The 2016 presidential election has shown us how limitless the boundaries of our political system really are. After former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s recent campaign suspension, it is all too clear how current candidates are reshaping the grip establishment politics has had on our political system.
It is obvious now how real estate mogul Donald Trump has a larger influence on conservative voters than anyone expected when he first announced his campaign for presidency. A billionaire candidate who has never held political office directly contrasts the establishment values that Bush, for example, relied on coming from a presidential family.
Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders has had incredible success in social and political recognition despite being virtually unknown before the start of his campaign. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been a household name—as the former First Lady—since before many students at Geneseo were even born.
The success of Trump and Sanders on either side of the race threatens the comfort and confidence held by the more established candidates—with Trump’s success even leading Bush to suspend his campaign and end any chance he had to win the Republican nomination. Additionally, Clinton has been infamously teased and criticized in the media for her seemingly desperate attempts to appeal to young voters through her use of social media and memes—not to mention her flip-flopping opinions on issues. Although Clinton is marginally ahead in primaries and caucuses so far, many did not expect Sanders to be so close.
Although most people who are not radically conservative hate Trump, his unorthodox tactics are working. It seems that being a household name from a presidential family is not a reason to be handed a party’s nomination. Bush has since failed and although Clinton is succeeding, she is barely ahead and working much harder than anyone would have expected a year ago.
The control of establishment politics on the election season is slowly subsiding, but this is actually beneficial. The culture of presidential families—akin to royal families—should, and will, come to an end. This election season has shown that unaffiliated or inexperienced candidates can go as far as recognized figures. Trump may not be our choice to prove this change, but it is a change nonetheless.