Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer
Let me start by saying I want nothing more than to believe in the Jill Steins and Gary Johnsons of the world.
The two-party system is in dire straits – scandals rock the infrastructure of the
Democratic Party, and a sharp-tongued demagogue of a nominee has turned the Republican Party on its head.
As this presidential election cycle has shown, the two-party system has a nasty tendency to oversimplify the complex issues facing the American people. Donald Trump’s populism and authoritarianism have
activated many desperate sects of voters
who do not fall cleanly under the GOP umbrella. Hillary Clinton’s greatest challenge so far has been reaching far-left Bernie Sanders supporters without alienating her center-left base.
In short, people overwhelmingly refuse to fall into bins neatly labeled Republican Party or Democratic Party. Both parties are struggling to balance the needs of their restless bases with the challenges presented by newer generations.
The parties have handled these shifts very differently. Democrats have at least made surface attempts to tackle changing American politics (Clinton cringe-worthy whipping and nae-naeing comes to mind), but many would argue that their playbook is still the same as it was two decades ago.
More troubling is the surge of blatant bigotry in the far-right. Much blame will be passed around regardless of how Trump’s campaign turns out, but in the end, all fingers will point to the ruined pedestal of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, built on the backs of middle-class Americans to make the rich even more rich. Republicans refuse to come to terms with the fact that it was they who spawned the Donald Trumps (and even closer to home, the Matt Bevins) cropping up across the country. The GOP can no longer rely on the white middle class to vote for a platform of policies which benefit only the rich, and “outsider candidates” like Trump and Bevin are simply taking advantage of the disillusionment the GOP base feels towards its leaders.
Trump supporters feel betrayed by a GOP which has by and large sought to protect one-percenters at the expense of its larger, poorer base. They are also terrified of an increasingly diverse America, and winking at racism is no longer sufficient. When they say Trump is not afraid to tell it like it is, they mean Trump is not afraid to say what Paul Ryan would only imply. You cannot blow a racial dog whistle for decades and then act surprised when the dogs show up.
Not that the Democrats are in a particularly good place moving into the general election, considering the scandals of party officials and a historically weak nominee.
We all agree that two parties can never accurately represent the diversity that makes America great. However, 2016 is not the year to dismantle the two-party system. I’m looking at you, #BernieOrBust folks.
Systemic change on a national scale does not happen overnight. Our flawed parties will not be addressed in one or two election cycles. The term “grassroots” is thrown around often in political circles, but the war to dethrone the lords of American politics will be fought in the town halls of the country at a city and state level.
Allow me to make something abundantly clear: Donald Trump is not a game we can afford to play. He is a despicable and ignorant nominee. He is unpresidential to the extreme. Most importantly, he represents a very real threat to what truly makes this country great.
Jill Stein can not beat Trump. Gary Johnson can not beat Trump. Hillary Clinton can beat Trump.
Unfortunately, Clinton is a Democrat, and third-party candidates disproportionately siphon votes from Democrats. Historically, the GOP has exhibited more solidarity. This could change, considering the droves of Republicans readying for four years of damage control should Trump get buried in November, but generally speaking, more Democrats will vote for Stein than Republicans.
The answer to this partisan quandary is not to elect Donald Trump. To protect the soul of our country, this toxic candidacy must be rebuked in a landslide. Clinton can make that happen.
Perhaps the so-called political revolution of Bernie Sanders will next mutate into a push for more varied political parties in time. But as Sanders himself has realized in recent months, Trumpism is too dangerous to dance around. We cannot afford a repeat of the Ralph Nader mess of 2000.
Use your vote. Make it mean something instead of throwing it away on someone who has as much chance of becoming president as Dunker the Murray State mascot.
I humbly implore you to vote Clinton in November, if only because she is not Trump.
This column is not the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.