The End of Independence

For more than 30 years I’ve been registered as a voter under various third-party affiliations, or, more recently, as an independent voter. I’ve always been the first to admit that more often than not I vote for Democrats, especially in close races. But I’ve never been even close to slavish in my political outlook or my voting. My all-time favorite California politician was the late B.T. Collins, a multiple-amputee Vietnam War Green Beret combat vet, appointed by Jerry Brown as Director of the California Conservation Corps (Collins transformed the agency), and later Jerry Brown’s Chief of Staff, before being elected to the state assembly as a Republican. (Collins, obviously, would be demonized as a RINO or worse by today’s GOP.)

I voted for Assemblyman Brian Dahle in the last election because so far as I can tell he’s a good guy who has the best interests of his constituents at heart, I firmly believe that in many ways conservative policies align with rural values, and I’ve yet to see Dahle’s hair burst into flames. No matter our disagreements on numerous policy matters, Dahle is an able and honest representative of the rural people of his district. And let’s face it—our backwater of California is firmly Republican. I’m not much for tilting at windmills, so if it’s a given that my representative is going to be a Republican, I want someone who doesn’t make me feel nauseous when he opens his sock-puppet mouth. Speaking of which: I have publicly offered to ring doorbells for Dahle if he should ever choose to challenge our current U.S. Congressman.

My status as an independent voter has always been an act of rebellion against the forces of conformity—those who want us to join Their Cause and fall in line behind Their Leaders. There’s something about my make-up that doesn’t cotton to political shepherds and sheep. And chanting. I haven’t attended a protest or political rally in decades—even ones addressing issues that I’m passionate about—because I abhor call-and-response chanting. Every time I see progressives grouped together on TV, there it is—the chanting that literally makes me shudder.

“What do we want?!”

“A vague and unrealistic plan to achieve an overly simplistic socio-political outcome!”

“When do we want it?!”

“NOW!”

I get it—for many, the chanting is affirming and energizing. For me, it’s worse than fingernails on the blackboard.

What have I gained for my feeble non-conformity? Have I swayed people toward what I think of as my left-of-center pragmatism? Not at all. My conservative friends think I’m a flaming libtard, and my liberal friends (and oldest child) think I’m some kind of weirdly iconoclastic conservative. The current zeitgeist is us’uns against them’uns, and any self-styled middle-of-the-road compromisers must be playing some sort of confidence game—a trick to gain advantage.

President Trump, if you haven’t guessed by now, is my personal last straw. The GOP has become the Party of Trump. His regressive minions alarmingly number in vicinity of 35-40% of Americans. They have embraced a rabidly authoritarian, nationalistic, isolationist worldview, with undertones of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Party of Trump followers appear to be motivated primarily by anger and fear. They wallow in feelings rather than facts. Their leader is a narcissistic, mean, inarticulate, dishonest buffoon, and they love him for it. Trump fawns over the despotic leaders of our foes while degrading our closest allies, and his followers find no fault because they share Trump’s authoritarian instincts.

This isn’t hyperbole: If the Party of Trump is allowed to consolidate its hold, America is lost.

I have great respect for those GOP politicians who have sacrificed their careers by calling out Trump for what he is: A dangerous, possibly deranged demagogue who is openly hostile to America’s long-held democratic values. Sen. John McCain has fully rehabilitated himself in my eyes (after the debacle of elevating Sarah Palin to Prime Rube status) by opposing Trump when it’s the right thing to do, even as McCain battles a terminal disease. But such brave GOP politicians have proved as rare as rocking horse manure.

I have tried on several occasions to bait Assemblyman Dahle into articulating an opinion on Trump—to break ranks with GOP leaders who refuse to criticize Trump—but he’s steadfastly refused to rise to the fly. I’ll admit that he’s playing it smart, politically. But this isn’t about mere politics. It’s about the future of the country that my grandkids are going to inherit, and I don’t have a lot of good time left to help set things reasonably back on course. I’m forcing myself to veer away from my natural centrism and cynicism to become a True Believer. As such, I state with a large measure of disappointment: Mr. Dahle—unapologetic and therefore silently complicit member of the Party of Trump—no longer has my support.

