I am a registered Independent. Like many of us, the political party I identified with for nearly my entire adult life no longer exemplifies my values as a voter. So, given little other choice, I left.
According to recent polling, the majority of registered voters in this country do not identify with either the Republican nor the Democrat party. Sure, I know there are other political parties that appear on the ballot but in all honesty, they represent the fringes of the political spectrum and have agendas that simply do not comport with my own.
The term “Independent” doesn’t really define my personal philosophy, however. Politically, I consider myself socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Obviously, these ideas are in conflict with the platforms espoused by party leadership on both sides of the aisle.
I also take issue with the system the two major parties have created that aims for the preservation of essentially a binary choice between candidates whose electoral success depends on putting party ahead of the public welfare. Even at the local, supposedly “non-partisan” level, ambitious politicians curry the favor of their respective parties to ensure electoral support for their futures, if not their present. I have seen one promising candidate after another wilt in the face of the party establishments that brook no deviation from their established ideology. Faced with losing committee assignments, party support, or worse, their well-intentioned ideals become compromised as a matter of political survival.
For far too long “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” has been usurped by party divisions and rancor. Government “of the party and for the party” has reigned supreme. There has never been more division or governmental gridlock than that which exists in today’s political realm. With the exception of those cities, counties, and states where one party has a stranglehold on the electorate—like right here in California—little of consequence has, or will, get done.
As for those “one-party” governments—anyone who believes a philosophical monopoly on government is a good idea should examine history. This state has been enduring a seemingly endless stream of legislative initiatives that do more to appease the special interests that keep the Democrats in power than actually solve the many problems (like an affordable housing crisis that contributes to its’ growing poverty rate, education inequity, etc.) we are enduring. Which is what has led me to the Centrist Project ( www.centristproject.org ).
The Centrist Project seeks to recruit Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to support candidates for office who will truly put the public welfare above party agendas. It’s time to take our government back. Break the bonds of the self-serving political establishment whose only goal is to preserve its monopoly. Join me in supporting the Centrist Project.
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Kirk Effinger is an Escondido Realtor and community activist. He has lived in San Diego’s North County for over 30 years. He is a former Union –Tribune columnist.