Meet the Alternative Presidential Candidates
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico, will be on the ballot in 47 states representing the Libertarian Party. Johnson spent the first several months of his campaign seeking the Republican nomination, even participating in several debates, but withdrew last December when he failed to gain significant traction among voters in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. His tenure in New Mexico is noted for his 750 vetoes, more than the other 49 governors combined, and leaving a $1 billion budget surplus upon leaving office in 2003.
The cornerstone of Johnson’s platform is his FairTax program, which advocates for one singular consumption federal tax to replace the current income, payroll, gift, and estate tax code that currently exists. Johnson has been highly critical of the interventionist role of the United States overseas and is against military involvement in both Afghanistan and Libya.
On social issues, Johnson is pro-choice, supports gay marriage, and is an advocate for medical marijuana. There is concern among Republicans and Democrats alike that Johnson could garner enough to support to potentially swing the election, especially in hotly contested states like Colorado and Nevada, where Johnson is polling between 3 and 5 percent.
This is not the first time Jill Stein, representing the Green Party, is campaigning against Mitt Romney for elected office. Stein was the Green-Rainbow candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, earning 3.5 percent of the vote in the race that Romney won. In 2010, she mounted an additional unsuccessful campaign to be Massachusetts’ governor. Stein was actively involved in last fall’s Occupy Wall Street movement.
Her platform is based on the concept of a “Green New Deal,” in homage to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government response to the Great Depression. The Green New Deal offers an “Economic Bill of Rights” that seeks to solve unemployment through the creation of government created eco-friendly jobs chiefly in the fields of renewable energy and conservation. To fund such jobs, Stein supports raising the capital gains tax and taxes on real estate.
On Oct. 23, Stein participated in a third party debate featuring Johnson, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party. Despite radically different views on the role of government, all four candidates agreed that the current two party system is inherently flawed, promoting corporate interests at the expense of the average American.
After serving as the Socialist Party’s nominee for vice president in 2008, Stewart Alexander is serving his party at the top of the ticket in 2012. Alexander has been seeking political office in California for the last two decades, first unsuccessfully running for mayor of Los Angeles in 1989. He was the Peace and Freedom Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor of California in 2006, and sought the party’s nomination for the presidency in 2012, but lost to comedian Roseanne Barr last August before successfully becoming the Socialist nominee.
Like Stein and most third-party candidates, Alexander is active in criticism of the two-party dominated system of American politics. He cites seeing H. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire who took almost 19 percent of the popular vote in the 1992 presidential election, as evidence that Americans are hungry for more options.
Alexander previously served in the Air Force Reserve and has been a longtime community activist in the greater Los Angeles area. His campaign has focused on the “99 percent” of Americans who have suffered at the hands of corporate greed from the top 1 percent of Americans.