Next week my longstanding status as an independent voter comes to an end. We lack a parliamentary system in this country, and on the larger stage of American politics third parties are a throw-away-your-vote joke. I’m going to apply dabs of menthol Vicks below my nostrils and fill out the forms to register as a Democrat.

For the first time in decades, I’ll be voting straight-ticket along party lines. It’s time to pick sides—right now—on the less-than-sure bet that it’s not already too late. The Party of Trump, and all that it represents, needs to crater in the next couple of elections. If a GOP defined by the sensible Western libertarianism of my family’s Colorado ranchers, roughnecks, and nail-benders rises from that smoldering crater, great. If not…oh well.

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Steve Towers
Steve Towers is co-owner of a local environmental consultancy. After obtaining his Ph.D. from UC Davis and dabbling as a UCD lecturer, he took a salary job with a Sacramento environmental firm. Sitting in stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50 one afternoon, he reckoned that he was receiving 80 hours of paid vacation per year and spending 520 hours per year commuting to and from work. He and his wife Elise sold their house and moved to Redding three months later, and have been here for more than 20 years. His hobbies include travel, racquet sports, taking the dogs on hikes, and stirring pots. He can be reached at towers.steven@gmail.com
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50 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    You speak from my heart, too, Steve. I served on a library board of about ten people. Eight called themselves conservatives (a term like liberal that I deplore), one was a Democrat, and me, an independent who is pro-choice and anti-more gun laws. I was accused of being on the fence because I didn’t commit to either of the main parties. My response was that since neither party represents me, why should I support them. But you’re correct: being an independent is a wasted vote. Besides, we aren’t able to vote in the primaries except for hospital and school boards. My problem with registering Democrat is that I’m really a Republican at heart. That is, I was until “my” party was commandeered by the religious right.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      Lots of folks seem to feel that there is no place for moderates in either the Democratic or Republican parties. That’s true in the case of the Republicans, not so much in the case of the Democrats. True, there are a number of rising stars in the Democratic party who are pretty far to the left, but it’s still more feasible to stay in office as a conservative Democrat than as a liberal–or even moderate–Republican. At least, it seems so to me.

      Does anyone remember that the elder George Bush was once a pro-choice Republican? The Republican party has shifted to the right one heck of a lot more than the Democratic party has shifted to the left.

      After being an independent voter since 1976, I registered Democratic after Trump won the primary. I’ve since re-registered as an independent, but for the reasons Steve has expressed so well, I may soon be a honky registered with the donkeys.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Your comment about Bush Sr. being pro-choice at one time reverberates. I actually don’t recall if he switched to anti-choice; however Shrub was definitely anti-choice while his mother, Barbara Bush, was pro-choice. Odd the extremes one will go to for votes.

        Although Steve’s arguments are valid, I’m still registered as an independent. I just can’t bring myself to side with either party, neither of which represents me. I agree with Hollis Picket’s assessment that not having an open primary may well be unconstitutional. And the electoral college may have been valid when the Constitution was written, but 200+ years and 250 million residents later, that’s questionable.

  2. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    I have been a Conservative independent all my life. When I worked at SUHSD I manned phones at the CSEA Union headquarters on Hilltop Drive during elections. I promoted Democratic candidates, like tilting at wind mills, in Shasta County. My problem with Democrats are they make policies and restrictions that actually hurt rural areas, I saw it in Shasta County, Wyoming and rural Colorado. Environmental, guns, hunting and fishing, and immigration. Those are debatable issues but the party lines are drawn. Democrats want more and Republicans want less. I chose neither and my vote is not wasted as I vote for local issues. School Boards, a very important local issue if one would take the time to study them, city and county leaders, as well as local tax and permit rules.
    Now in Phoenix I see an Urban/Rural mix that is really divided. I would say that the two main issues here are Education and Immigration. My Independent vote counts here, in fact the largest number of registered voters in Arizona, according to AZnews, are register as independent.
    Another good article, Steve.

