Posted by John Opdycke on September 15, 2015 at 10:42 AM
Letter From The President: The Connection Between Open Primaries and the Trump and Sanders Surge
People ask me all the time “what’s the connection between open primaries and the Trump and Sanders surge?
My answer - “Everything and Nothing” - often times infuriates my questioners. But I stick by my answer. Because the world we live in is not so cut and dry anymore.
Everything. The American people are angry. You don’t need a crystal ball to see that. We’ve been lied to repeatedly by leaders from both political parties who excel at "divide and conquer" politics, led into unsupportable wars, seen our tax dollars wasted, problems fester, and our human potential undeveloped.
Trump and Sanders tap into that anger. Open primaries is not “tapping” - we are “movement building” to enact structural change to the system itself so that voters can express their anger in new and more developmental ways.
Nothing. The political establishment is confident (are they?) that they can contain Trump and Sanders - they regard them as the 2015 version of Howard Dean and Herman Cain. And they may be right. After all, Trump and Sanders want to harness the anger out there, but they are not looking to change the system.
But how long can we go on as a country with a widening gulf between the people and our political institutions? Can we move our country forward simply by electing new leaders, or do we need to transform the process itself? That’s our question.
The 1776 revolutionary generation understood that you had to change everything in order to change anything. The same holds true today. We are having more and more difficulty running our country under the existing partisan framework.
The open primaries movement is growing very rapidly. 13,451 from 17 states joined our ranks just last week. We are building campaigns coast to coast. We are educating voters about why something so seemingly self-evident (no one should be forced to join a political party in order to vote!) is so controversial.
We are winning new friends in the media. We are forming coalitions with other election reform endeavors. And more and more people are coming over to our view that we need to change everything in order to change anything.
Thank you for your support and involvement.
John Opdycke, President
PS – Open Primaries Board member Dr. Jessie Fields and I had a piece published in Newsweek last week about Bernie Sanders. I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback on the piece. Send me a note if you have time.