ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
Save our republic!
Because the two-party political system in the United States has deteriorated, I hereby call for all elections below the state level to be non-partisan. Furthermore, I call for all elections with more than twice the number of candidates as offices to have a runoff between the top two vote-getters.
Voting is the only power we everyday working stiffs have in our so-called democracy. Even though the Republican Party is doing its damnedest to suppress the ability of poor people and people of color to vote, implementing my two prescriptions would create a more fair playing field.
My proposal calls for all contests for township, village, city and county offices to be non-partisan, no party affiliation. This would eliminate the instant victory for all Republicans in West Michigan and all Democrats in the Detroit area.
In other words, it would eliminate the one-party stranglehold system that has plagued certain areas of this state for so long.
The two-party system that we have now has been a part of the problem, not the solution. Republicans and Democrats don’t seem interested in solving problems. They seem to want much more to punish their opponents.
The result of this perpetual gridlock is that we have a lot of serious problems, but no prospects of solutions.
In my less than stellar journalism career I have seen too many intelligent, thoughtful, quality candidates for political office turned away at the ballot box only because of the letter affixed next to their names. Conversely, I have seen too many lazy and inefficient bozos elected for the same reason.
Local school boards have elections that are non-partisan, so it’s not as though this can’t be done. The Wayland City Council’s members all are elected on a non-partisan basis, and I fail to see where local city government is any worse than that of area villages and townships and the Allegan County Board of Commissioners.
Strictly non-partisan elections would attract more candidates, so I suggest we have primaries in August to determine finalists for a runoff in November.
I am weary of reading about people getting elected to political positions despite not getting a majority of the votes. This occurs most often when there are multiple candidates for just one or two seats.
As I have duly noted in this space before, virtually all state representatives have been elected, since Paul Hillegonds, without winning 50% of the vote in their first primary races. Patty Birkholz, Fulton Sheen, Bob Genetski and Steve Johnson all were declared the winners in their first quests for a seat in the State Legislature, yet none of them polled 50%. And once you’re elected, you’re guaranteed six years in the House and eight years in the Senate.
Unless you’re Cindy Gamrat.
Johnson, the most recent winner, earned just 29.3% of the vote in the 2016 GOP primary for the 72nd District and because the other four hopefuls split the remaining votes and each received less than him. So he was the winner of six years in Lansing with nearly a half million dollars as the prize.
It’s just not fair.
So besides implementing a non-partisan political system for township, city, village and county races, in all cases my plan would be ensuring that indeed somebody with at least 50% of the vote eventually would win. Let the will of the people be heard.
My greatest hope in my proposals is that perhaps it would lead to greater cooperation and more swift problem solving, something sorely lacking in national, state and local government today.