3 years ago that could have been the title of an article for The Onion. Today, it's just a statement of fact. A mind-numbing, insane, grotesque fact. No matter how unaware of it the mainstream media apparatus is of what's really happening, the greatest political shift since 1964, perhaps even 1860, is in the process of unraveling. With the ascension of a vulgar, narcissistic reality TV star to the top of one of our two major party's ticket signals the beginning of a massive upheaval.
Very few people will dare to predict what I think has now become an inevitability: The Two Party System is Dead. Gone. Departed. Shuffled off this mortal coil. It's remnants in complete tatters and disarray. All that's left of them is the ideal, the shroud of televised media shielding our eyes from the harsh reality. If you pull back the curtain, the man has been stabbed in the back and all that's left is a looped recording.
For decades the Grand Old Party has survived as the sum of it's parts: Social Conservatives, Economic Libertarians, Rockefeller Moderates, Military Hawks, and a chunk of White Middle and Working-Class enticed by Reagan's siren song of “Morning in America.” No matter their differences, these camps always managed to come together with their mutually shared illusions. That's not happening anymore. The stitching hasn't just come lose, the entire patchwork has been ripped apart.
Evangelicals, diminishing in numbers and influence, have seceded from the increasingly moderate social policies of it's party's establishment. Cruz was their last failed attempt at credibility. They won't vote for Trump, and neither will right-of-center Moderates and Libertarians who see him as the charlatan and quasi-fascist that he is. Already there's talk among party elites of running a third candidate in the general, and top donors are considering looking to the Libertarian Party as a possible alternative. The Titanic is sinking and only a select few are willing to go down with the ship.
This was a monster of their own creation, consistently feeding the fears of white working-class men to keep them loyal to their candidates while stoking hatred of the other side. Fox News and Talk Radio was meant to get the rabble to vote party line, and Trump saw an opportunity to finally give the “silent majority” what they really wanted. It's a hijacking by proxy. And it drove a wedge right into the heart of an already fragile peace. After this election the Libertarian Party will likely become relevant, the GOP will scramble to pick up what little pieces they have left, which undoubtedly won't be a whole lot.
Then you have the Democrats. While pundits have flocked to Trump like flies to a fresh pile of something equally as rancid, the civil war brewing on the left has been ignored. This is no mere personality squabble as it was in 2008. The ideological differences between neo-liberal moderates and progressives have now become irreversible, and the nomination of Hillary Clinton will alienate at least a third of the party, if not more. Nader's run in 2000 may have been quixotic, but Sanders' run within the system has managed to accomplished his true goal: Political Revolution.
The Green Party, like the Libertarian Party, will benefit greatly from this contention, pushing yet another third party into the fray. With a plurality of American increasingly identifying as independents (a majority among younger voters), this spells doom for the party establishments on both sides. The game they've been running is ending. The pitchforks and torches are coming across the horizon.
What direction this uprising from the middle, and dissolution on both sides takes is really all up to momentum. Might we see three, possibly four candidates debating this fall, instead of just Trump and Clinton? With both of them garnering the highest unpopularity ratings in the history of Presidential Elections, and Independents finally throwing their hands up in disgust, I'd say it's a safe bet we might. That's not to say Trump or Clinton won't win, in fact I think it's an even safer bet that one of them will indeed be the next leading of the free world (Trump may well be that choice, don't ever doubt it). However, going forward we are going to see the stranglehold both parties have exercised on our democracy start to fade away. This lend opportunity for both chaos and reform, depending on what path we choose to take as active citizens.
The old coalitions and alliances are over. It's time to stop thinking about Red vs. Blue, Right vs. Left, Rep vs. Dem. The parties don't matter anymore. Only individual candidates and their ideals matter. However this election turns out, it's time to take George Washington's advice about a two party system to heart:
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
In a way we can thank both Donald Trump's ego and Bernie Sanders' determination for, perhaps, after all this time, bringing these two behemoths and the special interests entrenched within their territories down. As morbidly entertaining and revolting as this election has been, and likely will continue to be, at least something productive may have come of it.