by Jim Smoger, news editor

Wheaton Gazette

Most people are disgusted by the major party choices in the Presidential election.  The good news is the ballot voters pick up on election day, or before, has a lot more options.

For example, there is the Socialist Workers Party nominees Alyson Kennedy and Osborne Hart.  It was a little hard to figure out what they stand for by their campaign website, but I did notice this statement:

“This is the biggest crisis of capitalism, and their twin parties,  the Democrats and Republicans, in our lifetimes. The capitalist class and their media blast Trump and  Bernie Sanders, but what they really fear is the hundreds of thousands of working people who have turned out to hear what they have to say, looking for an alternative to politics as usual, to the patronizing attitude of the capitalist class and their politicians who look at working people as “white trash,” “welfare cheats” or “crack-heads.”

The website also had position statements about police brutality and the Cuban Revolution. There was a large headline that read “Solidarity with the working people of Syria!”

In all, there are 9 presidential candidates on the Minnesota election ballot. The most prominent, besides Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is the ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld for the Libertarian Party.

Johnson and Weld got off to a promising start in the campaign, but each have proven they aren’t very informed about the issues when questioned on national news programs.  It was too bad because they had a chance to reach major party status in several states.

The third party candidate who appears to have the most momentum at press time is Evan McMullin of the Independence Party and his running mate Nathan Johnson.

Some polls now show McMullin is tied with Trump in Utah with Clinton behind in third place. This isn’t as surprising as it sounds because McMullin is a native of Utah.

McMullin worked as a missionary, was trained for the CIA, and even held a position as investment banker for Goldman Sachs.  He didn’t declare his candidacy until August 8th saying, “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us.”

The Legal Marijuana Now Party led by Dan Vacek and Mark Elworth, Jr. is only on the ballot in three states: Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. In addition to the presidency, it also has candidates in two Minnesota congressional districts and a couple of legislative districts.

The party slogan is: “Free The Weed & Free The People.” The party’s platform consists of three goals: 1) Legalize homegrown cannabis; 2) Erase past marijuana convictions; 3) Ban employment drug testing.

There are no details on the campaign website about whether Vacek has ever held elected office before, but in 2014 he received 57,604 votes when running for the Minnesota Attorney General. The total was 3 percent of the vote total, which was more than the Independence, Green, or Libertarian candidates. Perhaps even more impressive, Vacek achieved this while raising no money for his campaign.

A new party on the ballot in Minnesota is the American Delta Party. I should warn people that when you look up information on the internet that it is easy to get mixed up with Delta Airlines.

The party’s candidate is a 62-year-old Latino named Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. Like the socialists, it is hard figure what De La Fuente stands for in terms of the issues. He does have an interesting life story that includes building a career in automotive dealerships and land development in southern California.

“While some accomplished business people try to launch themselves into the political world, Rocky has been politically active for decades,” the party website states. “He considers it his civic responsibility and a way to give a voice to the Hispanic Americans and other minorities, who are too often ignored.”

So there are choices on the ballot. With a little bit of extra research, voters in Minnesota might find a candidate they can believe in.

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Editor’s note: Jim Smoger is longtime editor of the Wheaton Gazette weekly newspaper.  His editorial comments and columns will appear periodically in the Pelican Rapids Press.