As California suffers under 12.5% unemployment and is projected to run an astounding $83 billion worth of deficits over the next four years, billionaire GOP candidates, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, are playing the same old political games. Now, this is not meant to be a partisan hit piece. Both offer thought-provoking economic models, with Whitman focusing on job creation and spending cuts, and Poizner advocating his 10-10-10 plan of tax cuts, spending cuts, and a rainy day fund. However, instead of going into greater detail and spelling out how such plans could actually be implemented by a left-dominated legislature, they are spending the majority of their time engaging in caustic, personal attacks. Once again, two prominent candidates, filled to the gills in campaign funds, and engaged in endless barbs and insults. On the other side, Jerry Brown is the likely Democratic candidate for the moment, and even though he’s offered nothing concrete as far as potential solutions to the state’s economic crisis, he’s bringing in millions of dollars in campaign contributions. So, once again, big money, personal attacks, and vague platforms are the order of the day. Sadly, recent gubernatorial polls appear to bolster this tried and true strategy.
Only independent-minded voters can reverse this self-defeating trend. Electing the rich and famous, voting for the party approved candidate, rewarding ruthless personal attacks with campaign money, and accepting vague rhetoric have proven to be extremely unsuccessful strategies for Californians. Just look at the state. It’s rapidly approaching Great Depression numbers. It’s time for a whole new strategy. It’s time critically thinking, independent-minded voters put their candidates to more rigorous tests. It’s time to open up the ballot box to nontraditional candidates. It’s time to demand precise proposals, specific solutions, and civil dialogue.
Independent voters are the fastest growing segment of the electorate. Independents hold the key to unlocking state-saving reform. But, if independents fail to wield their rising clout to challenge the status quo, then the status quo is exactly what they’ll get.