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Do Trump and Sanders Signify The Beginning of The End of The Two-Party System?

Updated on June 12, 2016
Our First President lumberjack chopped down the two-party cherry tree, but of course we didn't follow his lead.  Is the tide turning?
Our First President lumberjack chopped down the two-party cherry tree, but of course we didn't follow his lead. Is the tide turning? | Source

What's in a Name?

Okay, calm down. You're looking up at the title and already beating me up for my apparent ignorance about the political affiliation of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, two prominent candidates running for President in the 2016 election cycle. My ears are burning from the smug accusations of you die hard conservatives that this is absolute proof of my being a raging, misinformed, intellectually lazy liberal.

But I really do know who is running, and on what ticket. Everybody knows already - your five year old knows, I think I even overheard my next door neighbors' dogs chatting about how Donald Trump is running Republican and Bernie Sanders Democrat.

Business as usual in American politics, right? Since first President Washington's resignation in 1796, only members of two major parties have served as the country's Chief Executive. There have been some name changes - the Federalists essentially morphed into the Whigs, who then transubstantiated, or whatever God-party GOP members do, into the Republicans. On the other side of the aisle the Democratic-Republican party eventually ditched the suffix and became the Democratic party alone.

As the bard said, What's in a name? In this case the answer is something less than sweet, in fact downright bitter. Partisan clashes between the big two, if you ask me mostly staged for effect, have indeed weakened the government. Good old toothless George warned us about this in his famous farewell speech, where he specifically stated to beware of political parties. Would our cherry tree chopping first Prez be happy that we have at least limited them to two, or would his restless corpse, rolling around in its tomb in the Capitol basement, instead say - look knuckleheads, this is exactly what I told you would happen!

Pictured here are toothless George's wooden choppers.  On days of particularly severe partisan bickering, they are reported to chatter uncontrollably.
Pictured here are toothless George's wooden choppers. On days of particularly severe partisan bickering, they are reported to chatter uncontrollably. | Source

Sinking in the Main Stream

But now in the 2016 election cycle two mavericks come along, two loose cannons with no apparent strings attached, who are determined to take George's words to heart and rock the two party boat. I'm not going to put on my ideological straight-jacket here and engage in a pissing contest about who is right and who is wrong. You've picked your man, or woman, you have your reasons for it, and I do not desire to browbeat you into agreeing with me. All I'm trying to point out is that we're seeing leaks in the two-party Titanic for the first time in a while. It took a long time for the big two to patch up that swamped scow after Ross Perot almost sunk the damn thing in 1992, but they managed. Here we are 24 years later; the popularity of Trump and Sanders indicates that the vessel is listing distressingly once again, and maybe its time to tow that capsizing clunker into the yards. Can they salvage the two party colossus, or is the leaky tub beyond repair?

I know what you're thinking. Reflecting back on Confederate General Robert E. Lee's legendary comment about his Union counterpart John Pope on the eve of the battle of Second Bull Run, you're saying - Mel, your headquarters are where your hindquarters should be. In other words, your cranium is stuck in your crack. Rooter it out, already. Trump is a Republican, Sanders is a Democrat, they're both card carrying constituents of the big two.

Yeah, and I'm Mary Poppins and you're Doris Day. I think it's pretty clear to everyone who hasn't been living at the bottom of a well over the past year or so that Trump and Sanders have only embraced these major party affiliations out of necessity. Somehow they both recognized, at the same time, with intentions either insidious or sincere, that the only way to change a faulty system is to become part of it.

Could this really be an X-ray of the approximate anatomical location of our dear writer's head?
Could this really be an X-ray of the approximate anatomical location of our dear writer's head? | Source

Tunnel Vision Allegiance?

Perhaps part of the reason why George, Bernie and Donald have eschewed zealous devotion to political parties is because they often become an obsession for those who follow them devotedly. In the best case, they are like an exclusive club; in the worst, a religion. People become so utterly fixated upon the approved party slogans and mantras that they lose touch with the candidates as human beings, then make their decisions to vote or not to vote for a person based only upon whether or not they have the party stamp of approval.

