America isn’t done feeling the Bern, and that’s a good thing

Backers of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump actually have one thing, and one thing only, in common: their feelings from anger to rage at the biased and ineffective two-party system. They recognize how the parties fail to hear and respond to the genuine needs of working people.

A possible valuable outcome that can result from this contentious political year is that U.S. residents have reached a critical mass regarding their readiness for expanding their options in the number of parties, candidates, and positions from which they can choose.

Throughout Bernie Sanders’s political career, he has bestowed upon our country a valuable gift. He has demonstrated, in a very visible and genuine way, that a politician can earn a considerable following of the electorate by not aligning with either of the two major political parties.

In addition, through his courageous example, Bernie has at least partially destigmatized the political philosophy of Democratic Socialism, and he has helped to ensure a leftward movement of the larger Democratic Party. In essence, then, Bernie did not lose since his impact has been enormous and possibly lasting.

Unfortunately, at this current point in our history, Bernie’s only valid option was to run as a Democrat since the larger system, as currently structured, severely inhibits candidates other than Democrats and Republicans. Throughout modern history, so-called “third party” candidates have generally lacked the resources to project and promote their messages to the greatest number of people, been denied media visibility, or found it difficult to obtain the signatures necessary to appear on the ballots of every state.

Subsequently, when these candidates have had any impact, they served as “spoilers” by taking votes away from one candidate and virtually handing votes to the other of the two traditional parties.

Bernie and his movement of primarily young and energetic change agents have the distinct potential of transforming our broken system by significantly opening up the two-party system while sufficiently closing out big money, which corrupts the process by giving inordinate control to the super rich.

Possibly in the not-to-distant future, we will take part in a multiparty political system where candidates of any of the parties can garner sufficient support to rise to elective office. For that day to come, though, we must first work to change the current system since our democracy hangs in the balance.

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