Presidential Candidates Reveal Political System Flaws


Art by Teresa Wang

Lea Kwan

The 60th election for a President of the United States is approaching next year, and the candidate options look bleak.

While several people have announced their intentions to run for the office, the only people who stand a chance are former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and current President Joe Biden.

Trump has been accused of committing at least 56 criminal offenses and has been indicted in New York, DeSantis has banned more than 40% of math textbooks in his state because of “woke ideology” and Biden may or may not have an issue with his cognitive capabilities. 

While the checks and balances of the U.S. government prevent any individual from holding extreme power, as executive officer of one of the world’s leading superpowers, the president is still the single most powerful person in the country — and arguably the world.

And yet our presidents have become nothing more than glorified Barbie dolls for the political parties’ shelves (when is the last time you remember Biden making a significant change?), — and Barbie dolls are better at looking pretty than these candidates are. 

There’s a few major reasons why the current crop of presidential candidates are so bad. 

The United States’s problematic voting system is one issue. One-third of eligible voters did not vote in the 2020 election for a variety of reasons. Some faced cross-pressure, or pressure from different people to vote for different candidates. Others perceived they had low voter efficacy, thinking their individual vote would not affect anything, thus removing their incentive to vote. 

And even if everybody does vote, assuming the coming presidential election is not one of the rare years where one candidate is a heavy favorite, around half the US population will be left unsatisfied with the result. More Americans are united in liking dogs over cats than they are over the choice of president.

Another reason we have such poor presidential candidates is the requirements to run. Candidates must raise at least $5,000 in 20 states in order to run. In other words, they have to raise enough money to buy a contemporary home in North Carolina (or half a shed in Palo Alto).

This prevents the majority of the population, who do not have the money or the charisma to obtain that much money, from running.

Also, the divide between the ideological viewpoints of the two main political parties is increasing, according to Pew Research Center. Good candidates cannot be moderate if they wish to secure votes. They must lean heavily to one side or the other — by attempting to appeal to both sides, they appeal to neither.

Furthermore, the presidents have a… precedent of doing a lot of nothing. According to analytics firm Gallup, 79% of U.S. registered voters are dissatisfied with the current state of the United States, and this number has remained consistent for the last few years. The presidents could take it upon themselves to make more radical and broadly influential policies in an attempt to alleviate some of this unhappiness, but they have not.

The current group of presidential candidates show just how bad the American political system has gotten, with three men of very questionable competence and mental ability being the frontrunners. 

The next president needs to step up and enforce more influential and radical reforms if they truly want to change the country for the better.