Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

OPINION: Voters Must Cast Off the Shackles of Two-Party Control

Created: 02 May, 2019
Updated: 14 August, 2022
2 min read

On Page D1, April 14, in the Portland Press Herald, the headline on Jim Fossel’s column states: “Simplification of tax code would achieve bipartisan goals.” The other, on Brian Klaas’ commentary, reads: “Can America survive scandal overload?”

First, may We the People have a tax code that meets America’s goals, not bipartisan ones.

Second, we live in the Age of Nixon-Like Scandals, but the 2020 election is not, in Klaas’ words, “our last” or first “line of defense.” It’s a party-directed offense! It’s also not “an opportunity for voters to send a new message to the politicians.” It’s a message of fear wrapped in a Democratic or Republican package!

The Democratic and Republican parties’ control over ballot access is our greatest scandal! We don’t live in a democracy. We the People allow ourselves to be captive in a partiocracy. They swap elections and bar others. This is the greatest threat to America.

Voters are fed up! Over 95 million Americans didn’t even vote in the 2008 presidential election! Over 40 percent of American voters are independents. Mainers are almost 35 percent independents.

In a 2017 survey, sponsored by Mainers for Open Elections and the national organization Open Primaries, a large majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents supported open primaries. Our state Legislature voted in the last session for a closed primary. It’s not enough to vote. What’s the solution? We need to work to change the process of voting.

The parties should participate in our elections, not control them. Let’s get off our cellphones. Let’s demand that the parties stop controlling ballot access from the primaries through the presidential elections.

Both parties gerrymander. Both file court cases against and label smaller parties and independents “spoilers.” They use our tax money to promote their private corporations and candidates. Why not vote out of office any legislator who supports this form of voter suppression?

Editor's Note: This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Portland Press Herald and was republished by request and with permission from the author.