Many states are basically insolvent. America is sitting on $13 trillion of debt. The Great Recession is still underway, and the same old partisan bickering prevents lawmakers from finding solutions. The time has come for American voters to reform a broken system and plot a new course. It’s time to launch a revolution and register independent.
Here are 50 reasons why:
1. Now that there is an open primary in California, residents of that state no longer need to be a member of a party to participate in the primary process.
2. Neither party ever shakes up the status quo anyways.
3. You shouldn’t be required to join a private organization to participate in public policy.
4. The Founding Fathers feared and warned against parties (or what they called factions back then).
5. If you drop the partisan label, it’s easier to drop the partisan mindset and avoid partisan reflexes to good or bad policy.
6. The two main parties aren’t all that different anyways.
7. From 2001-2005, the DNC raised $162 million. What if all that money had just directly gone toward causes Democrats support, like for instance, setting up a charitable trust to provide health insurance for the children of low income families?
8. And what if all the millions raised by the RNC just directly went toward causes Republicans would support like providing medical care, counseling, financial aid, and adoption services to young mothers who don’t want to abort, but cannot afford to carry to term?
9. Parties are often more interested in power than policy.
10. Parties love to play red team / blue team. For many party functionaries, it’s more about getting people with the “right” letter next to their name elected, and less about making life better for the people they represent.
11. The same exact party will act radically different when it’s in power than when it’s out of power, then criticize the other party for doing the exact same thing. This has happened in multiple branches of government at multiple levels of government. We’ve all seen it happen.
12. It was members of (both!) political parties that ran up the national debt, authorized the president to take us to Iraq, bailed out rich banking corporations with middle-class and poor workers’ money, passed and renewed the Patriot Act, and got us to where we are today… not independents.
13. If you don’t like the status quo, remember that parties brought us the status quo. No “independent-controlled” Congress can be blamed for the status quo.
14. Democrats- are you honestly happy with President Obama?
15. Republicans- were you honestly happy with President Bush?
16. Does anyone honestly believe if Democrats had full control of the entire government for twenty years, or if Republicans had full control of the entire government for twenty years– that at the end of either time period our country would be better off? Honestly?
17. Rightly or wrongly, people judge you when they hear you’re a member of one or the other party. Avoid being pigeon-holed by registering independent.
18. The media, politicians, and parties are always courting independents. Want to be wanted? Want to be listened to? Want a strong voice? Register independent.
19. You are an individual. There is no way your views are exactly 100% party line. Start a party of one. Register Independent.
20. The whole leftwing / rightwing dichotomy is nonsensical. We are told our entire lives to think outside the box, but when we think about something as nuanced as public policy, we try to cram the entirety of our views into a single, one dimensional line. That makes no sense at all. Parties perpetuate the silly linear model of political ideology.
21. Parties are so busy fighting and bickering that they seldom listen to each other and will oppose something the other party supports just because it’s the other party, then turn around and support the very policy they previously opposed once they’re in power.
22. Parties spend most of their time and energy fighting about the things they disagree on and almost no energy passing the arguably simple, common sense, and desperately-necessary reforms that most Americans agree need to be passed.
23. In recent years, polling has found that 80% of Americans believe we deserve transparency in the form of a full-scale, public audit of the Federal Reserve Bank, yet both parties refuse to pass this simple reform. Neither party, under the administrations of Bush and Obama, has prosecuted a single Wall Street executive over the financial crisis at the end of Bush’s second term.
24. Pepsi and Coca-Cola are essentially the same drink. Granted, they taste a little different, but in the end they are both cola-flavored, carbonated beverages. That’s why they have to spend millions to convince you that they’re different and that you should choose one over the other. Parties are the same way. They’re mostly the same. They mostly guide economic and foreign policy in roughly the same direction. That’s why they have to appear so partisan and polarized, to create the impression of a substantial difference that doesn’t really exist. That’s why, like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, they spend millions on advertising to convince voters that they’re different.
25. Gerrymandering by parties for parties.
26. Imagine hundreds of independent legislators with no pressure from any party apparatus to conform to a particular dogma.
27. Partisan-driven “lesser-evilism.”
28. You know that guy that just “pulls the party lever” and uncritically votes for all the people of one party just because they’re members of that party? Don’t be that guy (or girl). You’re better than that. Register independent.
29. Republicans– your party ran up deficits to unprecedented levels for eight years under Bush, grew the welfare state more than any other time in US history, and helped pass the TARP bailouts. Happy?
30. Democrats– your party had more separate major troop deployments under Clinton than any other president in US history, and now Obama is continuing the policies of open-ended nation-building and indefinite detention that you opposed under Bush. Happy?
31. The parties undergo major political realignments every few decades anyways. Why not just skip all that and vote your conscience? Register independent.
32. Your principles are more important than any party. Register independent.
33. Policies are more important than personality, and parties often become cults of personality for this or that rising star within the party. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t make me name names.
34. Parties often distract us from both policies and principles with personality, partisanship, and horse-race politics. Register independent.
35. Parties inevitably degenerate into an “us vs. them” mentality.
36. Things get ugly in partisan politics. It’s not enough to disagree– partisanship often crosses the line into demonization and hatred toward other people.
37. Parties easily become echo chambers and foster “groupthink.”
38. On a state and local level, parties make even less sense than on a national level, because there’s much less ideology involved and much more “nuts and bolts” kind of policy. Why not register independent?
39. Does being a member of a party actually improve or add value to your life at all? What do you get out of it?
40. Fewer robo-calls and spam mail from your party.
41. George Washington was an independent.
42. Almost a third of Americans already self-identify as independents in surveys. If more Americans join them, it could seriously shake up the partisan-driven status quo.
43. If the parties start hemorrhaging people to “independence,” it will put pressure on them to clean up their act so they don’t keep losing people, so leaving your party could actually help make it better!
44. By declaring independence and leaving your party, you suddenly assume responsibility for the political direction of this country for yourself, as an individual, and the future of our country will then belong to “We the People,” not to political parties.
45. You have more credibility in political discussions with your peers if you’re an independent voter and not affiliated with a party.
46. We’ve tried political parties out for two centuries now. Happy? Let’s give independence a shot. What do we have to lose?
47. Ostensibly, political parties form because the people in them share the same views on government and public policy, but if you share the same views as someone, you don’t need a political party to do so and to organize together.
48. What two individuals ever have identical views on every issue anyways?
49. Parties don’t necessarily have to represent you or even stay true to their own platform. How often would you say either party has done either in recent years?
50. You’ll feel really good about yourself. Trust me. I’m an independent voter. I’ve never registered as a member of any party in my entire life– and I couldn’t be happier.
If you haven’t already– register independent!