoying. Her ridiculous foreign policy entails closing all American military bases, including the ones in South Korea and Japan (which keep China in check and prevent North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from nuking Seoul) and the one in Burkina Faso, which allows the military to target Al-Qaeda militants. She is against all wars, which amounts to a de facto vow of nonintervention in any foreign genocide. This did not work in Nazi Germany or Rwanda, and is not a viable basis for American foreign policy.

Her disdain for American power extends to drones, weapons which keep the U.S. Army out of prolonged foreign entanglements. Stein opposes drones so strongly that she would not have assassinated international terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Stein’s running mate, Ajamu Baraka, is equally unsuitable for the presidency. He has political views that veer so far left as to become right-wing. Baraka supports brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and blames both the Arab Spring and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution on imaginary nefarious plots engineered by the United States. Baraka believes that the U.S. military should not take action against Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram (English name: “Western education is sinful”), which kidnaps children, rapes women and girls, and deploys child soldiers to carry out suicide bombings. Stein’s supposedly progressive running mate once described a vigil for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who were murdered by Islamic extremists, as a “white power march.”

Perhaps the worst Stein/Baraka foreign policy gaffe is their unequivocal condemnation of Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. The pair support the ill-thought out BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel and would impoverish Palestinians if put into practice.

Another problem with the Stein/Baraka ticket is Stein’s anti-science rhetoric. Despite having a medical degree, she panders to anti-vaxxers; in a Reddit AMA, she rhetorically asked “who wouldn’t be skeptical” of the regulatory agencies that deem vaccinations beneficial. Stein also wants to ban GMOs, despite a distinct lack of scientific evidence that they are harmful for humans.

Stein’s platform, while progressive, is laughably vague. There are countless examples, but a notable one is this: on her website, her pretentiously titled “Power to the People Plan” calls for the rejection of gentrification as a means of economic development. She gives no details as to how this would be accomplished or what it even means.

By contrast, the Democratic Party’s meticulously detailed platform is the most liberal in history. Bernie Sanders’ supporters successfully pushed for progressive changes to the party’s stances. The platform now advocates a $15 federal minimum wage tied to inflation, a price on carbon and methane, immigration reform, and “a reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana.

With or without walking pneumonia, Hillary Clinton is our best and only choice for president of the United States. Setting aside the aforementioned orange fascist candidate, for whom very few liberal arts students will vote anyway, no one else can win. And with choices like libertarian-when-convenient Gary Johnson and conspiracy theorist Jill Stein, why would we want anyone else to win?

Kate Dolgenos PO '17 is a politics major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wears better shoes than you.

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