There are die hard Democrats who would vote for Genghis Khan if he was nominated, repeating the magical party incantation that he has the ability to reach across the aisles and unify people of diverse backgrounds. Of course this would be based upon the fact that he brutally conquered millions of people. But if you made the mistake of expressing your desire not to vote for Genghis, perhaps on account of his spotty human rights record, you would be mercilessly shouted down as racist against Asians.

On the Republican side, the GOP faithful would line up at the polls to vote for Idi Amin Dada if he was on their ticket. They would advance the former Uganda dictator to be the first "real" black President; pointing out, as both parties do, his ability to obtain cooperation from all sides of the political spectrum. The fact that he did this mostly by eating his enemies would be dismissed as irrelevant.

Of course this is ridiculous hyperbole - but it points out a rather disturbing fact. People become so fixated upon the party that they lose sight of the quality, or lack thereof, of the individual.

As the two most successful Independent Presidential candidates in American history, Bernie and George even tend to look alike from certain angles - except for the wooden teeth.
As the two most successful Independent Presidential candidates in American history, Bernie and George even tend to look alike from certain angles - except for the wooden teeth. | Source

Bern's Garage

So why do political mavericks like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump feel the necessity of running as a candidate of a major party machine, if they disagree with the methods and the message of that machine?

The answer would seem to be simple: pragmatism. In order to fix it, the mechanic has to get inside, get behind the wheel and take that clunker for a drive, or his customers (the electorate) aren't even going to listen to his opinion about what is ailing the old jalopy. But are you, the customer slash voter, willing to hand over your keys to this unknown, just yet? Who are you going to pay attention to; this no-name grease monkey running the corner garage, or the people in the neat coveralls beneath the clean corporate logo of the dealership up the block? Until the grease-money proves his worth, you're going to take it to the dealership. So what the lone wolf grease monkey is forced to do is first take a job with the devil up the block, in order to build up his clientele. His customers will then gladly take their automobiles down the street to his independent garage, because they know he won't gouge them.

Bernie Sanders has been running an independent garage from the beginning of his career. As a third party candidate, and then as a non-affiliated politician, he has referred to the donkey-dealing Democratic Party as "ideologically bankrupt," and considers both major parties to be "equally beholden to corporate lords."

But unlike other promising candidates who have run beneath a third party or independent banner and failed ignominiously, Bernie is also a realist. According to Sanders, running as an Independent would have been problematic because it is difficult to get on the ballot in all fifty states. On the other hand, running as a Democrat made it "...easier to get on the ballot, you can get into the debates, and the media will take you more seriously."

Writing in the Washington Post, Green Party spoiler Ralph Nader - who some sour grapes Dems still blame for putting W. in the White House in 2000 by supposedly stealing 3% of Al Gore's votes, expresses his first hand expertise about "...what two party tyranny can do to a more-than-nominal third-party challenger." Nader expounds "Just appearing on the ballot is a challenge for independent candidates. While any Democrat or Republican who wins their party’s nomination is guaranteed a place on general-election ballots nationwide, smaller parties must, in many states, petition election officials to be listed. And that is a delicate process, easy for the major parties to disrupt. Their operatives have a number of tools at their disposal to knock third-party candidates off the ballot, render their campaigns broke, and harass and ostracize them."

Turns out that the Democratic Party is not very democratic at all, and shamelessly used those aforementioned tools to thwart Nader in each of his campaign runs. Nader claims that in 2004 it was Democratic Party operatives that targeted his efforts. Big Donkey hired private investigators to harass his petition circulators, sometimes threatening them with criminal prosecution for the presence of fake names that those same "saboteurs" had signed on his petitions. Some of his petitions were invalidated by state officials for arbitrary reasons. Litigation was filed against the Nader campaign for the sole purpose of draining his candidacy's resources. In some states he was completely forced off the ballot.

The big two intends to keep itself in power indefinitely, and will use every underhanded means at its disposal to do it. Any wonder then, that Bernie decided to run as a Democrat, especially in light of the fact that the last independent, non partisan candidate to win the Presidential election was the first one - good old Delaware-crossing George himself, making ear to ear grins on the inauguration platform through his wooden teeth!

