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Third-party candidates try again to attract more voters

Jill Stein, Gary Johnson make pitch

Cynthia E. Griffin | 11/3/2016, 12:12 a.m.

With less than a week to go before the 2016 presidential election takes its swan song, the electoral fireworks continue to ignite.

From accusations of racism lodged against both major party candidates, to the leaking of private e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that support claims of shady dealings in favor of Hillary Clinton, to a decades-old audio tape that apparently demonstrates Republican nominee Donald Trump’s not-so-warm feelings toward women; and in the last few days, the downfall of a revered African American Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who allegedly was illegally sharing debate questions with Democratic nominee Clinton prior to a primary face-off.

In a perfect world, African Americans would have the luxury of voting for a presidential candidate who could jump start our economy and make life substantially better.

But Tobe Johnson, chair of the political science department at Morehouse College, knows very well that 2016 is not even close to being a perfect world. With the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on display during the third and final debate held Oct. 19 at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, Johnson’s contention is that Blacks don’t have the luxury (even if they wanted to) of voting for third-party or independent candidates that he calls “distractions” from reality.

However America’s fascination with third-party/independent candidates this election cycle remains very high, particularly the interest in Bernie Sanders remaining in the race. In fact, in Los Angeles County for example, Sanders remains listed as an official write-in candidate on the ballot and election officials in L.A. say Sanders can still be written in and his votes will count.

Green Party

A look at some of the third-party candidates seem to bolster Johnson’s position regarding Blacks.

In the days leading up to the third debate, Charissa Threat, an assistant professor of history at Spelman College, spent days discussing with her students some of the pros and cons of the third-party candidates. From those discussions, Threat realized that a number of her students seemed quite attracted to Green Party ideas such as the belief that everyone who wants a job should be able to find one in a government run by the Greens. At the party’s national convention, delegates selected Jill Stein, a medical doctor, as the presidential candidate and African American activist, Ajamu Baraka, as her running mate.

Convention delegates also voted to confirm the party’s new national platform http://www.gp.org/platform_2016).

Stein, a mother, organizer, and pioneering environmental-health advocate, also seems more aligned to students’ interest in concerns such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Prior to her involvement in national presidential politics, Stein was elected to the Town Meeting Seat, Precinct 2 in Lexington, Mass., in March 2005. She finished first of 16 candidates running for seven seats, receiving 539 votes (20.6 percent), according to Wikipedia. She was re-elected in 2008, finishing second of 13 vying for eight seats.

By the 2010 census, the population of Lexington had reached 31,394 and the racial makeup of the town was 75.5 percent White, 19.9 percent Asian (8.6 percent Chinese, 4.8 percent Asian Indian, 3.2 percent Korean), Hispanic or Latino 2.3 percent of the population, 2.6 percent multi-racial, 1.5 percent Black or African American and 0.1 percent from other races.