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Sunday, July 14, 2013

America Needs a Centrist Election Process - Open Primaries

Senator Bernie Sanders explains: 

In 2013, the Democrats control the White House and the Senate but it appears to many Americans that the Republicans determine the agenda. While the Republicans moved from a center-right party to a right-wing extremist party, the Democrats have also moved to the right -- going from being a center-left party to a centrist party. 

The above comment was sent to me by a blog reader who is involved with The purpose of this initiative is to lobby the President's Commission on Election Administration to change the way candidates are selected to run for political office.  In so doing, polarizing extremists could be voted out of office, but only if primary elections are open to all voters, rather than to the political party faithful.  

America needs an election process whereby centrist candidates can be nominated to run for elected positions.

Many states offer open primary elections for selecting Presidential nominees, but the process for other elected candidates are limited to party members.  California and Washington State have challenged this process, but many who support the current system oppose any changes.  

Citizens initiatives are working to develop centrist engagement in elections; but the primary system currently in place works against their common sense approach to electing centrists. 

A fundamentally sound solution is recommended to push back against polarizing elections.  This is their recommendation:  If all voters, regardless of political party, were able to vote for any of the candidates nominated to run for political positions, the person with the most centrist appeal would no doubt receive more votes from centrist voters, thereby eliminating extremist candidates.  

Another alternative is the modified closed primary, as has been in effect in California since 2001. In California's primary, each political party may decide whether or not they wish to allow unaffiliated (not enrolled) voters to vote in their party's primary.  

Unfortunately, Republicans are opposed to open and modified closed primary elections.  In other words, Republicans appear obsessed with nominating extreme right wing candidates.  They will continue to nominate extremists until, eventually, they'll win elections, even if they must support gerrymandering to create skewed election districts to win elections.  

On the other hand, the centrists and moderate Democratic voters outnumber right wing Republicans.  It makes sense for these two groups to support for the purpose of preventing right wing extremists from winning elections.

Unfortunately, Republicans know there's little if no chance of changing the primary system before the November 2014 elections. Therefore, with only Republican votes in the mid term primaries, the candidates running in the elections will be right wing selections. Likewise for "centrist" Democrats, of course, but Republican gerrymandering of the voting districts will clearly elect the extremist candidate.  

Therefore, Congress and state legislatures will become more Republican, more strident, more right wing, more extreme and create more suppression of open primaries.  

On the other hand, if primaries were open to all voters, the right wing candidates could easily be eliminated by centrist and Democratic voters.

Although this dire right wing winning strategy seems inevitable, there are two ways change the outcome:  (a) immediately change the primary election process to allow all voters to participate; or (b) motivate all Democrat and Independent voters to vote right wing extremists out of office.  

Either (a), or (b) or (hopefully) both will put Centrists in charge of our government and, thereby, put extremists out of office.  This would inspire more confidence in political leadership and focus our government on issues impacting the majority of people, rather than fringe issues like abortion or obsession with unbridled Second Amendment rights.  Imagine a government concerned with helping a majority of Americans? A centrist voting block could easily make this political dream a reality.  

It's important for Americans to support
Meanwhile, it's essential for centrist Americans of every political party to vote extremists out of office by showing up at the polls on election day.

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