Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Rise of the Independent

Independents have long been the largest voting bloc in America.  According to a November 30, 2020 poll, those numbers are expected to continue to increase. It's expected that by 2035, nearly 3/4 of all registered voters will be Independent.  Polls shows that Independents, who've been a majority for about 20 years, are holding firm at 36% while the Democrats are 34% and Republicans are at 29%. Along with the change in registration, the poll predicted new election laws such as Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting.

In several states, which have had a historical preference for one corporate party or the other, such as North Carolina,  Alaska, Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, and Oregon, those changes are already underfoot. Within the next 14 years (or sooner), those states will have Independent majorities. Other states following closely on the same track include Florida, New Jersey, and the upper Northeastern states of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

While some pollsters and pundits like to pretend that Independents are merely "homeless" voters or individuals who are uncertain about which party they should to belong, choosing instead to be Independent while leaning to the Republicans or Democrats. This couldn't be further from the truth.

In fact, they come to those questionable conclusions based on biased worded questions designed to create a false positive answer toward one or the other party; taking the lazy approach of lumping them in with one party or the other instead of treating Independents as the separate political demographic that they are.  

So,  just what is an Independent? Many Independents are former moderates/centrists who were purged out of one or the other corporate owned party by the extremists within that particular party. Independents are, by nature, not extremists. They also can't be pigeonholed, which frustrates the Status Quo. 

They are interested in practical and rational solutions to problems, not lockstep dogma. In short, they like to think for themselves. I imagine most of us were the troublemakers who always asked questions you encountered from school all grown up now and still asking questions.

An Independent wants a realistic solution regardless of where that solution comes from. Those who follow partisan dogma will accept the "solution" offered by their party, no matter how outrageous that "solution" is. To make matters more complex, both parties are owned by corporate money, and thus, so is their solution.

There's no questioning that.  Their lobbyists "contribute" to legislation (which is obviously meant to benefit them). They "advise" legislators. They help get legislation passed. Those who go along are rewarded, financially and otherwise. Is it any wonder that the majority of former legislators work for lobbying firms?

Thus the "solutions" presented by partisan politicians are by definition designed to benefit corporate interests, not our interests. Independents, as a whole, reject this. They want solutions which benefit society first and foremost. Generally speaking, Independents prefer policies and laws which promote fiscal responsibility which protecting individual liberties.  They seek a balance.  

In terms of foreign policy,  the majority of Independents prefer diplomacy over military action. However, they will support the latter if all efforts at a peaceful resolution have been exhausted. As an aside, most Independents support global trade while protecting American jobs. They also believe in keeping our noses out of other country's internal affairs and wars over resources. 

Now, let's discuss Open Primaries, Ranked Choice Voting, and other changes which are likely come along with the rise of Independents. The majority of these are aimed to help make elections more fair (and honest) by creating a level playing field and giving everyone a voice.

Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting, now the bane of Republicans and Democrats bosses, will likely be a matter of fact in all 50 states. Currently, in 30 states, they are already a matter of law. 

Open Primaries allow anyone not registered as a Democrat, Republican, or to another party, to choice which, if any, partisan primary to vote in. Why would that happen? Simply this. Taxpayer dollars pay for Republican and Democrat primaries. Yelp, you read that right. Your tax dollars pay for both partisan primaries.

 If you're an Independent or member of a third party, that means your tax dollars go to a strictly partisan political event without either your consent or ability to participate in. Doesn't exactly sound like a "representative democracy" to me. Does it to you? Then again, we're not. We're a Corporatocracy led by Oligarchs.

Here's another thought for you. Even if you're registered with one or the other corporate owned political parties, under our current "winner take all" system, that means if your party loses, your political views aren't represented for the duration of that individuals terms the way it would in a parliamentary system, yet you get to continue paying taxes for policies and legislation you don't support.

To add salt to the wound, given the current use of political gerrymandering and in the absence of term limits, it means that the opposing party is likely to hold that seat for as long as they want (incumbents have a 98% reelection rate, which is higher than the Chinese Communist Central Committee and Politburo of 62%). As far as they are concerned, you can move; leave your home and your neighborhood. Not exactly fair is it?

Ranked Choice Voting (also called RCV or Instant Runoff Voting) allows you, the voter, to rank the individuals running for a specific office, regardless of party, by preference, thus eliminating the need for a partisan primary (and saving you money) and giving you more of a say in who wins. In some cases, the party isn't even shown on the ballot. Because there some variations, I've included a link below to help explain it in more detail.

Other changes coming to the political landscape (whether the party bosses and their corporate masters like it or not) could include term limits. Our Founding Fathers never intended on holding public office to be a lifetime job (in fact, they didn't even think they should be paid; it was considered to be a civil duty).

