It is Time to Investigate the Suppression of the Independent Vote

Nationally, Independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans by significant margins.  In some states, the majority of voters are Independents, outnumbering Democrats and Republicans combined.  So why are Independents treated as second class citizens.  Independent Voting is calling for Congressional hearings on the matter.  From an opinion piece in The Gazette, out of Maryland:
Remarkably, the fact that polls show 38 percent of Americans identify as independent in a two-party system such as ours hasn’t become part of the national conversation. That’s starting to change.

Along with the economy, partisanship and its corrosive effect on policymaking have become the two most important issues for our country . . . In Maryland, I, as an independent voter, can’t make my voice heard in a primary election although I’m fully expected to fund these contests with my taxpayer dollars. The reason being, if you are not affiliated with one of the two major political parties, you can’t vote . . .  
While increasing numbers of Americans reject party politics, our electoral process still is regulated by the two parties . . . Most independents hold some views that are considered to be conservative, as well some that are liberal. They don’t fit neatly into a Democrat or Republican box. For these reasons, and for the fact that I like to choose the best candidate (not the best party), I’ve claimed the independent moniker for years. Now I have added another reason, possibly more important than those stated previously — to effect structural change in the American political process.

Independent voters in the network — a national association of independents with organization in 40 states — are spearheading a campaign to persuade Congress to hold hearings on the second-class status of Independents and to shed light on the ways that partisanship has become so hard-wired into the political process . . . Voting rights are coming to mean the efforts of unaffiliated voters to push for structural reforms needed to lessen the power and privilege of political parties and to empower the nearly 40 percent of Americans who identify as Independents.
The article brings up a number of important points.  But the real question is: if Independent voters are dissatisfied with the Republican-Democrat two-party state, why do they continue voting for Democrats and Republicans rather than Independents?  It should also go without saying that any investigation into the suppression of the Independent vote should also investigate the suppression of Independent and third party candidates for office.

1 comment:

Ross Levin said...

That's awesome. I have issues with specifically what they're saying - the exclusion of third parties from their message, etc - but some kind of investigation into this form of structural political oppression is definitely a great idea.