Saturday, August 13, 2011

Independents Shut out of Primaries, published in the Centre Daily Times May 2011

I’m not voting on Tuesday (there’s a primary on, in case you weren’t aware).  The only reason I’ll go to the polls is to bring my wife a cup of coffee and for my 9 year old to say hello while she works at the College Heights polling station.

Why aren’t I voting?  It’s not because I don’t want to – independent voters in Pennsylvania, and in half of our states, aren’t allowed to vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries.

Let’s count the reasons this is so wrong. 

1.     All eligible Americans should be allowed to vote.
2.     By not allowing independents to vote, each party often nominates their purest, most radical elements, leaving the independent-minded with poor choices in November.
3.     See reason number 1.

I realize I could simply change my affiliation to one of the parties so that I could vote in their primary.  I’ve done this before, and found myself on some mailing and phone lists I’d rather not be on.  Therefore, I’d rather stay unaffiliated.

It’s time for an independent category in our political system.  The two reigning parties have not been serving us well, and do not deserve to continue their monopoly on public service.  In 2008, Democrats swept into power, promising to fix the recession and deliver more jobs to America.  Instead, they spent a year and a half arguing with each other and the Republicans over health care.  In 2010, Republicans swept into power, promising to deliver more jobs to America.  Instead, they’ve spent their first few months in office busting unions, and slashing and burning education and any social program their far-right base dislikes.

What part of ‘please work on restoring jobs in America’ do these folks not understand?  It’s clear they’ll say anything to get elected, and then when in office, keep pounding away at their same old agendas.  A truly independent party might fix this problem.  Without a clear majority for either the Democrats or Republicans, they would be forced to work with a centrist independent group of senators and representatives on all major decisions.

I believe that there are already many folks in office who are actually fairly independent and moderate.  However, they are not allowed to vote their consciences because their parties threaten them, dangling reelection campaign funds and advertising over their heads.  If you don’t go along with the party line, say goodbye to your chances in the next primary.

Starting a truly unaffiliated, independent party would very likely draw some of these public servants in.  Combine it with a new wave of centrists, and perhaps we could build up a moderate group that represents the 25% or so of us who don’t identify with either party.  Then, we might be able to restore some common sense and reasonableness into our government.  The first step though, is to allow Americans like me to vote in Pennsylvania, and in other state’s primaries.

1 comment:

  1. "independent voters in Pennsylvania, and in half of our states, aren’t allowed to vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries."

    Would/can/will you provide a definitive link(s) to support this claim?

    Thanks in advance,