OT: The "Independent Voter"

In my view the "independent" voter is the most dependent of all. He only gets to pick between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, without any say in who the candidates might be. He has no input in the policies, platform, or promises of the candidates.
In addition, to be a truly informed voter, he has to devote an amazing amount of effort to discover the "best" candidate in each race.
This came to roost for me last evening as my vote-by-mail ballot arrived. It contained one hundred and twenty-seven names!
To research each of these candidates would require many hours of studying position papers, pamphlets, asking questions of the candidate or his staff, and attending town-hall meetings.
Fortunately, for me, all I had to do was mark one place on the ballot and I got to cast a vote for president, vice president, US Senator, Congressman, state representative state senator, attorney general, and a whole passel of judges from the State Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, several domestic relations courts, several district courts, several juvenile courts, the county judge, the commissioner's court, justice of the peace, constable, and more.
Here's my advice: Pick a party with which you can identify, that has positions more similar to yours than the other parties, and support that party whole-heartedly. By that I mean contribute time and money, attend the party's conventions, volunteer to serve on committees, and so on. Finally, support your party-pick with your vote on election day.
By so doing, you have a chance to influence the party's platform to help mold it into something you may like better.
--
People get involved in politics for one of three reasons: Pride, Power, or
Profit. Here's how that might shake out for you:
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On 10/6/2012 12:33 PM, HeyBub wrote:

If your view is so important (to you) why not ask someone to help you post it a place other than a home repair newsgroup?
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George wrote:

The post is appropriate here because while most posters on this newsgroup are intelligent, logical, and practical, there are still a few who somehow erect a mantle of superiority by claiming "I vote for the man, not the party." I believe, having seen the results of that thinking up close, that they are deluding themselves with this faulty action (and claim).
And thanks for the suggestion that I seek help, but it's really not necessary. I own a small software company and am sufficiently skilled to figure all that out for myself.
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On 10/7/2012 4:29 PM, HeyBub wrote:

But thats only your opinion. Any one else would likely think that a post about voting would not be appropriate for a home repair newsgroup.

The very common expression "the proof is in the pudding" applies here.
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wrote:

Sure, just join the flock like a sheep or follow like a lemming. That does not work for me. The two major parties are corrupt, the third parties often have some good candidates, but they also have the whacko fringe so you have to sort them out.

Correct in theory.

I've done that on a local basis, but I've done it for the individual. I've supported people from both major parties and also the winning independent.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Are you a "lemming" or a "sheep" because you accept the judgments of Underwriter's Laboratories or the NEC? The point I tried to make is IF you lack the time, experience, or ability to sort out the platforms and promises of ALL the candidates appearing on the ballot, you can fall back on the positions and inside knowledge of the parties.
I was once an Administrative Aide to a U.S. Senator and I've seen first-hand how the party "bosses" strive to keep the fools off the primary ballot. They're not always successful, but you'd be surprised at how effective they can be.
Consider Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts; there were at least four other Democrats who wanted to run for U.S. Senator, but the Democratic party "regulars and establishment" types persuaded them (through logic, but principally through the thread of physical violence) to drop out. The party big-wigs wanted their best candidate to run un-opposed in the primary so as to save money for the general election and avoid an inter-party fight.
Many years ago, my local Republican Party shakers damn near killed a fool who wanted to run against Barbara Jordan for Texas' 8th Congressional district. The "establishment" regulars wanted Democrat Jordan to run un-opposed. The inside-thinking was this: Jesus Christ could not beat Jordan in a 98% black congressional district. If she had ANY opponent, throngs would be incentivised to go to the polls to "save" her. By allowing her to run un-opposed, the turn-out in that district would be diminished, thereby lowering the Democratic vote for president and U.S. Senator.
Point is, the party apparatus exercises SOME control over the candidates. In the absence of any information to the contrary, you, when picking someone to vote for, can fall back on this backroom manipulation.

And, often, in practice. Consider the "Tea Party" and how the Republican establishment has (reportedly) wrung its hands, quivered its chin, furrowed its brow, and appealed to the gods, over the surprising influence this nascent group has engendered (Ricard Lugar being a swell example).

It's a little harder to do on a level higher than local, but it can be done. During a state-wide or national campaign, you'll get known to the person(s) handling local campaign. Often these people are connected directly to the candidate. So, when you have an idea or a problem, you contact the person you worked with on the last campaign and he'll (usually) pass on the request to the appropriate office.
I was involved in this twice. Once a friend of mine asked for my help in obtaining a pardon for his son. I knew an attorney who specialized in pardons who worked with me in the gubernatorial campaign. Here's how this sub-rosa influence went: 1. I trused my friend. 2. The lawyer trusted me. 3. The director of the state Bureau of Pardons and Paroles trusted the lawer.
In the fullness of time, my friend's son got his pardon. At no cost.
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