Isn't it about time to flex the Independent muscle?

Published August 6, 2020

By Joe Mavretic

There are three significant political groups in North Carolina: Independents (Unaffiliated), Democrats (D’s), and Republicans (R’s). At least twenty seven percent (27%) of our registered voters are Independents. This means that now there are enough registered Independents to swing every North Carolina election and the D’s and R’s know it.                         
National political polls, and polls within North Carolina, identify our extraordinary concerns about political gridlock, demagogues, polarization, entrenched political bias, a lack of political civility, and campaign finance abuses. Incumbents are spending decades in office and, half of their time, raising money from special interests for re-election, their party’s caucus and their national party. Hours, weeks and months that should be devoted to addressing problems instead of their financial condition.
Many voters have lost confidence in their national and state leaders but can see no way out of the current dilemma. Independents have to vote for candidates selected in party primaries who advocate that party’s priorities in their party’s platforms. However, unlike the  D’s and R’s, Independents have no platform. 
There is a way to begin a return to civility, compromise, and co-operation at every political level. Independents should adopt their own position.
 This change would fundamentally reshape the political landscape of America and in North Carolina. Here is a recommendation.
The Independent’s National Position         
"Independents will not vote for any candidate seeking more than six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, or for any candidate seeking more than two consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate." This reasonable position is easy to understand: 6 or 2 & OUT
This reasonable position is uncomplicated: six terms for US Representatives and two terms for US Senators; or, a maximum of twelve years for  Federal Representatives and Senators.
The Independent’s State Position
Let’s consider our North Carolina General Assembly. Unlike the Congress, our Senators and Representatives are each elected for two year terms. The Independent’s criteria for any of them is the same: Six consecutive terms and out! 6 & OUT
This Independent’s Position doesn’t require a constitutional amendment, doesn’t require any kind of election bill and doesn’t require support from the D’s or R’s. It is neither liberal nor conservative. It is not concerned with religion, gender, civil rights or economics and doesn’t need a national convention with delegates. This position doesn’t ask for change-it forces change in a gentle and persistent way. This position also encourages Independents to put their vote where their feelings have been for years. 

In this age of social media, an Independent’s Position can become a critical part of the American political discussion in a week. This position only requires one simple question for any legislative candidate seeking an Independent’s vote: 
How many terms have you served?
This is the baseline question-the first one every registered Independent voter should ask of any candidate. Before questions about taxes, rights, impeachment, war, peace, education, economy, transportation, environment or health; ask, "How many terms have you served?" Not what have you done? Not what do you plan to do! Not why is your opponent is a misfit. Not why are you so splendid! Just a simple, "How many terms have you served?" 
Independents can demand that candidate introductions in televised debates include how many terms an incumbent has served. Campaign literature and yard signs that do not identify "terms-served" should become a red flag….the same rule for print and TV advertising. Public endorsements by editorial boards, businesses, special interests, social organizations, and individuals that do not identify "terms-served" should be suspect.
Independents can make "terms-served" as much a part of a candidate’s resume as her or his name and "terms-served" can become the deciding factor in an Independent’s vote. If an incumbent cannot deliver on campaign promises in twelve years, isn’t it about time to give someone else a chance? If you are unaffiliated with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party but want to cast a vote that can make a difference in the results of our November 3, 2020, general election, flex your Independent muscle in the national election 6 or 2 & OUT…. and in our North Carolina election 6 & OUT
Isn’t it about time for some bumper stickers?