MA: Our Duopolized Discourse and the Independence of Independents

Sal Peralta, the Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, writes in to the Massachusetts Patriot Ledger to take issue with an editorial from earlier in the month, in which the paper mocked the very idea of an "independent" political party. "Where's the independence in an independents party?" they asked. The editorial perfectly demonstrates the intellectual obtuseness of duopoly ideology:
it’s a mystery why Marshfield businessman and former state representative candidate John Valianti wants to gather Massachusetts “independents” into an official state political party . . . There are three official political parties in the state – Republican, Democrat and Libertarian. If voters want a concrete political affiliation, they can join one of those parties or use one of the 18 political “designations” recognized by the secretary of state’s office . . . We have no scientific evidence or actual polling data, but we suspect most of the people who register to vote as unenrolled consider themselves “independent” – and don’t want to officially join an “Independent Party.” [Emphasis added.]
Perhaps it simply hasn't occurred to the Patriot Ledger that people might un-enroll from the Democratic and Republican Parties, not because they are opposed to the very idea of party affiliation, but because they are opposed to the idea of affiliation with the Democratic and Republican Parties. Peralta writes in response:
The Patriot Ledger editorialized against the formation of an Independent Party in Massachusetts and predicted few “independents” would gravitate toward such a party. The Patriot Ledger’s response was similar to that of some Oregon newspapers when we formed the Independent Party of Oregon.

As secretary of that organization, I would like to share a few thoughts with your readers. There is something happening in America that the mainstream political establishment and the mainstream press have not gotten a handle on: namely, that about half of all Americans do not believe the two-party system is working.

A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed 46 percent of voters favor formation of a third “independent political party.” Other polls have put the number at over 50 percent. Americans are tired of polarization, demonization and the unwillingness of partisan politicians to work collaboratively to solve the major issues of the day, and they are demanding a change. Where such change is being offered, people are gravitating toward it.

For the sake of the people of Massachusetts, I hope the Massachusetts Independent Party emerges as a force for the kind of moderate, pragmatic reform that our country so desperately needs.

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