The Republican and Democratic National Conventions were incredible experiences that I am still reflecting on today. To say the least, those two weeks can be summed up in two words: overwhelming and confusing.

In a traditional election cycle, it seems to me like the conventions would be the conventions would be a place of unity, excitement, and general happiness. In my opinion, both conventions had similar auras of disunity.

Yes, the Cleveland seemed more divided than Philadelphia; however, I believe that if the GOP had successfully nominated a Marco Rubio or John Kasich, all of the attention would be on the problems erupting within the Democratic Party.

Both parties have been amid many scandals as of late, to the point where scandals that would have disqualified candidates from receiving the nomination have not stopped Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump from accelerating forward in their quest to make their way into the Oval Office.

Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump have both made plenty of headlines for all of the wrong reasons, and are some of the lowest favorability ratings in U.S. political history. Even though the Democratic Party was able to push through its establishment pick, there are plenty of people who became politically active this cycle in favor of Senator Sanders whom they have failed to sweep up.

The elephant in the room mainstream media has constantly failed to report on (despite its current focus on the 2016 election) is how both parties have ended up with fringe groups so angry at the government to have created the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump movements. Bernie Sanders has been in the Senate for decades now; he has not had great success before 2016 with getting his message out into the mainstream, nor has he found success in pushing his agenda through the legislative branch.

Why now?

Individuals are frustrated with a lack of transparency and feel a lack of efficacy in the US democratic process. Facing fear of terrorist attacks, the feelings of economic insecurity in the post-2008 era, and uncertainty in the direction that the United States is moving has left people across the ideological spectrum upset.

I think that it is really important to remember that the U.S. electoral process is designed to limit the role of the executive branch. Regardless of who makes it in to that Oval Office, they will be checked by the other branches. The U.S. Democracy will not end as we know it if we have a President Hillary or a President Trump (as much as we all may feel that way).

At this point, Clinton and Trump are the nominees, and there’s nothing we can do about it. People will make decisions, potentially moving away from their usual party lines. What I believe that we should be focusing on now as a country are the millions of Americans who now believe that they do not have a voice in this country, regardless of political affiliation. How have U.S. policies created an environment where “outsiders” from the establishment on both sides polled so high?

I believe that both parties need to reevaluate and try to include these groups that feel ostracized by the U.S. political process. I think that this has only progressed as the parties have become more polarized, and really hope that both parties with diversify and take a shift back toward normalcy.

-KIC

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