Some liberal Democrats have begun calling themselves “independent,” trying to obscure their party affiliation. A handful went further, seeking to make it even easier for candidates to hide their true political predilections. Net effect? Keep voters in the dark.
In 2009, State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), along with Reps. Valinda Bolton (D-Austin), Ellen Cohen (D-Houston), Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock), and Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) jointly authored HB 420, which would have required all candidates running for the State Board of Education to call themselves an “Independent,” and would have prohibited political parties from nominating candidates for that office.
Why would these liberal lawmakers want to limit access to the ballot? When is it preferable that voters know less, not more, about their candidates?
At the end of the day, our current body politic largely self-selects in support of one party or another. Even so-called moderates, and true independents, tend align in each election more heavily on one side or the other. If not, they still receive certain political clues from party affiliation, particularly if the candidate doesn’t contradict the party’s position in their campaign.
Further, many local “non-partisan” races have become populated with liberals. Take Reps. Howard and Maldonado, for example. Each served on school boards within their districts before going on to serve in the Texas House as liberal Democrats.
It makes sense that some lawmakers might want to allow an upward path for liberal education elites, giving them greater influence over statewide policy without important political transparency for the voters.
Liberals have to run stealth campaigns because their policies are unpopular. Disenfranchising the people by making political leanings more obscure would serve only liberal candidates trying to remain below the political radar.