Two choices are not sufficient

It’s the same story, election year after election year! It has been this way for hundreds of years. Democrats vs. Republicans. Conservatives vs. progressives. The right vs. the left. Red vs. blue. We are often left with choosing between the lesser of two undesirables because of the structure of our political system.

Those of us who lean more toward progressive social ideologies but are fiscally conservative do not have a viable alternative with our current two-party system. We see Democratic agendas that are designed to help the impoverished, enhance and support the arts, protect immigrants and expand our social safety nets that we support. We also see Republican economic policies that we value as being more financially sustainable for the long term. Unfortunately, we do not see a party that combines our socio-fiscal interests and likely never will.

There are many who vote straight party and would never consider supporting a candidate of the opposing party simply because many have been conditioned to believe they must be one or the other. We should have other options that encompass combinations of financially responsible social assistance, but we do not.

Traditionally, third-party candidates have little chance of ever gaining enough support to finance a national campaign and gain the name recognition required to compete on the big stage of American politics.

Third-party candidates also lack the support of political machines that have such a tremendous influence over the public and the media. The system was designed to ensure this will never happen.

The extreme polarization our two-party system has had on the American public has created a monumental divide among our people. Unfortunately, most voters, following the examples of elected officials, would likely never consider an objective assessment of policies presented by those seeking power and influence. Many have been conditioned to reject anything the opposing party suggests. Our elected officials allow this scenario to play out every day as they practice partisan politics, exhibit an unwillingness to compromise and tow the party lines in an effort to maintain power.

We will continue to be a divided nation unless and until we learn the importance of compromise, respect, objectivity and introspection. It is imperative that we open our minds to the possibility that perhaps what we have been taught to accept—a divided populace—is precisely what the leaders of our two parties want. They want followers and supporters who offer unwavering acceptance of their ideologies and will go to great lengths to ensure that a third entity will have limited influence over their support base.

When there are only two choices, those of us who embrace policies of both parties and oppose policies of both parties are left with no choice.

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