Is the Third party gaining ground in 2016?
In recent years the extreme partisanship of the Democrats and Republicans has left a gaping hole in the two-party system. Over the past eight years our current president has worked tirelessly while continually dodging the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in the form of unprecedented racism and opposition. A few senators have admitted to being told by Mitch McConnell to oppose any President Obama initiative to ensure the failure of his presidency. Former Senator George Voinovich said, “If he was for it, we had to be against it.” Where are the needs of the people in all of this? Our Congress averages less than three days of work per week, but are paid six-figure salaries. Meanwhile, they block minimum wage increases and sick leave expansion. Our closed primary system does not allow independent voters to have a say in candidacy. Now, with voter suppression accusations on both sides, we have to look closely at the flaws of both parties and give credence to the importance of the Third party.
The two-party system is constantly at war with each other, but where they have common ground is their catering to big business. Even Hillary Clinton has been known to support GMOs and controversial companies like Montsanto, who produce pesticides like Roundup that pose dangers to the public health and the environment. These companies, in turn, support candidates with contributions that force politicians to cater to their needs rather than the people’s.
An effective Third party, free from corporate ties, could be the answer. Historically, a Third party candidate has markedly affected outcomes of elections. Theodore Roosevelt took votes away from William Howard Taft that ensured Woodrow Wilson’s win. In 1992, Ross Perot took valuable votes away from George Bush and some say cost him the election.
Now, with two of the most disliked candidates in recent history, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a Third party is becoming more and more viable. Voters are more and more disillusioned with “business as usual’ politics and the tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans.
Lately parties such as the Libertarian and Green parties have specific focuses that appeal to some such as the non-interference of government and environmental issues. Gary Johnson has created a small ripple in the presidential election. While nowhere near the 15 percent needed in the polls, he is inching his way up in the public consciousness.
At this point, it is too early to say what the outcome of all of this will be. With the circus that passes for an election going on around us, it too important for us to ignore the alternative viewpoints that the Third party system provides. We have to educate ourselves and decide which candidate will impact our lives in the way that’s most beneficial to us.
That candidate may just come from a Third party.