Sunday, March 15, 2015

“Unaffiliated” get to play hide and seek with politics and elections

Take a closer look at registered voters in North Carolina, as of March 7, 2015 there are:
  • 6,323,596 registered voters.
  • 2,629,655 or 41.58% registered with the Democratic Party.
  • 1,932,949 or 30.57% registered with the Republican Party.
  • 25,820 or .41% (less than 1%) registered with the Libertarian Party.
  • 1,735,712 or 27.44% registered “unaffiliated” or no Party.

The “unaffiliated” includes some of the candidates for and some of the current members of the UNC Board of Governors, and many writers, editors and the publisher of The News & Observer. With so many “unaffiliated,” why isn’t there a primary election to nominate an “unaffiliated” to any office: Governor, Senator, Representative, member General Assembly? You get the idea.

Instead of allowing the registered “unaffiliated” to band together, lumping liberals, conservatives, and moderates together in the election process and nominate candidates to oppose Democratic and Republican nominees in the general elections, the “unaffiliated” voters can choose to vote in either the Democratic or the Republican primary or sit out, not participating in the nomination process. Some do sit out and then write about it. Those registered as “unaffiliated” should not be able to participate in the primary elections and be restricted to general election voting only. Participation in non-partisan elections primaries would be okay.

As it is now, “unaffiliated” voters can choose to support a candidate of choice, but they can also select a candidate who if he or she were to win the primary would not stand a chance against the nominee of the other party. For example, if in the 2016 election for North Carolina governor, Pat McCrory has no Republican opposition, the unaffiliated voters who support Governor McCrory could band together and vote in the Democratic primary for a candidate who has little chance to defeat McCrory, possibly keeping someone like populist Attorney General Roy Cooper from gaining the nomination. Then in the general election, that group of unaffiliated voters could vote for McCrory, giving him a landslip win over a hapless Democratic nominee.

While it looks impressive that the Democratic voters hold a wide percentage margin when it comes to voter registration, in the past 10 years the growth of registered voters in the Democratic Party has grown about 1.7% and in the Republican Party about 1%. Registration as “unaffiliated” has increased 40%. The smaller group of Libertarians has grown by 48% (but extremely low real numbers) and has just enough followers to possibly throw a general election into turmoil. 

Maybe, the “unaffiliated” voters should have a primary of sorts with “unaffiliated” candidates. That will not happen as long as the Democratic and Republican parties are in charge of making the voting laws, allowing “unaffiliated” voters to run and hide behind a bogus label yet still take part in party politics. Maybe the "unaffiliated" should be required to sit out primaries and only be allowed to vote in general elections when party affiliation doesn't matter.
-------------------- word of the day
knackered (adjective) [nak-erd]: exhausted; very tired

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