This week the Democrats are going at it; next week the Republicans get their turn. When I think of individuals involved in politics, regardless of their affiliations, I can usually think of somethign positive about them. On the other hand, I can usually think of something negative they’ve said or done. I suppose that’s why I wouldn’t do very well at either convention. I know too much about both groups to allow me to get very excited about either.
Yesterday I was part of a group hearing from our new county judge. He told us that though he is identified with a particular political party, he finds both that his convictions do not match perfectly with that party, and that much of what that (and the other) part claims to stand for has no bearing on county business. If that is the case – and it seems natural that it would, since the major parties are mostly concerned with national issues – why must we continue to have partisan elections on the local level? I can think of a couple of reasons.
The first reason is somewhat cynical. For many, activity in local politics can be a stepping stone to higher office. If you want to run for the state legislature or for congress, it sure looks like you need major party affiliation to make it. By proving yourself on the lower (local) level, you demonstrate to the Powers Above that you would make a decent candidate for their party.
The second reason to have partisan elections is that their are different philosophies or outlooks when it comes to local issues. The difficulty, of course, is that these differences may not match up in any way with either the Democrats or the Republicans. It might also be that there are more than two identifiable philosophies. As long as we’re a two party system, however, we think (except thinking doesn’t seem to have much to do with it) there must only be two ways. What if we had a completely different set of parties that worked on the local level, parties that had no determinate relation to the national parties?