For CNN’s Report on Kansas Independent Senate Candidate Greg Orman-Taking out a Republican senator, without a Democrat on the ballot-click here.
It is rather bizarre in a way, that the Democrats in Kansas petitioned to court to have their own candidate removed from the ballot, so that the Independent Candidate could have a better chance of unseating a Republican incumbent. This is a kind of political news that you rarely hear in the United States. Kansas Democrats are betting that the Independent candidate, Gary Orman, if elected, will eventually caucus with them, just like the other independents do currently in the Senate. I cannot help but wonder what the political repercussions would be once Mr. Orman-the Independent candidate currently not affiliated with both major political parties-does get elected to the U.S. Senate in November, 2014.
If Mr. Orman, is truly an independent different from the “Northeastern independents” we have seen in the Senate, then his election to the U.S. Senate would make tremendous difference in keeping both major political parties in check; this would have great significance, as in today’s national political climate marked by partisanship and gridlock, so extreme that the 113th Congress has been given the name of “do-nothing” Congress which was once given to the 80th Congress.
If the above premise is true about Mr.Orman’s independent leaning—a term in itself is in fact hard to define—then this Independent could exert great influence and even dictate how decisions are made in today’s Senate and even the Congress as a whole.
But, how so?
We have seen Independents winning seats in the Northeast United States in the past, but they mostly had a liberal Democratic bent and caucused with the Democrats. But Mr. Orman is different. He appears to be an independent of a different sort, in that he is an independent in a deeply red state. That means, he is likely to be “more independent” and perhaps a little more conservative than his Northeast counterparts, depending on issues.
If Mr. Orman does get elected to the Senate, an independent like him alone in the post-midterm more-or-less equally divided Senate could have both parties courting his endorsement on key and contentious legislations. And, if more independents emerge in U.S. Congress, this is likely to become an influential quasi third-party. This, in my opinion, is not much different compared to other democratic countries that have a multi-party system, in which small political parties hold disproportional political influence in political/policy decisions that are made.
Would Mr. Orman start a truly independent movement in US politics, or is he just another Democrat in independent cloth? It is not clear at this point. His past records, according to this CNN article, indicated that he had endorsed and supported both Democratic and Republican candidates. This to me, means that he is quite “independent,” and his “independentness” is in fact the very card that he plays in his Senatorial campaign, and is expected to have a good chance of winning.
If I may posit further, if more independents win national races, it is likely that American politics will be forever changed, from a currently dysfunctional two-party system to that of a multi-party system that is potentially chaotic, as we have observed in some countries; and also undemocratic, as already mentioned, that small political parties hold great political influence disproportional to its size.
This Mid-Term Election is getting more interesting by the day.