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Primaries, caucuses and parties: ‘I feel your pain’

These comments were sent to the Editor of the Oak Ridger regarding his unhappiness expressed in his Editorial on 21 January 2010, entitled “Caucus mistake by Dems repeated by Anderson’s GOP”.
Primaries, Caucuses & Parties
As they like to say, “I feel your pain”. You have definitely hit on the main problem with the process of nominating candidates for our elected public officials.
As people who study history have learned, this problem started only a few decades after the ratification of our Constitution. The first semblance of “parties” began with the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans with opposing “philosophies” that have not much changed even today.
As observers from both parties have noted, opinions differ widely, even within their own parties.
That is why they pay so much attention to the “centrists”, “independents”, or other labels you want to lay on people like me who have “voted for the lesser of two evils” for decades.
We non-party people do not care about “party platforms”. Rather, we are always interested in the ISSUES of the day. It therefore becomes possible for an independent voter to want 50% of the views of Party “A”, and 50% of the views of Party “B”. What to do? What to do? Neither choice satisfies. This is especially true when they don’t even follow through with the promises they make. This voter certainly does not want to join a party to “gang up” on those who disagree with me.
Voting for “A” or “B” has been the only choice we have had. Why? Because the parties that have gained power have manipulated our political system to make it hard for an “independent” candidate to have a chance, financially, and because many in the media today continue to belittle these candidates, rather than truly presenting to the public what these people intend to do, or not do, if elected. And if all that were not enough, the Party Incumbents “gerrymander” districts to favor their candidate, giving even less and less meaning to the term “representative”, and make rules to make it hard to get a non-Dem, non-GOP candidate on the ballot.

There is a solution, if people will just take the time to consider giving up their past “loyalties”, putting some time in studying the issues in depth, “nominating” a candidate that is in MOST agreement with their views, THEN putting that candidate on the ballot, as a NON-PARTY CANDIDATE. Note the difference here….we DON’T mean a “third party candidate”. Further, the andidate in such a process would not be allowed to accept donations from anyone of more that $100.
Interested? Check out in depth. Be warned! If you first think it is a possibility, be ready to spend some time answering the 100 questions on the ISSUES. It is not an easy task. It shouldn’t be. Imagine YOU being in the elected seat and having to make the decision.

If you like it, and want to help make it work, contact the state coordinator, Andy Andrew, who can be found on the web site. I have personally participated in one of the “mock candidate selection” meetings, and I can attest to the enthusiasm of the 95 people present in a 2.5hr meeting that was anything but boring. The best measurement of that comment would be that the local reporter and his photographer stayed for the entire 2.5hrs….something they rarely do. They sensed the enthusiasm, stayed, and hence did a great job of reporting on this meeting.

Robert Humphries,
Oak Ridge, TN