This elephant seems convinced, but will other reluctant Pachyderms get on board for Trump?
This elephant seems convinced, but will other reluctant Pachyderms get on board for Trump? | Source

Donkey in Elephant's clothing, or just another gold-plated Pachyderm?

Right across from Bernie's dilapidated repair shop, in a much bigger building where the hydraulic lifts are all gold plated, Republican candidate Donald Trump, nattily clad in spotless silk coveralls, has been doing a pretty credible job of stealing clients away from that elephant-sized dealership on his side of the street.

In spite of what the blinding, casino-style neon sign outside his establishment announces, many among the GOP faithful contend that Donald Trump is not a Republican at all. According to Carl Cannon writing in Real Clear Politics, "In a recent interview, Ari Fleischer, who was White House press secretary under George W. Bush, said it was clear that Trump was “no conservative.” The real issue is more basic: there’s not much evidence he’s even a Republican...Americans can change their political orientation over time—Ronald Reagan did it—but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Republican who during the last 28 years has variously listed his voter registration as Republican, Independence Party, Democrat, Republican again, and (as recently as 2012) registered himself in New York as “decline to state.” In the midst of that orgy of fickleness, Trump ran briefly for president—as a Reform Party candidate."

So why has Donald Trump so firmly affixed himself to the GOP standard during the last two Presidential campaigns? An Internet meme in wide circulation, and widely believed, claims that he did so because the intellectual level of the average Republican voter is much less than that of the Democrats across the way, and Republican backers would be much more likely to believe anything he said, even if he lied. Although this meme is satisfying for many blue-staters to believe, like most crap on the Internet it is not true. Trump has said some god awful things, true enough, but he never said that; at least not in public and in the reported venue.

So why, having continually rocked the Republican boat with his shocking statements and proclamations, is Donald Trump running as a Republican - even when the Republican leadership finds him dangerously distasteful? The truth is, in spite of his frequent flip-flops, well publicized deviations from party doctrine, and heretical association with the Clintons, Trump has been a Republican throughout most of his political career.

Yet the outsider has sensed an opportunity for profitable deviation in his party, realizing that the hard working, god fearing Republicans on the bottom of the pecking order may not be as duped as meme-makers believe they are. Middle to lower class GOP supporters realize the mainstream fat cats who run the party have been neglecting their economic needs, their gospel of trickle down economics not trickling like it should. Although, in true Machiavellian style, Trump has employed fear-mongering tactics to attract nervous white voters fearful of being plowed under by an avalanche of immigrants, he has also loudly opposed trade agreements. A large part of his support has come about by speaking to the hearts of the party's non-one percent supporters, those who have legitimate fears about losing their jobs when billionaires outsource them.

This willingness to get in line behind Trump, a man whose intense xenophobia has been compared to that of Adolf Hitler, demonstrates clearly that there are gaping holes in the mainstream party platform that cannot be filled by a mainstream candidate. Could this be another sign that America is ready and willing to move away from its bland, tasteless two-party diet, sample new flavors, and risk the potential indigestion?

Shipwreck themed jumpers are fun for Republican-Democrat aisle crossing social mixers, as well as general purpose kids birthday parties.
Shipwreck themed jumpers are fun for Republican-Democrat aisle crossing social mixers, as well as general purpose kids birthday parties. | Source

Revolutionary Moment or Business as Usual?

Does the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders mean the two-party system in America is in trouble?

See results

America Speaks - Or Tries To

So is the two-party machine about to plunge irretrievably into the depths, or are Trump and Sanders just two ugly cracks in the bulkhead that can be easily shored up and patched over before the floundering vessel is charted back upon its usual course?

As it turns out, the end of two-party politics may not come from the raging ocean without, as expected, but from the pressures on the bursting boilers within. The Grand Old Party seems to be splitting apart at the rivets even as we speak. There is a movement known as the #NeverTrump conservatives that have made overtures to several prominent politicians about forming a third-party alternative to the irrepressible mouth who is the presumptive nominee. 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also allegedly been holding mysterious meetings with this in mind, secret trysts attended by those dissatisfied with the direction the GOP has turned in 2016.

