We get it: a serious presidential candidate should know the names of at least some foreign leaders.
The media is a little confused as to why such a huge chunk of millennials support Gary Johnson, the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party. In this short video, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes lists some hot issues that millennials care about (or should care about in MSNBC’s opinion?) which Johnson does not support, including free college and Obamacare coverage. On a Real Time with Bill Maher episode that aired September 30, Maher called Johnson a “fucking idiot,” and expressed his frustration and concern that former supporters of Bernie Sanders in the Millennial demographic would jump ship on Clinton to support Johnson.
This past weekend I was hiking with a close friend who told me he would vote for the fucking idiot. His logic is this: we need to start breaking the tyranny of the two-party system, and that’s not going to happen unless we start to back alternate parties. In other words, we need to get the momentum going on the third and fourth-party numbers so we can one day kill the following scenario: “I would vote for [third-party candidate], except that he/she has a snowball’s chance in hell so all I’d be doing is taking a vote away from [lesser-of-two-evils] and giving it to [greater-of-two-evils].”
My wife, who is from a country with three prominent parties, asked me, “ok so what’s your actual problem with a two-party system?” That threw me off. Because the US of A is a huge and diverse nation so there’s no way two parties can accurately represent all our ideologies? That’s a ridiculous answer because what then would be the magic number of parties to accurately reflect the views of 320 million people? Because it blocks third parties from entering the election? That’s almost tautological. Or maybe it’s personal because I can’t squeeze most of my views into either “democrat” or “republican?”
I think it might be that last one. I also think it’s my frustration that perfectly valid candidates for president get marginalized. John Kasich: too moderate to get support. Bernie Sanders: too grassroots to be mainstream.
Or maybe I’m just tired of the black-and-white thinking that comes in tow with a two-party system. If I agree Donald T. is a little thin-skinned, I must be a Clinton supporter. If I say it’s lame that of all the crazy things the guy said, America tars and feathers him for using hyperbolic guy talk, suddenly I’m on a slippery slope to being OK with sexual assault. I scroll through Facebook and see the clickbait articles posted by my more zealous friends; they take tiny pieces of information about either Clinton or DT and extrapolate wild conclusions. Also, my perception may be fallacious, but it feels like the mud-slinging gets worse every 4 years.
In reality, the majority of us agree on a majority of issues, but it’s hard to see that. At some point, probably early in our adulthood, we all go through a political orientation. We find a perspective we like and we submerse ourselves in the dogma that most closely aligns with that perspective. For example, a person may decide early on that they find abortion repulsive, surround themselves in conservative ideology, and end up supporting death penalty along the way.
But for some reason I just have this naïve feeling that this problem is going to get better. Millennial’s love their Facebook friends, but we hate running with the herd. We hate the status quo and that’s why we like Sanders and Johnson.
Anyway, it’s 2016 and we have Google. At some point, I don’t know when, we’re going to care less about what a candidate knows and more about what kind of decision-maker he or she is.
Thanks to MK for the inspiration.