Presidential debate: We need more choices

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Associated Press

The recent Presidential Debate arouses the idea of including three political parties in future political debates.

“Keep yapping, man,” former Vice President Biden said to President Trump during the first presidential debate Tuesday. The hour and a half debate was more like two siblings arguing in the back seat of a car than a serious political discussion.

With the first debate in the books, I can’t help but imagine a world in which there are more than just two main candidates for the office of President of the United States.

Other modern democracies like Canada, France and Germany with multi-party systems tend to be less divided than America. They typically field more than just two parties in the running for the top office.
The last time a party other than the Democrats or the Republicans won any electoral votes was in 1968 when George Wallace ran under the American Independent Party against Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey. Wallace won 46 electoral votes against Humphrey’s 191 and Nixon’s 301. He managed to take the majority of the states in the southeast including Arkansas.

There are several minor third parties in America like the Green, Independent and Libertarian parties. Although these parties enjoy success in local elections, the two major parties have won every presidential election since 1852.

In the current political climate, I feel as though Republicans and Democrats have become the new Bloods and Crips. They both control their own territory and focus on attacking each other rather than building up the community.

A responsible voter votes based on the issues and not their favorite color. The benefit of having a multi-party system is the number of options to align yourself with. This makes voting more dynamic and less divisive. Instead of living your whole life dedicated to a particular party, you can move from party to party as the issues change.

Our country has a past of being divided and the past several years have felt like a reprise of that time in our history. Frankly, the thought of people going to the polling booth with an “us against them” attitude scares me.

One problem America’s third parties face is that the two major parties make a practice of usurping the platforms of third parties. This would be fine, except it does not leave room for a person to deviate from one of two ideologies. People and issues are complex, and we cannot run our country as if everything is black and white.

For instance, if a person were to be pro-life and believe in green energy and legalizing marijuana then it may be hard for that person to find a candidate. Voting for the better of two evils can lead voters to feel cheated. According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, switching to a multiparty system could increase voter turnout.

For many college students around the country, this will be the first election they’ll be able to participate in. Unfortunately, it is too late for a third party candidate to find any real backing in this race. We can start acting now towards a multiparty system, but for the time being we are stuck with Biden or Trump. Left or right. Blue or red.

The next presidential debate will take place 8 p.m. Central time, Thursday, Oct. 15.