With voter dissatisfaction at particularly high numbers for the two major parties, the campaigns of third-party candidates have received an uptick in media attention and support with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson receiving an average of 6.4 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 2.1 percent, according to RealClearPolitics. Johnson and Stein both ran in 2012, and neither were able to reach 1 percent.
While both Johnson and Stein have virtually no chance of winning the general election, the amount of media attention they have received often goes to railing against the two-party system and attacking the two major candidates. On Wednesday, Stein, who is on the ballot in 46 states, maintained her offensive on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in an interview on C-SPAN, suggesting that the former secretary of state is leading the U.S. to a nuclear war with Russia, something that failed to materialize with the former Soviet Union even at the height of the arms race during the Cold War.
"It's now Hillary Clinton who wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no-fly zone," Stein said.
"We have 2,000 nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert. And Mikhail Gorbachev, the former premier of the Soviet Union, is saying we are closer to a nuclear war than we have ever been.
"Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria.
"So, I won't sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won't sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton is elected. Fortunately, we have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies.
"But on the issue of war and nuclear weapons, and the potential for nuclear war, it's actually Hillary's policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump, who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow."
Stein appeared to be sharing the sentiments of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently told Reuters that Trump was the only person able to cool tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Trump, meanwhile, has been financially linked to Russia, which would likely create a conflict of interest between Washington and the Kremlin should Trump prevail in November.
But is Clinton indeed sliding the U.S. into a nuclear war? Based on Clinton's comments, some might feel that assertion is a major stretch.
In a primary debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders in April, Clinton did express a willingness for a no-fly zone, but stopped well short of advocating for any type of military conflict between the U.S. and Russia, including an air war.
"Yes, when I was secretary of state, I did urge along with the Department of Defense and the CIA that we seek out, vet and train and arm Syrian opposition figures so that they could defend themselves against Assad,” Clinton said. "The president said no. Now, that's how it works. People who work for the president make recommendations and then the president makes the decision."
"So I think it's only fair to look at where we are in Syria today and, yes, I do still support a no-fly zone because I think we need to put in safe havens for those poor Syrians who are fleeing both Assad and ISIS and so they have some place they can be safe."
In an October 2015 interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Clinton was asked about the possibility of shooting down a Russian jet if it flew in a no-fly zone.
"Well, that’s a hypothetical that I think there are many steps you have to go through and decisions you have to make before you even get to that. NATO did have to warn the Russians because they were invading Turkish air space —a NATO ally, and they were escorted out," Clinton stated.
"Part of the reason I have proposed a no-fly zone as a coalition effort, not a United States solo effort, is to have conversations with the Russians at the table. Because the goal of any no-fly zone is not only to provide safe areas for Syrians so they don’t have to be fleeing or continued to be bombed by Assad, supported now by the Russians, but to get some leverage to get everybody at the table, to try to create as much of a cease-fire, including the Assad forces, with the Russians and the Iranians, as well.
"One of the ways that you do that, diplomatically, is you put out some ideas like 'We’re going to talk about a no-fly zone,' and, in fact, I thought it was interesting, you know, on the other side of the argument here, Putin is now saying, 'OK, now we can talk diplomatically because we’re changing the situation on the ground,' and therefore we should come and have some diplomatic consultations.
"I think the no-fly zone, which the Turks have asked for for a long time and humanitarian organizations have, is a device as well as a potential outcome to see how we get people to the table.
"And the Russians would be certainly warned. There’s been military discussions now to, as they say, 'de-conflict' air space. So I think it would be highly unlikely if this were done in the right way."
Seeking clarification, Maddow asked if the no-fly zone is, in fact, an anti-aircraft proposition.
"It is, it is," Clinton responded. "But that doesn’t mean you shoot at every aircraft that might violate it the first or second time."
In the C-SPAN interview, Stein also makes the claim that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) "sent our jobs overseas," another claim Trump has made. According to leading economists, NAFTA provided a lift to the economy.
"I'd say NAFTA was an overwhelming success," Sara Johnson, an economist with forecasting firm IHS Global Insight, told NPR in December 2013. "There are strong, two-way trade flows now."