LTE: Make primaries open - Open Primaries
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Posted by Jesse Shayne on December 09, 2016 at 12:26 PM

This letter to the editor was written by Joe Pickering Jr. for the Bangor Daily News

America is in the political gridlock basket. In September, the Harvard Business School survey on U.S. competitiveness concluded, “It is impossible to solve the issues besetting the U.S. economy and bring prosperity to millions of Americans if the United States remains mired in crippling political gridlock and vicious rhetoric.”

Former Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards believes profoundly restructuring Congress and the American political system is necessary to overcome this. His best-selling book, “ The Parties vs. the People: How to turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans,” is a blueprint on how to do it. One major point from this work is that we need to take away the right of the parties to control access to the ballot. Likening them to warring tribes, his vision goes far beyond centrists and extremists thinking. If anything, this election has taught us that one voter’s centrist is another voter’s extremist.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer wrote in a 2014 New York Times OpEd that “polarization and partisanship are a plague on American politics” and called for an open primary system. But in 2016 the New York primaries still are closed to 3 million independent voters. Regardless, 15 states have completely open primaries. Independents outnumber either party in America, and nearly half of millennials identify as political independents.

Living their motto Dirigo, Mainers are first in Clean Elections and ranked-choice voting. May our congressional delegation follow and propose legislation ending the parties right to control ballot access. Make America much greater than before.


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