The four candidates profiled in these pages are underdogs, no denying that. In some cases, it’s because they’re on third-party tickets that don’t fare well in our first-past-the-post system; in others, their districts have been ruthlessly gerrymandered so as to make victory all but impossible. Realistically, only one has even a puncher’s chance of being successful, and that would require him to ride a political tsunami that has not yet materialized.

But we nonetheless think they have something to offer, each with perspectives that have been largely absent from a mainstream-media discourse obsessed with Donald Trump’s sins against political decency and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

One is the kind of smart, principled, sane conservative we wish populated Jones Street. Another is an avowed revolutionary, a socialist running for vice president even though he’s not even on the ballot in his home state of North Carolina. The third is a local political operative who decided that no race, no matter how difficult, should go uncontested. Finally, we have an essay looking at how young progressives should view Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

And so we dedicated this, our last issue before the election, to them. They’re not going to win, sure. But their voices, and the arguments they make, are worth listening to.