If a group of people told you that elected officials, influential civic groups, the mainstream media, and independent polling organizations were all engaged in a systematic effort to effectively silence them by ensuring that the wider public was not exposed to their views and opinions, you might conclude that this was nothing but an elaborate conspiracy theory.
Yet, this is the reality faced by third party and independent candidates for elected office all across the United States.
Other democracies have a parliamentary system, which means that smaller parties can become part of a ruling coalition and thus have real power. But not in the US. From the Constitution itself to deliberately onerous rules for getting ballot status, the game is rigged against small parties and independents. Both major parties do everything they can to block such parties, a crystal-clear example of how they are just Tweedledum and Tweedledee, both protecting the status quo.
The apparent nonchalance with which media and pollsters dismiss third party and Independent candidates stands in stark contrast to the seriousness of the Democratic and Republican parties in their efforts to keep them off the ballot. Any candidate who is not beholden to the Democratic and Republican party machines is a threat to the Democratic-Republican monopoly on elected office.
The current system is deliberately anti-democracy and pro-oligarchs. It needs to change. And given the increasing numbers of independents and third parties, it will.