Bipartisanship fades under two party system

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Bipartisanship fades under two party system

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Person voting

Ben Lipka

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On the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 4, Vice Presidential hopefuls Tim Kaine and Mike Pence took to the stage in the first and only Vice President debate before November’s election. Democrats and Republicans alike claimed victories that night for various reasons. Still, between spouts of bickering and jabs, the debate, along with the Presidential debate of the previous week, sum up what is inherently wrong with the climate of current day politics: a lack of bipartisanship.

A key moment for understanding the current political environment can be seen from the Vice Presidential debate, when Pence actually agreed with Kaine, although that agreement came with strings attached. “Let me say, at the risk of agreeing with you,” Pence said. The divide between the Republican and Democratic parties is so wide that cautionary precursors must be appended to all agreements.

I am someone who staunchly supported Bernie Sanders throughout much of the 2016 Presidential race. Still, I understand that to enact change, there must be some type of compromise in the flawed two party system America currently exists in. However, the divide that exists across the nation is embodied in Washington D.C. as well.

Under the Obama administration, Congress has remained at a standstill. According to Pew Research Center, Congress under Obama’s presidency was one of the least productive congresses in recent history. Much of this is due to Senators like Mitch McConnell, who, along with a number of other Republican Senators and Governors, pledged to obstruct Obama throughout the entirety of his presidency according to Michael Grunwald of the New York Time’s book, The New New Deal. This even resulted in a government shutdown in 2013, the first in almost 20 years.

As the election season comes to a close, polls show it is likely that the Democrat Hillary Clinton will take the presidency, and Democrats will also take control of the Senate. Still, the divide between the two parties is splitting further than ever. With such fierce polarization, individuals get caught up in winning and pushing their own agenda, instead of truly pushing for progress, as their definition of progress itself is different. All of this turmoil seems to be coming to a boiling point at the close of the 2016 election, and according to some, we may be viewing the end of the two party system itself.

“If these voters [people in the middle] together decided that “enough is enough” and realized that they are actually the most powerful voting bloc, they could simply say “no” to the two major parties—and nothing could stop them,” NewsWeek author Stephen Weese said.

History is unpredictable; the only thing that we as Americans can do is go vote on November 8, a date that will undoubtedly change the political climate for decades to come, no matter the result. It is important to vote for the candidate that you feel will best represent you. Not doing so is truly the only way in which you can “waste your vote.”

Featured image by Huffington Post