Opening our electoral process to more voices than just those from the two national parties is the goal of Open Primaries.
And it’s a partisan problem that’s growing every day.
One of the voices trying to bridge the divide and bring more independents into the national consciousness is the president of Open Primaries, John Opdycke.
IVN sat down with Opdycke at the recent Unrig the System Summit in New Orleans. Click to listen to the interview:
On Partisan Politics
“We are seeing a paradox in American politics which is that the system is getting more and more partisan, and the voters are getting less and less partisan. Independent voters are now 44% of the electorate. In Oregon, for example, where they just enacted automatic voter registration so everyone registers to vote, 60% of people are registering as independents. So you’re seeing that trend in the country, and yet the system is set up whereby if you’re an independent you’re a second class citizen.”
“We’re looking to build on the success of California and Washington and Nebraska where they say there’s no Democratic primary, there’s no Republican primary, there’s a VOTERS primary. It’s paid for by tax dollars, everybody gets to vote in it for whomever they want. We’re trying to take that around the country.”
You're seeing that trend (away from political parties) in the country, and yet the system is set up whereby if you're an independent, you're a second class citizen.John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries
“The thing about open primaries that people don’t appreciate is that it has this veneer of common sensical, simple, it’s an incredibly provocative reform. It’s very provocative to the political insiders, liberal, conservative, Democrat and Republican, because you’re basically saying those primaries don’t belong to you (the parties) they belong to the voters, and the opposition is incredibly fierce for something as basic as, ‘Hey, if you’re funding these, you should be able to vote in them.’ Opening primaries is as fundamental as no taxation without representation.”
John Opdycke will soon be the latest addition to IVN’s growing list of editorial voices with his new podcast, The Pickle, which will feature an interview with former Gehl Foods CEO Katherine Gehl, who along with Harvard Professor Michael Porter wrote a groundbreaking Harvard Business School study that examines the harm the two-party duopoly has done to the election process.
Stay tuned for the first episode of The Pickle on IVN.