The Democratic Party has chosen to reject an entire generation of younger voters animated by opposition to two consecutive decades of perpetual war, civil liberties violations, special-interest cronyism run amok, and economic stagnation.
Instead, the party (with a heavy establishment thumb on the scale) has brought forward a nominee who is the walking incarnation of the status quo. Hillary Clinton, who has not opposed a single war in her time on the national stage, who once tried to censor rap music and video games, who won votes with cynical support for capital punishment and opposition to marriage equality, and is completely in the pocket of corporate interests. Now remade– not for the first time– with a paper-thin mask suited to the perceived politics of the moment.
The Republican side, meanwhile…. well, what is there to say? It’s almost reached the point where we have to ask if there is any such thing as the Republican Party anymore. Destroyed by their own Frankenstein’s monster, the GOP establishment now finds themselves desperately fleeing the burning remains of the party they once controlled. In their place has been erected the leering face of outright fascism, a cult of personality built on open bigotry and fear-mongering, lies of the highest order, and narcissistic strongman posturing straight of the playbook of a tinpot third-world dictator. This is who Republican primary voters have picked, in open rebellion against the pathetic attempt to coronate another Bush administration.
Where does this leave the rest of us? At the end of the day, are we really going to be presented with the choice of the dangerous clown vs. the washed-up crook? Just because a hyper-partisan (and relatively small) subset of voters in a handful of states said so? Do we have any hope left to somehow get neither President Hillary Clinton nor President Donald Trump?
The circumstances could not be more ripe for a third party candidacy, and both Republicans and Democrats have helped create the constituencies for one. But, in this year of radical political realignments, is there a platform and party that can bring together spurned Bernie supporters, sane anti-Trump Republicans, and the vast disenfranchised middle?
There is such a party, a common-sense agenda that combines the best of the anti-war, civil liberties, and social tolerance of the left; the fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free-market economics of the right; and the anti-corruption good government principles the center is crying out for. This party also has an advantage over any other hypothetical new party: it already has the ability to puts its candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.
The party has another asset: a credible candidate, qualified and experienced enough to be President, but not tainted by association with the D.C. establishment and career politicians. A pragmatic, centrist, two-term Governor, a self-made entrepreneur who embraces the core concerns animating both Bernie’s base of support and the exodus of Republicans horrified by the takeover of Donald Trump.
This party also has something else that an independent or new-party candidate would not: hundreds of candidates for Congress, Governor, state legislatures, county boards, mayors, and city councils, ready and willing to to help break up the failed two-party duopoly. There are even a handful of already-elected officials who may well switch parties if it becomes a viable option.
In 2016, we’re being told to pick between candidates who promise to “make America great again” vs. one who says she will “make America whole again.’
Instead of either of those dreary dystopian options, it’s time to rally behind the candidate who’s running to make America sane again. In 2016, it’s time to vote Libertarian, and unite behind Gov. Gary Johnson for President. Together, we can tell Republicans and Democrats to both go away, and try again next time if they can do any better. They could hardly do any worse.