A Libertarian Party supporter campaigns for its presidential candidate, Gary Johnson. Photo published by Johnson's campaign on Flickr (CC licence).
While it may seem that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were the only two contenders in the US presidential election, there were actually quite a few more. Candidates from “third parties”, as smaller parties are called, perhaps had a better chance of seeing hell freeze over than winning the White House, but they and their voters were banking on the idea that the more votes they got, the more attention their ideas will get.
The biggest third party challenger in this year’s race was the Libertarian Party, led by Gary Johnson. Neither on the left nor the right, the Libertarian Party describes itself as socially tolerant and fiscally conservative, making it tempting for voters who were hesitating between the two major parties.
Then there’s the Green Party, which some worried could have split voters on the left. Many Democrats today still blame 2000 Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for taking decisive votes away from Democrat Al Gore in the swing state of Florida.
Candidates from these two parties, as well as candidates from the conservative Constitution Party
and the left-leaning Justice Party, took part in a “third party” debate
on Monday, which was given very little media coverage compared to the Obama-Romney debates.