Independent or “no party affiliation” voter registration has been a growing trend across the country in recent years, even in states considered solid red or blue. This reflects voters not buying into the increasing hyper-partisanship coming out of Washington. It may be a result of it in fact.
With U.S. economic indicators going up and down the last several months, and with all reports reflecting weaker and slower growth than needed for a true economic turnaround, the 2012 election will be all about the economy and jobs no matter the calculated distractions or nasty campaign ads.
What the American people care about is solutions, not more tired partisan rhetoric and politicians only focused on keeping their jobs and not the millions of Americans without jobs. Voters are weary of what seems like a deep recession that is lasting forever with no significant job creation in the private sector. Millions have lost their current financial stability and future confidence.
While politicians play political games, non-politically connected Americans have suffered and disapprove of both major parties. A citizen registering to vote as Independent or with no party affiliation has grown, even in Democrat political central California.
Most agree Independents nationally will decide the 2012 presidential election. In Congressional races all over the country, they may also decide the victors of both primary and main elections. By nature, the majority of Independents are not blindly tied emotionally to either political party or fiercely loyal necessarily to any incumbent politician.
In what began in 2010, 2012 continues the trend of normal everyday citizens fed up with Washington’s “politics as usual” stepping up and running for political office. These citizen candidates hope to bring real life experience, outside of the beltway, and real change to Washington.
Congressional District 47 in California has eight candidates in their open primary on June 5.
Sanford Kahn is one of the eight. He does not have a lot of campaign money, and he is not considered a front runner, but he does have ideas to move America forward. He believes he can bring solutions to Washington, touting “He is not an incumbent or an attorney.”
He received an engineering degree from the University of Florida and moved to Long Beach, California to work for McDonnell Douglas Corporation in 1969. For the past seventeen years he has been self employed as a business author and professional speaker.
Kahn is passionate about America digging out of her economic hole. He offers, “We must grow! A secure future lies in economic growth.” He is also steadfast in his desire for quality education which he believes is one of the vital issues. He supports all children having equal access and choice in education reform.
Kahn is the only candidate of the eight pushing for a flat rate federal income tax and a full school voucher system.
California District 47 open primary candidate Sanford Kahn shares his thoughts.
BKH: Has there been any major changes in the demographics of CA47 with the political redistricting?
SK: Yes. The district now includes part of central Orange County. Before, the district included Long Beach and communities close to Long Beach but only in Los Angeles County. With the district now going into Orange County, there is a significant increase in Asian representation, especially the Vietnamese community.
BKH: Have these demographic changes had an effect on the focus or politics of the CA47 district?
SK: Yes. The old district was significantly Democratic in registration. Now, by including parts of Orange County, the Democrats have only a 10% point lead in registration.
More importantly, the independent registration is 24% of the electorate. They will decide the outcome of the June 5th primary.
BKH: Do you live and work in the CA47 district?
SK: I have been living and working in the district since I came out to California after graduating from the University of Florida in 1969. I started work for McDonnell Douglas Corp. as a mechanical engineer. I made a significant career change in 1995 by becoming self-employed.
BKH: What motivated you to run for Congress as a citizen politician?
SK: We really are at a turning point in our nation’s history. We have two and only “two” choices for our future. Either we will have a set of policies that empower the individual or policies that will empower the government.
One leads to a growing and vibrant economy with expanding opportunities for all and the other to economic stagnation. Government is not your friend but your competitor for personal power.
BKH: From your day-to-day interaction with the CA47 community, what do the residents tell you they care about most?
SK: Getting the economy growing again to produce jobs, jobs and more jobs.
BKH: Why do you believe a flat rate tax policy is best for America?
SK: I believe a flat income tax rate is the best policy for America because it is the only fair way to tax individuals. Everyone pays the same rate after a large standard deduction indexed to inflation. It also does not subsidise one behaviour over another.
The beauty of it lies in its simplicity. It can be filled out on the back of a post card. No more spending hundreds of dollars going to a tax professional to get your taxes done. I probably will not get the vote of the society of tax professionals, but that is the way it goes.
BKH: Some believe a flat rate tax rate policy would disadvantage the lower income Americans and result in the highest income Americans not paying their “fair share.“ What do you say to critics of a flat rate tax policy?
SK: This is garbage! The lower income Americans will be protected by the large standard deduction that will completely or almost completely eliminate them from paying income tax.
One of the numbers that has been mentioned for a standard deduction is $35,000 for a family of four. I agree with this. This number is above the poverty income level for a family of four.
BKH: Why do you believe a full voucher system is what is best for education in American schools?
SK: Education will not be reformed by throwing more money at it. Per pupil spending today is more than three times what it was in 1960 measured in constant dollars, and the quality of education has deteriorated.
The only way to really reform education is to introduce competition. Parents and legal guardians know what is best for their children. They should have the choice of where to send their kids – public, private or parochial schools.
BKH: What are the top challenges in your district?
SK: The unemployment rate in California is higher than the national average. The top priority in my district is to focus on tax policy that will get the economy galloping again to spur new job creation. Without new job creation, there will be no meaningful solutions to our societal problems.
BKH: What are the types of meaningful solutions you propose for these challenges?
SK: Tax policies that encourage work, saving and investment is the only solution to getting the economy galloping again. The genesis of economic growth is individuals, namely entrepreneurs. New business investment and risk taking should be rewarded and not penalised by bad tax policy.
BKH: What are the funding solutions for your proposals?
SK: Strong economic growth will produce a river of revenues to the federal and state governments. On the other side of the ledger, baseline budgeting should be eliminated. Federal spending should increase no more than the sum of the per cent increase in population growth and inflation or about 3% a year.
BKH: Why do you think D.C. and Congress are so dysfunctional right now in general?
SK: They are dysfunctional, but there have been other times in our history they have been dysfunctional also. I expect after the 2012 elections the two major parties will start to cooperate more.
BKH: What is the new approach needed to once again have those in Congress represent the values and desire of their constituents over party loyalty?
SK: Elect new individuals to Congress. I am also a firm believer in term limits for U.S. Congressmen and Senators. I believe in the citizen politician not the professional one.
BKH: What in your life experience makes you the best choice for the citizens of CA47 to represent them in Congress?
SK: I am neither an incumbent nor a lawyer. It is like religious dogma to me that economic growth comes from giving individuals the incentives to work, save and invest for their futures. None of the other candidates have even expressed anything remotely like this. They probably don’t have an understanding of this concept.
BKH: Thank you.
Are state and federal establishment politicians considering the “why” of the increase in Independent voter registration? Chances are citizen politicians running for office and citizens registering to vote with no party affiliation are trends that will continue and increase.
Will these trends finally force the hand of real economic solution policy coming out of Washington in the future? Hopefully they will sooner than later. Americans need real economic growth indicators and reality to get back on their feet, not manufactured facts or manipulated numbers for an election season.
Hopefully this will also lead to policies that benefit those living in the real world outside of the recession proof and job performance immune political class in Washington. And this American need is not a red or blue state thing or a Democrat or GOP thing.
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