Archive for the ‘non-partisan’ Tag

Bipartisanship Leads in Alaska   Leave a comment

Bill Walker Vote Third Party/Independent

I have been a supporter of Bill Walker for governor for a long time. When he lost the GOP primary in 2010, I wrote to urge him to run as an independent in 2014, which he did. I am not a big supporter of the “unity” ticket with Byron Mallott, the former Democratic candidate. I suspect backroom deals that will see the Democratic Party in more control of the Walker administration than I would like, but I am still voting for Walker because Parnell, combined with SB 21, is raping our state.

Hays Research Group, an Alaska-based polling firm, released a poll that shows a head-to-head match up between Bill Walker and Gov. Sean Parnell has an eight points advantage to Walker.  It’s important to note that 31% of voters are still undecided, so Walker’s win is not a slam dunk. The poll didn’t include the names of each candidate’s lieutenant governors, and it described Walker as an “Independent.” On the ballot, he will be described as “unaffiliated.” The Alaska AFL-CIO paid for the poll. The umbrella union organization supports the “Unity” ticket and was instrumental in bringing Bill Walker, a Republican running as unaffiliated, and Democrat Byron Mallott together on one ticket. The poll, conducted between Sep. 13-14, surveyed 500 registered voters in the state of Alaska who had voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percent.

I believe I was one of those who participated in this poll as a gentleman with those specifics actually came to my door looking for “super voter” Lela Markham.

Parnell walker poll


Read the full Hays poll here.

Building on a Foundation   1 comment

If conservatism wants to transform our nation from the ground up, we first have to start at the local level. Here in Alaska, there’s a tale to tell. In 1990, a local motel owner found her property taxes going up yet again and in frustration she called the local talk radio station. Bill Wally, the Fairbanks business owner who hosted the week-day show Problem Corner, listened to Donna Gilbert and thought there had to be something to do to fix what many of us saw as tax Armageddon. Our mil-rate was going through the roof, our Borough and City government employees were making incredible wages and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. Off the air, Donna encouraged Bill to run for mayor, which at the time was a ceremonial position. The city was run by a city manager and the borough (our county) was also. Bill decided to run as mayor and use his position as a bully pulpit. The town’s people submitted an initiative that changed the major into a strong mayor position and shortly thereafter another initiative passed that put a tax cap in place, forcing the city to stay within budgetary limits and only raise taxation levels by a vote of the people. Not too long later, the borough also got a strong mayor and a tax cap.

The battle that followed was not an easy one. The city chose not to plow the streets for a winter in order to get us to vote down the tax cap, but every two years the voters reinstate both caps and we’ve held the line on spending and government growth. Today, the City of Fairbanks actually has an emergency fund AND a tax cap.

Slowly, but surely, that conservative ideal has permeated Fairbanks politics. For a long time, we sent Republicans to Juneau where they immediately became progressives, but recently we’ve sent conservative Republicans to Juneau. The GOP in Fairbanks is strongly conservative and it is having an effect on the state level GOP, though one the party is wholeheartedly resisting complete with political dirty tricks. As a non-partisan, I find the in-fighting annoyingly stupid and it tempts/prompts me to vote non-partisan, but I also see it as a sign that there is a debate happening in the Alaska GOP that might lead to some substantive changes – eventually.

During the last few years, the Alaska Senate was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but a handful of Republicans caucused with the Democrats and voted as a bloc – tying up legislation that Interior communities needed – natural gas trucking, a gas pipeline, etc. Interior voters helped to force a sea change last year and now the Senate is solidly Republican, but not just Republican – conservative Republican. They’re the ones who have fought for nullification of federal laws, more freedom with fire arms, and a reduction in regulations.

Alaska is a small population state with a well-educated, politically involved population, so changes here are perhaps easier than in other states, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. By targeting local offices where candidates often do not even need to declare a party, conservatives can teach their fellow citizens about our principles without scaring the unlearned with that word “conservative”. Our principles make incredible sense if they are not approached with presuppositions and local politics is the best place to prove that they work in the real world.

That done, it is much easier to conquer state and national elections because success at the local level brings supporters to our cause.

All Politics is Local   Leave a comment

What holds up conservativism from sweeping the nation?

When my dad, the classical liberal, used to tease my mom and call her a “conservative”, she was one of a tiny group of self-described conservatives in America. In the 1960s, the entire national “convention” could have been held in the hockey arena in Fairbanks Alaska.

Things have changed. Today, 40-45% of the nation’s voters describe themselves as “conservative”. That makes us the largest voting bloc in the nation. But as I explained in my earlier post, mostly we’re supporting the Republican Party in electing moderate progressives who then give “conservatism” a bad name by acting in pretty liberal ways. The Republicans say we should moderate our positions in order to attract people, but becoming progressives does not seem like a viable way to advance the cause of conservatism. In fact, I could argue that is what we’ve been doing since the 1990s and look where we are today.

