In 1971, singer/songwriter John Lennon wrote and performed his iconic song called, “Imagine.” While always long on controversy, Lennon’s lyrics in this piece became an anthem of sorts for all the unrest and discourse that still grips the world today. The opening verse goes like this:
“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today”
Imagine for a moment that there were no political parties. No Republicans. No Democrats. There would be no Speaker of the House designated by the party in power. There would be no Senate Majority Leader, only a Senate Leader. Instead, we would have independent Congressmen and Senators serving the citizens that elected them, not beholden to party leadership. Imagine a congress comprised of independent thinkers that introduce and vote on legislation and policy with their conscience and common sense rather than blindly along party lines.
Imagine elections where candidates for public office are nominated and selected by petitions circulated amongst the electorate. Imagine elections with limits on campaign spending where all qualified candidates had equal access to campaign funds. Imagine a system where the top five or six candidates that receive the most signatures participated in a series of televised debates. Imagine election results that required a simple majority of the vote to certify a winner. Failing to achieve a majority would require a runoff between the top two vote getters. Imagine this rule applying to the presidential election as well.
In the presidential election of 1992, Bill Clinton received 48% of the popular vote. George HW Bush received 38%. Ross Perot, running as an Independent, garnered nearly 20%, despite temporarily dropping out of the race in July. Had a runoff been conducted between Clinton and Bush, the presidential election of 1992 may have turned out differently. In the final tally, Bill Clinton received 370 electoral college votes compared to 168 for George HW Bush. Ross Perot received zero. In a runoff between Clinton and Bush, the electoral vote could have also turned out much differently with 20 percent of the Ross Perot swing votes suddenly up for grabs.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election that saw Democrats seize control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency, there has been noise within the Republican party about splintering off to form a new political party. That tactic would be political suicide and only serve to further fracture the conservative movement resulting in cementing the Democratic power grip for the foreseeable future.
If the goal of the conservative Republican party is to water down the far left agenda of the Democrats and bring it more to the center, consider a novel approach. Imagine the effect of all Republicans suddenly declaring themselves Democrats. This act would surely sow seeds of discontent within the Democratic party and intensify debates over policies affecting the American people. Complete the process by allowing open primaries among all voters for all candidates regardless of one’s specified party affiliation. Party affiliation then, would revert to nothing more than a mere footnote on the voter registration rolls.
Steve Almond, a bestselling author which includes his book, “Bad Stories” – a literary investigation of what the hell just happened to our country, quotes in a 2018 essay: “political prejudice has become our most accepted form of bigotry.” He goes on to say, “what today’s voters see is not a candidate, or a set of policy proposals, but a party affiliation.”
If John Lennon were alive today, he might say something like, “Imagine a world and a system more focused on policy than partisan politics.” In the final verse of Lennon’s song, he says:
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”