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I post my sudden thoughts and second thoughts here from time to time -- usually having something to do with Philadelphia and governmental accountability, but occaisionally on something more (or less) interesting. Check out my Recent Writing for issues of the day and take a look at some more in-depth writing in Brett's Books. Or, view the Bulldog Budget, which represents a wonderfully visual way to conceive and account for how our government works (or doesn't work) for us.

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Most recently, I wrote
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Will November 5th be Independents Day?

Democrats and Republicans have had their opportunities to run Philadelphia.  Could Independents do better?  There are 17 members of Philadelphia's city council. Ten of the members represent city neighborhoods while seven additional members are elected to represent the city at large.  Political parties may only nominate five candidates for those at-large seats so no one political party can hold all seven seats.  While some share a mistaken understanding that this all means that the Republican Party is guaranteed those two final council-at-large seats, the truth is that any party can win representation on city council.  With Democrats dominating local elections and routinely winning enough votes to win five of the at-large seats, the question is whether candidates of any party besides the Grand Old Party can win enough votes to claim one or both of the final two seats.  Can the November 5th election be Independents Day in Philadelphia?  More important, should Election Day be a chance for Independent Party officials to govern?

Democrats in Philadelphia have managed the affairs of government in an unsatisfying manner, but it is hard to argue that Republicans have done much in recent years to demonstrate that they have anything to offer Philadelphia in terms of better ideas about governing.  The Republican Party has offered little competition in races for most local political offices and has not articulated a compelling vision for Philadelphia to win elections.  Where the Republicans have had power to exercise, they have failed to be an effective loyal opposition and have even contributed to the grotesque aspects of local governmental ineptitude and worse.