Abel Collins, a recently declared independent candidate for Congress in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, penned this June 22nd editorial for the Providence Journal. Below are some of our favorite excerpts, but we’d recommend you click through to read the entire article – Collins shares some great views on running as an independent candidate and directly addresses the frame of mind that independent candidates need to win elections against Republicans and Democrats – certainly good food for thought:
“The uncivil hostility between the parties that stalls progress leaves us disgusted. Despite the finge-pointing and name calling, the differences between the parties appear less important than their similarities to disenchanted Americans.
Skepticism in the political process has given way to cynicism, and many of us have simply opted out. Our voter participation rates are the lowest of the developed world and below even the luminary democracy called Russia. More people voted in the finale of the last American Idol competition than in the 2010 elections, for heaven’s sake. Are our politics irredeemable?”
If something doesn’t change soon, I would argue yes. Our apathy, cynicism and lack of participation are license for our current political class to maintain the status quo, but there are reasons to believe things are changing and we can renew our democracy… Firstly, apathy is in retreat: Witness both the Occupy and Tea Party movements.”
“The right to vote is extended to almost everyone, and there is no restriction on who we can vote for. Admittedly the political system is dominated by two parties, but it doesn’t have to be so. There are more people who identify as independents than there are who identify as either Republicans or Democrats. Even those still affiliated with the parties aren’t happy with their choices. The raw materials for building an alternative to the two- party duopoly are at hand.
The skeptic will say that it’s impossible; that there’s too much money behind the current parties for independents to overcome them. To which I say, of course it will be hard, but it’s not impossible. Ask Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. We all know nothing worth fighting for comes easy. Moreover, all the money in the world can’t change the fact that the Democratic and Republican parties have lost their credibility to do anything effectively but bicker.”
“If we fail to get directly involved in electoral politics and are satisfied merely to occupy the public square and decry the system or get subsumed into one of the parties, nothing will change. Our cynicism in politics will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”