Many of my family and friends have viewed the past two elections as voting for the lesser of two evils. With this being such a common sentiment, I think it’s safe to say the two-party system no longer represents the will of the people.
Most of the Democratic Party’s platform the past few years has just been “at least we’re not as bad as the other guy.” When that is the entire basis of your campaign, you’re bound to alienate a few thousand voters. The Democratic Party picked a cop for their vice presidential candidate during a nation-wide movement against police brutality, but at least they’re not Trump, right?
Biden said multiple times that cops should be trained to “shoot them in the leg instead of the heart” and the election feels the same. America is choosing where they’d rather be shot, but they’re still taking a bullet.
Politicians are more concerned with pleasing corporate interests and campaign donors than they are with representing the will of their constituents, and this goes for both parties. It’s very obvious our system is broken.
Our nation’s political state doesn’t have to be this way. In recent elections there’s been a stronger push in favor of third party candidates. They represent a broader range of viewpoints than the two dominant parties. However, there’s been an equally strong push against voting third party, with many saying it is a waste of one’s vote.
The problem is that third party candidates rarely, if ever, get elected as president. It’s far more common on the state and local levels. This is because a candidate needs more than 50 percent of state delegates’ votes, or 270, to become president. Voters who feel alienated from the Democratic party are more likely to vote third party, but this just splits the vote and causes the Republicans to win.
Recently, there have been many more vocal supporters of abolishing the electoral college. A Gallup poll from 2019 said 61 percent of Americans support abolishing the electoral college and using the popular vote. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but she lost to Donald Trump.
The electoral college and its delegates were originally created when the general public had less access to education. The framers of the Constitution selected wealthy, white, educated men who would ultimately pick the candidate they thought was best suited for the position, regardless of what the public thought.
This was especially noticeable in the 2016 election when seven delegates voted against the wishes of their state, the most in any election.
Now, information is more easily accessible. There are many resources aside from campaign websites that will inform voters on the standpoints of each candidate. It’s easier for voters to make an informed decision than ever before, so we don’t need delegates.
Another reason third party candidates are less likely to win elections is lack of name recognition. During election season, we mostly see and hear from the Democratic and Republican candidates. Many people don’t know much about the other options unless they go looking for them.
I think third party candidates should be able to participate in the presidential debates with the Democratic and Republican candidates. It would give them more of a chance to reach undecided voters and inform them of their policies. Obviously debates with more than two candidates can be done, considering the Democratic primaries this year had 10.
While third party candidates may not be a viable option this year, it is possible to repair our broken electoral system.