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Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 3, 2016. (Scott Morgan / AP)

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 3, 2016. (Scott Morgan / AP)

By Maggie Lu, Waubonsie Valley

Call them Whigs and Tories, Federalists and Anti-Federalists, or most recently, Republicans and Democrats; however they’re divided, two parties have generally dominated the electoral system of the United States. Indeed, in political circles, the Green and Independent parties seem to linger on the fringes as two irreverent outsiders; however, there are no less than a dozen other serious, viable, sincere and honest political parties in America. In the interest of free and fair elections, and in an attempt to level the playing field a little, here is a compendium of smaller, yet equally viable third party rivals for this election year.

The Green Party of the United States is a federation of state Green Parties. Committed to ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence, Greens are renewing democracy in the United States through community-based organizing. It stands for peace, democracy, human rights, freedoms and a healthy environment.

In 2008, the Green Party’s Presidential candidate was former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. She was on the ballot in 32 states and received 161,195 votes. In 2012, the party’s candidate was Dr. Jill Stein. She received 469,572 votes. 2016 continues to be the year for Jill Stein, who is the 2016 Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States. Concerned by the rise of fascism internationally and the rise of neoliberalism within the Democratic Party, she has said, “The answer to neofascism is stopping neoliberalism. Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right-wing extremism. We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany.”

The American Independent Party is an ultraconservative party which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, and wants to build a fence along the whole U.S. border. Its presidential nominee in 2016 is Tom Hoefling. He is the founder and national chairman of America’s Party and was the party’s 2012 and 2016 presidential nominee. Hoefling has served as political director for Alan Keyes’ political group America’s Revival, and as a representative for the American Conservative Coalition. The party is also known for confusing quite a few California voters who accidentally registered for it when they meant to register as independents. While the party is bigger than any of California’s other minority parties, the Los Angeles Times this year found that nearly three in four members said they did not realize they had joined the party and must have registered in error.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party’s candidate. According to the party, “Our vision is for a world in which all individuals can freely exercise the natural right of sole dominion over their own lives, liberty and property by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office, and moving public policy in a libertarian direction.” The idea of individual freedom defines the libertarian movement—it’s the party of limited government, in all forms.

“We are the only political party that stands for your right to pursue happiness in any way you choose as long as you don’t hurt anyone else and as long as you don’t take their stuff,” party chairman Nicholas Sarwark told The Hill.

This year, the party’s platform committee is looking to highlight how that differs with the two main parties with a new addition to the platform preamble: “Our aim is to keep the Republicans out of your bedroom and the Democrats out of your pockets, so that you can make your own choices and live your life as you choose.”

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