Consider that there are roughly 7,400 American citizens who hold elective office across 50 state legislatures. Almost 540 more hold elective office in the U.S. Congress and I’m comfortable rounding that up to a cool 8,000. Good? Let’s add to that about 10 or 11 thousand statewide elected offices (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, etc.) so, like 20,000 people total.1 With the overall U.S. population clocking in these days at about 332 or 333 million, that adds up to [pounds keys on calculator] an infinitesimal, barely perceptible percentage of our fellow Americans making decisions that affect we the people in our states and nationwide. They decide all kinds of things including who can vote, how they can vote, and who can actually count and certify said votes. I’m thinking it makes sense for all of them to be patriots in the truest sense of the word: people who, regardless of where they sit on the left-right political spectrum we’re so fond of sitting and placing others upon, will unwaveringly put country over party.
Thankfully, voices far more powerful than mine are beating this drum.
Last fall, Democracy Docket asserted “Three Things at Stake for Democracy in 2022: 1) control of Congress — and the ability to pass laws combating voter suppression and election subversion; 2) control of state governments — and the power to restrict or enhance access to voting; and 3) control of election administration in key states — and whether we’ll have a fair and free election in 2024.”
Last week, The Washington Post editorial board opined that “Americans have long had the luxury of voting for leaders based on day-to-day issues such as economic performance or tax, education or environmental policy, because the major parties’ nominees have shared commitments to basic facts and to the U.S. political system. We no longer have that luxury. Voters must now prioritize honesty on core issues and commitment to democracy above all else.” Two days later, it said “[Voters] must reject this year’s wave of GOP candidates for secretary of state, governor and other jobs who claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Otherwise, the country might end up seeing what a real stolen election looks like.”
Earlier this month, The New Yorker asked, “Are Crossover Efforts to Defeat Extreme Republicans Gaining Ground?” It reported that the Utah Democratic Party declined to field a candidate for U.S. senate this year, choosing instead to back an independent candidate “who they believe has a chance to win.” (We looked at this last fall.) At the moment, that candidate is polling even with the incumbent, a 2020 “election denier.” As one self-described “anti-Trump conservative” put it: “Are you for the rule of law and the pluralistic American experiment and free and fair elections, or not? And people who supported Donald Trump and his coup are not for those things. Democracy is very much on the line right now. And we should try new things. We should try everything we can.”
It’s a descriptor they can hawk, a refrain they can repeat ad nauseam, to give a clear and unambiguous message to non-MAGA voters wherever they may be.
I’m happy to say I think this idea is gaining ground because of how easy it is, right now, to find stories and statements like these throughout the broadcast, print, digital, and social sources of news and information I typically consume anyway. As primary contests recede and redistricting settles, November’s midterm elections are coming into sharper view with more and more stark autocracy-vs-democracy talk seemingly taking hold. Yes, it’s all still quite crowded with talk of gas prices and inflation and incessant predictions of a Republican midterm rout, a drumbeat that hasn’t stopped since the last election ended. (Has the last election ended?) Yet I find this gathering, concurrent drumbeat to be exciting because of how it aligns in a few important ways with excellent conscious politics practice:
It is, fundamentally, about taking responsibility — foundational to living consciously. Our politics during the last six years have laid bare that self-governance and adherence to the rule of law is a fragile proposition that doesn’t run on its own. It requires a willingness of those invested with sacred political power to uphold their oaths of office by putting country over party. Factually speaking, this is infinitely more than what the Republican party of 2022 has shown it is willing to do.
It requires interdependence. It requires reaching beyond our circles to connect with other circles as people are doing in the Utah senate race (and many others). That means every single country-over-party candidate — be they Democrats, Republicans or Greens, Forward or SAM party members, independents or otherwise politically unaffiliated voters, or members of Renew America or the Republican Accountability Project or other such groups — working with whomever they need to work, wherever they are running their campaigns. Indeed, we mimic the nature of Nature when we cultivate such interdependence — one aspect of what it means that we belong to the planet, not the planet to us.
It is organized around a shiny, clear intention: to unambiguously recommit America to robust self-governance, adherence to the rule of law, and free and fair elections.
Given: there are broad differences within and between parties in terms of candidates and the jurisdictions they want to represent. And there is plenty of room for all of them — every single one — to talk and talk in terms of being country over-party-candidates. It’s a descriptor they can hawk, a refrain they can repeat ad nauseam, to give a clear and unambiguous message to non-MAGA voters wherever they may be. They can be as conservative as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) or as progressive as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and still identify as country-over-party candidates.
Personally, I am a staunch and unrelenting advocate of this project — to insure that country-over-party candidates prevail up and down every ballot there is this November — because I am a freedom junkie. I simply want the maximum amount of room and space to pursue my happiness within any parameters we the people set for ourselves. That’s what self-governance affords when we take our responsibility seriously so…let’s.
NOTE: In two days: The Conscious Politics Free Monthly Training. It’s this newsletter come to life and all are welcome. Tuesday, June 21 from 8:00-9:30pm Eastern / 5:00-6:30pm Pacific.
This number excludes a few hundred thousand elected municipal/town/city/county and school board offices (because they don’t make voting policy).