If we are being honest with ourselves, I think everyone knows that we weren’t spoiled for choice when it came to our presidential candidates last November. In one corner, we had the race baiting reality TV show star who wouldn’t show Americans his tax return, Donald Trump. In the other corner, we had Hilary Clinton. A candidate who was under FBI investigation, which culminated in the Director of the FBI testifying to Congress that Hillary Clinton repeatedly lied to the American people and Congress regarding her careless, some may some gross negligent and criminal, handling of her private email server which was used for classified government correspondence. This was only the latest in a laundry list of alleged scandals and corruption including pay to play politics revolving around the Clinton Foundation, the Benghazi tragedy, her State Department’s role in the rise of ISIS, and her involvement in DNC collusion to defeat Bernie Sanders, to name a few. With that being said, the public’s choice for President was certainly a choice between two subpar candidates.
So obviously, the conversation turns to the inevitable – would a third major party have improved competition and ultimately given America a better choice for Commander-In-Chief? According to a recent Gallup Poll, 61% of Americans believe that a major third party is necessary to meet the needs of the country. To further highlight the public’s ill view of Republicans and Democrats, only 34% of respondents thought that the two party system was sufficient.
Taking the current state of affairs in the country, these numbers aren’t hard to believe. While Democrats blame Trump for everything, the problems in this country didn’t magically start with his election in November of 2016. Now, Trump certainly hasn’t done anything to help the situation, and many times has made it worse, but people were blaming Trump for problems in December, which was before he even took office. I’m not here to defend Trump, because he has mishandled almost every major situation, including the recent hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico, he has been faced with at this point, but that is not to say that Clinton would have done any better. My point is that for every Republican blunder, there is an equal size blunder by a Democrat. The Obama Administration raised the national debt from roughly 10 trillion to 20 trillion in only 8 years. Not to be outdone, Trump has the world on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea after being in office barely longer than a season of Game of Thrones. You can continue this finger pointing exercise for as long as you want, and ultimately, the score will end in a tie, so I’m only going to give one example. Both parties also change the media narrative through rampant hypocrisy. During last year’s election campaign, Trump repeatedly downplayed the stock market reaching record highs under Obama, but now that the stock market has reached a record high under Trump, he is proudly announcing the accomplishment. On the flip side, Democrats seemed wildly unconcerned by the largest accumulation of debt by a single President under Obama, but now that the Republican tax reform plan may add trillions to the national debt, it is unacceptable.
At some point, the general public has to become slightly more self-aware and understand that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans care about average Americans. Each party cares about three things: staying power through reelection, getting money from wealthy individuals and organizations, and controlling the public’s beliefs through misinformation and fake news. And given that they are all career politicians, they are quite good at it. Just scroll through the comments of any politically charged article or social media post, and you will witness liberals and conservatives resorting to name calling and stereotypes to defend elected officials of their preferred political party. As much as each party may claim to loathe the other, they are in a mutually beneficial situation when there are only two major political parties. The paradigm of power between the two parties swings back and forth rather quickly. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, gave way to Bush, a Republican, who gave way to Obama, a Democrat, who gave way to Trump, a Republican. During that time, Obama had an all Democrat Congress, only for the pendulum to swing back for Trump to have a Republican Congress. So, how is this beneficial to both parties? Simple. The voting pattern clearly shows that the American public grows unhappy with the state of affairs under each party rather quickly, and when that happens, they go to running to another party – or in this case, the only other party.
A final thought to ponder: the federal government actively regulates all industries to ensure private companies in any industry do not leave consumers with too few options, but when it comes to the government, they actively push to keep the status quo of the electoral college, which guarantees only a two party system.
Title Image “Democratic Donkey & Republican Elephant – Caricatures” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0