2016 Election Commentary by Matt Mittan
For the Primary election in North Carolina, as an unaffiliated voter, I print out the sample ballots of each Party and then check off all of the candidates that I like and that I think would be good public servants, from the Presidential race right here to the local level. Once I’ve done that, whichever sample ballot has the most check marks on it, I declare that Party as the Primary I will vote in. Then, when the results come in I compare them to all my sample ballot selections.
In my district, out of all the Parties, there were 77 candidates to choose from. In total, I checked off only nine names. Out of the nine I checked off, only 2 won. That’s the lowest ratio I’ve ever had but is pretty typical of how it’s been trending for me over the past 10-15 years. Now, this could leave some people feeling a bit isolated or disenfranchised but then I look at the performance, ethics and accountability of our political institutions over that same time-frame and I at least have the comfort of knowing… 1) I didn’t help put these people in office. 2) Maybe, just maybe, I actually know a better path and have a more reliable sense of character than do the majority of my voting neighbors.
The path that the Political Parties, and the people who fall under their spells, have led us down is a path to ruin. Voting for more pumped up versions of the same old formula will only make things worse. As for me, I’m down to just two people, out the entire electoral process – from Local to State to Federal – that I feel I can vote FOR. If this downward trend continues, I’ll be left with only two options. 1) Not vote at all, or; 2) Run for office myself. Neither of those options sound very good to me.
So how about we try something else? Why don’t we break the partisan hold over elections? Reject Party affiliation as part of registering to vote or participating in the electoral process. Lets have truly open voting in the primaries, where we all vote for the best of all the candidates – regardless of Party. No more voting for the best of half or against the worst of them all. Let’s get the money out of politics so that more people can consider public service as a viable option. And lets take away the incentive to make politics a career by removing all perks and retirement plans for elected offices.
I want my vote to mean something again. I want public service to be revered as a noble effort again. And above all, I want us to be unified around the idea that our Constitutional Republic, and its institutions, are above the fray, where we all have an equal seat at the table of respectful discourse. But then again, maybe these ideals and desires are as out of touch with today’s voting population as my selections on my ballot seem to be.
Matt Mittan is a long time broadcaster based out of Asheville, NC. http://www.MattMittan.com