On Tuesday night, the election results came out of California, the last major contest in the Democratic Primaries, and the voters rang in for Hillary Clinton; with the former First Lady capturing 55.8% of the vote and 269 delegates, combined with her victories in New Jersey (79 delegates) and New Mexico (18 delegates), putting her at 2,203 pledged delegates going into the convention. This effectively seals the deal for her going into Philadelphia. Senator Sanders pledges to continue the fight to the convention, but barring some major breakthrough and a massive switch of superdelegates to Bernie, Hillary will carry the Democratic banner to the General Election in November.
Trump has been the presumptive republican nominee ever since Ted Cruz said “Fuck it” after he lost in Indiana.
Now both parties are facing a major crisis with the general electorate, neither presumptive candidate is really that popular with the public; the most recent polls show it to be basically a dead heat 44% to 42% between Clinton and Trump. Broken down to the individual candidates, Hillary shows a current approval rating of 40% and Trump shows an approval rating 37%. Those are razor-thin differences and even with a post-convention bump in the polls for both candidates, their numbers will probably remain below 50% heading into November.
The general public seems unhappy with both candidates; outside of a few true believers, most political posts I’ve seen online or conversations I’ve heard seem to have an air of desperation. My republican friends think Trump is a horse’s ass and my democratic friends seem to only grudgingly support Hillary because at least she isn’t Trump.
But what if there was another way?
With such a dissatisfaction amongst the general public with both candidates, we may see a rise in Third Party candidates, there is already talk within the GOP establishment about what the hell to do about Trump. He has fallen mighty short of high-powered political endorsements, neither one of the Bushes are endorsing him and his Congressional endorsements are coming mainly from Senators and Representatives who previously backed another candidate but seem to endorse Trump as a vain attempt to maintain Party unity. Trump’s most high-powered endorsements, from such Republican heavies as Bob Dole, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, have rescinded their endorsements in light of Trump’s racist demagoguery.
With Hillary, it’ll be a question of losing energy; Bernie seemed to light the Democratic Party on fire, bringing in thousands of new voters and shaping the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction, now that Bernie is all but finished, I don’t think Hillary will be able to hold onto that fire, unless she nominates a progressive heavy like Elizabeth Warren as her VP and even then it might be too little too late.
The third party candidates noticed Bernie’s explosive energy and are already trying to capitalize on it. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson said that he agreed with Senator Sanders on many issues and, of course, within the many socialist parties and groups there have been talks about how to channel the new excitement about socialism towards a stronger socialist movement in America.
The rise of a third party candidate may be the only option left to make this election any kind of interesting and it seems to be a real possibility, particularly with the Left. Bernie was never a loyal Democrat as it was, so it will be easier for leftists to take the energy from Bernie’s campaign and make their mark. The Republicans will probably get too bogged down in trying to hold their ranks together to effectively push a right-wing third party candidate. Although they might get crazy and decide to push some real hardline dingbats like whoever it is that’s currently running the Independent American Party or the Constitution Party, maybe we’ll see something with some real style and they’ll endorse the Prohibition Party this year.
Whatever happens, the general election this year seems to be a depressing choice of which one of your testicles do you wanna smash with a ball-peen hammer. I won’t choose which candidate sucks less; since they have write-in status here in Indiana. Your humble ranter will be pulling the lever in November for the Socialist Party USA candidates Mimi Soltysik and Angela Walker.
Featured image courtesy of Thinkprogress.org