Joco Opinion

As I See It — To bring electoral change, we need to cross party lines

Updated: 2013-08-13T21:08:25Z

By PAT IVERSON

Special to The Star

Over four decades ago, I registered to vote for the first time and declared for a political party. I choose it because it was the party my parents belonged to, more than any other reason.

Since then I have been little concerned with the party and much more with the individuals upon whom I bestow my vote. I have voted for candidates in both parties in local, state and federal elections. I attempt to do my due diligence in researching candidates and issues.

Like most Americans, I believe in compromise and recognize our politicians must reach acceptable agreements that allow for progress. That is not happening. I am disgusted with our current elected representatives and mystified that we don’t vote the scoundrels out.

My study of American history from 1820 to roughly 1950 has convinced me of two things: Politicians can be bought and big money people buy them for their own self-interest more than in the best interests of the country and its people. My concern is not which party wins the election, but rather that the best people are elected.

I am astounded in particular with the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. That party seems to have moved so far to the right they are incapable of compromise. I think I have a solution for this. The problem does not lie in the general elections but rather in the primaries. In our current environment, for a Republican candidate to be successful in a primary they must profess and proclaim extreme conservative views to garner the contributions and support essential for election. The result has been an extreme shift in the party. Since the problem is in the primaries, therein lies the answer. If current non-Republicans registered in that party to vote in those primaries, which you can, then perhaps a more moderate Republican candidate would have a chance. There are many fine Republicans with whom I agree and would support, but the moderates have little chance of clearing the primary gate.

How you register does not impact your voting choices in general elections. In most states it is relatively easy to change your party affiliation. There are windows of opportunity that usually close as elections draw near. State election websites will list these parameters.

What better way to truly influence the political process? If the important political skirmishes are fought in the primaries, this is the way for all of use to join that struggle. Large self-interested political donors have figured this out, now so have the rest of us. Could this be considered manipulating the political process? Absolutely, but the intent is to elect those who are willing to listen and compromise, to perhaps get something done, rather than supporting a hard party line. And the big boys with the big money have been doing this for some time. They have the money but we have the numbers.

I am not suggesting the current Democratic Party does not bear watching. However, I am convinced a bigger problem exists with their opponents. If this creates a shift in Democrats too far to the left, we can use the same tactic to address that issue.

Registering in a different political party is not illegal. (Of course you can only register in one at a time.) Nor is there any current restriction to how many times you can change affiliations. This action would only appear inappropriate to hard-liners who wish to continue their own agenda.

Pat Iverson is a retired Army sergeant major living in Prairie Village. To submit an As I See It piece, send a 600-word essay to Grace Hobson, ghobson@kcstar.com.

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