Remember our third parties in elections
Hunting down a Rutgers bus from a distance of fifty feet, just to have it close its doors on you the moment you arrive has become a University pastime. The countless laughs you share when you retell your fateful tale of how you were late to class are always a great joy. These everyday occurrences become second nature, and soon, they become mundane, unavoidable facts of life.
So when you go back to your dorm room after a long day of chasing buses, the last thing you have on your mind is the political banter that is happening in Syria and whether or not millions of lives will be affected by a relatively small vote in Congress. I mean, isn’t it really all the same story? Politicians argue party rhetoric, with the only slight difference being they completely oppose what they argued for before 2008. Democrat. Republican. The words themselves are meaningless, platforms that represent old forgotten stories about change and difference. This is partly the fault of our glorious Constitution, which does not favor big and rapid change in this country, instead forcing a complete democratic process of voting by various legislative bodies to ensure the correct measure takes place. This is no way, shape or form a bad thing, but it must be no surprise that Congress takes an obscene amount of time to pass even budget bills. So in a system that falls short, how can the average person expect to extract a significant change from our all-knowing government?
The answer is third parties. Yes, currently they are equivalent of throwing your vote in the trashcan. Morally, however, supporting a candidate based on brand name or one that does not truly represent your beliefs will not do your vote any justice either. Third parties offer opinions rarely considered by Washington’s elite. Sure, some of Ron Paul’s ideas on abolishing the Federal Reserve and isolationism toward the rest of the world are borderline insane (or genius), but at least it keeps the country’s integrity in check. Because those ideas will never see the daylight from a House of Representatives chambers, it at least keeps the circulation of true honest thoughts in an otherwise dishonest government. What about the unknown Gary Johnson or the infamous Ralph Nader? Does anyone really know what they stand for, besides the fact they are the laughingstocks of Congress? More important than the actual ideas they represent is the fact that they offer options. If we took the time to look at their positions, they might not actually be as alien as they appear to be. So why don’t we hear more about this guys? The absurd difficulty to get funding, nominations and even appear in debates might play a small role in this. Both main parties have a long tradition of support and money that provide a severe advantage over third parties. Yet every crumpled vote for a third party thrown into the trashcan is a defiant roar that sooner or must be acknowledged. The system isn’t built to be overridden in a single election. But the increasing number of third-party votes leads to awareness to those candidate’s positions. All flames have to start off as small sparks, and this is as good of a place to start as any.
So while you are running to that bus stop once again, just remember that another bus is always just around the corner.
Sabri Rafi is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.