by Claire Bernish
United States — While tumultuous, chaotic, contentious, outrageous, erratic, fraudulent, random, disheartening, and certainly unpredictable, could simultaneously describe this presidential election cycle, perhaps the most unanticipated development surrounds the categorical shunning of the soured, traditional duopoly — despite its previously adamantine grip on American politics.
This year, constant evidence substantiates the people’s collective scream: Enough!
In particular, once Ted Cruz and John Kasich abruptly halted their bids for the nomination this week — sending shockwaves across the already tempestuous election climate — the country’s umbrage against the establishment gained momentum. Again. Third parties and alternative candidates — and not just anti-establishment candidates conniving the system by running on one of the duopoly’s tickets — began blowing up the previously gaining trend in popularity.
In just one example following the sudden void in options for GOP voters, the Libertarian Party experienced massive and atypical interest in their platform — a doubling of applications for new members. More to the point, LP Executive Director Wes Benedict told the Washington Examiner in an email there hadn’t been a recent recruitment push for new members on social media — and surmised the sudden interest must be due to Trump’s unofficial clinching of the Republican nomination.
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson noted the surge of interest yesterday on Facebook:
“Of course they are scared of Trump,” Benedict penned. “Trump sounds like an authoritarian. We don’t need a deal-maker. We need more transparency, and a smaller, less intrusive government that provides a level playing field for all and has fewer deals for special interests.”
In the last few months, in fact, once the primary season began in earnest, new donor contributions to the LP skyrocketed — even more so once Trump became the all-but-presumptive GOP nominee.
April 2015, simply for reference, saw 106 new donors to the Libertarian Party; but, as the Examiner noted of statistics Benedict provided, “in February 2016, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina held their caucuses and primaries, the LP saw 323 new donors. In March, they had 546 new donors, and in April, after everyone but Trump, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had dropped out, the LP signed up 706 new donors.”
Benedict’s conclusion that the LP’s spike in popularity came from, essentially, fear of a Trump presidency, further illustrates the abysmal sentiment regarding establishment politics in the U.S. However polarizing Trump might be, an astonishing approval rate has helped slingshot what many originally wrote off as a publicity stunt into a direct counter-establishment torpedo with the potential to win the White House.
On the flip side, Bernie Sanders similarly continues to garner fanatical support — while his campaign’s very foundation took root by countering establishment rhetoric. Sanders, an Independent running on the Democratic ballot, remains wildly popular despite media suppression of his success and continued election fraud almost certainly employed to obstruct his possible nomination.
Disillusionment and voter disenfranchisement collided in a mid-April Gallup poll, perhaps revealing another underlying motivation in the mass exodus from the traditional political duopoly — just a hair over one-quarter of the U.S., 27 percent, believe the election process currently functions as it should.
Sick of politics-as-usual, the American populace appears to have cleaved chasms in both the traditional Republican and Democratic Parties. Whether more interest in third parties comes now or after November’s election results are final, it’s clear the political climate in this country will never be exactly as it was before 2016.
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