In a 2020 poll conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, a Republican polling firm, found that 82% of all Americans favored a Constitutional amendment setting a fixed term of office for elected office holders. 52% of Americans also thought that Supreme Court Justices should also have set tenure on the High Court.

Of course, politicians and the folks pulling their strings, strongly oppose any attempt to replace their puppets. They'll use every trick and lie they can come up with, and why not? Tenure means more power which means more money. It also means having someone who jump when they're told to jump. Do you think they're going to give that up willingly? No. But term limits benefits us. It reduces the opportunity for corruption. It also means we'll see more fresh new ideas. Innovation is something that we are woefully lacking in government.

We should expect to see partisan gerrymandering ended. For those who don't know what that is, partisan gerrymandering allows a given party to redraw district lines to ensure that their party keeps a specific seat. It's how we get these unnatural looking districts whose neighborhoods and communities have little or nothing in common with each other except having the right number of partisan voters. It's why some neighborhoods get things done for them while other neighborhoods get squat.

Redistricting, however, is not all bad. Communities grow and change. That's why political representation should be allowed to change along with them. To do this, universities typically have political science and mathematical departments. Using data provided by the Census Bureau, along with computer models, would allow districts to be redrawn which reflect their natural growth. No longer would politicians try to force some neighborhoods in and others out in order to keep their political dominance.  Communities could stay and grow together.

The hardest change will be financial, and that includes Citizens United. Citizens United came about in 2010; the result of an ill considered Supreme Court decision. It decided that corporations were de facto "individuals" and thus, had the same rights as you and I. It further held that money was "free speech".  Thus, supporters declared it a First Amendment victory. However, it was anything but.

Corporations are artificial creations. A legal fiction. Those who are employed do not get a vote on where the money goes. That's done by the board of directors. Secondly, corporations aren't capped on the amount of money they give while you and I are. Naturally, corporations can donate millions compared to the insignificant amount working class individuals and small business donors can give.

Even unions can't compete. Typically, for every dollar a union gives a candidate or issue, a single corporation will give five dollars (not to mention there are far fewer unions than corporations). Thus, Citizens United not only distorted the intent of the First Amendment, it effectively eliminated citizens from having a voice.

Additionally, it made running for office so prohibitive expensive, only the wealthy need apply. It's worth noting that many legal scholars have acknowledged that Citizens United was a huge mistake since it all but removed ordinary citizens from the election process.

One suggestion to correct the "Supreme Error" is that all corporate money has to be donated to a common pool where it would be divided equally between eligible candidates directly. Another option is that the money would only buy equal public air time (and, I suppose, social media as well) on behalf of eligible candidates.  

It's doubtful that either option will be adopted. Even if it were, "dark money" would continue to filter in and "unofficially" back certain candidates. The only viable option is to remove corporate money---direct and indirect--- altogether from politics. Limiting all contributions to individual donors only, and then, capping the amount to keep billionaires and millionaires from buying candidates and elections as they do now.

Other likely changes will include eliminating ballot access restrictions. That means requiring the same number of signatures to get on a ballot. For instance, a Republican or Democrat might only need three, while an Independent or third party candidate might need hundreds...or thousands for the same seat!  Also, requiring that all candidates on the ballot be eligible to participate in public debates, which doesn't happen now.

Citizen initiatives or referendums are prohibited or restricted in a few, most backward, states (Kentucky comes to mind). I guess they're afraid of voters. Nevertheless, we, as citizens, have the right to express our opinion in the form of placing a question on the ballot for everyone to decide. We don't need the "permission" of legislators trying to protect their turf.

On a personal note, along those same lines, I think the voters should have the final say on tax, fee, or rate increases, as well as salary increases for anyone elected to office. Politicians have long shown they can't manage our money. We know what we can and can't afford. Damn few politicians have ever met a tax or rate increase they didn't like. It's our tax dollars, therefore, it should be our decision.

The continual rise of Independents is inevitable. The system and those who've run the system have failed us time and again. They pretend that their blunders are successes. Their corruption is for the common good. Well, the mask has slipped. We see exactly what's happening behind the curtain. They've done their best to lie and distract us, but you can only do that so many times.

They've tried to divide us at every turn in the hopes that our manufactured anger will be directed toward each other and because they believe they control all the levers of power, we can be controlled or distracted.  Independents are, by nature, not likely to be controlled or manipulated by anyone, especially out of touch millionaire politicians or the media.  We ask questions. We do our own research, and to the utter horror of the Status Quo, we think for ourselves. We speak our mind without worrying whose sacred silk slippers we step on.


How RCV Works

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)


U.S. Term Limits

The share of independent voters is forecast to increasesteadily

Americans tend to be in favor of term limits for mostinstitutions, says pollster

Congressional stagnation in the United States

Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

1 comment:

South Ender said...

Good article.
100% spot on.