Is third party the way to go?

Salah-Dean Satouri, Staff Writer

American politics are changing, not only because of the upcoming presidential election, but also because many Americans are fed up with the division and political paralysis that the two major parties cause. Some feel this discourse will only get worse in the coming years, since the election system primarily allows for two separate parties, and it typically does not support independent third parties. Many believe the two-party system does not represent all viewpoints in the United States and leaves some without legitimate candidates to support.

“The election system should be changed so more than two parties can compete because there are more than two views,” junior Aidan Aronhime said.

Aronhime’s view on our election system is shared with 60 percent of voting Americans, according to a Gallup Research poll. Many voters dislike the two-party system because they feel that the Republicans and Democrats do not sufficiently represent the American people. During this election, independent third parties have been attempting to crack the two-party system and enter the race. This year’s presidential election promises to be one of the most bitter and divisive in the United States’ history. Many hope this will open the door for independent third parties to enter the election as legitimate contenders in the future.

In the past couple of months, many people have become more vocal in support of third party candidates. Some are educating themselves about the Green party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Independent Evan McMullin. The third party candidates are using this divisive election as a stepping stone to publicize their political platforms. In recent history Ralph Nader (2000) and Ross Perot (1996) have been the only third party candidates to play a consequential role in their respective elections.

Historically, third parties have had little to no chance of winning a presidential election. This is because the American election system relies on plurality, which entails having more votes than any other candidate. This system favors two major parties because people view a vote for an independent third party as a waste, so they vote for the candidate of a major party with whom they disagree with the least, rather than the candidate with whom their views align the most.

The media’s responsibility in elections is to educate the voters and to convey all the options the American people have. The media has an obligation to represent all viewpoints, but in America, our election process is dominated by two major parties, which allows little room for other viewpoints.

“Third parties create room for a compromising viewpoint, especially in this election where everything is black and white,” junior Raheel Tauyyab said. “Third parties deliver a sobering, compromising force.”