Forecast here: Will a third party candidate win more than five percent of the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential election?

With the greatest of respect to Bernie Sanders, the 2016 US presidential election looks set to be a Clinton vs. Trump showdown. Both candidates, though successful among their respective primary voters, are notable for their unpopularity among the wider US population. Both appear vulnerable to an insurgent candidate. Former New York Mayor and billionaire Mark Bloomberg looked ready to run as a self-funded, centrist to split a Trump vs. Sanders runoff, but pulled out once Clinton looked to have it nailed on.

So could someone else run? Well, it’s a bit late now for candidates to get themselves onto the electoral role in enough states to make an impact on the overall election. There are two minor parties that have this kind of electoral coverage already in place and will definitely be running across the country: The Libertarian Party and The Green Party.

Both are running the same presidential candidates as 2012. Both are well outside of the mainstream, but that could be seen as an asset these days.

The Libertarian Party
Unbeknownst to almost everybody, The Libertarian Party gathered 0.99% of the popular vote in 2012. This party has been around for some time and has heavyweight former-Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson running once again. David Koch, one half of the billionaire Koch brothers, famed for their political donations, ran as their vice-presidential nominee in 1980.

As their name suggests, they want more civil liberties, no interventions in foreign wars, laissez-faire economics and an abolition of the welfare state.

The Green Party
The Green Party only gathered 0.36% of the vote last time out but look well placed to take on the mantle of a defeated Bernie Sanders this time out. Indeed, Green presidential candidate Jill Stein told NBC in March that she would be prepared to actively cooperate with Sanders’ primary campaign. What price a defeated Sanders lending weight to her run?

The Green Party, like its sister-parties across the world, stand primarily for environmentalism and social justice.

Further Reading

  • Analysis: Johnson polling at 10% vs Trump and Clinton (Five Thirty Eight 24th May)
  • Analysis: Could the Green Party be an election spoiler? (The Hill 25th May)


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