Maine is a small state. It seems like a world away to me, living in rural New Mexico. But Maine has accomplished something – by intent or by happenstance – that could lead the nation.
Independents in the Maine state legislature now hold the balance of power. A “fulcrum” of 6 independents and 1 Green Party member has denied both major parties a majority.
The 74 Democrats and 69 Republicans in the chamber must now work with either each other and/or the bloc of independents to pass legislation. Rep. Martin Grohman, a former Democrat, recently disaffiliated from his party because he thinks he can accomplish more as an independent. centristproject.org
One of the depressing aspects of the last presidential election was the pitiful choice given voters. I believed voting for a third party candidate or staying home was a waste of my vote. Maybe independents do offer a way out of our current partisan mess to a brighter future. And all hope is not lost for the traditional parties.
Maine Senator Susan Collins is a perfect example of the outsized influence that principled, centrist politicians could have. Collins is a moderate Republican who demonstrated the power of bucking party bosses.
Be sure to watch for independents in state and local elections, and for third parties and moderate ‘Pubs and Dems’ who may lose their primaries but run as independents. Sanity can return and moderates can regain their voice. I know it can happen because it has happened.