Third party candidates are no joke

Adam Marquardt, Opinion Writer

American politics is dead.

Democracy in this country must be revived by greater representation in politics for views that don’t perfectly align with the two principal establishment parties.

American politics have been trapped in a dogmatic binary for an incredibly long time, a paradigm that has excluded political ideologies on the periphery of the mainstream discussion. States-rights fanatics and far leftists are just a few political groups who find their principles pushed aside or disingenuously co-opted by the establishment parties. These “fringe” parties however have the ability to make major political contributions to this country. Though technically working within the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders showed many Americans that their political views could exist outside of their party’s agenda.

One reason why these parties seem to fail so much is that their candidates are woefully unprepared for facing the general election. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s ‘Aleppo moment’ will go down in History as one of the many reasons this election was so surreal. On the other side it seems that someone needs to inform Green Party nominee Jill Stein that the government can’t just print more money to pay its debt to China and pay for everyone’s past, present, and future college education. However criticism of both candidates is how their parties will succeed in the future. It’s true that these candidates shouldn’t be within one hundred feet of the Oval Office, but an increasing number of Americans feel the same way about Clinton and Trump.

Taking these candidates seriously is how the public pushes them to take more rational positions that still reflect the views of their base. Clinton’s campaign is proof that genuine political scrutiny can shift a candidate’s policies towards the will of the voters. Young people, including Americans too young to vote, were instrumental in Hillary’s decision to shift her platform. Politicians know that it’s only a few years before we vote in the next election, which is why it’s so key for young people to engage in political discussion and criticism.

If Americans want to see more political parties emerge that represent their views, they ought to take more fringe candidates seriously, others will see this as an opportunity to represent their ideas in a no longer stale political environment. Opening up this space in politics can only benefit you the voter, because the more space there is at the table, the more likely it is that the candidate of your dreams will take a seat.