  3. Thanks for the insight. After fifty years of GOP loyalty, my wife and I registered NPP two years ago. Better to be unaligned and wasted than considered a party member no longer worthy of membership. We threw our last Presidential vote to a Utah man speaking and behaving rationally. So, we are apart and basically free from guilt concerning Entitlement Nation and Hitler like bombastic rhetoric. We are glad to be nearing the end of our journey, but feel real terror for those we leave behind. It all unraveled on our watch and seemingly there is nothing to be done except hold fast to the ideals of Mr. Lincoln and beloved T. R. They are on Mt. Rushmore for a reason and time will never erase their goodness.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      R.S., I don’t think we share a spot on the left-right political spectrum, but I think we might share a sense of grief and embarrassment regarding the America we were born into and the America we’ll be leaving behind when we go. To my kids and grandkids: I’m so sorry.

  4. Avatar Hollis Pickett says:

    Bingo

  5. Avatar Just an Opinion says:

    History repeats itself!

    A little quote from the First Republican American President-

    ” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/knownothingparty.htm

  6. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    There is a movement in many states to allow Independents to vote in primaries. Neither the GOP or the DNC want this because then they would have to campaign to all the voters not just their party base. Though in California isn’t there a top two vote getters regardless of party that advance?
    Here in Arizona the GOP nominees for Senator are Joe Arpaio, Kelli Ward, and Martha McSally, all strong Trump supporters. On the Democratic side is Kyrsten Sinema who is predicted to beat any of the GOP nominees. The problem Sinema faces is she has slid a little to the right and now the DNC are opposing her in favor of a party line DNC who would lose to probably any of the GOP nominees. But Sinema reflects what Arizonians want and leads the polls, a perfect candidate for us Independents if we were allowed to vote in the primaries.

    • Avatar Hollis Pickett says:

      I have actually questioned the constitutionality of non-open primaries. The law says that I get to vote if I’m 18 or over and not a felon. I don’t think states should be able to curtail that by forcing you to affiliate yourself with a political party before you can have a ballot!

  7. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Amen to all these comments.

  8. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    Before the fall elections in 2016 I read a quote along the lines of “Don’t like Hillary? Fine, but hold your nose and vote. There’s a Nazi at the gate!” That rang true then and it’s turned out to be factually true nearly two years later.
    As a progressive liberal I’m firmly with the Democrats. They don’t all share my opinion or vote the way I would like every time, but I’m not ashamed to be one of them. For all her faults, I’m not ashamed to have supported Hillary and I don’t have to apologize for my vote.

  9. I’ve been a registered libertarian since the 80s, but I recently re-registered as a democrat. Desperate times, desperate measures. The rhetoric from the White House is chilling and this truly seems the only way to re-set our course.

  10. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    Great article, Steve.

  11. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    There are a lot of people who think voting for a 3rd Party is throwing away your vote. Personally, I think both major parties are controlled by the corporate machine (different elements of it, to be sure), which means that ONLY 3rd Parties offer a true choice. Being duped into voting for either of them is throwing away your vote.
    The urbanist policies of the Democratic machine are anathema to rural voters, which means that many of them vote Republican, even tho they don’t like them much, either.
    Personally, I’m a registered Libertarian, which comes closest to actually reflecting my political views. I refuse to rubber-stamp the international corporate machine that controls both parties and nearly all the mass media.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Pretty much exactly sums up my former point of view. In this moment in history, I regard it as something of a self-indulgent delusion to act as if there’s no real difference between the two major parties. The SCOTUS is already lost for the remainder of my life as a result of that delusion.

      • James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

        Personally, I suspect I would currently be just as dismayed if Hillary had won, but for different reasons.
        There are differences between the 2 parties, but they are mostly for show. That is an oversimplification, but not much of one. Voting for the perceived lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.
        Obama was far more personable than Trump (or Hillary), but he increased military spending and involvement in the middle east, and vastly increased the national debt. The differences are mainly cosmetic.
        Admittedly, Trump’s personal style is dreadful.

