by Jago Corry
With the populist rise of Bernie Sanders and the increased support of third party applicants including Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, could this election mark a quiet revolution of left-wing parties?
Stein, the Green party left leaning eco-socialist presidential candidate, and Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, collectively gained 6.7% of a RealClearPolitics poll where in the 2012 elections ‘other’ candidates only gained 1.6% of the vote.
This begs the question: Why are alternative contenders gaining more support this presidential election?
I believe it is due to two main reasoning’s firstly, people feeling apathetic towards the administration, particularly Obama’s, which promised a more equal society and delivered very little in terms of progressive change. Secondly, the left in particular don’t feel represented under Hillary Clinton as her previous scandalous relations and her big business, corporative notion.
However, the growth of Donald Trump can also be linked to the anti-establishment feeling across the US and how the populist, emotional attracts the anger that is within the US’s working class of how they have been continually let down by the state in recent years although, I predict in future elections this feeling will transform into rational socialist thinking.
The Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist uprising gained 46% of mandated delegates at the Democratic National convention in Philadelphia in July. The campaign planned to go against the elitist controlling system and restore employment and security to the majority of the US, his Democratic Socialist manifesto has undoubtedly pushed both the current Democrats and Greens policy agendas to the left.
From July 2016, Hillary Clinton has supported the raising of minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $7.25 but also has endorsed a criminal justice reform on non-violent drug offences and medical treatment and prevention plans for addiction. The Democrats movement in policy has also been influenced by the Green party’s ideological standing on ‘right to a job’ and ending ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks and corporations.
With average wages ever decreasing since the 2008 economic crash, lack of universal healthcare, rising student debt and militarisation within the middle-east I believe the American people feel distrusted and let down with seemingly progressive leaders such as Obama.
However, another reason for the decreasing partisanship within the mainstream parties is the power that corporate lobbying and party whips have on Republican and Democratic Congressmen which have fundamental control over issues such as healthcare and the NRA (National Rifle Association) have been a large stud in the progress of anti-gun laws administered by Democratic Congressmen.
This is an unfortunate consequence of the checks and balances constitutional system that exists within the US which takes legislative power away from the President within a divided Congress that Obama experienced after the 2012 elections.
The surge of support for Bernie was also due to his libertarian views, Hillary Clinton has previously been seen to be authoritarian on many issues such as opposing gay rights (until 2010), the supporting of the patriot Act (increased spying in the hope of counter-terrorism), opposing of regulation of Wall street and the voting for the military action on Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
This surge is also linked to eco-Socialism which Clinton does not actively support the carbon tax in the aim of cutting down on fossil fuels and the increased incentive of alternative, renewable energies. Many (particularly young voters) feel Clinton does not appeal to them due to her Conservative social policies but also her pro-war stance which is potentially the largest drawback in support. Left-leaning voters across the US continually supported anti-war policies but also liberals who believed the patriot act of 2001 infringed individual liberties.
In conclusion I believe increased disenfranchisement towards the administrations has caused irrational apathy towards immigration and popular belief that minority culture being the subject of blame for the economic downfall of the US and continual subsidisation of Wall Street failure. This is why I believe the uprising of third party candidacy/leftist thinking and voting in the US will only heighten as the establishment continue to fail at improving and representing the lives of the majority.