Federal Court Refuses to Review 2005 Attack On Independent Candidates – Oregon
Political parties did not exist in 1787; nor, are they mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Despite this, the newly-created electorate rapidly fragmented.
By the time Oregon joined the Union, parties defined American political life. Chief among their tools: The right to decide who got the privilege of running for political office.
Even a basic understanding of that term supports the notion that choosing the various candidates is at least as important as choosing the eventual winner.
In 1904, tired of the “Tweedledee-Tweedledum” general elections offered by the party bosses, Oregonians initiated the Direct Primary Law, allowing voters, not political conventions, to determine the nominees. The law also allowed electors to both vote in their party’s primary and sign the nominating petition of “any independent or nonpartisan candidate.”
After all, if my main concern is, say, the unhealthy influence of money on state and federal elections, and, if those at the top of my state party’s slate don’t share that focus, why shouldn’t I be allowed to help choose who represents me in the legislature, and, then throw my support behind an independent gubernatorial or Presidential candidate scared of dollars, too.
Or, what if the nominee dies before the general election and my neighbor is dissatisfied with the replacement chosen by her party’s central committee? Why shouldn’t she be free seek an independent candidate more in sync with her views?
If you run the parties, the answers are obvious – allowing individuals to stray from the reservation, as it were, reduces your power.
Since 1904, Oregon’s political parties have belonged to the voters; not, the other way around.
Unfortunately, the people who write the elections laws can’t claim the same independence. These legislators naturally support electoral machinery that guarantees their bloc’s success.
Unfortunately, for them,