Upcoming Election Highlights Bipartisan System

By Stephanie DeLellis
On October 17, 2016

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Chaimov, Flickr

One sunny afternoon, you decide to head over to a local cafe for lunch. Upon entering, you look up at the plethora of options on the menu and find the perfect choice. Going over to the cashier, you order your meal only to be told that you cannot order that. You are told that you can only pick between two options: a caesar salad or a ham sandwich. This cannot be right, you think to yourself. What kind of establishment would only offer two options while giving the illusion of more choices?

The answer: our government. Whether or not the US has a bipartisan or multipartisan system is a bit of a gray area. While there are more than two parties (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc.), the main focus is usually solely on the Democratic and Republican parties, making it more bipartisan.

The major issue with voting for a third party candidate is that it would be considered throwing your vote away. These concerns, at face value, are very valid. According to NBC News, “[a] Third Party candidate has never won a presidential election since the advent of the Two Party System in 1828.” However, this line of thinking is flawed. First of all, it causes a vicious, nearly unbreakable cycle. If one is convinced that a third party candidate is unable to win an election, then they will not vote for one. If everyone has this mentality and does not vote for the said candidate, of course the third party cannot hope to win. Also, this mentality causes people to vote for a candidate solely so a different one does not win. Concerning the current presidential race, many are voting for Clinton just so Trump will not get into office, and vice versa. Rather than voting for the candidate they feel best represents their interests, people are actually throwing their vote away. People would rather vote against a candidate than vote for a third party candidate that represents their political alignment the best.

Third party candidates do not receive enough attention from the media. In fact, they barely receive any attention at all. The reason why, however, is not due to their popularity or viewpoints. Every media source out there - whether it’s Fox News or the Huffington Post - has a political bias. Wikileaks has revealed that the Clinton Campaign has been working with media sources such as MNSBC, Boston Globe, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and CNBC to get them to broadcast in her favor. Whether these outlets are motivated by her money or her political leanings does not matter. What matters is which one is supposed to inform us neutrally. We are not receiving the full story, nor are we receiving differing viewpoints from these sources. People are not being informed objectively about other candidates. The news should not be subjective, it should be objective. We should be receiving all of the facts without any personal viewpoints or biases unless it is clearly labelled as an opinion piece (such as this one).

Even when third party candidates get a tiny bit of news time, it is often due to smear campaigns. For example, Libertarian Gary Johnson claims that Hillary Clinton is spending more money smearing his name than he has for his entire campaign. But why? Why would Hillary Clinton, in this case, spend so much time and money trying to smear a third party candidate if a third party candidate does not have a chance? The thing is, for the past 200 years, Democrats and Republicans have had a 50/50 chance of winning due to little to no competition. However, if third parties were more broadcasted and had a better chance, these odds would turn against them. In order to keep their political monopoly, it is in the favor of these parties to keep politics as bipartisan as possible.

A bipartisan system simply does not work. Not all possible viewpoints are being represented. Those whom are more moderate, such as Independent voters like myself, feel as though we have no viable choices in many elections, nor do we wish to throw our vote away. We are stuck between picking a caesar salad or ham sandwich when all we want is soup. With this system, the Republicans and the Democrats come out winning, but every time the American people come out losing.

sdelelli@ramapo.edu

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