I don’t think our principles are the problem. Poll after poll says people are largely conservative on a whole host of topics. I think it is our communication of those principles that cause us difficulty. When the Republicans got waxed in the 2012 election, it seemed as if they might self-analyze, but they’ve decided to look more like Democrats, so conservatives need to start looking a lot more like conservatives than Republicans.

If, as a conservative you’re still hanging onto the GOP, there are some things to consider about the 2012 election. The Republicans lost the minority vote, the women’s vote, and the city vote, but they also lost a large number of conservatives – and then they lost the election. Conservatives are propping up the Grand Old Party and if we withdraw our support, poof, the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. In a 3-way election, if conservatives vote as a bloc, we win. But how do we pull that off?

The American Conservative Party has a good idea. Concentrate on local elections and let the federal level go for now. Why? Because the two major parties have a stranglehold on the federal election … for now. Ballot access laws prevent third parties from getting on the ballot in most states. However, by concentrating on each state individually, third parties can get on local school boards and city councils and then into state legislatures, so that by the time they declare for the Presidency they won’t be unknown to the people in at least a plurality of states.

All politics is local anyway and much of it is non-partisan, so that candidates do not have to overcome negative party images and simply run on the issues. If we can prove to our communities that conservatism works, then we can move onto transforming our state governments and then our nation.

Constitution Party?   Leave a comment

We have a year to the midterms and three years to the Presidential election, so it seems like a really good idea to check our political compass and chart a new course now rather than later. I thought we might do that in the run-up to the 2008 election, but then conservatives (in the broad sense of the word) decided to cast their lot in with the GOP and the self-examination never happened.

There are alternatives to the GOP, folks! Why not look at them?

I confess, I like the sound of the Constitution Party. There’s resonance in that title. So, I checked them out. They’ve got some good ideas. Limited government, balanced budgets, states rights … all good ideas. I like that they say they are in favor of life and the freedom of religion. I like that the Alaska Independence Party endorsed some of their presidential candidates in the past.

As I read through their very long platform http://, I started to get nervous. My civil libertarian side started to feel a bit concerned. All assurances aside, I felt like I was reading a manifesto on statism wrapped up in the words of liberty.

I’m a born-again Christian who absolutely believes in freedom of religion, but I also think everyone has the right to such freedom – including those who are wrong in what they believe – atheists, Muslims, cultists. As long as their belief does not result in physical harm to anyone else or their property, they have an absolute right to their belief and the Constitution Party left me feeling as if they didn’t agree with that. Like most evangelical Christians, I am not interested in establishing a theocracy and a party platform that makes me feel like an atheist who also happens to be a constitutional conservative would feel unwelcome in the Constitution Party makes me uncomfortable.
That wasn’t the only issue, but it was the one that had my stomach in the most knots. No party platform, being the product of humans, will be perfect, but my automatic reaction to any sort of totalitarianism is resistance.
If they clear that up, they might get my vote. If they don’t … doubtful.

Libertarian Party?   4 comments

The Libertarian Party isn’t really a conservative party. It’s a fiscally conservative party that advocates for leaving the other guy alone. On the surface, I like that idea, but I’ve got some reservations.

I agree that government exists to protect the rights of every individual and should not be engaged in choosing groups of individuals for special protection.

First, I have some good friends who were strong members of the Libertarian Party for over 20 years who withdrew several years ago because of the LP stance on the legalization of drugs and abortion. As a Christian who believes that murder is murder even if the victim is pre-born, I don’t think I can vote for people who say it doesn’t matter. I don’t find the constitutional argument for privacy holding any water in this instance. Our founders never would have agreed that murder was okay so long as it was private. The taking of human life is murder. Maybe I wouldn’t be comfortable with women and doctors who perform abortions being prosecuted as aggressively as people doing driveby shootings, but I still hold with the moral concept that abortion is murder and that the Constitution doesn’t give us a special right to commit murder under special circumstances. “All men are created equal” except if “they’re a black person living below a certain geographical line and then they’re not.” That was a special right granted white southerners by the Supreme Court and it was still wrong.

I agree that the military is way larger than it needs to be and that the United States should not attempt to act as global police officer, but when researching the LP, I also believe we must maintain our ability to wage war on foreign soil and not just react after the fact to aggression that comes against us. I believe that stance will leave us at the mercy of our enemies, fighting on Main Street USA instead of “over there”. We shouldn’t get involved in the wars of others and we shouldn’t pick fights just because we can, but why shouldn’t our enemies be the ones who suffer the consequences when they start wars with us rather than us having to rebuild?