Conservative talking head Erick Erickson describes a very common feeling among the GOP disaffected: "If Trump is able to get the nomination, the Republican Party will cease to be the party in which I served as an elected official. It will not deserve my support and will not get it if it chooses to nominate a pro-abortion liberal masquerading as a conservative, who preys on nationalistic, tribal tendencies and has an army of white supremacists online as his loudest cheerleaders."

But as loudly as we protest Trump's verbose, racist-tinged nationalism, and decry Sander's fantastic, supposedly unreachable Democratic-Socialist proclamations, Trump and Sanders remain in place as top Presidential contenders. The two-party machine detects dangerous divisions, and takes action.

Over in the Democratic corner the powers that be have been doing their utmost to ward off the Sanders threat to the status quo. Front-runner Hilary Rodham Clinton, she who speaks in echoes to empty rallies while Bernie plays to packed houses, has mobilized all the resources of the DNC machine to her rescue. The mysterious machinations of Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; the donkey-driving boss lady who would defend the practices of predatory payday lenders over working class Democratic voters, allegedly rigs the game in Hilary's favor. So who really is the Democratic front-runner, and would Sanders be enjoying Trumpian supremacy in the campaign if not for the concerted effort of the Democratic Party to push him aside?

Point being that the two most enthusiastically followed candidates are the two most disassociated from the tired, tasteless, unappealing business as usual of their own parties. In backing the fortunes of Sanders and Trump the American people are speaking loudly, and whether you approve of the content of portions of their respective messages, what Americans are saying is that they are tired of politics as usual. Americans want candidates who can think independently and at least give the appearance of being sincere. Americans are disillusioned by the Super-PAC beholden, string dancing marionettes controlled by hidden masters lurking in the darkness above the stage. For the first time in years, the voice of America is letting its discontent be known.

George the lumberjack couldn't have spoken better, even through his mossy wooden teeth.

Ralph Nader Speaks out on Two-Party Hijinks

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    • profile image

      Old Poolman 12 months ago

      Mel - This is a fantastic piece of work.

      Yes, many Americans are letting our Political leaders know that we are very dissatisfied about many things regarding our government. We are also very dissatisfied about their poor performance over a many year span.

      But, and there is always a but, we are also finding out our election process is so corrupt and confusing our votes really don't mean much anymore. I have no idea how we arrived at this point but I guess we were not paying attention when they kept changing the rules.

      Not that you asked, but here is what I would like to see as our election process.

      1. Do away with the Electoral College that few even understand.

      2. All Primaries should be held on exactly the same day.

      3. Go back to popular vote and do away with the Delegates completely.

      Only if we make some changes will our choices for elected officials ever mean anything again.

      I again congratulate you on a brilliant piece of work with this hub.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 12 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Lots of great thinking here, Mel. Let's hope better times are ahead. Great HUB.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Well thank you Mike, I am humbly blushing from your nice words. Another thing I would like to see is the end of "gerrymandering," the process by which officials of the party in power redraw the districts to ensure a majority for their party in coming elections. Term limits would also help. Campaign financing needs to be reformed. There are so many things wrong, in fact, that it hard to know where to begin.

      Your list provides a good start. Thanks for dropping by, my friend. Try to stay cool out there in Arizona, if you can.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Reynold Jay for dropping by and reading my rants. Yes, we can only hope there are better times ahead for democracy.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 12 months ago

      Mel - We actually have term limits now if the voters would vote for the best candidates rather than the political party they belong to. We just never seem to empty the trash and now the garbage in office is really starting to stink.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      It's been stinking for a while, Mike, but we're just now starting to unplug our noses.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      These are the best of times and the worst of times. At least in change there is a sliver of hope for our future. As always your writing is just outstanding. Thoughtfulness with humorous satire. I think Will Rogers would be proud of you.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Those are very encouraging words Eric. I admire the lasso swinging cowboy who never met a man he didn't like, and I try not to condemn my fellow travelers on this planet based upon their ideology, as many do.

      If we keep it up, maybe that sliver of hope will grow into a wedge, and then we'll have a chance. Thanks for dropping in.

