With California’s primary election wrapped up, though mail-in ballots are still being counted as of Wednesday, June 8, it is clear that Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination. For diehard Bernie Sanders supporters, this defeat is not an easy pill to swallow, even if Sanders chooses to continue on with a contested convention. Those who hold out hope for Sanders to win the presidency and who will not settle for anyone else — or worse, would vote for Trump instead of Clinton — would, however, completely devalue Sanders’ run and what he stands for if Trump wins as a result.
While Sanders has not bowed out of the race just yet, he is set to meet President Barack Obama today, Thursday, June 9. We suspect that Obama will urge Sanders to work to unify the Democratic Party, rather than continue his campaign, further fracturing the already apparently fragile party. But Sanders’ run, and even Trump’s success in this election year, proves that both parties are having an identity crisis, that whatever the parties once stood for and what their leaders attest to be ideologically isn’t truly representative of what all voters want.
Upon reflection, the fact that two front-runner presidential candidates have so many of their own party members showing so much disdain for them — Trump and Clinton — is beyond bizarre. Much has been said to the effect that this, in fact, is the status quo of politics, that voters have always had to choose between the lesser of two evils; but based on anecdotal evidence, this year’s election isn’t the status quo. None of the candidates is saying anything that truly fits what is perceived as the true paradigm of the given party’s ideology. And the fact that we don’t have any other viable, respectable, likable candidates who better fit their parties’ dimensions is really speaking to the failure of the antiquated two-party system. Simply put, it’s not working; and because it’s not working, more people are feeling disenfranchised and disillusioned by the whole process and may just want to sit out the general election.
While Trump’s no-holds-barred racist rants will hopefully, eventually lead to his demise in the general election, we need to figure out how to introduce realistically a third party to the election cycle. It has probably been apparent in the past that just two parties can’t really, properly reflect the voice of all voters. But what was just a pie-in-the-sky idea back then has proven to be a real problem this election season, especially for the GOP. We hope this fundamental shakeup in the two-party system will lead to real discussion about pragmatic ways for the democratic process to best represent all voters, not just those who toe the line of the blue and red.