I am politically independent for several reasons, but to be independent just to be independent is not one of them. I don’t believe in being a rebel without a cause.
Whenever a politician who is, or at least comes across, as an independent thinker, enters the race, it grabs my attention. But, does it mean I’m hooked? No, it means only that I take notice.
They still have to make their case!
Why am I drawn to independent candidates? It’s because most candidates from either camp try to adhere to all the planks of their camp.
I, on the other hand, don’t believe in all the planks of either camp, in fact, I believe in some of the planks of both camps.
So, neither camp completely fills the bill for me, as I feel that each demands that its followers adhere to all of the planks in the camp, some of which I don’t agree with.
So, what do I look for in an independent candidate? First, it doesn’t matter to me what party they belong to or if they are affiliated with any party or not, so long as they are willing to think on their own and, if they do belong to a party, that they’re willing to challenge the party on some issues.
But, it’s more than just a willingness to call out the status quo. They also have to have ideas of their own. Too often, including this time around, I’ve seen candidates who tout themselves as independent thinkers, come out with no solutions or ideas of their own, and in some cases, only attacking the other candidates and the media for simply questioning them.
I remember an election year in the past where a new party was, …attempted?, to be formed, called the “Reform Party”. Well, it was touted as the answer to the other two parties, but all it was, was chaos. They never really brought any new ideas, except to say they were an alternative to the other two parties. It went nowhere.
Yes, like many of you, I do want to see a challenge to the two parties, but it needs to be a credible challenge. Such as a candidate who not only points out where the other two parties go wrong, but also offers up solutions, and communicates to the people of both sides that they don’t have to fear an independent candidate who demonstrates that he or she can still lead despite the lack of party affiliation, and can communicate the message of “The people first, party second.”
So, what does an independent candidate need to do to have a chance of real success, both for him or herself as well as for the people?
- Yes, point out how the status quo is not working and attack the issues and failed solutions, not silly things as to whether a moderator or interviewer asked a supposed “gotcha” or unfair question, or whether an opponent hugged someone from the opposing party. It’s important for candidates to remember that, in order to work towards a solution, people from opposing sides often have to work together and it’s easier to be friendly while doing so, especially in times of crisis. And, as for supposed unfair media questions, candidates must remember that the real world will throw these kinds of questions at them all the time!
- If the candidate is a member of a major party, they must be willing to go against their party if their position on an issue is at odds with the party line.
- The independent candidate must be willing to talk to media and the people on both sides of the political spectrum.
- They need to convey the message that they can work with both sides to a viable solution but not be fence-sitters or flip floppers. That does not mean they cannot change their position if it’s for the right reasons, however!
- They have to convince the people to not follow their parties blindly, but to really think things through. This can be really tough, but if a candidate has the charisma, I believe it can be done.
- Probably not last, but very important is, they must have viable solutions to problems, especially to those they point out! Too often, independent candidates end up being viewed as not having any substance. Sure, in the beginning, they often draw a significant following, especially from those who are really fed up with the status quo and the major parties. But they often only go so far, and support stops growing, or even wanes, as people see that the candidate is offering no solutions but instead only keeps pointing out the same problems over and over.
So, this is just my opinion, but, I do ask that, during campaign season, you really, really, evaluate the candidates for everything, not just a few sound bites.
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