If Democrat and Republican or Democrat-leaning independent voters are really concerned about having to choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in November, or the chaos that will ensue if Donald Trump wins or loses in November, or they simply want to be able to choose between two presidential candidates who care about our constitution and the rule of law regardless of their socio-political ideology, there is something that they… we can do about it.
For most of my adult life, I have been a registered independent or “non-affiliated” voter. I have voted for Republican candidates. I have voted for Democratic candidates. I have voted for Independent candidates. I voted for Ross Perot.
This week, I re-registered in my home state of California as a Republican. I expect that any day, I will become barraged with MAGA Republican emails, texts, and social media feeds. As a registered independent, I already receive as many as ten emails per day from Hakeem Jefferies, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, and others. Somehow, I have managed to stay off of MAGA’s radar, but I imagine that is about to change.
So why did I do it? For all practical purposes, Joe Biden is running for the Democratic presidential nomination largely unopposed. He is all but assured of being the Democratic candidate for president in November unless something very unexpected happens. And if the unexpected did happen, whoever would replace Biden on the November ballot will most likely be someone who cares about the Constitution and the rule of law.
The reason I re-registered as a Republican is to cast a vote for a Republican presidential candidate in the primary who cares about the Constitution, the rule of law, and America’s standing and reputation on the world stage as a leader in democratic values and principles. Once I have done that, I will once again re-register as a non-affiliated voter.
Everyone can do it. But there are regulations and deadlines, and they vary depending on which state you live in. For example, Californians will vote in the primaries on Super Tuesday, March 5. In California, the deadline for registering or re-registering to vote in the presidential primary is February 20.
U.S. Vote Foundation’s Federal and State Primary Elections page provides links to each state’s deadlines, regulations, and registration procedures for voting in the presidential primaries.
The polls and the media have led us to believe Donald Trump has the Republican presidential nomination locked up. But keep in mind that the pollsters are generally polling registered Republican voters. According to Ballotpedia, as of October 2022, only 29.4% of registered voters identified themselves as Republicans. 38.9% of registered voters identified themselves as Democrats. 31.6% of registered voters identified themselves as independents or unaffiliated with any political party or other political party. And Trump only carried 51% of registered Republican voters in the Iowa Caucuses.
If less than half of voters who are currently registered as Democrats, independents/unaffiliated, or with another political party re-registered as Republicans for the primaries and voted for, say, Nikki Haley, it is much less assured, in fact, unlikely that Donald Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination.
That is the power of our vote in the primary process. We can use our vote to keep a candidate who does not care about our Constitution and the rule of law off the ballot in November and instead choose between two presidential candidates, however ideologically different, who do care.
It is my hope that folks like Gavin Newsom, Hakeem Jefferies, organizations like the National Governors Association, No-Labels, The Lincoln Project and, yes, Michael Smerconish and center-leaning media outlets would use the power of their voices to encourage voters to take off their party hats for a day, and give Americans a choice between two candidates for president who care about the Constitution and rule-of-law, and eschew derision and division.
Let’s make the 2024 presidential election a choice between ideologies and not personalities. Visit usvotefoundation.org/primary-election-dates, and find out how to make a difference in your state.
For 35 years Richard (Rich) Zacaroli has served on boards of directors in the education, cultural exchange, community development, and banking sectors. He is chair of the board of directors of Greenheart International. He is a member of Rotary International, a Paul Harris Fellow, past president of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento, and chair of the Rotary District 5180 Global Grant Scholarship Committee. He is an occasional lecturer at CSU-Sacramento, and has authored numerous articles on the socio-political environment in the U.S.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force where he was awarded the Commendation Medal, Rich has held senior and executive management roles with high technology companies in the space and airborne remote sensing sector. He has worked extensively throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and was based in Rome, Italy for nine years. He has held U.S. and NATO security clearances. Now retired, Rich currently consults for a private equity firm focusing on the remote sensing business sector.
Rich has an MBA degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a BS degree from Wichita State University.
Rich and his wife, Lori live in Sacramento, California. They have a blended family of five children
and twelve grandchildren.