2016 presidential campaign has brought out some of the worst in America

In a surprising change of events, the Republicans have a clear nominee more than a month ahead of the convention and a Democrat contender is promising a contested convention.

It wasn't long ago that we were discussing not if there would be a contested Republican convention, but what kinds of fights there would be on the convention floor.

Since then, however, Donald Trump has run away with the Republican nomination, leaving Ted Cruz as a faint memory in the minds of conservative Republicans. On the other side, however, Sen. Bernie Sanders has caught fire.

Winning state after state, many by large percentages, Sanders narrowed the margin between himself and front-runner Hillary Clinton. While Hillary has collected enough delegates to win the nomination, Sen. Sanders still promises there will be a contested convention.

There are a number of exciting storylines headed into the conventions and the eventual November election. It's an election season fit for the silver screen, or more aptly the dimly lit stage of the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.

How great is this?

It's not. It's the worst possible outcome. This election, so far, has illuminated some of the worst things about politics and brought out some of the very worst in Americans.


First of all, the electorate doesn't seem to want these two presumptive nominees.  In a March CNN poll, the two posted "historic unfavorable ratings." According to the poll Trump's unfavorable percentage was 57, while his favorable percentage was 24. Clinton posted a 52 percent unfavorable rating with 31 percent favorable. Given their antics since March, it would not be a stretch to say these numbers probably hold true today.

Donald Trump has risen to political fame by being bluntly preposterous. Clearly, the more absurd comments that Trump makes, the more media coverage he has received. These comments have also become racist, bigoted and downright hateful. He also has advocated violence against those disrupting his rallies saying things such as, "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them," "I love the old days — you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks" adding to the end of that comment that he'd like to "punch him in the face."

This has been met with real violence on the other side. Trump protesters have been assaulted at rallies all over the country. Most recently in San Jose, Trump supporters, some wearing shirts with "build the wall," referencing a wall along the Mexico border that Trump promises to build if elected, were attacked by protesters as they made their way through the rally.

Elections should be the time for America to show off our system. It should be the time in which the orderly and peaceful transfer of power is showcased to the rest of the world. This is certainly not happening this year. What we are showcasing is the worst among ourselves, from both sides of the aisle.

While this poor display of vulgarity is taking place elsewhere, in Alaska a different side of politics is being displayed.

In Alaska it's the year of the outsider. Unknowns are springing up in State House, State Senate and even local Anchorage Assembly races. Names like Christopher Constant, Jason Grenn, Jeff Landfield, Rebecca Logan, Myranda Walso, Mike Gordon and even Vince Beltrami make up a breed of political election newcomers, all in this year's election season.

Now, some of them have been involved in politics for years. Obviously Vince Beltrami has been president of the Alaska chapter of the AFL/CIO for a long time and Rebecca Logan has been the head of industry groups such as The Alaska Support Industry Alliance and Associated Builders and Contractors; however, stepping outside the shadows and into the leading role is definitely a big change.

While seeing these new faces is a bit of a breath of fresh air, there are still far too many incumbents running without a real challenge. It's a good start, but there is still a lot of work yet to be done. Elections should be our time to shine, to show off democracy at work, not politics as usual.

Mike Dingman is a fifth-generation Alaskan born and raised in Anchorage. He is a former UAA student body president and has worked, studied and volunteered in Alaska politics since the the late '90s. He has contributed to the campaigns of Jeff Landfield and Christopher Constant. Email,

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Mike Dingman

Mike Dingman is a fifth-generation Alaskan born and raised in Anchorage. He is a former UAA student body president and has worked, studied and volunteered in Alaska politics since the late '90s.