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Tom still doesn’t like letting independents vote in partisan primaries

click to enlarge bigstock-undecided-businessman-weighing-97153964.jpg

It may seem counterintuitive, but despite my being a well-informed/know-it-all/blowhard, I really enjoy it when someone can change my mind about an issue. That means that, among other things, I'm not surrounded by totally like-minded people, that I have a mind that is at least partially open to new things, and the people with whom I am associating are knowledgeable and persuasive.

For example a long-time letter (and email) writer named Ricardo helped convince me that the War on Drugs has been a colossal waste of time, money and effort. And Hater Al even talked me into watching the pretty-much-unwatchable National Hockey League when his beloved New York Rangers were making a run at the Stanley Cup a couple years back.

However, having said that, there are some things about which I will never change my mind. I will never think that it's acceptable for athlete to take performance-enhancing drugs. Nor will I be one of those people who just shrug and say that it's okay for Barry Bonds, et al to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Unlike Wall Street, the world of sports is still an arena where cheaters (at least sometimes) get punished.

I'm never going to agree with State Senator Andy Biggs that poor kids have apparently chosen to live in poverty and are, therefore, not deserving of health care, even if the federal government is picking up the tab.

And I'm never, ever, ever, NEVER (help me, Taylor Swift!) ever going to understand why otherwise-thoughtful people who take the time and go through the process of publicly shunning both major political parties (and the minor ones, as well) by registering as an Independent would then turn around and want to participate in party activities.

This popped up again, like a pimple on Prom Night, during the recent presidential preference election in Arizona. (I think that the last person in line in Maricopa County finally got to vote a couple days ago.) You'll pardon my going all ADHD on you here, but how in the world were people allowed to keep their jobs after that fiasco? Just imagine if it had happened during the real Arizona primary election in August, when Maricopa County voters would be standing outside in long lines in 110-degree heat, haboobs, and thunderstorms.

What was hilarious was when people in positions of authority (and, ostensibly, responsibility) cried foul at what they claimed was being turned into a partisan issue. The reason that happened was that every single person responsible for the cluster-mess was either an elected Republican, a Republican bureaucrat, or someone who willingly worked for a Republican. The Democratic Party, with all its faults, is not the one that tries to cut down on the number of voters. And do you really think that the Greens want fewer people to vote? Several somebodies should have lost their jobs, including a few cheap-ass legislators who refuse to provide proper funding for the things that they mandate.

Now, back to the independents. I sincerely understand why they don't want anything to do with either major party. I saw a bumper sticker recently that read "Democrats: We're Not Perfect, But They're Crazy!" That pretty much sums it up for me.

What I don't understand is why the Have-My-Cake-And-Eat-It-Too independents proudly claim to wash their hands of both parties, but then want to take part in the most important function in which either party engages. You can't be sort of a virgin and you can't be independent ... and a Democrat for a Day.

Independents already have the right to vote in the primaries. All they have to do is briefly claim a party affiliation, cast their vote, and then go back to their above-it-all independent status. But that's not good enough for them. They want to be able to stroll into a polling place (or, if they're in Maricopa County, stagger into one) and think to themselves, "Well, which of these despicable parties do I want to screw with today?"

There are some who want party-free primaries, where they just throw all of the names on the ballot without party designation. If one person gets more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate wins the office. If no one gets a majority, the top two vote-getters square off in the general election. There are numerous ways that such a system could subvert the will of the people, but mostly, it would almost always lead to a final choice (for many) between Awful and Not-Quite-So-Awful. Just imagine if, this November, the American people had to choose between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in the general election. (Or, for that matter, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.) I'm sorry, but that's not democracy in all its majestic messiness.

The biggest thing I don't understand is, if independents area plurality of Arizona's registered voters, why don't we have independent candidates on the ballot? It's not that hard. Gather some signatures, pay a fee. Independent voters wouldn't even have to break a sweat. They could support those candidates financially with click of a key on the laptop.

Hey, I might even vote for an independent. At my age, that would count as being naughty.

There's also this to consider as to why walk-up primary voting by registered independents sucks: Doug Ducey is in favor of it.

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