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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Who else is on the US presidential ballot?

Two names you should know: Jo Jorgensen and Howie Hawkins

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen during her 2020 campaign tour. Reuters
Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen during her 2020 campaign tour. Reuters

Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden are not the only two candidates on the US presidential election ballot, although they are the most high profile.

For generations, the US has had either a Republican or a Democrat for its president, and this year’s winner is almost certainly going to be from one of those two parties.

Is there anyone else on the ballot worth knowing?

Jo Jorgensen

Her name might not exactly roll off the tongue but it has certainly grabbed the attention of people looking for something different.

Ms Jorgensen aims to not only be the first woman in the White House but also the nation’s first libertarian president.

She believes the government’s role should be reduced and says that people should be able to make their own decisions.

One example of that is in how she publicly disagreed with Democratic candidate Joe Biden on making the wearing of masks mandatory.

On July 4, Independence Day, Mr Biden tweeted: “This fourth of July, one of the most patriotic things you can do is wear a mask”.

Ms Jorgensen then accused Mr Biden of “twisting a national holiday to fit a political agenda”.

“True patriotism is encouraging people to make their own choices, responsibly,” she wrote back.

Some of her policies might echo Donald Trump’s, like a promised to bring US troops home from abroad - although Ms Jorgensen went a step further in a campaign advert.

“I will turn America into one giant Switzerland; armed and neutral. There’s no reason why we need to continue to be the policemen of the world,” she said.

People supporting Ms Jorgensen on social media are using the hashtag #TheyBothSuck and #IVoted4Jorgensen to explain why they are taking her side.

Although she says her campaign started out as a joke, Ms Jorgensen maintains that she is more qualified than Mr Biden or Mr Trump to run the country.

“When people are given the freedom and the liberty to live how they want to, they work hard,” said in a interview on NPR in May.

Her domestic policies place an emphasis on individual freedom and having a bigger say in what government does with taxpayers' money.

When they (people) are cynical and basically all of their money goes to the government, they lose motivation.”

Howie Hawkins

An environmentalist with a blue-collar background, Howie Hawkins is one of the Green Party’s original members.

A UPS and construction worker, Mr Hawkins ran for New York city governor in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Having ran and supported socialist, anti-racism and causes against nuclear proliferation, the Green nominee said he hopes American progressives would vote for him as their plan B.

Marginal in size compared to Mr Biden and Mr Trump’s million-dollar campaigns, Mr Hawkins’ movement runs on activism and the promotion of civil liberties.

Mr Hawkins says climate change is a “holocaust that could wipe out human civilisation”, making it clear where his priorities and strengths lie.

Having worked closely with and within the working class, his domestic policies also focus on economic equality.

In a July 13 Youtube video, the candidate called out mainstream media outlets for not including him in the election coverage.

“Do your jobs! Cover the issues. Let the Green Party into the debate. Don’t exclude us before the election happens... I’m ready to debate Biden and Trump but I’m not sure they’re ready to debate me.”

Mr Hawkins said the current 2020 election structure capitalises on what he called negative partisanship where people vote for one party because they hate the other, not because of their true belief in what their party has to offer.

His scathing rhetoric reminiscent of socialist nominee Bernie Sanders might have given the Green Party the exposure it needs to help achieve its 2030 vision of a zero per cent carbon emissions US.

Updated: November 3, 2020 12:08 PM

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