We have a letter this week in support of open primaries, which would allow independent voters to participate in one party’s primary election.
While it seems party members should have the right to select their nominees, does this give parties undue influence over the rest of us – independent or “unenrolled” voters?
During the primaries, the candidates do their best to appeal to their base: the conservative Republican, the liberal Democrat.
There is no room for a moderate or an independent thinker who belongs to a party, but might stray from party orthodoxy on some matters.
Witness Joe Biden’s recent flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment. His position – not against abortion rights but against the use of federal funds for abortion – put him at odds with the modern Democratic Party. After an outcry from the party’s liberal base, he changed his position.
So it is that every four years, moderate voters find themselves with another choice between what many regard as two evils.
Open primaries have the potential to moderate the influence of each party’s base and, when Election Day comes, could, just maybe, give everyone a governor or president who doesn’t give them ulcers every time they speak or act.
The Maine Legislature appears to have rejected open primaries for now – little wonder in a body where almost everyone belongs to a party – but perhaps the proposal will come to voters through the referendum process.
We are not ready to endorse open primaries, but we are ready for some change to a system that forces candidates to swear allegiance to party rather than country or state!
Congress does something right!
In the meantime, Congress deserves credit for a big accomplishment this week: blocking its own pay raise.
No one in the legislative (or executive) branch deserves a pay raise while they fail to act on key issues like immigration reform and infrastructure, instead spending their time lobbing insults at each other and raising funds for reelection.
Don’t worry, we expect they will still be able to afford the basic necessities with their $174,000 salaries.
Happy Father’s Day
We wish a happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in our community.
Spend time with your family if you can and enjoy the beautiful weather (finally)!