In 1980 I was in 7th grade. My social studies class took a poll of hands to see who we would choose for President. I believe I was the only one who raised my hand for John Anderson, the Independent candidate. More the half the kids raised their hands for Ronald Reagan, and the rest for Jimmy Carter. I didn’t like Reagan because I believed the rumors that he was a warmonger who would get us in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. I liked Jimmy Carter, but believed the rumors that he was a weak President. I can’t honestly remember a thing about John Anderson — what he believed or stood for — all I knew is that he wasn’t one of the other guys. And I really didn’t want Reagan or Carter to win.
Hopefully, you are versed enough in history to know what happened. Looking at the popular vote numbers, Carter wouldn’t have won the majority even if all of Anderson’s votes had gone him. It’s like the hostage crisis did him in. But some people, Carter included, believe that he could have won had it not been for Anderson. And in hindsight, I would have much rather had four more years of Jimmy Carter than any years of Ronald Reagan.
So now it’s 2016. I adore Bernie Sanders, admire Hillary Clinton, and dislike Donald Trump with the fire of a thousand suns. I believe if Bernie Sanders had switched and run as a third party candidate, he would have done pretty well in the election. But like me, he’s been around long enough to believe that third party candidates at this stage in US history tend to just split the parties. So now he’s campaigning for Hillary Clinton, which doesn’t surprise me frankly, because you could see even during their first debate that he respected Hillary.
These are the other candidates for President who I cannot take seriously:
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, is not even on the ballot in all states, has nearly lost every election she’s ever been in, including those at lower levels of government, and she has a history of backpedaling on her views when they prove unpopular.
Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate, is pro-Citizens United, pro-fracking, and doesn’t support paid medical and family leave, for starters.
There are dozens of other people running as well who have no chance of winning.
I do hope I see the end of the two party system in my lifetime, but I don’t think it’s going to happen until we get campaign finance reform, as well as a groundswell of seriously charismatic, accomplished third party candidates running and winning seats more seats in Congress.