    • Avatar Mark Roman says:

      For me, the most disappointing result of the 2016 election was how little attention the 3rd parties received. The two mainstream candidates were hated by many people, but the Libertarians got only 6% of the vote.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      I’m with you James. A quick litmus test for me is “am I likely to be more or less free after 4 years with this candidate in office?” It is a test Republicans and Democrats continually fail as each party eagerly exchanges freedom for their version of security.

      I’ve never bought the “wasted vote” line either. We’re all in California. The entite state of Jefferson could vote for the second place candidate and it wouldn’t swing the presidential election from the Democrats. Your presidential vote will never sway the election, so its only purpose can be symbolic.

      The State of Jefferson has a long history of independent thought and 3rd party voting. Nearly 100 years ago we actually went for a Wisconsin Socialist named Robert M. La Follette Sr. while the rest of California went to small government laissez-faire Republican Calvin Coolidge. The Democrat, a pro-lynching West Virginian named John Davis, failed to win even 1 California county. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_California,_1924

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        One of the constructs that the founders got astoundingly wrong is the electoral college. Without it, every vote would count.

        At the risk of humping the same key on the piano until everyone wants to scream……yeah our votes for POTUS are largely symbolic. And if I vote across the board for Democrats—even in my district where wins by Repubs are a given—that will also be largely symbolic. But if enough people do what I’m going to do, as a symbolic rejection of Trump/Putin, the message will ring loud and clear.

        I totally understand the “I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils” mindset. When the greater of two evils is mere corporatist conservatism, I’m happy to indulge myself and vote third-party. When the greater of two evils is proto-fascism, it’s time to see things in black and white. It’s time to pick sides.

        • Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

          Steve, those who want to do away with the Electoral seem like they want to change the rules because they lost instead of fielding a better team to win. I respect your opinion but I differ with it.

        • Avatar Kris Hegland says:

          The electoral college was designed to keep less populated states from being out voted continuously by more populated states. It was a great example of compromise, without it the US probably wouldn’t exist. The problem these days however is that it skews to far. It just need to be changed, not abolished.

        • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

          Bruce — Nah. I don’t like the electoral college precisely because it hands enormous disproportionate power to what we now call “swing states.” It also encourages people in states like CA to refrain from voting in presidential election because they think their vote doesn’t count.

          Kris — The theory that small states should have disproportionate representation in a presidential election is arguable, but I don’t think the good outweighs the bad. In recent years it has resulted in two presidents who didn’t win the popular vote. Get rid of it.

          Tim — I don’t disagree……but as I’ve argued elsewhere, this is no longer about voting for the party that has the sun shining out of its collective rectal orifice. Whatever the many faults of the Democrats, they pale compared with the faults of the Party of Trump. To fail to pick a side is to give comfort to the other side. Those are the stakes.

          • Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

            Steve, 2 of 45 presidents won only the Electoral College. In recent history both Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton won both, even President Jimmy Carter won both. Al Gore and HRC didn’t win because they were not the better team at the time. In my opinion I think Al Gore could have won in 2016, he picked the wrong election. President Nixon didn’t ride his vice prudential coat tails into office, he came in later when people wanted a change. And I think if the Democrats had put up a different candidate than HRC there would have been only one president who didn’t win the popular vote.
            The Electoral College makes Flyover country important.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Beg to differ a bit, Bruce. The electoral college doesn’t make the flyover states more important—everyone knows how Kansas is going to go. It makes the populous swing states more important. Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin….

  12. Avatar Judith Salter says:

    Doug LaMalfa actively supports Trump I hope we can make a change there and support Audrey Denny. I regret Dahle’s Silence for sure but I do find him an honest man. I hope he finds his voice. We cannot be silent anymore

  13. Avatar Gary Tull says:

    Sound reasoning and well stated, Steve. I concur.

