Politics, like sports, is a world where anything can happen, and the beginning of this presidential election cycle has only affirmed that notion. If you had told anyone in June that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would be leading their respective parties’ primaries, they probably would have given you one of the looks that Trump seems to shoot at his opponents with regularity.
Nevertheless, here we are in late September, and these two “outsiders” are commanding the lead for each party’s bid for the presidency. To me this can only mean one thing: people are furious with the establishment in both parties and with the stagnant government in Washington. The country seems to be on the brink of total alienation from the federal government.
People are starving for something different, and that is why these unconventional candidates are the two most popular politicians with a bid for the White House in 2016. Sanders is a self-attributed socialist while Donald Trump is more of a brash, celebrity-media icon than politician. Many political pundits are still expecting “things to return to normal,” which will cause the candidacies of Trump, Sanders, Ben Carson and others who are trying to change how things are done in Washington and the rest of the country. The question of whether things will return to normal is a pertinent one, but maybe the better question is, “Should the establishment be changed?”
This is a question that needs to be asked. Many people assume the answer is yes. This can be seen in congress’ dismal of approval ratings and the surging candidacies of “outsider” or “reform” candidates like Sanders, Trump and Carson. But I feel many Americans may be jumping to dangerous conclusions when saying that things need to change. When one looks at how America ranks in the world in a number of different statistical categories, this country is near the best (if not the best) in most major categories. I do not know if having people with extreme positions run this country would necessarily be a good thing. Of course, there are many things that people could legitimately complain about when looking around the United States, but when I compare the USA to other countries, I find it hard for someone to believe that we are really in that bad of a spot right now.
This leads me to conclude that having someone with radical ideals like Trump and Sanders could be more damaging than beneficial for this country, and I hope the electorate will begin to see this as well.