Letter To The Editor: The Exhausted (And Unwanted) Majority

By Denton Lee

Do me a favor and consider this list:

Healthcare
Education
Taxation
Infrastructure
LGBTQIA+
Abortion
Electric cars
Energy / Oil
Climate
Environment
CRT
National Debt
Religion
Domestic Terrorism
Immigration
Defense
Foreign Relations
Internet Privacy
Second Amendment
Internet Regulation
Covid
Voting Rights
Supreme Court / court-packing
Citizens United
Term Limits

I could keep going, but you get the point. Politics in this country covers a lot of ground, arguably more than it should. Arguably so much that in a country as diverse as ours, it is preposterous to think all of us fit into only two groups.

Keep that list in mind, and I’ll get back to it in a moment.

For those that don’t remember me, I was the only unaffiliated candidate in the state of NC in 2020 running for the General Assembly. I wanted to run for something again this year, but it was beyond pointless to try to run unaffiliated a second time, plus the thought of getting over three thousand signatures again sounded about as appealing as spreading forty bales of pine straw one needle at a time.

So to run for office, you have to select a political party, but not one of the fringe parties because honestly, what’s the difference between running unaffiliated and running with the Constitution Party? Unless both of your opponents die between the filing deadline and November, you have absolutely no chance to win that race.

So you get two choices, and what an exciting choice, am I right? You could pick the Democratic Party, a place where the most devout members of the other party believe you are a devil-worshiping heathen, you would rather steal from the rich than work, you enjoy killing babies, you can’t read the Constitution, you believe in communism, you no longer want police, you want open borders, you want to blame white people for everything, you want to teach sex/gender education in kindergarten, you want to eliminate college debt for everybody now and forevermore, you want to ban guns completely, and I could keep going but it’s getting far too stupid.

Or, you could pick the Republican Party, a place where the most devout members of the other party believe you must worship Lord Trump or be labeled a RINO, you want authoritarianism, you’re racist, you don’t want black and brown people to vote, you believe conception via rape is just God’s plan, you can’t read the Constitution either, you do not believe in a social safety net whatsoever, you think climate change is a hoax developed by either Bill Gates or George Soros, you want the LGBTQ community to just shut up already, you’d rather shoot immigrants than let them and their diseases cross the border, and I could keep going but I have clearly proven my point that deciding between these two fun factories was clearly a high point in my life.
I hope you all can read sarcasm.

If you are one of the aforementioned “devout” members of either political party, you will not understand me. Chances are, you might even write a nasty comment about me when you find out I flipped a coin and put a “D” beside my name. But it wouldn’t have mattered if it was an “R” because I wouldn’t have liked that one either.

You’ll probably never truly understand that no matter what letter I put beside my name, it would be as meaningful to me as that time my daughter gave me the gum out of her hair.

“Oh, gee. Thanks, sweetie. It’s what I’ve always wanted.”

And whether you want to believe it or not, the majority of people feel exactly the same way I do. A few stats:

In 2019, a group called More in Common did a survey of 8,000 voters. 67% of them fell into something called the “Exhausted Majority.”

In March of this year, unaffiliated voters surpassed Democrats to become the largest voting bloc in the state.
Since January 1st of this year, there have been over 77,000 new voter registrations in North Carolina. 72% of them registered unaffiliated. 72%!!

Maybe they all lean one way or the other. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they lean a lot. Who cares? The point is, our two main political parties are growing less and less appealing by the day. And I am clearly not alone in my feelings towards them.
As it stands now, however, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about weakening them, and in so doing, strengthening our country. They have a stranglehold on our government, our elections, our courts, even our school boards. And the majority of us, that 67% that are moving past exhausted and into disenfranchised, are feeling more and more like we have no place or voice in our own government.

Remember that list from earlier? Are you fully on board with your party on every single one of those issues? If I added twenty more, would you fall in line with what Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and your party’s most vocal politicians tell you is the correct way for you to feel about them?

Would you do so without me even telling you what’s on the list?

Let’s go to the same place through a different door. As soon as you learned I put a “D” beside my name, did you assume I’m in favor of some poor schmuck being sent to your house to collect your guns? That’s not even remotely accurate, but that’s what I’m supposed to be, right?

It is absolutely possible to look at that list above and go left on one issue and right on another. It’s possible to believe we have an obligation to stay more centrist for the good of the majority. It is almost assured that no two people will have the exact same feelings about every single issue on that list.

But these days, if you belong to a political party, the unwritten rule is that you’re supposed to fall in line with the party platform, often the most extreme aspects of it. There are no more “big tent” political parties. If there were, I wouldn’t feel like an outcast in the Democratic Party.

And if your response to that is to say, “come on over to the Republican Party,” you know good and well I’d be an outcast over there, too.