      Come to think of it, Will Rogers also said - I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat. Seems appropriate.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting topic! You certainly have a challenging note here.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Devika. These are challenging days ahead of us. I appreciate you dropping in.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel that is a great quote that I never heard. My pappy actual knew the man.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      He seemed like a down to Earth guy Eric. I never saw him give a performance, I only remember seeing people imitate him.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A great hub, Mel, and spot on I think. In Australia as well, the two party system is on life-support. Voters are disenchanted with both major parties, the LNP coalition and the Labor Party. It can be argued that there is now a third major party, The Greens, who have never actually been in power but who often hold the balance of power in the Senate. Polling shows that votes for independents at this coming election could be as high as 25% of the vote, and the election could be decided by which party the independents give support to. One major player could be Nick Xenophon, perhaps the most liked and trusted politician in the country. He has been a sitting independent for years, but has now formed his own party that is rumoured to be a chance of getting two lower house seats and three in the senate which would be quite a powerful bargaining position. Interesting times.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Third parties here never get nearly as high as 25%, Jodah. The most successful third party candidate was Ross Perot in 1992, who took an astonishing 18%. That after withdrawing from the election and then re-entering, which begs the question, what if he would have stayed?

      Ralph Nader of consumer fraud exposing fame won 3% of the vote in the 2000 election, and hardcore Dems still complain about how he stole the election from Al Gore and put George W. Bush in the White House.

      There is a frighteningly fanatical witch hunt in the pro-Hilary camp now, as they round up Sanders supporters like me and stone them in public. I've never seen anything like it, and it scares the hell out of me. The s**t is getting serious, as they say. I need a rock proof vest.

      Thank you for dropping in, my friend, with the great comment. I love learning about how the political systems in other countries work.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 12 months ago from Oklahoma

      Always interesting, Mel.

      My thoughts are that people are sick of the parties in place, but things are such that it always comes down to 2 parties. Whether or not it stays these two parties, only time will tell.

      For example, a new party comes to power, so for a while we end up with 3 or more parties vying for supremacy during this transitory period, but eventually it just all breaks down to two parties again.

      I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying that's the way things should be. I'm just saying that's usually how it shakes out.

    • profile image

      Linda Robinson 12 months ago

      Good Morning Mel what an interesting informative and insightful hub and content, you addressed and covered so much outstanding ideas and concerns. Terrific hub and excellent writing. And everyone interested in politics, this is a definite must read. Linda

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 months ago

      Mel, I have to say that your writing is great, and I agree with most of what you have to say. I’ve worked in “indoor” politics now for 28 years and see and hear things that the general public usually does not have access to. I disagree with only one thing you’ve said, and that is term limits. My state is in political disarray because of term limits. The reason is that after a few years, there are no experienced politicians left to train the new ones coming in. Before you say “good”, let me explain that with no training or no “old hands” to knock their ears down and make them earn their dues in the political school of hard knocks, these new politicians come in with an arrogance that is unbelievable. They are one-sided, special interest, holier-than-thou know-it-alls. Maybe that’s just the newer generations for you, but if anybody needed a sense of direction, they do. At least under the old political school of thought, with the exception of a certain few, the politicians policed themselves. There will always be a certain corrupt bunch, and I agree with Old Poolman that term limits should be the vote of the people.

      In fact, I agree with most of what Old Poolman has to say, too.

      I’ve seen several Democrats in our state switch to the Republican Party when the voters wouldn’t elect them, and then the voters defeated them as Rebublicans, too, so there was usually a good reason behind their defeats.

      Bernie appeals to the millennial who thinks that the world owes him or her the best with least effort. “The Donald” holds appeal to the white male, usually redneck, because he speaks of change that he can’t deliver either. Unfortunately, this country’s population has grown so big, and its government has become so engorged, that both are out of control. I don’t think that either party alone can solve its problems, and it especially won’t coming from radical leaders.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 12 months ago from Oklahoma

      I'm a millennial in most breakdowns I see, and yes, if I'm willing to work hard, I feel the world owes me a living. If I get sick, I feel like I should be taken care of regardless of what kind of person I am. Just human decency.

      I also am willing to foot the bill for people who work hard and/or get sick as best I can.

