I have been a Democrat since I was a child. Raised by Republicans, I grew up knowing that I did not agree with my parents about much of anything and all of my beliefs seemed to be represented by the Democrats. The older I got the more certain I became of my commitment to the party. I voted John Kerry. I voted for President Obama. I have voted for the Democrat on the ballot in every election since I was old enough to vote.Today I switched my party affiliation. I am now a registered Independent.
This change technically started months ago during a local election in my town. Our mayor was up for re-election. She was a Democrat and, all told, a good woman. She was honest and kind, hard working and devoted. She was almost everything you could want in a mayor. The only problem was that none of the people in the town liked her. They blamed her for inadequate snow removal. They blamed her for lack of businesses coming into the town. They blamed her for a lot of things and most people felt that their grievances hadn't been acknowledged by her or her office. She also wasn't the most personable woman in the world, which shouldn't have anything to do with her ability to be mayor but it does impact how people perceive her. I knew going into the election that she would not win but there was no convincing anyone else of that. The Democratic Town Committee threw their support behind her rather than running another Democrat that might have done better in the election. Despite significant campaigning she was slaughtered in the election as I had known she would be before I even knew who the Republicans or the Independents were going to run as their candidates.
I'm seeing this scenario repeating itself on a national scale today. The DNC is absolutely in love with Hillary Clinton. They want her and they will spend untold millions of dollars forcing her onto that general election ballot no matter how many people in our country say they absolutely cannot stand her and have no desire to have her as our president. Looking out on the sea of people who are fighting to have Bernie Sanders on the ballot (including about 70% of Independents, who make up 35-45% of the American population at any given time) the Democratic party has resorted to nasty, underhanded tactics to push their own agenda. From reducing the number of debates between the candidates to the very clear voter suppression in Arizona and New York, the DNC has been pushing Hillary Clinton on the party since the beginning of the election cycle.There is anger the likes of which I have not seen before within the party, with a huge portion of Democrats feeling as though the party has abandoned any responsibility to their members and decided that anyone who is a TRUE Democrat will obviously vote for whoever the party nominates, no matter what complaints and concerns they have about that candidate. The DNC doesn’t seem to care how many people are fed up with the system, they will use their media connections, super PACs, and other resources to rig the system towards whatever it is they want, reminding the voters that a vote against them is a vote for the Republicans.
While it may be true that a Republican will end up being voted into office if Hillary Clinton loses the election I think it would be the lesser of the two evils. Not because Hillary Clinton is evil; obviously she isn’t. But realistically if I vote for Hillary Clinton after the party used super PAC money to put her on the ballot, after they used voter suppression to stop people who disagreed with her, after they minimized the number of debates scheduled and aired those debates at times when they knew no one would be watching, after they pushed and shoved and forced the system to do exactly what they wanted it to do instead of what the American people wanted it to do, then I am supporting that process. I cannot and will not be pushed into voting for someone out of fear that the other guy would be worse. I cannot and will not give my support to people who manipulate and abuse the system and tell me I’m not really a Democrat if I fight against the corruption. If the Democrats stand for taking away your voice and telling you that you’d better like it because the other guy is going to take a lot more than that I can’t be a Democrat any longer.
Just like I watched the Democrats in my local election push a woman who was extremely qualified but not very likeable onto the ballot instead of running a candidate who better represented the wants and needs of the city I'm watching the Democrats at the federal level do the same. And just like I watched the wailing and gnashing of teeth on social media after the Republicans won the local election I will see the same thing happen again on a national scale. And after the wailing and gnashing of teeth will come the blaming. "If only everyone who didn't want the Republicans to win had voted for her, we wouldn't be in this mess!" But this blame game will ignore one crucial piece of information - if the best you can offer people is the chance to vote against someone they disagree with instead of the opportunity to vote for someone who represents them, most of those people won't bother. And the party will gather together the higher ups and look at the huge number of Democrats who didn't vote and not have a clue why that is. Switching my political affiliation is my way of trying to tell them now, before it is too late, exactly why that will be. While she isn't my candidate of choice, I'm not really against Hillary Clinton, I am against the party as a whole. If they can't figure out why that is they are going to lose every election going forward until they are completely replaced by another party.
DNC, are you going to continue on the same path and lose the general election? I sure hope not. But until you come to your senses and stop abusing those people you are supposed to represent I'll be happy being an Independent. I'm looking forward to getting to know Jill Stein a bit better anyway.