The State democrat party, perhaps to make up for diminishing numbers, has opened up their primary elections to independent voters.
Should the State GOP do the same?
Of 1,978,807 voters in the state, 266,605 voters are registered independents. I could not locate numbers from 2015 regarding how many new voters registered as independents; but what can be said is that in 2014, 90% of first-time registered voters regard themselves as political independents.
New voters, generally younger ones, are disillusioned and perhaps even disgusted with the two party system. Understandably so; at the end of the day, what is the point of political parties, anyway? They are quickly becoming a thing of yesterday, thankfully.
And though we don’t like parties, we still like particular candidates. Think of all the libertarians that support Rand Paul; and because they do not want to support the party system by registering in a political party, their voices will remain unheard. (Bit of a side note: I think that Rand Paul is the only true conservative in the race. After all, true conservatism is libertarianism.)
General elections can only be won with the independent vote. And if the party nominee was chosen without input from independents, that candidate is unlikely to appeal to independent voters in a general election. We face a huge challenge with Bernie Sanders this year; he really appeals to independent voters.
“Independent” is not a party, I know; but I am so bold as to say that most independent voters have values and philosophies which are relatively moderate, and consistent with the values of either party. After all, there is only a few effective differences between the two parties – but independent voters simply don’t want to be a part of the party system itself.
And that very party system has ensured that these independent voters have no voice.
If the party truly is a “club” in which only members can decide on a leader, very well – but that leader will later stand in a general election to be the representative of the whole. Should that person only represent the members of the closed club, or everyone?
I do hope that there comes a day where independent voters are powerful and organized enough to put forth viable candidates; until then, we either find ourselves obliged to support an absurd party system, or find our voices silenced.
The data used above can be found in a report by the Oklahoma State Election Board, found here (quite an interesting little document): https://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/20160115%20-%20Registration%20By%20County%20%28vr2420%29.pdf