Each election cycle we are presented with the same dilemma; who should I vote for? We compare each candidates stance on issues with our own. And we make the decision as to whether we will vote for candidate A or B.
But lets take a moment and examine this. We know that a politician can only be elected if they sway enough voters their way. Given that Maine has three political parties and that the Republicans are far from holding a majority, it is for all practical purposes impossible for a Republican to get elected without having to court Democrats, Greens or independents.
When running for office a politician’s first task is to secure his/her party base. Then he/she starts to concentrate on swing voters. Swing voters may or may not agree on all issues in regards to party stance. Therefor it is necessary for a politician to have to shift his/her principles enough to attract un-enrolled voters or voters from the opposite party. In a three way race a politician needs 34 % or more of the vote. In a two way race 51%. Republicans in Maine hold under 30% voter enrollment. Democrats slightly more.
This puts the swing voter in a position of controlling the issues. Its my contention that the more people we can encourage to un-enroll the less power the parties will have. If like minded independents organize, they can control or even disenfranchise political parties.
If your leaning towards starting a third party, then good luck. First the two parties have the rules locked down to make it very difficult to start a third party and then keep party status. The other problem is you’re once again stuck in the same paradigm of trying to attracts swing voters.
The solution to our problem is eliminate the party system. Take away the party’s ability to control the agenda and the ballot, and you open the electorate to a host of new ideas, possibilities and choices. And you know what, because party enrollment is so small, its really not that hard to have either party loose its party status. Both sides are seeing a decline in enrollment. Its time we stop being taken for granted. Un-enroll, encourage our friends to un-enroll and force politicians to earn our vote.
There is a reason why un-enrolled voters are called independents. Think about it.