By Pete Tejada

Where does one turn when faced with only one “possible” road to travel, which lead down a destructive path? As many as 40 percent of the American electorate now describe themselves as independent voters rather than Republican or Democratic. As the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections draw inevitably closer, independents are turning away from the partisan “road” that continually puts the interests of the political parties ahead of those of the country. Independents – whom studies have shown are not “moderates” but in fact span the entire political spectrum – are unified by the belief that government is broken. And why shouldn’t they think that?

Currently 42 percent of the states in our country conduct either closed primaries or caucuses, which lock independent voters out of the process and feed the partisanship that has distressed America. With California leading the way, a new wave of reform has been building to give expression to the non-partisan desires of this voting bloc. Due to the efforts of this independent-led reform wave, California voters have remade their political process ahead of the 2012 elections. Open Primaries – which allow all voters to participate equally regardless of party – and Redistricting Reform – which takes away the politicians’ power to redraw their election districts and turns it over to a citizens commission – have served to make California’s 3.5 million independent voters without a party real players in the process.

As similar reform battles brew in neighboring Arizona, independent voters are again rising in California. Independents realize that it is not just enough to gain political power, but that in order to effect real change that power must be used. Unified around an agenda of reform to open up the political process, independent voters in California are beginning to wield their power in the state’s congressional races. If the candidates want the votes of independents, they must do more than mouth the same tired partisan arguments and attacks. In order to win the support of independents, the candidates must promise to fight for true political reforms that strip the parties of power and return it to the people. This is the new road forward for the United States of America, forged by independent voters. (Pete Tejada — Member, — Rancho Cucamonga)

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