Voting for an Independent

Do not let the recent Des Moines Register Iowa View column dissuade you from supporting candidates outside of the two major parties. No, you are not throwing your vote away. No, you are not shirking your responsibility as an American. And no, you are not playing a spoiler. 

There is a reason Iowa’s “no party” registration has held steady at around 36 percent of all voters for the last two years. Voters are tired of the inaction, political fighting, and poor leadership from both major parties and they also want to cast their votes for who they believe will do the most good for their communities. I should know, I am an Independent. 

While the author is correct that voters who indeed voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson back in 2016 gave their votes to candidates who had little to no chance of winning, they did not waste their vote. They cast their vote for the person they believed best fit for the office and who shared their vision for the future. That’s how we should always vote. Not because someone simply has a R or D behind their name. 

The column argues, "when voters choose to be “independent,” they forfeit their chance to pre-select who their ultimate choice for all offices will be in November when the general election takes place.” One way to solve that problem is not to demonize those who wish to be independent, but rather, call for open primaries. That would open to door to those of us who don’t identify with a major party. I argue that voting for someone you don't really like, or supporting someone just because they have a certain letter behind their name is a surrender of that same important right and duty.

My responsibility as a voter is to learn about the candidates and vote for the person who I best believe can serve and represent me and my family and fight for the things I believe in (even if we don’t always agree). The last point is the key in any democracy because we are rarely, if ever, going to find candidates who are 100 percent in agreement with our own thinking.  That is a good thing. You want debate. You want conversation. You want to be challenged. 

That's why I'm running as an Independent and why I'm not standing down. We deserve better than two parties who fight each other, who don't listen to each other, and who are failing to advance good governmental policy on a nearly constant basis. We can do better.

Voting for a third party come November is not a symbolic gesture as Schmidt would have you believe. It is a vote in the name of progress and opportunity for everyone in a world where a politicians allegiance is only to their community; and that’s why I’m an Independent running to represent the voters of Iowa House District 19.