The current Congress is proving to be the most dysfunctional in history and the public is taking notice. While the public wants compromise and action, members of both major parties focus more on creating gotchas to make the other side look bad. Something has to give.
In Colorado the first ripples of change have started to appear. A group titled the Coalition for a New Colorado Election System is proposing to work to get an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would institute a two-phase election system that would allow any voter to vote for any candidate at any step in the process.
Of course the party bosses hate the idea.
"Hate, hate, hate the idea," The Denver Post quoted Ryan Call, the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
"That's ripe for shenanigans," the paper quoted Rick Palacio, the Colorado Democratic Pary chairman.
Of course they hate the idea. And that's all the more reason the public needs to get behind this effort. In Colorado the number of independent voters exceeds the number of either Republicans or Democrats, and yet the independents have no voice in who they can vote for. Those decisions are made by party members in primary elections that all Colorado taxpayers pick up the tab for. It is taxation without representation.
And what does the largest segment of the populace get for its dollars? Candidates that court the vocal, activist fringe elements in the parties, so that when it comes election time there is rarely any candidate in the middle where most voters reside. It becomes the standard choice of the lesser of two evils rather than the opportunity to vote for someone whose views you actually agree with. And then those representatives go off to create gridlock in Washington because they know if they stray too far toward the middle, away from their supporters' hardline stances, they will be primaried next time around.
The party bosses offer a simple fix to the problem: register with a party. Then you can vote in the primary. Here's a simple response: pay for your own primaries or else let everyone vote.
Or else the public can take politics back from the politicians and get back to electing people who the majority of voters actually support. This effort in Colorado deserves the support of everyone who wants to fix our dysfunctional election system. And with luck, other states will push for similar changes. Some already have. Change is afoot.
Bob Dylan is relevant here. From "The Times They Are A-Changin'":
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.