If you needed more proof that American politics is in trouble, here it is – The Hill

Tee Rasheed
6 Min Read

Over the last several years, polls have revealed Americans’ increasing disgust with the country’s political system. Results about the disillusionment of voters have become so commonplace that the media often doesn’t cover them. But last week Pew Research Center released a survey so comprehensive, so bleak, and so alarming that it couldn’t be ignored. 
In summary, Pew found trust in the government at a 70-year low, disgust with both parties at all-time highs, and that only 4 percent of adults think the political system is working very well. This doesn’t just reveal a country fed up with a few bad politicians — it reveals a deep, system-wide dilemma for American democracy. It’s no wonder the poll also finds broad support for significant structural changes to our political system, given that voters see “little hope of improvement on the horizon.” 
On one hand, I don’t blame them. Having served in government myself, many sentiments reflected in the Pew survey ring true. The political process is indeed “dominated by special interests, flooded with campaign cash, and mired in partisan warfare.”
But that doesn’t mean there is no hope. The way to change our politics is to participate in it, and perhaps to get a little creative. That’s why I joined a movement called No Labels that is working to provide a solution to the very problems highlighted in the poll. We are securing a ballot line on 2024 state voting ballot to create the opening for a potential independent Unity Ticket featuring a Republican and a Democrat together as running mates. 
No Labels views this as an emergency option: it would only offer its ballot line to the Unity Ticket if the American people continue to feel dissatisfied by their two major party options. 
Our effort has been viciously attacked by both parties, but a deeper dive through Pew’s extensive results shows why the Unity Ticket concept could be exactly what the American people are yearning for.  
First, the poll finds that the Republican and Democratic parties are equally unpopular, and that four times as many Americans hold unfavorable views of both parties now than they did in 2002. No Labels’ critics on the left like to pretend that only Donald Trump and the Republican Party are unpopular, and that by offering voters an independent third choice, we will split the anti-Trump vote and cost Democrats the election. They miss the point. Neither party is popular, and voters are desperate for an alternative to both. 
Second, the poll confirms what No Labels has been arguing for months: voters don’t like the candidates that either party is putting forward. Well over half — 63 percent — say they are dissatisfied with the candidates for president on both sides. Even apart from the presidential race, only 1 in 4 voters rate the quality of today’s political candidates as very or somewhat good, which is down about 20 percentage points from 2018. This is a clear sign that something is wrong with how the parties choose their candidates. 
Third, and perhaps most damning of all, more than eight-in-ten Americans (86 percent) say the following is an accurate description of politics: “Republicans and Democrats are more focused on fighting each other than on solving problems.”
This is a problem that demands a solution. Unless something significant happens in the next six months to give voters hope, the Unity Ticket could very well be the best and only serious idea that addresses voters’ concerns. It would combine the commonsense majorities on both sides into a new political coalition — one that rejects extremism and actually works to solve the problems voters care about. It would also serve as a reset for the Republican and Democratic parties, forcing them to realign their efforts to once again compete for the voters in America’s vast political middle.
While the findings of the Pew poll are gloomy, I believe they prove the wisdom of the American people. Our voters know something is wrong. They know this system is not functioning as intended. And they know who to blame: the establishment leaders of the two parties, who stoke extremism while suppressing voices that are trying to solve actual problems. 
Voters know exactly what the problem is, which is why I’m confident that they will know a good solution when they see it. 
Jay Nixon is director of ballot integrity for No Labels.
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