The greatest issue faced by this generation is the hyper-partisan gridlock formed between the two major parties. Fortunately, from the conflict also comes a new generation of fresh, independent leaders. With national favorability numbers so low for both Democrats and Republicans, there could be a shift in favor for more independent candidates to decide to run for office. More importantly, youth should not be seen as a detriment in politics, especially when exploring a chance to run for office.One such individual at the forefront of this generational shift is co-founder of The Can Kicks Back, Nick Troiano. As a possible future candidate, he is exploring the possibility of challenging two-time Republican incumbent U.S. Representative Tom Marino in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District. Troiano would be an independent and citizen-funded candidate.
Nick is young — one of the youngest to form an exploratory committee — but he has spent the past few years immersed in government and came out with several unique ideas such as eliminating campaign funds from being rolled over from one cycle to another — thereby making each re-election cycle more competitive.
Another unique idea is a firm belief in challenging the current age restrictions on running for office. Currently, one has to be at least 25 at the swearing in ceremony, which Nick will be, but if you are old enough to vote, you should be able to also run for office.
“Most democracies have synched their eligibility age — the age you can vote — with the age you can hold office,” he said in an interview. “I think that is what we ought to do in this country — a proposal for an AGE Amendment which stands for All Generations Eligible to the Constitution. A good place to start in getting young people interested in running for office is to lower any age restriction to 18 when you can vote.”
Marino is a conservative Republican who voted against ending the partial government shutdown in October 2013. He was also one of the Republicans who voted to prevent the shutdown two weeks earlier if the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was postponed a year. Unfortunately, these controversial votes, especially the one to re-open the government, showed a divided GOP along ideological lines.
The hyper-partisan gridlock is commonly attributed to political affiliations. Democrats feel forced to comply with their party in order to stay in office or hold onto their chairmanships. If Troiano does get on the ballot, he will run as an independent. Ideology should be able to trump political affiliation. In other words, there should be more independents in Congress:
“Part of the reason I’m doing this is to prove a model that can be scaled to other congressional districts in 2016. I want to work with others who are embarking on a new endeavor to recruit, run, and support more independent-minded people. If we can elect around 30, such a group could control the balance of power in Congress…and force both parties to the middle where common ground could be found and the major challenges could be confronted.
This can also be a reason against the current primary system, especially in Pennsylvania:
Aside from the ideological turn, Troiano is pursuing a different method of forming a campaign run. He is pursuing a citizen-funded campaign. This is politics from the bottom up, putting the constituents above the special interest contributors.
In Pennsylvania we have closed primaries so independents can’t vote and people who are affiliated with other parties can’t cross over. That’s why the closed primary system tends to polarize choices for people and by the time Election Day comes in a gerrymandered district like mine whoever wins the Republican primary basically wins.
The goal for the exploratory committee is to raise $25,000 and gather 1,000 supporters. Currently, the committee is a third of the way there. Once they achieve this goal, the next step will be to gather a certain number of nomination papers.
Nomination papers are the largest obstacle with which independent and minor party candidates have to overcome to get on the general election ballot. Pennsylvania set the minimum number of signatures at “2 percent of the largest entire vote cast for an elected candidate in the last election within the district.” Given that Marino won re-election in 2012 (which was a presidential election year no less) with 179,563, the lucky number is approximately 3,591. The deadline to submit the nomination papers is August 1.
The backbone for this effort is a group of millennials who are already politically active. In 2010, part of the tea party’s appeal was due to their “outsider mentality.” They were not tied to the inner workings of D.C. politics as usual. Now, with even younger candidates showing up, time will tell how successful they become. The younger generation is making their move and Nick Troiano is a de facto leader in the movement.
Photo Credit: Kristyn Ulanday
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NO THANKS "Independent" is not word I trust, because they usually ARE the current Tea Party ;
The Can Kicks Back traced back to burnt out organizations Lead...or Leave and Third Way
Jonathan Cowan, president of the Third Way organization is one of the major organizers and advisors for The Can Kicks Back
In reality, Lead...or Leave ended up as a failed "conservative effort to gin up youth rebellion against Social Security and Medicare."
The Can Kicks Back is a partner organization in the Fix the Debt Campaign.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."
the biggest problem confronting millennials in terms of getting elected is they don't vote in nearly the numbers that would be necessary to bank a candidacy on. If nick can mobilize them, it may be a different story.
Although I do not live in PA, I wish Nick luck. This is what is needed, Millennials not only getting involved but running for office to implement their ideas. I am a Baby Boomer and firmly believe my generation will support younger candidates who offer real solutions minus the rhetoric.
@Corey Mondello Please name one elected independent who caucuses with t he GOP.
I was speaking to someone the other day and this, Millennials not voting, came up. The main reason they don't I believe, is they think their vote has no impact. This is why they should get behind movements aimed at implementing open primaries and IRV or approval voting. They could even say to lawmakers, "You want us to vote, then put a system in place that makes our vote worthwhile.
@Alex_G Yes, youth mobilization is key. A few of Nick'sstaff are not only from The Can Kicks Back but also Americans Elect so they are familiar withnewer methods of campaigning and reaching young voters.
@DougGoodman I also would like to add that the real solutions you mention are possible, but having that discussion with politicians who are already in office, many of whom have been in office much longer than most, is difficult. The solutions to stabilize the national debt are not easy to talk about period, but they have to be.
@DougGoodman True. I heard Nick talk at USC and that was just one of the campuses he visited last year on a cross-country tour discussing the fiscal future of America. Youth voter mobilization will hopefully be a game changer in 2014.
Posted the connects, just like Koch paying for Glenn Becks "grass roots" independent movement. Ron Paul even lost my respect when I realized he was a states-rights over all rights person. USA is just that. If I don't have equal rights, priveledged and protections all over USA because some states don't like me, while my taxes help pay for their natural disasters and everything else, that's called taking advantage of socialism while saying your state has low taxes and its conservative and supports independents. There is no difference between independent and conservative. I don't know why I thought getting this website emails would prove me wrong, time to unsubscribe apparently. Oh and btw- any time I have ever joined an online group or forum that is for independents, it's always predomomay uneducated people callin Obama a socialist and in years past, telling me I was an enemy because I didnf support the patriot act. Where were the real independents when I was looking for them? They were in the Republican Party. I am a register independent & unaffiliated because I'm not either of those bugs party's, but because I believe in equal rights, I'm pegged as a democrat. There is no use, there will always be two kinds if people regardless of what political party u are in it are not in; Conservative and "Liberal" for lack of a term unscathed by conservatives, but u know what I mean. Nothing in between, no gray areas, just left or right.
@Corey Mondello While TCKB is linked to the Fix The Debt and other groups, they do not always agree. See link below...
Also, I feel that independents can lean either way, just like both major parties have their own solutions to fix the debt problem. The solutions may appear partisan as well, but the trick is finding a compromise. Whether it is increasing the limit that gets taxed for SS or going to C-CPI there is a way to limit the growth of the debt without limiting government at the same time. Independent could be bucking the trend of either party, just look at how some Republicans are called RINOs and independents like Bernie Sanders called socialist-democrats.
I respect your positions and appreciate your comment. I do not speak for IVN, but I hope you continue to follow the site and future articles that come out of it.
@DougGoodman @brfallon Exactly. There is almost a disconnect between the politicians who have been in office for so long because they have so many third interests and their party funding them that change is needed. Talking to them about making changes to entitlements or taxes can endanger their seat in Congress. The changes will also affect the younger voters. Both reasons why it will be beneficial to have a voice in Congress like Mr. Troiano. There is a new wave of politicians and voters alike.