I don't normally comment publicly on politics. I have my own opinions, some of them quite strong, but I'm not generally in a position to gather my own data and provide worthwhile commentary. I still try to stay informed, of course, but I keep a healthy dose of skepticism - especially when dealing with mainstream media. This election, however, I think has been singularly unique and is worth writing about.
The thing I'm most depressed by is the huge amount of negativity and in the multiple, specific failures of our political system. Both major candidates spent a significant amount of time being embroiled in scandals. Neither of them appear to be particularly trustworthy. And mainstream media didn't help keep the election focused on relevant issues. Instead, they opted for the more ratings-friendly drama and mud-slinging that dominated the vast majority of the election (which is also the fault of both major candidates, lest we forget).
As a result, I'm specifically unhappy about us retaining a first past the post system. Alternatives, like instant-runoff voting, aren't a silver bullet. Realistically, there's no "solution" that is entirely, 100% fair and can't be gamed. But, alternatives would enable citizens like myself to better represent our specific desires when the front-running candidates don't adequately cover them.
Why is this important? Honestly, I'm not confident the majority of Trump's votes were from people that actually wanted to vote for Trump. More accurately, I think my fellow citizens are simply fed up with the "establishment" and felt Trump would be the best agent for change. I sincerely hope that change will be positive for us.
I think voters like me are uniquely disenfranchised. Although I get to cast a vote, the way the system is designed and the way the social dynamics surrounding the election work haven't really given me a meaningful voice. I really, truly, couldn't find myself in either mainstream candidate. I'm not certain either major party fully addresses any of my concerns about the future of this country (or the rest of the world). And I'm extremely disappointed in many of my fellow citizens for not holding our presidential candidates to an appropriate level of integrity.
It's also concerning that, even in an election this heavily contested between two fairly unpopular candidates, a third party candidate did not manage to reach 5% of the national vote. This means there's also no immediate, future path to ending a two-party system by giving another entity a means to fight on any semblance of equal footing. No federal funding, no equal ballot access.
So, where do we go from here? Honestly, I'm not too sure. I'm not yet convinced the world is ending, even if this outcome wasn't maybe the one I was expecting. But, I'm also not confident my own priorities and issues will be adequately considered in the future. And I'm not optimistic either major party will be able to muster worthwhile candidates for the 2020 election, let alone the 2018 mid-term election. So, I can only hope that we can all accept our imperfect system and elected officials and work toward fixing the problems to avoid another election like this 4 years from now. Here's to the future, however uncertain it might be.