Independent Moves – Jenn Bullock in the Times Tribune

​Founder and Coordinator for Independent Pennsylvanians penned this guest oped for the Eyes on 2020 campaign that was published in the The Times-Tribune.

Exclusionary pattern
Friday, February 15, 2019


“Democrats and Republicans undemocratically control the nation’s election process. They also want to control how we think about potential candidates outside of their influence. Look at the hysterical reaction to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz thinking about running for president as an independent. Our political system is a mess. Ordinary people suffer, with elected officials who are tone deaf to the needs and concerns of the people. Voters should decide who runs and gets elected. Currently, we don’t.

Too many states, including Pennsylvania, still have closed primaries. Independents, the fastest-growing voting group, are locked out in closed primary states, even though all voters pay for the primaries. Closed primaries are a spoiler to an open and healthier election system. Parties and the politicians love to decide things before they get to the voters. Now they say that Schultz’s candidacy could “spoil” it for someone else. The Democratic and Republican parties are spoilers to an open and healthy democracy.

A recent editorial by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette stated: “The ‘spoiler’ argument, which is as old as political entitlement and opportunism, is really undemocratic and unAmerican. It is undemocratic because, in a democracy, every candidate “spoils” it for every other candidate running. That’s the idea. It is un-american because no one is entitled to office, any office, or to any block of voters. And no one is entitled to limit another citizen’s choices.”

It’s time to address the real spoilers of democracy. Open the primaries in all states for the 2020 election. Let Schultz, and other candidates not coronated by the party establishment, bring their case to us. Power to the people, not the spoiled brat parties.