Are we ready to think outside the box?

Hallie Hoffman, Opinions Editor

What does a businessman have in common with a socialist? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are both presidential candidates that are sweeping the nation with their unconventional platforms. While neither were taken very seriously at first, they have quickly proven to be genuine nominees that are redefining the Republican and Democratic parties. Whether you support one of them or disagree with both, their popularity is a testament to the growing frustration toward career politicians and the hope for drastic modifications to the system. With their controversial platforms and passionate arguments, Trump and Sanders are turning the presidential race upside down and introducing rebellious new ideas.

Over and over, our country has looked to new presidents and representatives for solutions to the problems we are facing. Yet over and over, these politicians have been quick to disappoint with unsuccessful, lackluster plans. Current foreign policy has been a mess, and the economy continues to be unstable. According to the Pew Research Center, President Obama’s approval rating decreased from 64 percent to 41 percent between 2009 and 2013, and it has only continued to fall over these last few years. This downward trend, from incumbency to end of term, has applied to presidents since the 1950’s, but has been much more prominent in recent years.

So here we are today, with a businessman or a Democratic Socialist as our potential next president. While some may fnd these candidates amusing and entertaining, they represent a serious challenge to the status quo. Whether either candidate would improve our situation remains to be seen, but many Americans are willing to take that risk in order to try something new.

In the same way that social media transformed how we think about current events, unorthodox candidates are changing how we think about government and politics. Trump’s business experience and arrogant, no-nonsense attitude are exactly what some people believe are needed to help this country, just as Sanders’ enthusiastic call to decrease class divisions and raise income for the poor could also be what our country desires. Both are bringing revolutionary ideas to their campaigns, and despite being on opposite sides, both candidates are trying to appeal as “men of the people.” Restoring the idea of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has been a common theme recently, and is a fundamental ideal for supporters of Trump and Sanders alike.

The citizens of this country are expressing their discontent through their support of these more radical candidates. Ultimately, the decision for the next president will greatly affect our future, and citizens have the power to decide what this future will be. The rise of these two candidates is a sign that the American people recognize that the current system is not working and that major improvements are needed. We have had enough of career politicians that are disconnected from actual citizens, just as we are fed up with candidates merely repeating the same piecrust promises. The people of this country are beginning to think just as unconventionally as these candidates.

Throughout modern American history, out-of-the-box thinkers with a desire for change have led movements to fix and rebuild broken governments. With the ratification of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers introduced the idea of democracy by separating government from royalty. Since then, the concept of soon replaced by disappointment, frustration, and a sense of termination as your dream for the next four years of your life is decided in a few words, “We regret to inform you…” presidents that represent the common people has been a key feature of our country. Yet politicians have become increasingly out of touch with society.

I believe that it is time for the government to reflect the needs and priorities of the common people once again, and hopefully the upcoming presidential election, as well as elections after that, will embrace this principle.

It is remarkable to have candidates like Trump and Sanders on either side, not for their individual positions, but for the progress they represent. Having candidates that challenge political norms and break out of the typical mold, proves that our country as a whole is not leaning left or right, but rather forward. Our country is ready for a change, and now we are demanding that change.

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