Why 5 Percent of Votes Could Change American Politics

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Voters are so unhappy with this years election choices that a recent FOX News poll showed over 82% of voters felt "disgusted" w...


Voters are so unhappy with this years election choices that a recent FOX News poll showed over 82% of voters felt "disgusted" with their options for President. While that may be bad news for most Americans, it's great news for about five percent of the American political outcasts.

Ever since the formation of Republicans and Democrats, there's been a few outsiders who found themselves neither on the right, or the left. While a percentage of  Americans claim to be Independent, there's an even smaller amount that have taken it upon themselves to form their own party. In fact, two political parties this year have gained major media recognition for the first time. Gary Johnson, whom you've likely heard of for making headlines by saying he didn't know what Aleppo was, and Jill Stein, whom you more than likely haven't heard of.

The Libertarian Party and the Green Party
Johnson is the Presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein is the nominee for the Green Party of the United States. Both candidates belong neither to the Republican and Democrat, therefore have received minimal media coverage, however, have both garnished over 2% of American support going into election day. In fact, Johnson is almost at 5%. While it may not seem like much, compared to Trump and Clinton's 45-50% margins, it is a political first in American democracy and could have the potential to change our political system forever. In fact, if Johnson manages just a few half of percent of votes by November 8th, Republican and Democrats may not be the only major parties anymore.

What happens at 5%?
For third parties, 5% is the magic number. It is believed that roughly 235 million Americans are eligible to vote, but only 54% of them turnout. Therefore, about 127 million people will cast a vote for someone by November 8th. In order for a third party to hit the magic five percent, they need over 6.35 million total votes. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's a number third parties have struggled to even come close to for years. Many Republicans and Democrats believe voting third party is pointless, and in fact actually detrimental to their candidate with an actual chance of winning, making it nearly impossible to garner up enough people to actually vote third party. However, this election has people so displeased that a third party nominee is nearing that magic number of 5 percent more than ever.

So, what happens at 5 percent?

When a third party officially receives five percent of electoral votes in a Presidential nominee, the nominee can receive a $20,000,000 grant from the federal election commission. However, both Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have declined to accept this grant because it comes with restrictions. Regardless, hitting the magical five percent for either party would mean much more than just a cashload of money. What's important is that if a third party hits five percent of votes, it begins to become recognized as an "official" party. While, of course, the parties are already official, the magic floating around 5% is undeniable even by the mainstream media. Additionally, if either the Green Party or Libertarian Party hits that magic number, they'll be qualified to be on next elections ballot without having to go through the painstaking and time-consuming task of gathering thousands upon thousands of signatures to clarify them as a valid party for the Presidential race. Rather, if a third party hits five percent, it's fair game from here on out. And with the dissatisfaction surround Clinton and Trump, whose to know how many people will swing from Republicans and Democrats to Green or Libertarian. The case for 5% this year is realer than ever, and presents a very real chance of introducing a third major political party to our government. Would that mean more political conflicts in congress, legislation, and so forth? While they're are many good things that can arise from a third party, the country faces many conflicts, too.

Jill Stein is the nominee for the Green Party of the United States. However, with just 2% of the popular vote,
it's unlikely she'll even reach the 5% needed to establish her party.
HEAVY reports that Gary Johnson has the best chance at reaching five percent. USA Today has Johnson at 4.8%, just shy of that magic number. Jill Stein, an American physician and vocal anti-Clinton, is at 2%, according to USA Today's same poll. Many voters have voiced support for Stein for becoming the first female President rather than Clinton, but her choice to run third-party likely prevents that from being a real possibility.

By Michael Marsh

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