With dissatisfaction among voters, could third-party candidates stand a chance?

The parties need to poll at 15 percent in order to be included in national debates

John Fockler, Jr., of the Libertarian Party, said the discord among the major parties may actually help third-party candidates gain traction.


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WKBN) – The political conventions were earlier than ever this year, but they didn’t exactly run smoothly. Republicans had discord, and the Democrats are trying to patch their disharmony quickly as their Democratic National Convention kicks off.

But do voters have other options?

Many Americans say they are discouraged with more than 3 months left until the presidential election.

John Fockler, Jr., of the Libertarian Party, said the discord among the major parties may actually help third-party candidates gain traction.

“The Republicans and Democrats have done us a huge favor in picking two of the most unattractive candidates that the major parties have ever chosen,” Fockler said.

The Libertarian Party has selected former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as its candidate. Johnson believes in limited government and wants to eliminate the IRS.

The Green Party Convention is next week, and the presumptive nominee is Dr. Jill Stein who believes in universal healthcare and a living wage job for every American.

The problem for both parties, however, is attracting the dissatisfied voters.

“You aasked the million dollar question Dave. How we do it is we try to talk to people face to face, one on one,” said Jim Villani, committee member with the Green Party.

While the third parties are gaining ground, they need to poll at 15 percent in order to be included in national debates.

“Once that happens, all bets are off, because our guys can do as well as the two legacy party candidates,” Fockler said.

The Green Party even has a candidate running for a Senate seat in Ohio against Rob Portman and Ted Strickland.

The parties say they are trying to give voters options. Villani predicts as dissatisfaction grows, a third-party candidate will be elected president within the next 10 years.

“Dissatisfaction goes back decades and got to point where it’s going to boil over eventually. We feel confident our time is coming in near future,” he said.

You will see a Green Party candidate on the Ohio ballot in the fall, but you won’t see the Libertarian Party name attached to its candidate. Gary Johnson will be labeled as an independent, since the Libertarian Party is not recognized by the state under a law which took effect in 2014.

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