WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2016 — Picture this:
A new political party is formed by disgruntled voters who represent the majority of Americans who occupy the ideological middle that is neither conservative nor liberal. It nominates a candidate for the presidency who is neither Republican nor Democrat.
Members of this party—let’s call it the Grassroots Party—are fed up with politics as usual. They are of a mind to throw out the rascals who presently occupy elected positions attained by identifying with extreme liberal and conservative positions.
Grassroots candidates pledge to refuse political contributions from corporations and PACs that are connected to the banking, pharmaceutical, insurance, defense or lobbying industries.
Frustrated members of Congress who have spent years biting their tongues while their conservative and liberal colleagues do nothing about dealing with real issues bolt for the Grassroots Party in an attempt to save their political hides.
The Republican and Democratic debates slip into irrelevance when Grassroots candidates refuse to participate. The public’s focus is on town-hall forums where issues are discussed and solutions are explored.
The Grassroots platform is based on issues of concern to the American people, not on issues favored by any party.
Grassroots candidates begin to out-poll Republican candidates, but Grassroots voters refuse to participate in polls.
There is only one Grassroots candidate for each elected position, so there is no longer any need to engage in two-year campaigns where like-minded candidates constantly pick at each other.
Grassroots candidates capture the popular and electoral vote in a landslide, and America lives happily ever after.
If a scenario like this has ever run through your head, you may be a prospective Grassroots voter. You would join an ever-growing majority that occupies that huge part of the American voting pool that is neither conservative nor liberal.
America is bombarded by propaganda generated by the Democratic and Republican parties. The nightly news is filled with it. The parties are led by career politicians who owe their souls to the party and the biggest contributors to their re-election campaigns.
It is impossible to avoid the propaganda. Exposure to canned speeches, party-sponsored debates and social media comes from every direction. You can’t enter a gym or a restaurant without being exposed to CNN, Fox or MSNBC. It steals your sleeping hours, too. The day of getting our news at 6 and 11 p.m. has given way to all day, every day, and that includes the night-time, too.
People who give up their smartphones, computers and TV sets experience a form of withdrawal. Lose your smartphone and you’re forced to rely on memory for phone numbers and events, when before you could just ask Siri. What was just an expensive toy 10 years ago is now a necessity.
Mass media work the same way. We are as dependent on mass media to get through the day as addicts are on drugs. We are a nation of media addicts, and politics uses that dependence to shape opinion. We pass through a funnel of information and misinformation, and by the time we emerge from that ever-narrowing tunnel on Election Day, we are down to the choice between one Democrat and one Republican, or those also-rans who we are told are wasted votes.
So what if everyone knows that Hillary is lying whenever her lips move. By Election Day, the lying won’t matter. So what if Trump just offended half of the civilized world. He only needs enough electoral votes to become the next president and remodel the White House. No matter who the nominees are, on Election Day we will be deciding between the lesser of two evils for the most powerful elected position in politics.
Remember that candidate in the early stages, the one who out of a field of 50 or so you thought would make a good president? By the time you cast your ballot, that person will have vanished somewhere between Iowa and Florida. Candidates like that won’t be on the ballot.
Unless they capture the Grassroots nomination.
For the first time since Lincoln ran on a new party’s ticket, America is in a position to break free of the two-party system. If the Republicans don’t nominate Trump, it may happen in the 2016 election, but even if it doesn’t, this campaign serves to show that there is a huge group of disgruntled voters who are fed up with politics as usual. The seeds of change have been planted. Seeds sown in fertile soil grow and thrive, and there will always be another voting day.