I have worked in campaigns on both sides of the aisle over the past 30 years, helping elect governors, senators and presidents, as well as local officials from both incumbent political parties.
My desire all along has been to get good people in office who can speak for the quiet majority of voices in America, and who might bring needed change to our system. Some of these have worked out better than others, but I have come to the conclusion that our system is fundamentally broken and unhealthy.
Though I haven’t worked on a partisan campaign in 10 years and now intersect through the media with leaders at all levels, throughout my time in politics the vast majority of people who run or work on campaigns have been very good people with wonderful intentions.
Whether they be Democrat or Republican, 90 percent of the folks want to try and do the right thing. But they increasingly can’t. Why?
The structure and the building of our politics are sick. You can be a very healthy person and if you walk into a house that is mold-ridden with no circulation and has lead pipes, you are going to get sick. The question becomes how sick do you get.
Good and healthy people can’t go in a sick building and hope to paint the walls and think the building is better. It needs to be torn down. Good, well-intentioned people will become ill entering into the status quo of our political system, and it is time we admit that.
Is what Donald Trump says and how he acts where the vast majority of our country wants to go? Of course not. He is a bully, and appeals to some of the worst instincts of America.
But he has highlighted and is accelerating the disruption our politics so badly needs. Should he be president of the United States? I certainly hope not, but if his emergence helps destroy the sick building so many of us try to enter, then he has served a valuable purpose.
Is turning to Hillary and the status quo where the country wants to go? I don’t think so because the majority of American’s distrust and dislike her and she would be one of the most polarizing people ever elected, if she were to win. But she has served a laudable purpose in helping give rise to incredible disruption on the Democratic side of the aisle.
As of today, the two leading candidates for their parties’ nominations are simultaneously unelectable on their own. This is an awful choice about to be presented to the U.S. public this November. And Independents like me will struggle mightily with this choice.
Many will throw up their hands and not vote. Many will hope for a third party candidate to arise. And some will hold their noses and pick between the two incumbent party choices.
In the short term, this can get many of us down. But I am very hopeful for the long term. The circumstances of this election cycle will move us further along to knocking down the sick house and starting anew.
Yes, I want to engage fully in politics. And I love my country dearly. It is just time we quit thinking we can fix the problem from within the current party structure. It may take some time, and will take much effort and creativity, but we, as a nation, are worth it.
Let’s build a new home we can all live in in good health and community. Let’s have one where the light shines in, is more transparent and the darkness of the status quo is put to the past.
Let’s open new windows and allow the fresh air of America to sweep in a new level of integrity and innovation. And let’s have a new home where everyone is empowered to make heartfelt decisions and can play their needed role of the American family.
When Mount St. Helens in the Pacific Northwest erupted decades ago, it caused all kinds of damage and disruption, but in the aftermath new wildlife cropped up and has remade the land beautifully. Yes, we are venturing into the unknown as the status quo falls and the downfall of the system occurs, and the destination is unclear, but let’s embrace it with joy, excitement and optimism. I awake each day with hope of a new American sunrise.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.