Rise in party-less and third-party voters could kill two-party system

by Justin McKinney, Staff Writer

In the upcoming election it has become more apparent than ever that third parties are becoming somewhat of a political force to be reckoned with.

In a Gallup Poll done in January 2015, results showed that, for the first time in U.S. history, independent voters outnumbered the major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, by claiming 43% of registered voters.

We also have two presidential candidates that, to most Americans, are extremely undesirable. I can tell you right now as a Republican voter, I hate Hillary Clinton, that being said I hate Trump just as much.

In my opinion, both candidates suck and casting a vote for either of them would be painful for me. I am confident in saying that most of my fellow voters would probably agree with me.

With these two, it appears we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. But what does this all mean for the American political spectrum?

This election could be one of the last where we see the two-party system that has dominated American politics for the past two hundred years.

In the aforementioned Gallup Poll, the vast majority of American voters have no party allegiance.

Almost half of all American voters, based on their voter registrations, are not voting based on the name of a candidate’s party, but rather for the actual ideas each candidate is proposing.

Therefore, in an election like this, with two very undesirable candidates, it would make sense that Americans would turn to third parties for an answer.

Five days ago, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party was shown to have gained 10% in some polls published by the New York Times.

Also, many polls show Jill Stein at about 5% of the vote. It may not seem like much, but that’s a grand total of 15% of all registered voters choosing a third-party candidate.

This is the most third-party votes given in the United States since George Wallace ran as an American Independent and captured 13.5% of the popular vote in 1968.

Currently, the political situation we find ourselves in could be due to the fact that we have two very unfavorable candidates running.

However, when you couple this with the large independent voter registration, and what I believe to be overall frustration with the two-party system, we could potentially see a future without two major parties.

From the very beginning of the election, the Republican party has been a mess by essentially having Trump yelling the loudest and capturing the nomination.

The Democratic ticket was a heated one between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, which has led to many people questioning if the Democratic National Committee ran a fair election, as many reports suggest that the committee was pushing for Clinton behind closed doors.

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the top officials for the Democratic Party, Debbie Waterman Schultz, was forced to resign after the many allegations about favoritism towards Clinton that came about after Bernie Sanders had lost in the primaries.

At the end of the day, neither party is at their best right now (or even close to it) and Americans are fed up with it. I truly believe that this election will someday go down as the beginning of the end of the two-party system.

While it may not make a huge difference to vote third-party in this upcoming election, I think in the future we will see more third-party candidates begin to emerge and become more successful.

This will, in turn, potentially lead to the end of the two-party system as we know it today in America.


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