With the general election just a few months away, the race couldn’t be any closer. In fact, according to a recently released New York Times interactive poll, Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is leading Republican nominee, Donald Trump, by just 2 percent, 46 to 44, well within the margin of error. However, according to the poll, Hillary Clinton still leads with a 73 percent chance of becoming the next leader of the free world.
Those aren’t the only candidates, however. The Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein register at less than 10 percent support nationwide and are rarely listed in polls. It’s doubtful that they will even be on the debate stage, as 15 percent support is required nationwide to take part in the debates as determined by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which states that any candidates must poll at “a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.”
Can that be fair, though? Are American citizens being given enough choices, or must we simply be OK with picking between two candidates? No, that simply cannot be the case. As Americans we must have the right to listen to any candidate running for the presidency regardless of their national polling average. As early as the times of our Founding Fathers, the nation was warned about the two-party system and what it could create. As John Adams put it best, “[T]here is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” The back-and-forth rhetoric from both candidates has escalated past the usual political differences into personal attacks and, at times, bombastic language. This year’s election is unlike any other in terms of the candidates running for office – an “outsider” businessman and a woman – but another woman, her vice president nominee and two former governors are in the run as well. Unfortunately, however, there isn’t much being heard from their political corner.
According to his website, Gary Johnson and his running mate, William Weld, both were two-term governors and William Weld won his second term with “the largest margin of victory in the history of Massachusetts.” They appealed not only to their respective party, but also to the general electorate. They found a way to appeal to various voters regardless of their walk of life due to great policy and action.
As for Dr. Jill Stein and her choice for vice president, Ajamu Baraka, they also come with great resumes and experience. Dr. Jill Stein is a physician, mother and environmentalist who has led the Green Party as its nominee since 2012 and Ajamu Baraka is a human rights organizer, defender and leader who has been fighting for education for over four decades.
So why aren’t Gov. Johnson and Gov. Weld and Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka doing well? Money – American politics are driven and guided by money, special interests and the wealthy that can afford unlimited donations to their preferred candidate. The two-party system prevents the American citizenry from a choice granted to them by the Constitution. The right to vote is one of the most important rights we have as well as the most powerful. We have the right to choose who governs over us and should be able to hear from all of our choices.
To my fellow voters come this November, go out and vote. No matter for who, let our voices be heard.