Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

For 8/27: The Future of Independents

Remember: We start at 10:00am tomorrow.

As we head into the election season, we plan to discuss (again) the state of the effective two-party system in the US and the role of independents (non-affiliated voters). And, for that matter, the role of other parties (such as the Greens, the Independents, etc.).

In Maine, unenrolled voters (not enrolled with a political party) represent a ~40% plurality of the electorate.

  • Is the two-party system working?
  • What would it take for a third party to gain enough traction to have a meaningful impact on policy at the state or Federal level?
  • Is ranked-choice voting (or similar voting reforms) likely to provide more power to alternate political parties, or will it drive candidates toward the center and reduce the need for alternate parties? Or will it weaken the party system altogether, with more voters focusing on candidates’ positions than on party platforms/affiliations?
  • What should be the role, if any, of primaries in an electoral system in which the voting/tabulation method is changed (i.e., ranked-choice, mandated runoff for majority, etc.)? Should they be “party” primaries as they are now, or more general primaries for narrowing down the number of candidates? Or dispensed with altogether?

We should have some fun Monday!

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