      Otherwise, what's the point to having an organized society at all?

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 months ago

      Larry, sorry, didn't mean to touch a nerve, but I think it's a matter of semantics. Please note that I said "millennial who thinks that the world owes him or her the best with the least effort." My grandchildren are 24 and 20 respectively, and they are two of the hardest working people whom I know, juggling college with full-time jobs. But you say if you "are willing to work hard, the world owes you a living." The way we older folks see it is if you work hard you have EARNED the living; the world isn't giving it to you. Bernie's millennial following is following him mainly because of his socialist stand. Russians made the same mistake with Lenin et al. Now I'm sounding like a Republican, which I'm not.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Well Larry, it shakes out that way because the brain trust of the two party system has an interest in keeping business as usual. Whether the American people wake up and see that is another thing. As long as we're fat, dumb and happy we don't care. When things start to get a little rough, as they were in '92 with Perot (recession), and as they are now (maybe unemployment numbers are good but wages suck), people will look for alternatives. Thanks for reading, my friend.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Linda Robinson for your kind words. Drop by anytime.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Miz Bejabbers, I've never worked on the inside in politics, it just seems to me that term limits prevents career politicians from getting into office for self serving reasons, rather than serving the public. If political office is a one shot deal, we might actually get politicians who truly desire to make a positive difference, rather than making it a cushy career post.

      I don't agree that all Bernie supporters think the world owes them a living. I certainly don't. I think a lot of Bernie supporters believe that our government should be beholden to the people, and not that of big-money special interests. We should be spending money on education, health care, and mine and Larry's favorite, space exploration, rather than bombing countries into oblivion with nothing to show for it.

      I appreciate your cordial attitude in this friendly debate. I've been shouted down with all kinds of ugly names in the last few days, and your respectful disagreement is refreshing and productive to democracy.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      One thing I might add about the millenials and their love of Bernie, Miz Bejabbers, is that they have gotten out and voted for the first time. Bernie has gotten them off the couch and interested in democracy. My 24 year old son, who works very hard, had never voted before our California primary. They tried to give him a provisional "placebo" ballot (they did this to a lot of young people), which they often do not count, but he knew the rules and made them give him a regular ballot. My younger son had never voted either, and he's on board for Bernie. Bernie has inspired a lot of passion in our kids, and a lot of interest in getting involved in society. It's a shame that the California political machine did its best to try and take their voice away. No use crying about spilled milk now, but I'm happy to see them out trying to make a difference.

    • profile image

      Pat Mills 12 months ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      It's hard to say if we're seeing the beginning of the end of the two parties we know. They always seem to know how to placate voters during election season. They're also the parties with the deepest pockets. When non-mainstream candidates actually win elected office consistently, then I'll say the nation has had enough of this two-party system. Then they'll begin to experience the problems Democrats and Republicans have now.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 12 months ago from Central Florida

      I firmly believe the Democratic party and the Republican party will split into 2 additional parties. Bernie's followers want to see a Progressive party emerge. The Republicans would be wise to spin off the TeaParty crowd and try to find their base again.

      As you can see from my list of hubs, I'm a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders for now, through the convention and onward. This presidential campaign is just the opening segment in a movement to return our government to a democracy wresting it from the oligarchs.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      The proof is in the pudding Mills, you're absolutely right. We can only say the system has fallen when we no longer have a Donkey or Pachyderm in the Oval Office. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      I think you are right Virginia about the party split. The GOP seems to be posting ads about that right here on Hub Pages, testing the waters. Thanks for reading!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 12 months ago

      Mel, I'm sorry to hear that you've been shouted down in this debate over politics. People should be civil no matter what. I'm glad to read that your sons are getting off their duffs and getting interested in politics. That is what this country needs our young people to do. To give them a provisional ballot is both an insult and an injury. I'm glad they know their rights. I've served as a poll watcher before, and a provisional ballot correctly used is given only when the voter's qualifications are in question. For instance, if the person can't prove residency requirements or if he or she is even a registered voter.

