It sucks to be a registered independent in Pennsylvania. If you’re not a democrat or a republican, you can’t vote in the state’s primary elections. Ever. Most years I just write a letter to the editor in protest of this ridiculous law, but this year I’m reluctantly bending over and changing 26 years of independence to become a democrat for a day.
On April 22, I want to be a part of the process that selects either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee for president, and to do that, I need to compromise my principles for a little while.
If you live in Pennsylvania and are registered as an independent or a member of a third party, but you want to vote April 22, my friend Tom DiStefano over at the Clarion News wrote a piece called “March 24 is last day to register for ‘spotlight’ primary” that will tell you how to do that. I plan to go over to the courthouse on Monday and swear to God and the county of Clarion that I’m a democrat. I’ll keep my fingers crossed behind my back, though, so it won’t really count.
I have no idea who to vote for. I like them both and distrust them both evenly. Right now my decision will most likely be based on who I think can beat the republicans in the general election. I say “the republicans” because part of me really likes John McCain, but I’m not happy at all with the republican party. Besides, I’m seriously concerned about his age (not to mention his stance on several domestic policies), and who he picks as a running mate would greatly influence how I voted. I doubt he’ll make that choice before the Pennsylvania primary, so I have to go with voting for the democrat I think can beat the republicans in November.
Yadda yadda yadda…I don’t know who I believe that is yet.
I take this decision to change my affiliation very seriously. After all, even registering as a democrat for a few minutes means the party will have my address and phone number and will no doubt harass me mercilessly until November. Thank god for caller ID.
I know my sister will write fervently about why I should vote for Obama, and my daughter Cassie will write just as passionately in support of Clinton. To each of them, and those of you who are equally passionate about your candidates, I promise to do my homework and make the best informed decision I can on April 22.
But as soon as that’s over, I’m heading back to the courthouse, uncrossing my fingers, and becoming independent once again.