400 Types of Yogurt, Two Serious Presidential Candidates, & One Worn-Out Rap About 3rd Parties
The Daily Show flirts with alternatives only to mock the idea of voting anything but Republican or Democratic.
Henry Ford is famous for saying, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants as long as it is black."
The equivalent in contemporary politics is that any voter can have any president they want as long as he wants a Democrat or a Republican. Below is a recent clip from The Daily Show that flirts with the idea of broadening electoral options only to pull back at the end and reinscribe a D and R duopoly as the only sensible, legitimate system.
The segment starts out well enough, with Trevor Noah talking about the super-abundance of consumer choice we encounter whenever we go to the supermarket (hmm…wonder where he got that from) and how awful it is that, when it comes to politics, we're stuck with just two options. Three of his colleagues play at being supporters of Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and independent Evan McMullin. They get off some funny lines intended to show that no, really the third-party folks are obviously batshit crazy (Gary is high all the time! Jill thinks wifi gives you cancer! Evan is a nobody!) so we ultimately are better off sticking with…Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That's not to say, of course, that all third-party candidates are equally qualified, smart, or lucid. But do we have to constantly pretend that they are beneath serious consideration? Or that major-party candidates don't have any ridiculous positions or behavior that might disqualify them from serious conversations?
You see this sort of gesture all the time, on shows both comic and serious. The cool kids may want to be avant garde, hip, and cutting edge when it comes to taste in clothes, music, or fashion, but they just cannot bring themselves to insist seriously on a broader set of choices when it comes to politics. It's frustrating as hell, particularly in an election where the Democratic and Republican nominees are disliked by a majority of Americans.