By editorial board • 

Independent Party needs infusion of citizen support

There is nothing more toxic to the political process than partisanship, and Oregon is rife with it.

The Republican Party’s nationwide rush to the right — it has shifted 22 points toward the conservative end of the spectrum in the last 10 years, according to Pew Research — has stood it in good stead in swaths of the South, Southwest and Midwest. But with the hard right turn, the GOP has ceded both legislative and executive branch control to Democrats in the populous corridors of the Northeast and West Coast.

We don’t see one-party control as a good thing in any state or region, or the nation as a whole, no matter who’s calling the shots.

Fortunately, we have a potential antidote here — the Independent Party of Oregon, which is showing increasing promise as a force for choice and moderation. And our parent company, Oregon Lithoprint Inc., is assisting the party with trade and political services. But the IPO is laboring under a joint assault from the majority Democrats and minority Republicans, so could use some good old-fashioned citizen help.

Oregon is home to roughly 2,165,000 voters. At mid-year, 815,000 were registered Democrats, 645,000 Republican, 531,000 non-affiliated and 109,000 Independent. The significance of the numbers is this:

Oregon law grants “major” status to any organized political party claiming at least 5 percent allegiance, assuring it an equal place on primary election ballots, and the Independent Party is currently clinging to that figure by a few hundred. However, the motor-voter bill the Democrats pushed through on a party-line vote this year promises to add to the rolls 300,000 largely disinterested, uninvested and apolitical voters, and the default registration for them is unaffiliated. That threatens to relegate the Independent Party to minor party status again for the 2018 cycle.

It’s no secret the state’s reigning Democrats fear the IPO more than they do the GOP, which shows no signs of mounting an imminent resurgence. So they would consider that mission accomplished for 2018 — assuming they can’t manage to go it even one better, and wipe out the Independent Party’s tenuous claim to majority status prior to the Aug. 17 cutoff for the 2016 cycle.

No matter how you’re currently registered, you can strike a blow for greater moderation, independence and choice in Oregon politics by switching to Independent prior to the deadline. You can always switch back later, if you have a partisan primary you are yearning to vote in.

Switches online takes a matter of moments at http://sos.oregon.gov. If enough Oregonians heed the call, it could make a real difference.

Comments

Don Dix

When does none become politically important?

With the 'motor-voter' additions, assuming they are all NAVs, the non-affiliated would surpass the Ds (in numbers) and become the largest political force in Oregon.

Knowing that a campaign win wouldn't be guaranteed within the respective (sarc) parties, how ironic would it be if all the Ds and Rs running for government positions had to seriously appeal to those who have no responsibility to vote party line? That possibility alone might change the makeup and attitude of those seeking office. And it might even cause a weakening of the public union's grip on Oregon's government .... and maybe Kate, Peter, and Tina would discover they aren't bulletproof, or even significant! After all, Oregon Loves Dreamers, right?

Mike Santone

I like there is a 3rd party, but a party that is "We're not them." or "We're middle-of-the-road and reasonable." is not enough. The Independent Party needs to have a platform that attracts those 300,000 unaffiliated, as well as, those of us in the R & D camps who would love to go somewhere else.

Rotwang

The Libertarian Party has had my support for years.

Don Dix

Mike -- If your particular party doesn't satisfy your ideals and perspective, why do you belong at all? You don't have to go anywhere, just become a NAV. You cannot vote in the respective primaries (yet), but your mailbox isn't full of political lies for 10 to 16 weeks a year either.

If enough voters decide there is no such thing as an attractive political party and go rouge, maybe the ruling class will be forced to pay attention to something other than themselves and their benefactors.

In my opinion, the IP is just another 'bailin' wire and string' addition to a broken system. Political parties want your money and your vote, most likely in that order. After that, you are no longer part of the equation or the platform (unless you contribute mightily).

Political parties are the root cause to many government screw-ups, miscalculations, misappropriations, mistakes, poor decisions, etc. Adding more of the same to a big pile of trash just makes the pile bigger! I don't see an advantage or an attraction, but that's just my take, I'm sure there are others.

Don Dix

Sorry -- red-faced rouge -- meant "rogue"

Sal Peralta

Don - for better or for worse, political parties hold the key to the general election ballot. I have tried as hard as anyone to change that, collecting nearly 90,000 signatures to put the open primary on the ballot in 2008 and supporting the effort Ina much more limited capacity in 2014. Until that changes, the best we can hope for is more options, and that's basically what the IPO offers -- a third mainstream alternative and a process that basically guarantees that the party platform will be a pretty accurate reflection of issues that voters have the strongest trans-partisan consensus. Will any of it be to the good for the state? Who knows. I do it because I believe that more choices in places where there are no choices could result in better policy! but there is no roadmap for what we are doing, so who knows?

Don Dix

Sal -- You said it best ..."for better or for worse, political parties hold the key to the general election ballot."

That's the problem! They shouldn't have such a grip on the process. And every party, large or small, is after the same ladder rung ... the top! It's all about money and power, 24/7/365!

Oregon is in the shape it's in BECAUSE of politics, and who can buy government access. The IP seems to be just another possible route to that access. And that won't fix anything.

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