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This year offers none of the national fervor that fed Ralph Nader's Green candidacy in 2000, Ross Perot's independent run in 1992, or John Anderson's independent candidacy in 1980. The much ballyhooed and well funded Americans Elect a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that tried to hold a national online primary to put a centrist presidential candidate on all 50 states' ballots ran aground in May after most well known potential candidates backed away and not nearly enough voters took part.
In California, Greens now account for 0.63 percent of registered voters and Libertarians for 0.55 percent, and the state's new "top two" primary system means it's about to get much harder for them and other third parties to remain qualified for the ballot.
The question must be burning in the minds of Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green presidential nominee Jill Stein as they continue their dogged campaign tours that brought both to the Bay Area on Tuesday.
Those kinds of events are not Johnson's or Stein's style. Both are quick to say they're not the candidates of moneyed special interests, but rather of ordinary Americans fed up with a two party system that's either deadlocked or in corporate cahoots, depending on how you look at it.
Yet neither Johnson nor Stein will let numbers get in the way of their messages.
Johnson and Stein weren't invited to next month's presidential debates because neither has hit the 15 percent threshold in national polls that's required by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
party presidential candidates barnstorm Bay Area
entanglements. He would turn Medicare and Medicaid into block grant programs for states to administer as they wish. And he says Social Security is "absolutely savable" by raising the retirement age, enacting means testing and letting people opt into private investment instead.
In Palo Alto, the crowd was quick to applaud Stein's ideas Football Cleats Size 7 on health care; eliminating nuclear weapons and nuclear power; and her support of the Occupy movement.
Stein, who also gave talks at four college campuses Monday and Tuesday and planned six more for the rest of the week, said students have been especially Nike Shoes Soccer Cr7
President Obama talks a good game, but his rhetoric doesn't match reality, Johnson said, citing the Obama administration's crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries as an example.
"It is a perfect storm for political transformation," Stein said. "People are clamoring to have a voice in elections that are not bought and paid for by Wall Street."
Johnson drew a crowd of about 200 about half who'd come out for him, about half curious passers by at midday on UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. Stein spoke to a crowd of about 120 that evening in a Palo Alto church.
"I think I'm speaking the truth, and it's kind of a great hole card," said Johnson, wearing a suit jacket, a peace sign T shirt and jeans while surrounded by supporters at Cal.
"The votes belong to us, and we deserve multiple choices," Stein said. "When they say you shouldn't dare to stand up and vote for your values, they're telling you to continue the policy of silence."
The only way you'd see President Barack Obama or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney address crowds so small is if attendees each paid six figures to be there.
But Stein and her supporters say people shouldn't feel that they're wasting a vote by choosing a third party candidate.
But they'd surely like to see bigger crowds. Even as disenchantment with Obama and Romney might run high, third parties and independent candidates in America particularly in California face an increasingly tough row to hoe.
What if you held a presidential campaign, and nobody came?
He's proud to have vetoed hundreds of bills and thousands of budget line items as New Mexico's governor and wants to wield his blue pen just as fervently in the Oval Office. He Nike Soccer Cleats 2009
wants to replace all income, payroll and business taxes with the "Fair Tax" a 23 percent levy on all purchases of goods and services with a "prebate" to cover the necessities of life. He wants free market health care with no government intervention; no gun control whatsoever; an immediate end to the Afghanistan War and no future overseas Nike Soccer Shoes Pink
excited by her message. "It's like giving out candy for Halloween, Christmas and Hanukkah all at once," she said.
"We have the potential to really come up in the polls," she said. "We've already come up from undetectable to 1 percent, then to 2 percent. If we get to the 5 percent threshold, we will get a $20 million grant to begin the next election and hit the ground running."
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