With national polls suggesting many voters believe one presidential candidate is too crass and the other too slippery, some may be looking for another option on their Nov. 8 ballot.
In Washington, they have five. In Idaho, six.
The differences between the two states’ electorates and their rules to qualify for the ballot mean that this year only one candidate, Libertarian Gary Johnson, is listed the same way on both states’ ballots.
Probably the best-known of the minor-party candidates, Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, is running with former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld as his running mate. With between 5 percent and 10 percent of support in most polls that include more than Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, Johnson didn’t meet the minimum level of support to appear in the presidential debates. That level was set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the two major parties.
Neither did Jill Stein, appearing as the Green Party candidate on the Washington ballot and an independent in Idaho, who is polling between 2 percent and 5 percent in some polls.
One other name appears on both states’ ballots: Darrell Castle is listed as the nominee of the Constitution Party in Washington but as an independent in Idaho, because that state’s Constitution Party selected Scott Copeland as its nominee based on his winning the state party’s primary in March.
In keeping with the overall political makeup of the two states, Washington has two additional presidential candidates more liberal than Clinton or Stein: Alyson Kennedy of the Socialist Workers Party and Gloria Estela La Riva of the Socialism and Liberation Party. Idaho has two additional conservative candidates, Rocky De La Fuente, running in some states on the Reform Party and in others on the American Delta Party but listed as an independent in Idaho, and Evan McMullin, a former congressional Republican staffer running as an independent in several Western states.
Plus, there’s always the write-in option.
John Orr, a Spokane Democrat who supported Bernie Sanders in the caucuses and conventions, said he may write in the Vermont senator’s name for president and just focus on the “down-ballot” races.
He doesn’t like Clinton and “can’t imagine Donald Trump as president.” He thinks Stein of the Green Party has some interesting ideas but not enough to earn his vote and Johnson “isn’t ready for prime time.”
“Washington is Democratic enough that Hillary will carry the state,” Orr said, so he doesn’t mind writing in Sanders. “We all get to vote but we don’t all get to vote for who we want.”
Anthony Carollo, executive director of the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals, said he believes evangelical Christians are unhappy with their two main choices, “as is most of America.” His Facebook news feed has a wide variety of opinion on both sides and “civility seems to be out the window.”
While not voting is a possibility, Carollo believes Christians have a responsibility to engage in their community.
“I think we’re called to pray and vote,” he said.
Pastor Bob Smith of Mount Spokane Church, a nondenominational, evangelical, Bible-based congregation, said he thinks many voters on both sides don’t like their choice for president and will be voting against the other candidate rather than for theirs. They’ll be voting more for the platform of the party the candidate heads than the nominee.
Evangelicals he’s talked to are unhappy that Republican leaders are backing away from Trump in the closing weeks of the election, Smith said. “That’s when people started to shut down and not watch the news. They’re willing to stand by their man and party leaders aren’t.”
Smith, who’s been a pastor in the Spokane area for 40 years, suspects most evangelicals won’t switch to a minor-party candidate who might share their beliefs.
“They’re aware that third-party candidates aren’t going to win the election.”
The final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton starts at 6 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday on most broadcast and cable news channels.
Here’s a brief look at each third-party candidate, with a link to campaign sites with more information:
Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party: Opposes using the U.S. military for “nation building” or being the world’s policeman and would only send troops overseas after Congress authorizes a declaration of war. Wants to simplify the tax code and eventually replace the federal income tax with a consumption tax based on spending. Would eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and turn decisions over to states and local school districts. Supports legalized marijuana.
Random fact: Johnson’s most famous quote of the campaign might be “What is Aleppo?” when he muffed a question on what to do about the Syrian city during a national television interview.
Jill Stein, Green Party in Washington, independent in Idaho: Supports a mobilization similar to World War II to halt climate change and create jobs in renewable energy. Would put a moratorium on genetically modified food and pesticides until they can be proved safe. Set a $15-an-hour minimum wage and require the government to provide living wage jobs to the unemployed with agency similar to the Works Progress Administration. Make child care free. Institute single payer health care system. Increase federal funding to schools.
Random fact: Although a physician, she has lent credence to opponents of vaccinations, saying people have a reason to mistrust the federal agency that regulates and approves them.
Darrell Castle, Constitution Party, independent in Idaho: Wants to pull the United States out of the United Nations, get rid of the Federal Reserve, reinstate the gold standard for currency and allow people to use whatever currency they want. He also wants to create a right-to-life for the unborn and work with Congress to take away the Supreme Court’s authority over abortion.
Random fact: As a newly commissioned Marine lieutenant, Castle trained under Lt. Oliver North.
Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party in Washington: Wants police who kill civilians jailed, whether the victim is Philando Castile in Minnesota or LaVoy Finicum from the national wildlife refuge standoff in Oregon. Supports government public works projects at union scale wages, free medical care for all, a guaranteed right to an abortion and freedom for Puerto Rico.
Random fact: Kennedy and other party members want a “Cuban style” revolution in the United States.
Gloria La Riva, Socialism and Liberation Party in Washington: Wants to end capitalism and make jobs a constitutional right, along with free health care, free education and affordable housing. She would shut down U.S. military bases around the world and use the military budget to “provide for the people,” plus abolish nuclear weapons and seize private banks. Also advocates free, safe abortion on demand and equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Random fact: La Riva is running with Eugene Puryear for vice president in Washington. She’s also running on the Peace and Freedom Party in California with Dennis Banks as her running mate.
Scott Copeland, Constitution Party in Idaho: An ordained minister, he believes God was involved in the formation of the United States and the family – defined as a man, a woman and their children – is the nation’s building block. Parents should determine whether their children get vaccines, estates should never be taxed and gun rights protect the family. Supports “sanctity of life” from conception to natural death. Would defund the United Nations and remove it from the United States. Taxes should be negligible.
Random fact: On his website, Copeland says, “praise God, (he) has never held public office.”
Rocky De La Fuente, independent in Idaho. Wants to replace non-renewable energy with renewable sources, as well as standardize filing requirements for candidates across the states, voter ID rules and circumstances that require automatic audits of ballots. Would reduce the national debt through “disciplined spending and intelligent tax reform.” The United States is not required to be the world’s police force.
Random Fact. De La Fuente appears on some state’s ballots for the Reform Party, which in the past has had Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader as its nominee.
Eric McMullin, independent in Idaho. Supports increased spending on troops and weapons systems, but also wants reform in the Defense Department. Wants to make the tax code fairer and simpler and reduce the tax burden on small business and the middle class. Reductions for top income brackets would come down after the economy starts growing. Would streamline regulations and reform entitlements.
Random fact: McMullin is in a statistical tie for the lead in Utah. If he wins he would be the first third-party candidate to earn Electoral College votes since 1968.
Posted on October 18, 2016 by Jim Camden