Declare your political independence

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From the Stamp Act in 1765 to the Tea Act in 1773, and ultimately the shots fired in Lexington in 1775 and the ensuing Revolutionary War, the American people have resisted the vile concept of taxation without representation. Yet with just two independent Senators in the Senate and zero independent or third party Representatives in the House, there is a large and growing segment of the population that is only minimally represented in the major legislative bodies of our federal government. The picture in state legislatures is only slightly less grim -- there are a total of 42 independent and third party legislators out of 7,383, or 0.6% compared with 0.4% in Congress.

We are at a crisis point in American democracy. The way we get out of this mess is to view our votes differently, to recognize all of our options, and to step out of the partisan box.

The second we start to even consider all of our options, the blinders come off and we can see our own agency to change what’s broken. We can start to demand more from the candidates who have been taking our votes for granted. We can advocate more effectively for reforms like Ranked Choice Voting and Open Debates that are so clearly beneficial to our system of self-governance. If we declare our political independence, we recapture the theoretical power of our votes and our voices. If they can’t take our votes for granted, after all, they actually have to start listening to us.

92 million voting-eligible Americans (40%) did not vote in the 2016 election.

66 million voted for Hillary Clinton (29%).

63 million voted for Donald Trump (27%).

The clear winners of the election were apathy and disgust. The clear losers were the American people and our entire democratic experiment. We can, and we must, do better.

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