I strongly disagree with allowing an open-borders immigration policy on the grounds that the United States has a right and obligation to its current citizens to protect them not only from military foreign invasion, but also from cultural foreign invasion. The United States of America will not remain the United States of America if we allow ourselves to be overrun by citizens of other countries who have no interest in assimilating to our culture. Even legal immigration needs to be measured to allow for assimilation of new immigrants without overwhelming the existing culture. Immigrants should add to our culture, not transform it.

So, while there are parts of the LP platform that I agree with, I cannot agree with enough of it to feel comfortable with it.

I think I’m beginning to understand why third-parties have such a hard time in national political races.

What Would a Bumper Sticker Say?   2 comments

I don’t know what to call myself.

For two decades I have called myself a non-partisan conservative. As Joe over on the Rio Norte Line pointed out a while ago, a conservative is someone who believes in “conserving” the current governmental system. I’m definitely not a conservative by that definition. I like the Constitution. I think the system it founded was a good one, but I don’t think our current governmental system is that system. Maybe if you could disentangle the administrative state, restore states rights and force the three main branches back into their checks-and-balances silos, but that’s not what we have right now, so I’m not a conservative if it means I defend the current system … I don’t.

I don’t know that many of the founders of the modern conservative movement would call themselves conservative by that definition. They believed in reforming the governmental system in an attempt to return it to a more constitutional size and strength. Modern “conservatives” mostly seem to be about expanding our military and advancing the Republican Party.

I believe in the Constitution, but I also agree with Joe that THE founding document of the United States of America is the Declaration of Independence, so where the Constitution has strayed from the Declaration, I cannot support it. So, I guess I’m not really a constitutionalist either.

I am a civil libertarian, but the Libertarian Party platform leaves me cold, so I am not a (Big L) Libertarian, though I have libertarian leanings.

I believe in natural rights, but I also believe that natural rights must be tempered with civility (more on that subject later), so I’m probably not an (little a) anarchist, though I have anarchist leanings.

I believe in voting and being involved in electoral politics, but I hate political parties and only consider third-parties as a compromise position, so I’m a non-partisan.

So what do you call a chimera like that? In the 1770s, I’d have been called a liberal, but that word has been so distorted to mean those who favor big government and associated spending and intrusion that I can’t use that. So ….

If you had to fit it on a bumper sticker, what would you call me?

Third Party or Non-Partisan Only Political Hope   1 comment

GOP Voters Divided over Party’s Stances on Abortion, Gay MarriageConservatives are the largest voting bloc in the United States. According to a January 2012 Gallup poll, 40% of Americans described their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% of liberal. (Makes you wonder how we ended up with the most liberal President since Carter for two terms, doesn’t it?)Forty-four (44) percent of likely voters said they were fiscally conservative in a January 2013 Rasmussen poll. So why aren’t we sweeping conservatives into office year after year, presidential election after presidential election? Politics … party politics – dictates that conservatives who vote with the Republican Party are forced to settle for moderate and progressive Republicans and endure the heartburn over broken promises after supporting an impostor (Marco Rubio being an apparent example).

It would be untrue for me to say there aren’t good, conservative Republicans holding office. She’s not to the left of this paragraph. There are some who serve diligently and deserve our profound thanks and support. However, despite their good intentions and hard work, they are powerless against parliamentarian tactics, establishment rule and cronyism. Conservatives have learned to accept that every Republican claims to be conservative during campaign season. The problem with our complacency is they eventually reveal their true colors as progressives and then real conservatives suffer and the conservative movement as a whole loses support. Nothing galls me more than liberals telling me that the Affordable Care Act was a conservative idea. No, it was a progressive Republican idea. And, yet, as long as we play the party game, party politics assures Republicans are voted into office instead of conservatives.

Starting in 2008, conservatives stayed home on Election Day, refusing to support a losing proposition. It was a smallish movement then that probably did not get Barack Obama into the White House, but in 2012 it decided the election of Barack Obama to a second term. Just enough conservatives hang in to keep the Republicans competitive, not knowing they could change the course of our country if we would act in unison.

Without conservative support, the Republican Party would vanish overnight, and America would have a legitimate “conservative movement.” Unfortunately, too many conservatives believe that they have no voice without the Republican Party, so we compromise. Why put one’s self in such a dilemma and partake in such a soul-wrenching affair just to say later that the lesser of the two progressive Republicans is better than a progressive Democrat? 

Why not pick up and move camp under a single, solitary conservative party?

I know … third parties never win …

… unless people vote for them as happened in 1860 and almost happened in 1992.

Conservatives are 40-45% of the electorate. Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with only 38% of the vote. Had Ross Perot run his campaign differently, Clinton would have lost. Third parties can make a difference and a true conservative party that spoke to the principles of our voting bloc could easily win a three-way election … which would send a strong message to the liberals and moderates that conservatives really do exist and we really do think our principles are what the country needs.

The real problem for me is … how do you pick one?

Posted September 3, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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