  14. I voted for Trump, it’s the worst mistake I’ve ever made, and I’ll spend the rest of my life making up for it. That said, I won’t be joining the Democratic Party, I’ll remain an independent until the party as a whole moves further to the left. Poll after poll shows a large majority of Americans support single payer healthcare. Yet the Democrats remain loyal to their donors instead of their base–take could take some lessons from Trump in this regard. Same thing goes for foreign policy. With the exception of Russia, Trump is following the exact same foreign policy of his Republican and Democratic predecessors and has it even turned up a notch–with nary a Democrat complaining. No one bats an eye at dramatically increasing defense spending–after an enormous corporate tax cut, no less. Where is the resistance to these polices? It’s nowhere to be found in Congress. The Democrats have gone all-in on the Russia investigation and have ginned up their base with irrational Russophobia. What happens if no collusion is found? What if Trump gets off? Where will that leave the Democrats, who don’t seem to have a coherent strategy to beat Trumpism? No doubt I’ll be voting for Democrat Audrey Denney for the 1st District. But I’m very skeptical that the Dems are gonna take back the house.

  15. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    As a longtime registered Independent, I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats over the years , but at present, Brian Dahle is the only California Republican for whom I could again vote. Those of us moderates who are either a bit right or left of center, find ourselves held hostage by the intense partisanship of both the far right conservatives and the far left progressives, neither of whom represent the majority of Americans.

    The “Stable Genius-in-Chief” is neither stable, nor genius.

  16. Avatar Dan says:

    Too many kooks on both sides to begin marching in lock-step. 🙂

  17. Avatar DeniseO says:

    This is where I’ve landed too, Steve. I so want to entertain voting Republican again in my life but not til this Evangelical Fever has broken. We MUST send the message of ne’er the twain shall meet with church and state.

    After that can we begin to actually vote for deserving candidates.

    Great thread! I agree on all counts.

  18. Avatar Tim says:

    Steve: Since 2008, Independents have been growing and now make up 42% of the electorate (vs 29% Democrats & 26% Republicans). Long term this is a great thing.

    Unfortunately, it means the parties are being whittled to their extremist cores in the short term.

    • That 26 percent Republican number is good to keep in mind when you hear “70 percent of Republicans believe Trump is doing a good job.” It’s 70 percent of 26 percent of the electorate. Not exactly a huge base.

      • Avatar Kris Hegland says:

        True, but they tend to be far more vocal than the rest of us. We all need to speak up more. I used to keep my political views to myself but no more, none of us can afford to any longer.

  19. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. That is why I wrote in Mitt Romney for 2016 even though he didn’t stand a chance of winning. I can stand tall by saying I didn’t vote for the lesser of two evils. Until voters decide that voting for the lesser of two evils is not beneficial to the country we will end up with divided government. I looked at the third parties and none fit my agenda as they all seemed more extreme right or left than either the GOP or DNC.

    • Avatar Gary Tull says:

      Unfortunately, a wasted vote for a candidate who “didn’t stand a chance of winning” makes little sense other than to help land this corrupt buffoon into the WH, in IMO.

      Now, for example, from solar to batteries to electric vehicles, China is rapidly gaining on the West in a most important arena — innovation.

      • Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

        Gary, I take full blame for Trump being elected president because I didn’t vote for him. That doesn’t make sense.
        Now, for example, Abound Solar in Denver went bankrupt because of cheap solar panels imported from China. That was during President Obama’s term.

  20. Avatar SoundOfReason says:

    The ‘party of Trump’ was made possible thanks to decades of identity politics and the perpetuation of a two-party system. Trump carved out a new 3rd party under the brand name of ‘Republican’ and in process poached Republicans, Independents, and Reagan Democrats. If American politics is anything it’s bipolar, swinging wildly from one extreme to another. Both parties seeking affix blame for the election of Donald Trump should look squarely in the mirror.

  21. Avatar Cathy Allen says:

    Just to clarify how partisan primaries work in California: the only contest where your party of registration matters is President. All other formerly ‘party primary contests’ are now top two – as a result of the vote of the people. So for Governor, US Senate, Assembly, etc, all voters (regardless of party) get to see the same list of candidates on their ballot, and the November contest consists of the top two vote-getters.
    That being said, California has changed the way we vote in the primary over and over, so some confusion is to be expected. As to who determines what voters get a choice? The parties themselves make that call; typically the Dems allow crossover votes for president, and the Reps do not. But who knows what they will collectively choose to do in 2020?

