November 5, 2010

Candidates before parties

Midterm Madness: Viewpoints writers weigh in on Tuesday's elections

After attending the Obama rally on Saturday, it is clear to me that Tuesday’s results were likely not dependent on each candidate’s particular views, but rather overwhelmingly on party identity. But is this really the fault of the electorate? After all, the parties themselves seem to be the ones who have created this environment.

The Democrats have done what they can to set the economy right and generally improve the welfare of the nation–but to what end? They want to be re-elected. It seems that the Republicans have been “drinking slurpees” (as Obama puts it) and laughing while they block the Democrat’s attempts to legislate. But again, their intention is clear–they want to be elected. Their apathy was, from an electability point of view, the right move. Unfortunately, electability and national prosperity have diametrically opposed points of view, but we tend only to see the former.

I did not vote in this year’s election (bring on the boos), and perhaps it was due to a weary cynicism. The Republicans are not dog-killers who want to bring down the common man, as the speakers at the rally may have us believe. But neither are the Democrats magnanimous Robin Hoods fighting tooth and nail, willing to give up their own freedom for the sake of the little man. Both fall somewhere right in the middle.

This election, as we’ve known for long, was dominated by the Tea Party and anti-incumbency sentiments. This year, anti-incumbency meant anti-Democrat. So what happened? Good and bad Democrats were kicked out, and replaced by good and bad Republicans (and bad Tea Partiers). And something tells me two years from now we will have another anti-incumbency wave which will become an anti-Republican wave. The system perpetuates itself.

An “independent” candidate has unfortunately become synonymous with “spineless.” Yet, we need candidates who aren’t necessarily independents, but stand out independently from their party. I will try to vote in the next election–but I’d like to choose between candidates, not parties.

Colin Bradley is a first-year in the College.