Where have all the good candidates gone?

During the 2004 presidential election, many people said they chose their candidate because he was “the lesser of two evils.” With the gubernatorial elections a little over a month away, I’ve heard that phrase popping up again. Why do candidates no longer meet the American citizens’ standards? Why do I feel like things will be the same, whether a Republican or Democrat is elected?

Both candidates running for governor in Florida, Charlie Crist and Jim Davis, pledge to protect Florida’s coastline from offshore drilling and decrease taxes. Davis promises to support stem cell research and improve Florida’s education system by changing the FCAT and lowering class sizes. Crist claims he will uphold the Defense of Marriage Act and he is against abortion.

Unfortunately, I do not like either candidate running, so should I just not vote? Most registered voters will vote along party lines to ensure their party has a chance at power, but voting for a political party and not a candidate seems like selling out.

Also, selecting a candidate I do not support just because he represents my party is too frustrating-I want a candidate that inspires me.

Looking at history, times of opposition caused by wars or social unrest bring change. Often, this change is represented through political party platforms.

When a particular party holds power for a long time, the opposition party will sometimes change to become more like the party in power; the opposition hopes it will gain back popular standing by emulating something already popular.

Now, I’m having trouble applying history to the present, for the party in power does not appear to be popular-after all, there is growing dissent for the war in Iraq, a series of scandals in the Republican Party (most recently, a Florida representative’s online relationships with underage boys) and an outrageous national debt.

Because of the GOP’s problems, one would think Democrats have the upper hand. However, though the Democrats have a chance to win the majority in the Senate, current projections show Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, New Jersey, and Tennessee in neck and neck races. Therefore, either party could emerge with a Senate majority.

Maybe it is time for a third party to take power. The largest third parties in the United States are the Libertarian Party, the Reform Party, the Constitution Party and the Green Party. There are also a number of minor parties such as Party X, Party Y and the Marijuana Party.

The American citizen needs to step up. Educate yourself about the candidates.

If nominees from major parties don’t strike your fancy, then don’t vote for them. There are other options.

So, who will you vote for in the upcoming elections? Hopefully the choice will not come down to the lesser of two evils.

Karyn Meshbane is a junior majoring in neuroscience. She may be contacted at k.meshbane@umiami.edu.