2016 USA Presidential Election Highlights the Functions of Third Party 


By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria 
In politics third parties can serve many important roles in electoral, legislative and administrative decision processes. A third party connotes the existence of two dominant parties before it,  which the third party is forcing  to address new issues they might not have otherwise  addressed. So far the third party candidates have been impacting on elections by taking away votes from one of the major political party candidates. They play the spoiler’s roles that way.  What is ongoing in the United States of America Presidential election requires a third party to broker a solution for self rather than just further split votes, by producing a winning candidate. It seems to the American electorates  that the two leading candidates Donald Trump of Republican Party and Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party have accumulated individual personal moral baggage and major flaws over the years. The public has been divided, not by ideological differences, political differences, or gender but mainly by how much these two individuals have lived their lives. This division is enough to cast doubts on the integrity of the entire election results, irrespective of its announced winner. A winner from the third party would be good news for democracy and the World politics at large.

How did we get here? We got here because the Republican Party made a wrong decision to nominate and support a racist who as recently as in the 1980s was running racial segregation institutions like hotels and others, illegal university, he is a pathological narcissist.  Trump is not ashamed to lie publicly just to advance his personal  selfish course and profits. He lies on trivial matters like his poll numbers, the size of his crowds or his wealth, that he isn’t racist. Whilst the entire world needs a trustworthy leadership from the USA we have a Trump that  undermines this civic trust. He lies about Rafael Cruz while accusing him of JFK’s assassination, about  reason why George W. Bush went to war; members of his own Republican Party. He ran his campaign using false statistics about black on white crime rates. The international community doesn’t believe that Donald Trump is well informed on any issue bordering on foreign relation. Instead he remains  uninformed about foreign and defense policies; this is the core realm of USA  presidential actions. We need to prevent wars and not start more of them as Donal Trump may be suggesting. He is  confused about who is a Nigerian or who is Kenya, who is fighting for Kurds or Al-Quds, who is Boko Haram or ISIS, who is  Palestine or Libya . He has very little understanding about the  UN,  NATO, Europe,  Africa,  Russia and general world views of the 21st century. Added to his ignorance, he regularly displays uncommon antipathy for general values built over the years that one would have thought were nearly universal. Truly an unfit individual for any public figure, let alone the president of America, the most powerful nation (may be for now). We are to blame the Republicans of being irresponsible, by attempting to risk the mighty powers of commander in chief to someone most elementary school kids would regard as emotionally unbalanced.

Similarly the Democrats, by nominating Hillary Clinton, also committed a major error because she is a person who ought to have been disqualified. The news media with every  possible damaging headline is falling on Hillary Clinton’s head.  So far it appears that she has been wriggling herself out of most of the allegations. She earned the allegations  while she was America Secretary of State (Foreign Minister). These allegations bother on her negligence about classified emails, her dishonesty (including possibly under oath) and consequently on her trustworthiness. Hence the public seems to believe that she is not trusworthy enough for the office she is seeking. The FBI (Federal Bereau of Investigation) gave her a kid-glove treatment in July 2016 but now as at the end of October 2016 a bigger  blow was served her,  at the worst possible moment for her. If she wins  it will be due to the poor choice of the Republican Party in Donald Trump. It will not be because she is a female candidate nor because she is innocent of all the accusations against her. The Republican miscalculation will cost the party a major price.  Similarly, had the Democratic chosen someone else, even in their attempt of a third term, their sailing might have been smoother. 

There are many lessons to learn from the American elections. These include the fact that no democracy is too big to fail and that in politics there is no free ticket but everyone having a payback date for their deeds. Above all a third party can be so useful to solving a seemingly complex equation like the one being thrown up by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Voting for the candidate from the third party should suffice. For the first time, (since I started following elections in America since the 1960s), an American politician and presidential candidate is suspecting that their electoral process could be rigged. This is a new level of diservice to democracy worldwide. Hitherto  the USA has been regarded as a template. We may have to continue the search for a more robust standard, following a Donald Trump expression of fears and doubts. How I wish that a third party candidate could win.
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi