OPINION: America Needs an Independent Presidential Primary in 2020

At least 26 million voters in the United States were denied the freedom to vote in the 2016 presidential primary elections. A large portion of these voters were independents. I am assuming that a similar problem occurred in the 2018 mid-term elections.

It is time to create a new primary election system. This undemocratic process has continued for far too long. It is time that we give ownership of the election process back to the American people.

Why should American taxpayers continue to pay for Democratic and Republican Party primaries in which they cannot vote? So, I am advocating that the independent voter movement and its leadership establish the National Independent Voter Presidential Primary for the 2020 elections and make it a permanent part of America’s electoral system.

This national primary election system would open the doors for independent voters across America to vote for presidential candidates. This election reform would allow independent voters to have a voice in selecting America’s presidential candidates.

This way, independent voters can select their own choices for president and maybe vice president without the Democratic and Republican Parties dictating their choices to the American people. It is time to make our election process democratic.

Why should American taxpayers continue to pay for Democratic and Republican Party primaries in which they cannot vote?

The leadership of the independent voter movement in association with Independent Voting — based in New York City — should create a national primary election committee to implement and oversee the National Independent Voter Presidential Primary Election. This committee could be named the National Independent Voter Committee or known as the NIVC.

Independent Voting, lead by its president, Jackie Salit, and the leadership of the Independent voter movement established a national cabinet in January of 2019. So, this would be an easy transition for the cabinet or they may utilize its national election reform committee which has been active for several years.

The NIVC would serve as a central organizing committee for this event and other related activities.

Independent Voting works with independent voting groups and organizations in at least 40 states. It would be ideal if all 50 states had independent voter organizations. Regardless, NIVC could begin the coordination of this national independent voter primary in all of these states in late 2019 or early 2020.

In order for presidential candidates to enter this national primary, they would need to sign a pledge to endorse the National Independent Voter Presidential Primary as a legitimate and integral part of the America’s electoral process.

In addition, as another requirement to enter this primary, candidates cannot accept super PAC campaign money or campaign money from large corporations or wealthy individuals. They would also be required to pledge that the general election be designated as a national holiday.

There are some options to consider in this new national primary election. One process that would fit each state’s independent voter groups would be a caucus system. So, this primary could be a national caucus primary election for independent voters. The caucus system is one of the most democratic election processes.

After each state group or organization has caucused, they would report the results to the NIVC.

The other option would be to provide a national “Top Two” presidential primary election. Each state’s independent voter organization would issue ballots for this format and tally the results.

How would this national primary be coordinated? The NIVC would be responsible for organizing a one-day national event, preferably on a weekend. I suggest that a Saturday be selected for this event possibly right before or after the Democratic and Republican Party national conventions. The pros and cons of this strategy need to be weighed.

Each statewide independent voter organization would report their caucus or “Top Two” results to the NIVC headquartered in a public venue such as a day-long town hall meeting. Perhaps the results could be posted on a large U.S. map on a wall. Maybe there could be a big screen television monitor televising the results. This event could be like a NFL Draft day event.

Once the total votes have been confirmed, they could be announced at a national press conference. This event should create plenty of national publicity and recognition for the independent voter movement and this great democratic election process.

What about the public voting in this type of primary election? Do we open this independent primary to Democratic and Republican Party voters? Let’s get the independent primary established first, and then we can discuss the answers to these questions later.

The answer to these questions may work themselves out naturally. Yes, initially this event becomes an exclusive election process for independent voters. Independent voters have been denied voting in Democratic and Republican primaries for decades. Always remember that tax money from independents has paid for Democratic and Republican primaries for many years.

After all, independent voters make up at least 44% or more of the registered voters in America. It’s about time that we have a voice in America’s election system and this is how we can do it!

Even though the Independent Voter National Cabinet is working very hard to convince the Democratic and Republican Party National Committees and their presidential candidates to open all of the closed primaries in America for the 2020 presidential election season, there is no guarantee that they will open any of these primary elections in 2020.

In addition, there seems to be considerable resistance on the part of the two major parties to “Top Two” primaries and Ranked Choice Voting. Both major parties are taking action to close primary elections in several states across America for the 2020 elections. They are going to extremes to exclude independent and third party voters in some of their primaries.

Any state legislation to open primary elections would most likely get defeated. This leaves the independent voter movement no other alternatives! We must act now!

The National Independent Voter Presidential Primary Election could be easily organized by 2020. Other options might be added to the list with the caucus system or the “Top Two” primary for consideration, but let’s look at the two that I have suggested first.

This national primary event would not be expensive, and the independent voter movement would be in control of this process. This is a bold move that the independent voter movement must make immediately!

Creating this national network or structure is exactly what the independent voter movement needs, especially right now. This national primary event would help unify and solidify the independent voter movement nationally. This move would be historic as well. This event would give the independent voter movement the national credibility and recognition that it deserves.

Overall, this event sponsored by the independent voter movement provides America a window into the future of what real democratic and transparent elections should look like. This is how the independent voter movement makes a national statement. This is how we show America how a democracy should work!

Please join me in this national effort. More details and information on this event and other revolutionary ideas can be found in my forthcoming book, “America’s New Revolution.”