The 2016 election season has rewritten the rules for campaigning. Sanders was not supposed to be in the race this long and Trump was supposed to fizzle out in the summer. These events have caused pundits and “experts” to scratch their heads wondering how could something like this happen? Could there be another plot twist in this ongoing tale? Not only is it possible, but extremely likely that a third party will come into the fold.
What Trump and Sanders have demonstrated is that there are major cracks in the foundations of the Republican and Democratic parties. The people of America are showing their discontent by voting for outsider candidates that they believe will change business as usual in Washington. It is not surprising how much the disconnection between party leaders and their base. They spend too much time talking to themselves while failing to listen to the American people. In any case, what Trump and Sanders have shown us is that the American voter is now willing to explore new grounds when it comes to candidates.
Enter Gary Johnson, he is currently running for the Libertarian Nomination for President. A recent poll showed that in a three-way race with Trump and Clinton, Johnson pulled 11% of the support. Also, another survey revealed that 21% of people would seriously consider a third party candidate. If there were a time for a third party to rise, it would be now.
What sets Gary Johnson apart from other candidates is that he is fiscally conservative and socially liberal; this position is unique because it establishes the stage for him to attract a growing bloc of voters who increasingly do not care about “religious liberty,” but do care about the economic future of America. His positions against the War on Drugs and for civil liberties, non-interventionism and an efficiently funded yet limited government appeal to moderates from both parties and independents alike. Most importantly, Johnson has a record of being pragmatic rather than ideological.
Both parties try to present themselves in the media as being ideologically pure; Republicans are for conservative principles and Democrats are for liberal ones. The problem with this concept is that it is a facade. Ideology, like religion, is a set of beliefs that do not have facts backed by hard evidence. Ideology is used as such to manipulate people into different factions to carry out the objectives of the so-called leaders of the ideological movement. What sets 2016 apart from other election cycles is that the party bases are not falling in line like they did in the past. As a result, Republican elders are obsessed with the idea that they must save their “conservative” movement from Trump, and Hillary Clinton is currently trying to present herself as a progressive to attract the heart of the Democratic base that supports Sanders, even though her record says otherwise.
To be honest, I once used to be for the two-party system because I thought it was the most efficient way to achieve compromise. My logic was simple; it better to negotiate with one side rather than three. The problem with the two-party system is that only a limited amount of viewpoints will be heard from either coalition. These views are reciprocated throughout the media and may not serve the best interest of the American people. What the two-party system has created is not two separate coalitions, but a shadowy, all-encompassing, united coalition of business, politics, and media that dominate many aspects of American life.
George Washington in his farewell address warned the American people about the dangers that political parties pose to this country. He foresaw the deep interests that parties may have over the well-being of the nation. As power in America, today becomes more concentrated in the hands of a few; Washington still speaks to us from his final days in office in 1796 on how far people will goal to secure their positions of power. He states:
“The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”
What this nation needs right now is to unite under its origin myth; that America is the land of opportunity and prosperity for all those who contribute to society. This concept is not bound by class, race, religion, nor ideology, but the belief that we should reward decent human beings who help other people. This November when we go to the polls and choose who we want to represent us in Congress and The White House, we should all think deeply on which candidate fulfills that mantra.