If they’ve accomplished nothing else during this presidential election cycle, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders highlighted the desire by many Americans for SOME outsider to take charge in Washington and totally dismantle the present system.
Though on opposite ends of the political spectrum, Trump and Sanders each ignited a spirit of upheaval against the status quo — a corrupt hierarchy perpetuated by both Democrats and Republicans.
The problem is that citizens all too often view their government in those simplified terms, as a two-party conflict, which is particularly true in a bitter election year. Much is said about liberal vs. conservative philosophies and who is better with the economy or national security, etc., and the presidential candidates tailor their rhetoric accordingly.
Yet when you get right down to it, whoever wins the White House and Senate and House seats never lives up to their campaign promises of change and nothing ever gets done about the serious problems continually facing our nation.
These include but are not limited to job creation, campaign-finance reform, protecting our borders and deporting illegal immigrants, fighting terrorism, overhauling the tax code, putting Wall Street in check, attacking the $20 trillion (and growing) deficit, repairing our infrastructure and curing a broken health-care system some only believe has been worsened by Obamacare.
No matter who controls the White House or this or that house of Congress, these problems persist.
And not only is the present federal government failing to help rank-and-file Americans, it seems to be actively working against us.
This is apparent with some of the ridiculous trade deals that have been passed and still loom on the horizon, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which rob citizens of jobs and are destroying our middle class.
Can you remember the last time a law came out of Washington which helped Americans as a whole as far as their financial well-being?
On the other hand, there are countless examples of acts that are furthering globalism and the so-called New World Order rather than taking care of our own people.
And what little resources we have left are being raped by greedy, too-big-to-fail corporations that subject us to high prices for drugs and other necessities because — yes — our federal government (both parties) has been bought and paid for by lobbyists.
The election of Hillary Clinton will all but ensure the continuation of this horrible status quo.
Trump does offer at least some hope for those desiring to see the federal government torn down to its foundation, and Sanders offered the same during his candidacy. The fact both rose so prominently is a testament to many people becoming disgusted with the core elements of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Early on, neither was considered a serious candidate with any chance of succeeding, yet Trump won the GOP nomination. And after everyone laughed at Sanders and dismissed him as an old geezer with crazy ideas, he proceeded to become a huge thorn in Hillary Clinton’s side and drew much support.
He essentially got robbed by the Democrats’ nomination process, another example of a corrupt government that seeks to ensure the preservation of the status quo while quashing the rise of third-party or alternative candidates.
We don’t really have a two-party system, but a one-party monopoly that secretly, or not-so-secretly, works together to cater to special interests and global corporations — everyone except the American people.
But the good news is that whatever the outcome of the 2016 White House race, Trump and Sanders opened a Pandora’s Box of momentum for change that will not die but carry over into future elections and only get stronger.
Instead of a good 5-cent cigar as suggested by Woodrow Wilson’s vice president, Thomas Marshall, what this country needs is a strong third party to represent mainstream, middle-of-the-road America and not the extremists of the two parties.
I often wonder how different the U.S. would have been over the past 25 years or so had Ross Perot been elected president in 1992 as the Reform Party candidate. Had he not pulled out of the campaign prematurely, only to re-enter it and still pick up nearly 20 percent of the vote, Perot likely would have become the nation’s chief executive.
He was famous for warning of the “giant sucking sound” of jobs going away due to NAFTA — and by all estimates things are sucking even more today.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.