Month 7 in Evan Falchuk’s diary of his Independent campaign for Governor of Massachusetts
A lot of people I meet are worried about the future. They’re worried that our politics and government are broken, and that our elected leaders can’t come up with practical answers for the serious problems that just keep getting worse. They worry that we are reaching a point of no return, where the very foundation of what makes America so much more than just a place on a map will be lost.A new poll out this month from the Associated Press' NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago shows how widespread this feeling is.
Ninety-three percent of Americans say our democracy needs some changes, a lot of changes, or needs to be completely changed. A majority - 51 percent - say our democracy needs many changes or needs to be completely changed. And, those startling figures aren’t just in reaction to some policy change -- they overwhelmingly show a broad-based consensus that there’s something fundamentally wrong.
With all of this going on, you’d expect people to be voting in large numbers, trying to support candidates that will bring about the change they are looking for. But, it’s not happening.
Consider these numbers from 2013: In Massachusetts, in Boston’s first open mayoral contest in a generation, only 30 percent of voters participated. The election to succeed John Kerry in the U.S. Senate only drew 27 percent of registered voters. And, in the race to fill the U.S. congressional seat previously held by Ed Markey, only 13 percent of voters went to the polls.
Is our democracy dying? Some think the answer lies in creating something like a “tea party” on the left, the better to “fight it out” with their opponents. Politico’s Michael Auslin recently proposed establishing a new American monarchy: “We need a king, or something like one,” he wrote. Others fantasize about what one commenter called “a well-organized overthrow of everything.”
None of these are the answer. In fact they all beg the question -- what are we trying to do, exactly?
I am committed to the ideal that our government is here for crucial reasons: It must ensure that everyone’s rights are protected. It must do what is needed to make sure opportunity is available to all, and that no person or institution may do harm to others. Above all, it must do its work in a way that reflects our best and highest aspirations.If the wisdom and sheer bravery of our nation’s founding days are to be our touchstone, then our elected leaders, the major parties that support them, and the special interests that fuel them are all failing.
The reason people aren’t turning out to vote for the same old candidates is that they don’t want to support the same old politics. According to a 2013 DAPA Research, Inc. poll, 58 percent of registered independent, Democratic, and Republican voters in Massachusetts want a new, independent political party based on socially progressive ideas and fiscally sane solutions. A party that will make it possible for new, pragmatic leaders to be in the vanguard of a movement that represents what the majority of voters prefer.
This clear voter preference and support is in large measure what led us to create Massachusetts’ United Independent Party in January 2013, dedicated to these key principles.
And so in 2014, an election year for so many statewide and local races throughout America, now is the time to finally act. Indeed, the time has never been better -- and it is a time that may never come again. When a whopping 93% of voters nationwide say our democracy needs changes, who will be the ones who lead the way forward?
Will it be independent-minded, pragmatic citizens, who maybe haven’t voted in a while, but care deeply about the issues? Or will we let the major party special interests, entrenched party organizations, and longtime partisan incumbents use this moment to further entrench themselves and control decision-making even more?
The time to act is now. Reading articles and “liking” or sharing them are important, but not as important as volunteering to phone bank, canvass, organize, or even donate five bucks to a cause you believe in. If you’re a college student, join the ranks of students organizing independent voter clubs, like the United Independent Party clubs popping up on campuses throughout Massachusetts.
The 2014 election is when the stand against partisanship and for a truly inclusive, more accountable democracy begins -- and the changes this brings about will happen in Massachusetts. It’s already started. And that is every bit as inspiring as it is overdue.On the campaign trail in my independent race for governor, I often hear it said that creating a new independent party, as we’ve done with the United Independent Party, while also running for governor as an independent is “too hard.” But, after more than a year of studying the numbers, building an organization, and engaging with so many people throughout Massachusetts something hash become crystal clear: One of the certain outcomes of the 2014 election is that the entrenched Democratic and Republican parties in Massachusetts will need to make way for the new United Independent Party and its fiscally sane, pragmatically progressive ideas.
In tandem, with your help, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also will see its first independent governor, should I earn this office.
All of this will have been earned through hard work; honest, innovative ideas; and a refusal to let the two major parties dictate every decision that’s made by finally including so many more voter voices and opinions. It’s what our democracy should be all about. That’s at the root of what makes it a democracy in the first place.
To learn more about the United Independent Party or my ongoing independent campaign for Governor of Massachusetts, please visit www.UnitedIndependentParty.org. Election Day 2014 will be here before we know it – the countdown’s begun!