The exceptional performances of political outsiders, a high possibility of a contested convention and low favorability ratings for current frontrunners in each major party. This highlights a political system that seems broken.
The question is whether a solution exists without the system becoming undone.
Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., certainly shook their respective party’s respective primaries.
Sanders gave Hillary Clinton, a political powerhouse, a run for her money in the Democratic primaries. Superdelegates, still unpledged to a candidate, are the only factor giving Hillary Clinton any sense of relief.
In the Republican Party, Trump continues to turn the party upside down with his unconventional campaign rhetoric. Despite fierce criticism against him and his campaign by Republicans and Democrats, Trump remains the frontrunner and likely the nominee in a field that went from 17 candidates to just three.
If Trump does not acquire 1,237 delegates before the Republican National Convention, then a contested convention will happen in Cleveland, Ohio. Delegates are free to support Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Moreover, this allows the GOP to nominate any candidate they want, even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
But this denies a large portion of dissatisfied voters, primarily white, that support Trump. It is a risk the GOP cannot take, but doing it can make the party lose legitimacy.
As each party struggle to unite, the frontrunners are making history—becoming unpopular. More than 50 percent of Americans view Trump and Clinton unfavorably, according to a poll conducted by CBS and the New York Times last month. This is historic considering the poll, since it began in 1984, does not find any other candidate with higher dislike.
But this is opening up an opportunity for third party candidates to not only get media attention, but also provide an alternative.
For example, Fox Business Network aired the Libertarian Party’s debate among possible candidates April 1, and a recent Monmouth University poll found Libertarian frontrunner Gary Johnson polling at 11 percent against Clinton and Trump.
Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark encouraged Americans to watch the debate.
“We urge all Americans to tell their friends, co-workers and family to watch this important debate and see they have a choice,” Sarwark said. “They do not have to settle for candidates who are bigoted and insulting.”
Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, also is campaigning across the country and urging a political alternative.
“Now is the time to seize this moment of crisis together and create the world of democracy, justice and peace that we all we deserve,” she said at the launch of her bid for president.
Unsatisfied voters will still threaten the two-party system and a political class protecting it, regardless of the election.