That our political system is dysfunctional does not need to be overstated. The latest implosion over the Trans-Pacific Partnership demonstrates that enough, and a litany of polls and statistics reinforce the failures of Congress and the shared responsibility of both parties.Yet when Americans decide to vote their minds and break from expectations, they are derided as crazy and denounced for refusing to conform to one side.
We have a different opinion. In a political system aching for change, it is the voters who disrupt, who break the status quo, that we need the most. They are the ones who see the problems endemic in politics and are willing to demand better.
So rather than deride them, we should celebrate the crazy voters, those of you crazy enough to make a difference.
You See Things Differently
You reject the notion of us vs. them, black and white politics. You see nuance and complexity in policy and you embrace this in your own beliefs.
You see congressmen and senators as representatives and public servants, not party members, partisans, or ideologues.
You don’t see policy in shades of red or blue. You don’t play politics like a game and you don’t see winners and losers. When you see the problems our nation is facing, you don’t ask who is to blame -- you ask how they can be fixed.
You Make Your Own Decisions
You are a skeptic. You question pundits who label opponents as the enemy, and you reject name calling, grandstanding, and partisan bickering. You find out for yourself.
When you vote, you vote for the candidate who best represents you. You are a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent by choice. No one is entitled to your vote; they have to earn it.
You look at politics in America, at the state of our democracy, the dysfunction of our Congress, and the challenges of our policy, and you say, “We can do better than this.”
When others resign themselves to dysfunction in Congress, to failures of leadership and failures of policy, when they give up and say “things will never get better,” you ask, “Why not?”
57% of Americans blame extreme partisans for the dysfunction in Congress. Public approval for both parties is below 40%. The portion of Americans who identify as independent is at a record high and growing. Americans everywhere see the problems facing our nation, and are calling for something new.
So maybe crazy voters aren’t that crazy after all. Maybe they are just the innovators -- the early adopters. Maybe what makes them special isn’t how they think, but how they act. Crazy voters are the ones who are loud enough and disruptive enough to be called crazy in the first place, because that is the only way to make a difference. And 2016 is going to be their year.
Editor’s note: This article, written by Andy Smith, originally published on the Centrist Project’s website on May 22, 2015. You can learn more about the Centrist Project on its website or follow the organization on Twitter and Facebook.