Fox and Hounds journalist, Joe Matthews, made a number of thought-provoking statements regarding the California GOP’s decision to prevent independent, non-partisan voters from participating in its state primary. For example, while he recognizes the GOP’s perogative in restricting certain voters, he asks a very pointed question: why should we have to pay for your primary, then?
Matthews identifies independent voters as the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, yet these voters are forced to pay for a host of partisan primaries, many of which, they cannot even participate in. At a time when unemployment is sky high, the state is running massive deficits, and taxes are on the rise, a significant percentage of the voting bloc is being forced to fund partisan politics. As Matthews points out, one could argue that this constitutes “taxation without representation”.
If the Republican Party desires to shut out independent voters, Matthew argues, then it should pay for its own partisan primary. It should not place the financial responsibility on the taxpayers, especially when a significant portion of taxpayers isn’t even able to participate in the political process. Ultimately, Matthew advocates non-partisan state elections as the most viable solution to this dilemma. After all, non-partisan elections already exist in cities and counties. That way, all voters, regardless of their party affiliation, would possess the right to vote as they please.
Matthews represents the growing voice of frustrated voters who are being ostracized by party regulars. California is mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Partisan politics has failed the people in almost every way imaginable. Isn’t it time for new voices, new ideas, and new solutions? A non-partisan primary initiative could go a long way toward instituting real change in a state whose “business as usual” approach to politics and economics has led to disaster.