Don’t forget the third party candidates

Kate Sheafer

With Election Day less than a week away, most races are focused around the main political parties. But candidate options extend beyond the Democrats and Republicans.

Though there is no doubt that these two parties regularly control the polls, third party candidates can collect a significant percentage of votes as well.

This year, the Green, Constitution and Libertarian parties have all put forth candidates in some of the top races of the election.

Constitution Party

“Following the original intent of the U.S. Constitution” —Robert Owens

Think back to elementary school history class. Remember all those old documents written by the founding fathers? Think of those as the party guidelines.

Robert Owens, the Constitution Party’s candidate for attorney general, follows the party values because he feels federal government has grown too large and has taken on too many roles.

“Government at the federal level is limited to the enumerated powers of Article 1 Section 8 [of The Constitution],” Owens said. “We really need to keep things local and accountable.”

That section of the Constitution lists each specific power the federal government holds.

Owens said government regulations have caused some of the problems with the job market today, leaving students with fewer job options upon graduation.

“The government is getting involved in things that they should not be involved in,” Owens said. “What we seek to do is to limit the role of the federal government so that private industry can actually flourish and create jobs and business opportunities for college graduates to enjoy.”

By stressing states’ rights and upholding principles from early government documents, the Constitution Party offers students an option dedicated to returning politics to what the founding fathers intended.

“Don’t just rely on what you see on ABC News or what the major parties are telling you,” Owens said. “It’s important to really dig into it, get involved and read The Constitution.”

Green Party

“The party of progressive liberals” —Dennis Spisak

While Constitution Party members campaign for less government involvement, Green Party members see a need for more government help.

Though the party generally places a very strong focus on environmental issues, which is reflected in its “green” name, another major issue supported by gubernatorial candidate Dennis Spisak is the need for a better education system.

“We’re a big proponent of supporting and looking for more government support of primary, secondary and higher education,” Spisak said. “We believe that the state has not done a very good job of funding education in general in Ohio.”

Particularly relevant to Kent State students, Spisak said, is the state’s recent cut in aid for higher education, which could put the university in a financial deficit.

“Who’s going to replace that deficit?” Spisak asks. “The students. We feel that’s wrong. Students are taxed enough in terms of what they pay for services, classes and books, and this is just another way of stating that the state funding of education is not adequate enough for students and their families.”

The Green Party also tackles issues of equality, non-violence and environmental responsibility, among other things. Spisak said many of the party’s views appeal to college-aged students.

“Our largest support is between the ages of 18 and 26,” Spisak said. “There are a lot of students who are concerned about the economy, their future, health care and funding education.

Spisak urges students to think, not just about this election, but to look at the future when deciding which party to follow.

“Do [students] want just the Democrats and Republicans to dictate policies to them, or do they want to experiment with third parties for a new way of governing here in Ohio and here in America?”

Libertarian Party

“Limited government, lower taxes and greater freedom” —Ken Matesz

For students looking for a blend of liberal and conservative viewpoints, the Libertarian Party could be a good option.

Like the Constitution Party, these members see a need to return to the limited government outlined in The Constitution, but they also hold many social justice beliefs that are similar to the Green Party.

“The core value or belief is that the Constitution of the United States is the principle document and that politicians in general don’t follow it,” said Ken Matesz, gubernatorial candidate for the Libertarians. “If we followed it, we would be a much freer bunch of people.”

Matesz said he and other Libertarians believe the education system, as it exists, needs an overhaul. Rather than more government aid, however, they see a need for more privatization.

“There are so many opportunities today for changing education, and it’s all being stymied by the state of Ohio having monopoly power,” Matesz said. “I would like to drop that and open up the free market to education, and at the same time get the colleges and so forth all privately held so that they can be out from under the reach of politicians and bureaucrats.”

Matesz agrees that students need to research different parties and pick the one that best mirrors their own personal beliefs. He also urges students not to be afraid of voting for third parties.

“People say that voting for a third party is throwing away your vote, but no, not really,” he said. “Voting for the major party when you prefer somebody in a third party is when you’re throwing away your vote.”

You can contact Kate Sheafer at [email protected].