It often seems like the only two parties in America are the Democratic and Republican parties. They are usually all anybody talks about and the only people you’ll see debating on national television. However, for those of you that hate the thought of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, you do have other options.

Some people think that voting for a third-party candidate is a waste of a vote, but at the end of the day, you should vote for who you believe in. Third parties introduce new ideas to the political conversation and can have an impact on elections and politics. Without these parties, the nation would be forced to split into two extreme sides and limit the possibility of forward movement.

The founding fathers were actually very against a two-party system like we have now. The first three presidents warned against the dangers of political parties, though the country eventually ended up with that system. Since then, third parties have been introduced into the election process.

Though they are hardly ever successful, especially in presidential elections, they do have their benefits by influencing political decisions and encouraging citizens to get involved in the political process. In the past, they have been successful in splitting votes just enough to stop certain candidates from gaining the presidency. They fight for what they believe in and take their campaigns very seriously.

So here is your guide to the other candidates who are running for president in the 2016 election.

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Libertarian Party

Key Stances:

The Libertarian party believes in minimal government interference so individuals have complete control over their own lives. They believe in the right to choose, favor a free-market health care system and free-market banking and oppose the death penalty. They encourage full freedom over one’s body, beliefs and actions, including sexual orientation, religious beliefs and gun rights.

Candidate: Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is the former governor of New Mexico. He was a businessman before entering the political world. He also ran in 2012 and received 1 percent of the popular vote. His running mate is Bill Weld, former Massachusetts governor.

Johnson wants to reform the tax system with a consumption tax, getting rid of income taxes, corporate taxes and payroll taxes. He believes immigrants should go through background checks and pay taxes on the road to citizenship. He supports a law banning late-term abortions, but also believes women have the right to choose and control their own bodies.

Green Party

Key Stances:

The Green party takes a holistic approach to politics, surveying the social and ecological problems and their connections with each other. They believe the environment is being destroyed in the same way the human race is being oppressed, and for the same reasons. They hope to end wars, racism, class hierarchy and violence in order to achieve a more peaceful society as a whole. The Green party opposes anti-abortion laws, supports the legalization of marijuana, rejects the use of guns and opposes the death penalty.

Candidate: Jill Stein

Jill Stein was involved in local government for six years in Massachusetts. She ran for president in 2012 and came in fourth. She studied at Harvard University and is a doctor and an environmental activist. She has been attempting to win over Bernie Sanders supporters, as he is losing the nomination. Jill Stein believes that jobs, health care, food, water, housing and voting should be rights for everybody. She is a huge advocate for conservation and renewable energy movements, and hopes to stop fracking and offshore drilling.

Constitution Party

Key Stances:

The Constitution party believes in taking the country back to its religious roots as a Christian country and believes in the rights that were granted to us in the Constitution. The party opposes the Affordable Care Act and wants the government out of health care and medicine because that is not delegated in the Constitution. They believe in free use and ownership of guns. This party takes a very literal interpretation of the Constitution and believes that sticking to the founding fathers’ ideas will bring the country to its greatest point.

Candidate: Darrell Castle

Darrell Castle is from Tennessee and has worked as a lawyer for more than 25 years. He was also a marine during the Vietnam War. He is Christian, pro-life and wants to cut ties with the United Nations. He believes he can end bailouts by allowing lenders and borrowers to set their own interest rates. His running mate is Scott Bradley, a Utah business owner.

Who will you be voting for in the upcoming election? It’s easy to listen to the media and think that your only choices are Clinton or Trump. You’ll be hearing a lot of debate in the next few months about the two, but there are other candidates in the race. Do your research and make sure you leave the voting booth feeling proud of your vote.

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Hi, I'm Kate Harveston. I'm originally from Williamsport, PA. After pursuing my degree in Professional Writing, it seemed only natural to get out there and start blogging! I am currently pursuing a career as a journalist and freelance writer, covering everything from human rights and gender equality, to US government and international politics. My life goal is to be one of the best female political writers online, while having some fun along the way (because politics can be fun!).

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