South Dakota's Independent Candidate for US House: "The parties are part of the problem, not the solution."

B. Thomas Marking is running as an independent candidate for the US House of Representatives in South Dakota. On the front page of his website, Marking writes: "South Dakota has but one voice in the U. S. House of Representatives. It should therefore be a truly Independent voice." Marking explicitly describes his party affiliation as "None of the Above," and explains:
In the current proclamations of both the G.O.P. and the Democrats, I find no coherent philosophy; other than whatever one is for, the other is most surely against. This relationship is as irrational and destructive as the famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. For many, it seems the feud has become more important than doing the people's business, sometimes more important than the objective truth.

Our major political parties are now more a part of the problem than of the solution. They routinely act irresponsibly, and consistently produce bad answers to the wrong questions. In addition, both parties have acted to further centralize power in Washington, one just a bit faster than the other. I have therefore sworn my fervent independence from both.
Over the weekend, South Dakota's Press and Dakotan published a lengthy profile of the independent following a meeting and interview with the outlet's editorial board on Friday. Randy Dockendorf reported:
U.S. House candidate B. Thomas Marking wants his fellow South Dakotans’ vote — not only in the November election but on issues after he would take office. The Custer man, who has retired from a career in federal and state service, is running as an independent candidate. He faces Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Republican challenger Kristi Noem.

During Friday’s interview at the Press & Dakotan, Marking explained his proposal for allowing citizens to register their opinions on major policy areas. Marking said he would provide the quarterly surveys as a way for citizens to give input on issues.
Judging from the paper's description, Marking's proposal actually sounds quite similar to the "Open Office" concept developed by Jake Towne, an independent libertarian candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania. Dockendorf's article goes on to describe Marking's career and background, while elaborating his positions on a number of high-profile issues, including the wars, immigration, tax policy and even cyber-security. Marking states that he is running for the office as an independent because the major parties have become part of the problem:
Marking is running for Congress as an independent to avoid partisan labels and separate himself from the party machinery. “You saw the two parties in the past, and they were more the problem than the solution,” he said. “It seems like a matter of divide and conquer. They slap a label on the other side and describe them as evil. I didn’t want to be a part of it.”
The interview with Marking clearly left a strong impression with the folks at the paper. In a reflective editorial published today, the Press and Dakotan urges readers to consider the perspectives and positions of those who do not speak from within the framework of Democrat-Republican party government and asks: "Independent Voices: Will we ever listen?" From the editorial:
An independent candidate for South Dakota’s lone U.S. House seat stopped by the Press & Dakotan last Friday. The interview had been arranged a couple of days before that, and so we prepared to meet him for the very first time. But in the back of our minds, we couldn’t help but think that he already had two strikes against him . . .

The aforementioned two strikes arise from the deeply ingrained two-party mentality that dominates our political culture. We have become so conditioned to choose one or the other that most of us give little thought to considering any variations . . .

It’s odd to consider that when the American electorate decides it needs a change, it simply turns back to the party from which we made the change in the first place. With such a peculiar dynamic in place, the two parties often seem more interested in working to pry the other from power, as opposed to working to solve the laundry list of problems this nation always faces . . .

This is not an endorsement of Marking or any other independent candidate. Instead, we’re merely pointing out that the two major political parties do not have a monopoly on ideas and solutions for this nation. There are other ideas that lurk outside the two-party mainstream who have a few ideas, too. Listening to them does not mean you embrace them or endorse them. They won’t infect you or destroy you. But they just may make you think about other answers to the questions we face and about just how limiting and self-serving our two-party institution seems to have become. [Emphases added.]
Of course, there is no question as to just how limiting and self-serving our two-party institution has in fact become, except, perhaps, for the most ardent partisans of the ruling political class. The American declaration of independence from Democrat-Republican party government is long overdue.

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