Although November is still a few months away, the presidential election is nearing the penultimate climax. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have won the nominations for the Republicans and Democrats respectively. Billionaire Donald Trump won the Republican nomination with the party’s establishment fully against him. The gOP would’ve much preferred Marco Rubio, John Kasich or the brother prodigy Jeb! Unfortunately for them, Trump demolished the rest of the field and it was the other non establishment candidate, Ted cruz, who came second.
Republican supporters voted for Trump in the primaries for a handful of reasons. Firstly, Trump isn't a politician. Although that sounds like a disadvantage in a presidential race, to the ordinary voter it is very appealing. Whether you define Trump as ‘the establishment’ or not, it’s quite clear that the Republican establishment did not want him to win. He must not, therefore, have the interests of the GOP establishment in mind. Secondly, Trump’s firm talking on immigration appealed enormously to the right leaning American citizens. Since 9/11, Americans have feared the threat of terrorism and have wanted stricter immigration controls to stop potential terrorist threats. Trump’s wall may have sounded silly and even xenophobic, but to the Republican voter it’s an immigration policy that doesn't play up to the neoliberal press. Finally, Trump’s non-pc or even politically incorrect ways win him support with the general public. It shows that he’s not afraid to say what he thinks. It shows that he’s not pandering to people or acting like an establishment politician. People like their politicians to be real human beings instead of PR machines.
The story with the Democrats is slightly different. Hillary Clinton was the establishment candidate. The party was thoroughly behind her. (More so than we suspected) The party only ever had her in mind to become president and this was decided long before Obama began his second term. Hillary’s rival to the Democratic nomination was Senator Bernie Sanders. As a self-professed socialist, it was always going to be difficult to win over American voters. Especially with the party’s establishment and the entire American press against him. Clinton won the nomination far less easily than she would have hoped but in the end she triumphed in the deciding states of New York and California.
The primaries are in existence for the two main parties to choose a candidate who has the best chance or winning the general election. However, It’s estimated that only 9% of Americans voted for Trump and Clinton in the primaries. There is a healthy number of voters who have publicly stated that they will not vote for Trump or Clinton. Many Bernie supporters will not vote Democrat because of her lies, her status as the establishment candidate, her willingness to accept money from big business and banks, her neoliberal views and politics, and/or the email scandal. Many Republicans will not vote Trump because they believe he’s xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, and even fascistic. They would like to see an established conservative Republican and not a bigoted billionaire businessmen who has no experience as a politician.
Therefore, there are people who will be voting for a third party candidate. Yes, they do exist in America… Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party has attracted the disenfranchised Republican vote and Jill Stein (presumptive) has attracted the disenfranchised Democrat vote. A third party candidate will never win the American presidential election. Let’s be clear about that. As UKIP or the Greens would never win in the UK. However, politics isn't about winning. Voting should always be about voting for someone who best represents you and your views. For the majority of Bernie Sanders supporters, the candidate who best represents their views is Jill Stein and not Hillary Clinton. Amazingly, Clinton represents the views of the centrist/right-of-centre Republicans who would have happily voted for Bush III!
Let’s also be clear about another thing; voting for a third party candidate shouldn't be about making one side lose. Take Ralph Nader in 2000. People voted for him because they didn't want to vote for Gore or Bush II. People who vote third party should not be blamed for the loss of one of the two big parties. Voting is a personal thing that one does to decide who one wants as their leader. It is not something we do to decide who we don’t want to be our leader.
Expect turnout to be incredibly low in November. There are millions who don't vote, millions who don't want to vote for Trump or Clinton, and millions who think voting for a third party is a wasted vote. America has chosen the worst two candidates in the history of the union and 2016 is the best time ever to vote for a third party. It doesn't have to be Trump or Clinton. Don’t be dragged into deciding which one you’d rather see as president. Yes, one of them will win but that doesn't mean you have to decide which one you’d rather not see. Voting third party is the best weapon against the undemocratic first past the post system. It shows real discontent for it and emphasises the extreme disenfranchisement that has occurred in the last 30 years.