Why I Fight to Unite

New York State, and the entire country, is trapped in a duopoly that robs us of our freedom, mutes our voices, takes power from the masses, and concentrates it in the hands of the few. Not Google and Facebook – I mean the Republican and Democratic Parties. 

Independent voters are being intentionally shut out of political discussion. The state’s recent “Independent Redistricting Commission” ended with gerrymandering designed to excite partisan extremes and perpetuate the system. It’s ugly and it’s wrong.

Perhaps the ‘Independent’ commission failed because there were exactly ZERO ‘independent’ members on it!

The same is true in County Boards of Elections all across the state. These entities, with enormous sway over how are elections are conducted, also have no independent members. Our elections are managed by a two-party system with zero incentive to enact reform. The last time I checked, monopolies don’t reform voluntarily.

The state is left with an entrenched political system that is more interested in serving the needs of incumbents, party bosses, and the money that funds them. The Democratic and Republican parties have both degenerated into headhunters for special interests looking for candidates open to their ‘ideas’ so that they can buy influence through campaign donations. When lobbyists anonymously and enormously pay someone to ‘help understand our issues’ – that isn’t free speech, it’s bribery.

It’s not a surprise that the state has had so many elected officials convicted of corruption. It is the act itself – of taking this amount and this kind of money – that is a corrupting influence.

It’s not that people run for office to be professional lackeys. But they enter a system that places paramount importance on raising money and preserving the status-quo. This paper recently quoted a candidate seeking a party endorsement, saying that the party leaders “didn’t ask one single question about my qualifications” but instead asked about “what I had done politically for the party.”

Politicians do notice that people are leaving the state – and leaving the parties too. Unite NY’s Voter Empowerment Indexfound that 39% of New Yorkers are thinking of leaving the state. And it should be no surprise that the fastest growing – and second largest voting bloc in NY – is unaffiliated voters.

The politicians and their handlers try to hide this, and the evidence is right in front of our eyes. Just look at the yard signs of those running for office, and almost uniformly you’ll see something is missing from most of them – a party affiliation. Politicians understand that most American voters are sick, tired, and angry of the party dynamics so – except in fundraising from their base, and except in their closed primaries – they try to hide it in the general elections. Try to find out who is behind some of the political television ads we see – often you can’t.

The American voter understands our system is broken. I’m fighting to raise awareness and let people know that fixing the system through the ideas and solutions like the ones Unite NY is offering is a great place to start. Won’t you join me?

Dan O’Sullivan is the Albany County Chair of Unite NY