I am an unaffiliated voter, one of the many who are disenchanted with politics but who love America, our Constitution and the “beacon of light” values we previously espoused. If there ever was a time for unaffiliated and moderate voters to participate in the presidential primary process, it is now. Fortuitously, Colorado, along with numerous other states, recently passed referendums that make this now possible.
The primary season has started and, based on early results, it’s alarmingly clear that we moderates, arguably the voice of reason, can’t sit on the sidelines and rely on impassioned Democrats to choose a viable candidate to beat our president. A 2016 Pew Study confirms that only a small percentage of voters actually participate in primaries and they tend to be 1) ideologues and 2) more interested in selecting like-minded candidates over those who can actually win elections.
At this point, our very democracy is threatened, with our Judicial Department already effectively under control of the Executive Branch and, as our Senate underscored with its disgraceful behavior during the impeachment trial, our Congress is, also. Next will be the Federal Reserve. At a point in our history where the abnormal has become normal, adversaries have become allies, lies have become “truths,” law has become cronyism and decency has become vitriol, we, as a country, simply can’t let the small but motivated fringe decide November’s ballot. The polarization and over-zealousness from both sides has gone on too long; it’s tearing our country apart, and it’s gotten us to where we are today.
We, the middle, with our silence, apathy and lack of involvement, are a central part of the problem, and these new voter referendums serve to deliver a giant microphone to our much-needed voice. We must now step up to that mic and be heard.
Most Americans don’t realize that Independent voters have tremendous strength in numbers. In 2019, Independents represented the bulk of registered voters at 38 percent, with Democrats second at 31 percent and Republicans a meager 26 percent. Put another way, Independents represent 46 percent more voters than the GOP, and substantially more than the president’s base that has a stranglehold on America. In Colorado, the numbers are even higher, and 61 percent of newly registered voters are unaffiliated. As a swing state, Colorado’s role in November is spotlighted, and our newly empowered voice can serve as a source of leadership and inspiration to other battleground states.
If you’re uncomfortable with the very real possibility that your two options on November’s ballot are either a self-acknowledged socialist (who, based on his early radical history, combined with his recent heart attack, is political napalm for GOP attack ads) or four more years of a diabolical, narcissistic, vengeful and mentally unstable “leader” who has not only threatened the viability of our Constitution, our laws and, now, our Congress, but even worse, has put our loved ones in harm’s way with his lack of impulse control and second-grade antics in the face of our warmongering adversaries, you must speak up. If you’re uncomfortable with four more years of a president who mocks climate change, and who spearheaded only a marginally effective but massive tax cut that, through skyrocketing deficits, will cripple our children and grandchildren for decades to come, you must speak up. If you believe that the leader of the modern world should be the highest example of ethics, decency and integrity, an example to which you want your own children and grandchildren to aspire, then you have a critical role to play...and it’s not simply by voting in November.
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Please do your part and participate in the March 3 primary. There’s only one contender who can enter the ring and land a solid knockout punch to our large, but staggering and wildly swinging president. This candidate is unlikely the preferred choice of the entrenched Democratic establishment, and that’s why the unaffiliated voter must be heard. We, the People, are the final stop-gap in the historical times we now face. We need to learn from other recent moments in history, in which the abnormal became normalized and people of reason did not speak until it was too late.
The great Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, famously said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” It’s time we heed his words and not only give voice to our collective silence, but action to our collective dismay.
Our very Constitution is at stake, and our forefathers and those who died for this once proud country demand it of us.
If you are a registered Democrat or Republican in Colorado, you should have received your presidential primary ballot in the mail. If you are a registered unaffiliated voter who wants to register for a party for the March 3 vote, you still need to register to become a voter, or you have not received your ballot, the deadline is February 24 if you want to receive a presidential primary ballot in the mail. Find out more on the Colorado Secretary of State website.
Debra Alexander is a Colorado native who has lived in the state for 56 years. Westword occasionally runs opinion pieces and essays on issues of interest to the Denver community. If you have one you'd like to submit, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.