HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Tom Rinaldo » Journal
Page: 1

Tom Rinaldo

Profile Information

Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,199

Journal Archives

Serious question (not trying to bait anyone). What do you make of the rise of Independents?

I don't mean candidates specifically, I mean non affiliated voters. What are the implications of the fact that a plurality of Americans now actively choose NOT to register as members of any political party, even though that often prevents them from voting in primaries that choose the most viable candidates in General Elections? We here on DU pretty much have a consensus that there are major differences between the two major political parties, so why does an increasing percentage of Americans see no reason to affiliate with one over the other?

I used to not think about this much, falling back on the old cliche that non affiliated voters were "swing voters" balanced at the center of our political spectrum. But true swing voters have always been a pretty small percentage of the electorate, certainly not a larger percentage of voters than those who choose to identify as Democrats. Personally I have always seen strong advantages in belonging to a political party, and I am active in our local Democratic Party. But it is getting near impossible for us to "recruit" anyone below 50 into becoming active in the Democratic Party as an institution.

Millennials are even less likely to register as members of a political party than is the population as a whole. It doesn't take fortune telling ability to understand the progression of that trend line. I'll state one firm opinion here; lecturing people on why the should be Democrats clearly isn't working, whether or not one in fact believes that they should indeed be Democrats.

How much meaning does party loyalty, or even identification, still have in a society where most citizens reject the very concept of belonging to any political party?

Let's hope at least some Republican voters are paying attention

The news this week will alternate between coverage of McCain's funeral and memorials, with McCain's personal character sharply illuminated; and coverage of Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors with Trump's character sharply illuminated. The contrast could not be clearer.

Democracy is messy

It's always been that way. People competing for power have egos as well as ideals. It's not just about ideology. Democrats, like Republicans, often oppose each other in primaries over who better deserves to get the job, more so than over differences in policy. Then they look for nuances of difference regarding policy to differentiate themselves from each other. And when the major distinctions between them isn't about differing core convictions, but rather about different characters and skills, that becomes a recipe for negative campaigning.

It is naive to expect all milk and honey in Democratic primaries. That almost never is the case. True, some contests are more negative than others, but virtually every campaign does opposition research on opponents in their own party, with the intention of using it if it will aid their electoral efforts. Some go over the line while doing so, but that line is poorly defined and people disagree on where it lies.

A case can be made for trying to discourage primaries between Democrats. Regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea to do so, it flies in the face of reality. People in politics have career ambitions just like everyone else. Many a successful political career would have stalled out completely if the prevailing view was never to challenge a sitting office holder from your own party. And politicians tend to believe in themselves, thinking that they offer something uniquely special that justifies their own run. It kind of goes with the territory.

I believe in primaries because, among other things, I believe that power has a tendency to corrupt when that tendency is not checked. That is not the same thing as saying those who hold power always become corrupt, they don't. But one of the reasons why they don't is the knowledge that even in a "safe district" they can always be challenged and thrown out of office via a primary challenge. But mostly I believe in primaries because I believe in democracy. And I say that now more than ever precisely because the only politically viable alternative to the Democratic Party, today's Republican Party, has become so lethal to the very concept of real democracy.

There is no sane alternative to the Democratic Party today, which means that we virtually have to vote for whoever is running with the Democratic nomination in the Fall. I accept that truth. But that also means that the only arena left for people to advance differing positive views and priorities through candidates devoted to them, is through Democratic primaries. With Republicans totally disqualified, it is also the only realm open where average voters can still weigh in on which individual (not just their platform) will best represent their interests.

I can be pretty forgiving of "transgressions" they may have made during a primary contest if the candidates who emerges victorious from Democratic Party Primaries will work to advance my basic agenda once in office. And the Democratic Party does. My position is to sort out our differences with primaries as called for, then unite behind the winner. Precisely because I oppose third party candidates in the current political context, I support robust competition within the Democratic Party between those who are pledged to support the resulting Democratic candidate in November.
Go to Page: 1