Monday, January 28, 2019

Consider This – Election Time Again (Already…)

We are barely out of the mid-term elections. The Democratic Party took back the House of Representatives, but the GOP retain the Senate. The holiday period brought with it a government shutdown, all over what has always been a questionable campaign promise and even more doubtful solution to an alleged crisis at the southern border. For over a month, a quarter of the federal workers went without pay – yet many still had to show up every day and do their job while the party leaders postured and posed about who was at fault and what they would and wouldn’t accept to re-open the government.

It took five weeks, and presumably it is only a temporary fix, with Trump still demanding funding for “The Wall” and the Democratic House under Nancy Pelosi saying “No.” Unless the House and Senate come to an agreement with a two-thirds approval from both legislative bodies, there remains the threat of another shutdown if Trump gets the opportunity to veto the next spending bill or budget solution.

And now, the next round begins for the bid to be the next President. Unlike other countries – for example, the United Kingdom – there is only a few weeks or months before a national election. But here the campaigning starts a long time out, and will continue up until the fateful day in November 2020. Also unlike other countries, because of the multi-party system, we have the Primaries in early 2020 to determine which candidate will represent each party (specifically the Democratic and Republican parties). So… those who want to try to be “the one” are starting to announce their bids for the nomination.

Since Trump is the President, there more than likely will not be a competitor for the GOP this time around (it is considered bad form, unless the incumbent is truly incompetent and a “lame duck” who doesn’t know to step down). 

For the Democratic Party, it’s a wide open field. The question will become which candidate will best represent the party in the end – and, we hope, The People – when the candidates are thinned out. There are already at least eight candidates announced in some form or fashion: Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney, Pete Buttigieg, and Andrew Yang. Warren is one of the more senior members of the party, fairly well-known across the nation already. Does she represent the “old guard” which gave the nation the Clinton and Obama administrations? Some might say so. As for the rest, many are new to their current positions in government – as Senator, a member of Congress, Governor – most are lesser-known to the nation, but are trying to make themselves to be the best option.

Only time will tell. 

Consider this – these are not the only options.

Unfortunately, most of the voting public only considers these two main parties. Granted, there is good cause for this, since they truly are the two powerhouses in nearly every level of government. However, there are more than just these two parties; others include the Libertarian, the Green, and the Constitution, among many others. While any of these might be a viable option, because there are so many fragmented groups in the “3rdParty” affiliations, they won’t garner enough votes to make a major dent in the two-party power struggle that has become our federal government. The best these parties can be – for now – are protest votes against the current administration and “most likely” opposition candidate. Many will blame the failure of a one of these two candidates on the “throw away” votes given to a third party over their figurehead. This was seen in spectacular fashion with the 2016 campaign, where key votes in swing states went towards Trump and against Hillary because of the relative success in third party voting taking more than a few percentage points away from Hillary’s totals. This can be further corroborated with the overall success by Hillary with the Popular Vote – she won as the overall “People’s Choice” but lost in the Electoral College because of those key votes which took away from the electoral votes.

Could a third party make a significant difference, and perhaps even win a major election in the coming years? Certainly. The Libertarians already have some success with this, and because of their impact in 2016, are becoming a known contender to a limited extent. And even a truly independent candidate could pull up and contend for the high office; even though Bernie Sanders tried to play within the rules of the main two parties, and probably should have been given the nod by the DNC, it was backroom dealings which gave that nomination to Hillary. But Sanders made his run without official backing or funding from the party, or other major backers, instead depending on the donations of individuals.

Even if Sanders doesn’t run again this time, he has already set the stage and proven the capability of a true, grass-roots campaign geared towards representing We The People, and not corporations or other political entities which are trying to maintain the overall status quo with any “old guard” candidate from either party.

It truly is time for a change. To so many people, the country is taking many steps backwards from where it had been two years ago – let alone ten or twenty years ago. This conservative, non-participatory ideal is no longer the driving factor of our society, though, and with more, younger candidates stepping up to the plate, the upcoming competition in the next – and future – presidential election cycle is going to define where this country will head next.

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