  22. Avatar Tiffany says:

    I want to express appreciation for those of you who are Republican or Independent and will choose to vote to limit the power of the Trump administration and the GOP. I know you are doing it out of patriotism, and perhaps holding your nose. In the end it means another team will benefit politically from your vote, and that can’t be an easy choice to make in today’s climate. I hope if the tables were turned, I would do the same. I’m humbled.

  23. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I’m intimately familiar with all of these arguments above for maintaining political independence, because until recently they poured forth from my mouth and fingertips:

    1. The two parties are essentially the same. I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils.

    2.. “Independent” registered voters are on the rise, and someday will form a viable alternative to the two entrenched major parties.

    3. I live in California. We all know who’s going to get CA’s electoral votes, so I can vote however I want.

    All of these arguments have appealed to me for decades, and in some ways they still do. I understand fully why some of you still find merit and comfort in them.

    I can’t do it any longer. I keep asking myself, “Is this Germany in the 1930s?” It would have been easy in early 1930s for Germans to say, “The SPD are corporatist wankers—really no different than the NAZIs.” Five years later, the NAZIs were the only legal party, and 35,000 members of the SPD and KPD parties were in death camps.

    It’s not that I’m enamored of the Democratic Party. They can’t seem to define what defines them. They worship at the alter of divisive identity politics. They appear to be so leaderless that an Independent senator almost took the presidential nomination from an entrenched hard-core Democrat. She couldn’t defeat possibly the most flawed GOP presidential candidate in history, in large part because she thought she was the only rational and assumed that she deserved the win.

    I don’t care—this is a watershed moment. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, and I won’t sniff and state that my standards are too high to side with the only party that stands a chance of defeating the Party of Trump. Too much is at stake. Once Trump is gone and the tide of all he represents is receding, I’ll happily revisit the issue.

  24. Avatar Jeff Gorder says:

    Outstanding piece, Steve. I appreciate the way in which you set forth the stark reality and choices we now face.

  25. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    What a wonderful discussion. It’s civil and respectful and resembles late night discussions (with wine) at a college I attended decades ago. Listen and learn. I’m idealistic because I want honest people in positions of power. I’m thinking of Jimmy Carter, Senator McCain ( I do not believe he wanted to run for the Presidency.) and several others including a lot of the folks he resigned their jobs under the new administration. A friend of mine has a theory that any new president is taken into a room and initiated into the realities of the position that are in no way similar to what the new president imagined. There are some revealing youtube posts by young congresspeople exposing the sorts of pressures they are under to toe a line created by their particular party. What I refuse to do is abdicate my brain to any group of people. Again, thank you for a great article.

  26. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    On wasted votes, I don’t know how it is in California, but in Wyoming Jill Stein petition seekers were actually shoving petitions into people’s faces to get Stein on the ballot. If a certain percentage of voters vote third party then that party automatically gets a spot on the ballot for future elections. Having a third, or more, legitimate parties on the ballot would give the GOP and the DNC more concern to reach out to voters.
    If the SOJ would quit trying to split from California and instead, if they have the votes, form a SOJ party that was on the ballot then their voice would be heard.

  27. Avatar Kris Hegland says:

    The two party system has turned into a farce. There are differences between them of course but the simple fact of the matter is that neither party cares about the people or the country. Attacking and ostracizing people for voting 3rd party is rude, dangerous and self righteous. I think it is imperative that we find a way to have multiple parties or maybe even no parties at all, otherwise we keep perpetuating the same problems.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      I have been careful to state that I share most of the impulses of those who vote third-party—I don’t mean to insult anyone who still holds the view that neither major party deserves their vote. I have not been rude or self-righteous (I don’t think) in trying to persuade people that in this watershed moment of our country’s history, it’s vital to mount an effective counter-offensive against the rise of Trump’s rabid authoritarianism. The picture that Doni ran with this story effectively characterizes my enthusiasm for my choice, but I think it’s necessary.

      Once Trump and his ilk have been relegated to the ash heap of history, we can talk about addressing the faults of the two-party system. I absolutely agree that it’s a farce—that both of the major parties are beholden to their financial benefactors. I have donated money to three Democratic candidates for congressional seats who have sworn off PAC money. It’s a start.