So what in the world does a “free” country do when it is becoming hard to ignore the fact that an overwhelming majority of its citizens – people who typically aren’t of the “let’s overthrow the government” variety – no longer feel represented by either party in a duopoly where those two parties are the only ones that can actually win?

Well, as it turns out, they do nothing. They like it that way.

And that’s exactly why you have to try to make your way up to Washington through one of those two impenetrable parties. There is no other way in.

If you read my thoughts on all of our issues on my website, you’ll notice that I do not shy away from addressing and acknowledging both sides of most arguments. In my opinion, it’s the right thing for any potential (and acting) representative to do. If I’m lucky enough to be trusted with this gig, I doubt the Congressional Code of Ethics will tell me to only represent the Democrats.

Go back one last time to that initial list, and think back over the last 20 years. There have been two presidents from each party during that time, a never-ending ebb and flow of which party controlled which chamber of Congress, and through it all, I bet you can’t find more than three things on that list that have actually gotten better for the majority of citizens over the past two decades.

Give it two more decades of our two parties getting more and more extreme and polarized and you won’t recognize this place. And our kids will be living in a country so far in debt that our economy will be teetering on collapse.

It’s time for some systemic changes. It’s time for some nonpartisan safeguards that are good for democracy, even if it’s bad for party power. It’s time for term limits, it’s time to end gerrymandering and get redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers, it’s time to allow unaffiliated candidates on the ballot without the immortal hell of getting thousands of signatures, it’s time to limit money in politics, and it’s time to move to a new voting system, because every election expert on the planet will tell you that plurality voting needs to be retired.

Please notice that nothing in that paragraph was a partisan desire. They’d be good for our democratic republic, and that’s all that matters to me.

Some will make a very curious argument that adding a third option to the ballot – a “centrist” option, perhaps – will leave the winner of the election with a possible total of under 50% of the vote. Okay. So? Right now, because voters are so disenfranchised that they don’t bother to vote in primary elections, the nominee for each party will receive votes from less than 5% of the total voter base.

And that means that the two people we have on the ballot in November will have gotten there with about 10% of total voter support.

Ever wondered why most of us go to the polls in November and vote for the lesser of two evils?

You get a chance between April 28th and May 17th to have a say in who we get to pick from in November. If you think I’m one of the evil ones, you are letting a propagandized hatred of a letter I don’t even want lead you to that idea.

I will never be a “proud” Democrat or a “proud” Republican, but I will forever be a PROUD American. And my country has been weakened by political parties that don’t even want most Americans to join them.

Denton Lee is running as a Democrat for the United States House of Representatives in the 13th District, the district that includes Johnston County. He resides in the Cleveland Community with his wife, Megan, and three children. He is a former unaffiliated candidate for NC House and has been a Special Education teacher at Smithfield Selma High School since 2013.

22 COMMENTS

  1. It’s about good and evil, not party. You can say anything or join any party, but it is the way you act that counts. Align yourself with the goodness of God.

  2. Mr. Lee, I do try to believe that your heart is truthful in what you said above. Here is the problem with what you believe about being a independent member of ether party. As a Democrat or a Republican should you be elected you are going to go through orientation and at that time the bare knuckles of apolitical house speaker rather in the majority or in the minority will be very informative to you where your support for any chance of re-election funds will come from and wether you will be protected from any meaningful primaries in the future as well the chance to be advanced to any meaningful board. Unless you have deep pockets as a John Mccain, Mitt Romey, or Va. Senator Joe Manchine you will not be that Super Political Hero that I truly believe you may want to be? The old world facts are the facts, it is a two party system just as real as a boy or a girl and you see the social mess that the LBGQ has made trying to be a independent in that world havn’t you? The other fact is the man with the big airliner and helicopter with his family name on the side is the only modern day independent that achieved breaking through one of these parities. Yes he was a Democrat coneverted to a Republican and achieved inacting more conservative policies than any Republican President ever and they on both sides are willing to take the rest of his freedom or life along with his grown children for doing so. I know of some Lee’s around this part of the country that probably believe they have the deep pockets for it, I just as of yet not seen thier Boeing or Sikorsky setting and awaiting for the political fight at our Johnston County Airport. Mr. Lee all I am trying to say is that nether party belongs to you and the only way it will belong to you is it being taken as Donald J. Trump did to the Republican Party. Mr. Lee look up how many times Bernie Sanders lost a coin toss against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Presidential nomination, I have added the link below. Could we just all agree, THE FIX IS IN!!!!

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coin-toss-broke-6-clinton-sanders-deadlocks-in-iowa-and-hillary-won-each-time-2016-02-02

  3. There’s some truth here, which, for those who care, would need the follow up details. The devil isn’t in the details, it is the details. In addition, there is the issue of irony, which if missed, sets off all sorts of triggered reactions. In a free society, people are free to disagree, but missing the irony will take the supposed disagreement on a hazy, unrelated rabbit trail.

