By Cameron Pierre-Pierre

As a New Yorker, in order to vote in the presidential primary, I am required to register as either a Democrat or a Republican. Why? Why should I have to sign up for a party? Neither one is particularly appealing to me. I am too far to the left to be a rank-and-file Democrat, and being a Republican is basically out of the question. So why do I have to register for a party to choose a candidate? Why are only Democratic and Republican candidates taken seriously in our political system overall? Who decided that, in a country as large and populous as the United States, only two main political ideologies should take the main stage of our republic?

Many people unwilling to vote for Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump, if either get the nominations, are willing to look for a third party option. The pundits on the mainstream media make it seem as if that choice is an unorthodox one. Why is that? Nobody should feel pressured or bullied to vote for a candidate they don’t believe in. It is fascinating that people are pigeonholed as liberals and conservatives, as if those terms were not umbrellas for many different ideological beliefs. Perhaps not every fiscal conservative is anti-LGBTQ, and perhaps not every social liberal is against spending cuts. Yet, because of how we have allowed our political system to develop, we have two main choices.

I think it’s time we as Americans were given more than two options for our leaders. The American people deserve better than far-right religious zealots who cry for liberty —  unless you are gay, trans, black, Latino or a woman, and pseudo-progressives — who make promises to improve society only to sell their souls to corporate interests. I want to live in a country where we can have an open exchange of many diverse ideas represented in our political system. Having two parties effectively sends a message to the American people that says: “Hey, believe whatever you want to, but if you have any interest in participating in the government, you have to believe what we believe because we say so.” Does that sound like a democracy to you?

Cameron Pierre-Pierre

Cameron Pierre-Pierre is a student at the University of Rochester studying Latin American History.

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