If you’re like me, while standing in the voting booth, you thought you were choosing the candidates that you wanted to represent you. But I’ve discovered too late in life that it was all an illusion… the illusion of
electoral choice that the two major parties hope never dawns on us.
But it is quite clear to me now that our political system has been hijacked and rigged over the years by both of the two major parties, Democrats and Republicans. And I’m not suggesting that they are evil
people. They aren’t. They are rational human beings responding to the incentives in front of them… incentives that have become increasingly perverse as the years roll by.
Political power – and the money it takes to get and keep it – are among the most corruptive and perverse incentives in the human experience. When in power, politicians of both parties protect their power by redrawing voting districts in their favor, making up and passing rules to limit or expand voter access depending on how they view their electorate, limiting competition of third parties, closing primaries to only their party members, outlawing term limits, and on and on.
Among the predictable results:
- Incumbents win more than 85% of their races.
- Of the 435 congressional districts in the U.S. 370 are “safe” districts for one party or the other.
- Depending on the cycle, more than 70% of state and local races are uncontested with only one name on the ballot.
- It is not at all unusual for local and municipal elected officials to take their seats with less than 15% of the vote.
- Voters become apathetic and stop showing up at the voting booth.
- Many local races average a 15-25% turnout rate.
- Government becomes arthritic, ineffective and costly.
So the scales of illusion have finally fallen from my eyes. I’m tired of wasting my vote and my time when, as suggested above, the outcome has probably already been determined.
And now I have to do something about it.
That’s why I’m working through the SC Forward Party to change a basket of election laws including plurality voting (first pass the post) in favor of Ranked Choice Voting which gives voters more choice and eliminates the expense of runoffs. I want voting districts to be drawn by truly independent commissions to stop the egregious gerrymandering in South Carolina. I want to pass term limits that prevent “career politicians”. I want open primaries so that any registered voter can vote in any SC primary. Heck, I even want elections moved to Sundays to make it easier for more voters to get to the polls.
The bottom line: I want the reality of choice. That is, I want my vote – and yours – to really count as we choose leaders for South Carolina’s future.