  4. You have hit the nail on the head.
    I don’t know of a single Democrat or Republican that agrees with all the Platform in the party.
    We need more down to earth folks with commonsense running.

  5. This is why I won’t join the GOP; until they oust the big gov corporatists from among them, I do not wish to be affiliated with them. However, Mr. Lee is right in that if you are willing to align yourself with heavy taxing, pro-abortion, anti-gun, big government authoritarians who champion critical theories in schools while double masking 5 year olds, I have no use for ya. Both parties need reforms, sure…but which party has us in the absolute dumpster fire of a mess?

  6. Pissing into the wind here Denton. You bring up some common criticisms of the two party system, but no congressman from NC can fix it. Term limits will never ever happen, you will never find a majority of politicians to vote themselves out of a job. Gerrymandering is not exactly an exciting issue to campaign on. And sure you may not agree with the Dems on every issue, but at the end of the day you’re representing them and should you win, you WILL vote lockstep with them or they will make sure you never win another election again. You seem nice enough, but don’t think this is your arena.

    • The Convention of States (COS) can and will set term limits. You do not need congress to legislate term limits. It is the power of the people under our Constitution. Learn about it.

    • So your suggestion for someone who wants to change things for the better is don’t even try? I hope Mr. Lee gets a chance to prove you wrong and you should feel the same way unless you are somehow benefiting from the current system.

  7. My Daddy ALWAYS told me in most things in life, it was best to stay in the middle. If you go too far – either way – you will fall into a ditch and then you won’t be able to see either side. Made more sense the older I got. Just never do it while driving. Too many extremist trumpist on the right the left isn’t really as bad, but the right makes them seem so. I know zero democrats who want to take anyone’s guns away…Zero. I know zero democrats who believe in late term abortion unless it is to save the mothers life, and that is rare. It’s all the right stirring things up. The Republicans were a mostly normal bunch until 2016. Reagan started this mess but it slowly got worse. I had never voted a straight ticket in my life until recently. I researched what the candidates views were. I still do that. But now I research who they align themselves with. Makes q huge difference these days.

    You sound like a sensible, normal, reasonable guy that can see things from both sides. That is exactly what this county needs. Thank you for hopefully being open minded and realizing that every person needs representation.

  8. Denton Lee you said you flipped a coin to decide which party you chose. If you were elected, I wander would you flip a coin to decide the issues put before you. Too many elected officials flipping already.

  9. Do any of you actually question if Mr. Denton Lee is the author that pinned this letter or was it written by a ghost political writer with a much more political experienced background? Just looking at the writting style and the political action phrases and for a newcomer he didn’t miss any segments of the voting population did he? I do think he used that two headed Hilliary Clinton coin to pick his political party. Folks, he is a school teacher and if he had picked the Republican Party he knew he would had been taken out by the council culture and the woke crowd I guess? Why can’t we get more real independents like this running for office?

  10. It’s been a tough day and I read this article this morning. But with the chaos of the day, I haven’t had time to respond.

    Denton Lee

    Run again!

    If you don’t win, it doesn’t matter! It’s all about growing the voice. And I must say I’ve been thoroughly planted in the center for many years now. And I grow stronger in the center the more I stand here. You’re gonna catch grief from both sides, but that, in essence, is a positive thing. The 2 parties have ruled and screwed things up for so long that if you’re able to catch their lashing simultaneously, it must mean you’ve struck a nerve and are doing the right thing. Furthermore, it has become political norm to spew venom. No real stance. No real plan. Just lash the perceived opposition. It’s how they communicate.

    I’m convinced the Independent voice is strong but stifled. I commend you for this article. And I commend JocoReport for finally letting reason into print. As long as they argue over the same handful of social issues and refuse to budge, the voice of the center need not fear their extremes.

  11. Great BS. Sorry but anyone who supports Democrats today are evil. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise obviously is an idiot, or insane. America as we knew her is toast. Thank God, I leave America in less than a year and so thankful I am able to as I can’t imagine how this country will be in 20 or even 10 years with Satan’s minions in charge.

  12. Nevermind. Shouldn’t have said that. In a bad mood tonight. Though maybe with the new Truth commission I should speak while I still can. No, better nevermind.

  13. I am unaffiliated. BUT I have my voting style. EVERY unaffiliated voter, votes stronger on one side than the other. They will say I’m in the middle. Well yeah you are per your voting card, BUT you know you vote stronger to one side than the other. Everyone who is unaffiliated does. I will admit it. I have always voted towards one party.
    But to say you picked a side by flipping a coin……. You should have just stayed unaffiliated. Even though you knew you had no chance. I feel you also have no chance by stating you picked a side by flipping. Sorry

Leave a Reply