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The exclusion of third parties in U.S. and UT politics hurts America

Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 01:10


Yesterday, the University of Toledo College Republicans invited the UT College Democrats to debate over who should be the next president of the United States. 

Interestingly, the College Democrats declined the invitation. 

Noticeably or not, no invitations were sent to any third-party candidates despite the fact that members of third parties make up a significant portion of UT’s student body and the country as a whole.

Being denied a place at the table for any third-party group on UT’s campus by the College Republicans is reprehensible. It perpetuates a broken system that is celebrated in America by polarized politics instead of dialogue and what’s best for this country.

The last third party candidate who participated in the presidential debate was multi-millionaire Ross Perot in 1992. Before Perot, the most successful campaign was Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 run for president with the Progressive Party.

It’s a sad thing that in today’s America, in order to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, you must have an extreme and polarized platform.

One can conclude based on presidential nominees that if a party’s nomination is to be gained, it’s not the moderates one has to win over, but the radical and steadfast party members. This means that in the end, moderate voters have to choose between two extreme candidates, not a moderate candidate.

Because of the promotion of this extremely polarized system, people whose beliefs lie with a third party are made less significant. It then follows, as to the advantage of Democrats and Republicans, that third party vote is “wasted” if it isn’t spent on a mainstream candidate.

The media perpetuates this system. They choose not to publish the views and events related significant third-party candidates. The result is people who don’t fall within the strict confines of the Republicans or the Democrats actually do feel their vote is wasted if it goes to someone whose ideals actually match theirs instead of to a mainstream candidate. Thus, they have to decide which issues matter and sacrifice some ideals for others if they wish to not “waste” their vote.

What is perhaps most notable about UT’s student debate is that even upon the lack of Students of Obama, the Republicans continued to seek any Democrat organization to debate. They went as far as to invite the College Democrats at Lourdes University before considering a third party organization. This is in the face of the fact that third party organizations continually requested a seat at the debate table and were denied again and again to the point that only the Republicans and a handful of other students, some with differing viewpoints, were left.

Of course, logically speaking, your vote, if spent on someone who is overwhelmingly likely to lose, is a vote “wasted” in the pragmatic sense. But, this is only because of the perpetuation of a broken system by the mainstream parties on a national and collegiate level who are joined by the media. 

For this, the participating parties should be ashamed because put their self-gain over accurately representing all of the voices in America.

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