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What is the Future of Our Political System?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Montclair chapter.

I recently read a Politico article on what’s foreseen for the future of American politics. One line read, “The future is being built before our eyes, with far-reaching consequences for every facet of American politics,” and if you’ve tuned into the presidential election at all, you can’t deny the truth behind it.

The future of our country’s most fundamental institution is changing and reshaping both itself and the population it oversees. This is largely in part due to the presidential election that has seemingly ripped apart all previously held norms of American politics. As one Seattle Times writer puts it, “Consider what we’ve learned about the inner workings of the Democratic National Committee; about the ability of plutocrats like Trump to cheat the IRS; about the fraudulence of his supposed philanthropy; about the disparity between Clinton’s private and public words; about the unprincipled avarice of her husband’s post-presidential days; about the shady interactions between newsrooms and campaign offices? The America on display in this election isn’t a fair or ethical place.” Our country cannot unsee what has transpired over the course of this election season.

This article will discuss the very effects it may have on us all.

Let’s begin with the election’s rhetoric. For many, words are just that…words. They have no legitimate consequence and no matter how malicious, inflict no tangible impact on its audience. Yet, to claim this as the truth would be a severe injustice to the victims of the racial prejudice that has been sparked by the words of a particular candidate.

A Washington Post article explains that Donald Trump’s march to the White House is, “…a coarse yet mesmerizing new show that appears to have changed political language and deepened divisions in an already polarized nation.” I am not saying that people supporting him share wrongful views or that Trump has single-handedly created an army of racist individuals and a now-polarized country. People have held their beliefs long before he announced his candidacy and our country has always been divided on issues. It’s the freedom of speech and expression that makes this country so great.

However, through his use of inflammatory language, he has provided a green light for certain people to amplify views into acts of hate. Do a simple Google search of coverage from the various candidates’ rallies and you’ll find supporters from each side of the spectrum inflicting violence and aggressively heckling at the first sight of opposition. Have we slipped further and further into an era of political violence, prejudice, inflammatory language and innate sensitivity where we can no longer have conversations on our own political convictions without being attacked? Even our two candidates are unable to properly conduct themselves during debates, spinning answers into personal attacks. Regardless of who is elected president, the rhetoric used in this election has provided a precedent for our country’s future by opening a door in which opposing with hate has become the norm.

Along with this, another precedent set by this election season is the blending of celebrity and politics. In an article for The New York Times, conservative writer Matt Lewis stated, “‘Trump is reflecting a culture that is more crass, more accepting of vulgarity and more attuned to pop culture. The bar has been lowered where going on Dr. Oz is perfectly acceptable and maybe even cutting edge.’” Much like how we are now seemingly desensitized to vulgar rhetoric, we have openly accepted the inclusion of celebrity into our political system. The ability to be more memorable from a media standpoint and rouse the convictions of individuals through it has become more important than the ability to convey the blueprint for nationwide changes.

Overall, this is only a small look at a deeper issue we will have to face together. Soon, we will have selected our next president and we will be confronted by the effects these past months have had on our country, including the damaging rhetoric, the blending of celebrity and politics and more.

Yet, where there are negative consequences there is hope.

This election has also opened the door for the involvement and passion of younger millennials in politics. Through this election, we’ve watched history happen before our eyes. November 8th will be the biggest turning point millennials will ever see as we watch the country choose which direction to go in.

Which one will you choose?

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Public relations major, writer for Her Campus, and social stylist for the Gap. Also an avid lover of corny humor and a good cup of coffee. 
Sarah Vazquez is a senior at Montclair State University, majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. She is the current Editor-in-Chief and a Co-Campus Correspondent at Her Campus Montclair. She is an avid concert-goer, podcast junkie, X-Files fanatic and someone who always has her nose buried deep inside a book.