Left, Right & Center: The silver lining of the 2016 election


Despite the massive slog that the 2016 presidential campaign has been so far, it may end up doing some good for the American people when everything is said and done. I know it can seem hard to fathom in an election in which it appears there are no good candidates to choose from, but let me try to convince you otherwise.

This election is the perfect springboard to finding a good third party candidate.

On the Republican side, the three remaining candidates are paltry. There’s Donald Trump, an egomaniac who has incited a dangerously rabid following.

If Trump is not to your liking, there’s Ted Cruz, who despite being the last option of the establishment GOP, is almost universally disliked by his colleagues. Even fellow senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), jokingly said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”

On top of that, John Kasich, the de facto moderate, is still in the race, despite being fervently anti-abortion. He is also so anti the LGBT community that as the initial defendant in Obergefell v. Hodges, the plaintiffs accused him of trampling on their civil rights.

Things are not much better on the democratic side. Hillary Clinton has oscillated between being the only moderate in the race and then claiming she has always been a progressive. I get the feeling that she would probably have to meet with her advisors and check her focus group before saying it is a nice day out. Then, if it were to start raining, she’d probably say that she had always said it was going to be a crummy day outside.

Bernie Sanders, despite his ability to draw crowds, does not seem to have the ability to pass his legislative plans without a mass turnover in Congress. Something that may be just a pipe dream in a legislative body with an almost a 90 percent incumbency rate.

So why is this a positive contest? Because it shows just how broken our current two-party system is. In the decades that preceded this current election, people’s political beliefs usually fit very neatly into one of two categories. You either had a Republican worldview or a democratic one, and you did not ever have to challenge your point of view. Knowing this, parties could put up candidates that were not perfect, just better in your eyes than the other guy. But now, neither major party has put forth a viable candidate, meaning that the 2016 presidential election will truly be a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Luckily, there are multiple third party candidates to choose from, and the medium of the Internet allows them to reach more voters. If you think the environment is the most pressing issue in the election, vote for the Green Party. If you feel that the government should take a more hands-off approach, and leave the lawmaking to the states, you can vote Libertarian. I suspect that with a little digging, you will find a party that fits your worldview much more snugly.

So I urge you now to do your research, whether you are a novice political junkie or a seasoned Washington insider. There are plenty of third parties out there that will cater to your political preferences much more closely than the big two do. Just because the Democrats and Republicans have the bigger war chests does not mean they are always right.

Our current two-party system is broken, but from its dysfunction we can create something constructive. While it is right up against the wire this year so to speak, the next election cycle is in 2018, with the next presidential election in 2020. Begin researching, and compare all the political parties to one another out there. I think you may be a little surprised and happy with what you find.

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