      I still disagree with you on term limits, having seen what it did to my state. The "one shot deal politician" is an oxymoron. The cushy career politician can be voted out, but when the person knows he has a limited time to be in office, it seems to expedite the corruption of the corrupt. I hate to say it but because of this, the lobbying industry in my state is booming, but your state may be different. However, human nature is pretty similar everywhere.

      Education is a good example of how term limits has been misapplied here. We had some "career" legislators who were very concerned and EDUCATED as to the needs of educating our young people. After they were term-limited out, our educational system started going to Hell in a handbasket. The directors of the health and education departments became political plums. Our latest governor is maneuvering for the executive branch to take over control of the schools, local needs are not being considered nor met, and more and more parents are sending their children to private and charter schools. This is leaving the poor children behind to get an inferior education and produce more dropouts.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 12 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I have become so disappointed in politics I hate to even vote. Sometimes I even wonder if we are just wasting our time voting when in the end they are going to manipulate the polls to lean in a certain way.

      This country has been in trouble for a long time. Massive job loss, foreclosures, and computers slowly replacing jobs and each politician has the same old lies, " We will bring back jobs and deal with immigration" what a joke!

      I haven't seen a politician serious about the economy in a long time. But why should they because in the end they are eating well, being paid well, and have the best health care.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub is interesting and educational, Mel. The American political system seems both strange and complex to me, so I appreciate learning more about it.

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      It is really not as complex as it should be Linda, considering there are really only two viable choices, neither one of which is very good, but I'll agree that strange is a viable adjective. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile image
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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Dana, people like you are the reason I wrote my California Voter Apathy guide. A lot of people have concluded there is no point in voting, very intelligent ones like you included, thinking that neither candidate really represents what we stand for. Getting serious about the economy means shipping more jobs out of the country via free trade agreements, and both parties are equally to blame for this. Thanks for reading!

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      Deb Hirt 12 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I'm with Old Poolman. Let's do this right and let the people decide. It makes no sense to get middlemen involved, the jig is up. Our Senators don't listen to the majority. This oil-driven state holds the interest of the wealthy, NOT the majority.

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      Mel Carriere 12 months ago from San Diego California

      Well said Deb. Oil is just one of many corrupting influences, but it is certainly right up there. Thanks for dropping in.

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      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      Really enjoyed this. One thing is why the parties accepted them as candidates?

      You can argue that the candidates wanted to 'change the system's from the inside but I also think the parties saw the potential for a four way race that had to be avoided at all costs.

      Lawrence

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      Mel Carriere 11 months ago from San Diego California

      Lawrence, that is a very good point. I don't think either of the parties envisioned the success that both of these candidates had. In 2012 Trump had a rather mediocre performance, but came back apparently having learned lessons from the last go round, and shocked everyone. Bernie Sanders was considered way too far out there to be taken seriously, but a significant percentage of the voters demonstrated, to the party's chagrin, that they are ready for way too far out there. The depths of Hilary's jijinx to cheat Sanders out of his votes are still being exposed. Certain California counties that went Hilary are now being flipped for Sanders upon counting of the "placebo" provisional ballots. I am happy that Sanders is refusing to play ball and come out in support of Hilary. The candidacy is probably impossible for him now, but he needs to stand his ground, so that the American people will know that we need United Nations election monitors here, just like they have in "underdeveloped" countries.

      Thanks for reading, my friend.

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      Edward Lane 7 months ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Excellent article! You're a great writer. I think you are right about Bernie and the Donald using the two-party system

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      Mel Carriere 7 months ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Edward. I was actually thinking today that the election of Andrew Jackson, another populist president, actually signaled the birth of the Democratic party of today. The election of Trump may be the precursor of a similar shake up, for good or for bad.

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      Sanxuary 6 months ago

      I really hope that this is the end of the two party system. Trump who should have never been a Republican to begin with and Bernie should have never ran as a Democrat. I hope Trump destroys the party and I hope all Independents see the opportunity to say the hell with these two parties. 47 percent did not vote and someone needs to make those people happy. Trump got like 24 percent to win and his opponent got 25 percent. If you our a third party candidate you should be out and running for the next 4 years.

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      Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California

      Sanxuary, this may not be the end of the two-party system, but I think both parties are reinventing themselves right now, for better or for worse. Thanks for reading.

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