YIKES: Scary Closed Primaries, Scarier Couples, and the Scariest Candidates

Halloween week: It’s a very special Politically Strange Bedfellow Wednesday when we dish on the odd pears for and against Truly OPEN Primaries. Shouldn’t elections be less scary?

This Week’s
Political Flap

The House of Representatives has only 36 of 435 districts competitive, so 399 are either Democrat or Republican monopolies. Does that seem American?

Amidst the backdrop of safe districts, publicly funded private primaries, hyper-partisanship, hyper-hypocrisy, undue influence from mega-donors, finger-pointing, excuse-making, trading stocks on non-public information, two international crises, a looming disastrous debt default, candidates that pledge loyalty to party over country, the House looks more like a dysfunctional high school than the other half of the legislative branch of the world’s only superpower.

What’s a Truly
OPEN Primary?

Everyone seeking office is on one ballot, and all voters, regardless of party, can vote for who they approve of eventually winning the office.

Then the top two, three, four, or five candidates go onto the general election. California has a Top-Two system, and experts have recommended going up to five for critical offices. Let each State decide that.

The First Past the Post (FPTP) voting method is not up to the task of OPEN Primary voting, as FPTP assures the two parties keep their monopoly on politics.

We’ll be exploring better voting methods in the upcoming weeks, like Approval Voting, Score Voting, Ranked Choice Voting, and STAR Voting.


If you’d prefer first to role-play this week’s puzzle, then swoop on over to the…

Puzzle of the Week
Should There Be Open Primaries for all Elected Offices?

Introduction to
This Week’s Political Flap
Congress: Trick or Treat, It’s OPEN Primaries Week

BOO for Halloween and The House of Representatives

Now, before we start dishing, you might want to scroll down for Politics 4.0’s Four Kinds of Love, Four Dark Emotions, and the Four Love Extremes. It’s an oxymoron how much of politics is fighting over love.

Odd Couples
Leaning Against
Truly OPEN Primaries

Republicans (30) &
Party Favor
Democrats (20)

How they Met: Moralistic Republicans and Party Favor Democrats unexpectedly found themselves at a cozy cafe, sipping coffee and bonding over their shared opposition to open primaries, their eyes locking as they passionately discussed the importance of party loyalty.

First Fight: Tensions flared when they debated the potential impact of open primaries on their beloved party values, sparks flying as they argued about their differing world views.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only deepened their connection as they realized that safe districts suited both their needs, resulting in an affectionate exchange that left them both committed to upholding their party ideals together.

Unions (30) &
Billionaires (28)

How they Met: Unions and Billionaires found themselves under the starry night sky at the bar at a charity gala, drawn together by thirst and their opposition to open primaries, their hearts racing as they whispered concerns about the potential loss of influence.

First Fight: Tensions flared as they debated the potential dilution of their power in the political arena, their eyes locking in a heated exchange about labor and wealth at odds over the bargaining table.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only intensified their attraction as they realized that closed primaries would protect them both from disruptive new ideas. Their renewed shared self-interest leads them to an awkward passionate exchange leaving them to appreciate better what a good thing they’ve got.

Hospitals (28) &
HMOs (28)

How they Met: Hospitals and HMOs met at a healthcare conference, their hearts racing as they bonded over their shared concerns about the potential negative impact of open primaries on healthcare, their hands brushing as they talked about the importance of stability.

First Fight: Tensions flared when they debated the potential for open primaries to introduce uncertainty into healthcare policy, their eyes locked in a heated exchange about the significance of reliability in healthcare.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only deepened their connection as they realized that their shared apprehensions about open primaries could lead to nationalized healthcare, a more profound appreciation of each other’s perspectives, and their passionate exchange, leaving them both committed to themselves and preserving closed primaries.

Rural Investors (30) &
Urban Investors (30)

How they Met: Rural Investors and Urban Investors crossed paths at a picturesque vineyard, drawn together by their concerns about the potential negative impact of open primaries on the economy, their eyes locked over glass rims as they discussed the importance of visibility.

First Fight: Tensions flared as they debated the potential consequences of open primaries giving the other an unfair advantage, their gazes locked in a heated exchange about the significance of economic stability.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only fueled their attraction as they realized that their shared fears about open primaries could lead to a deeper detente, and they waived a white linen napkin for the check while firmly gripping the free hand of the market.

Odd Couples
Leaning In Favor of Truly OPEN Primaries

USA Made (11) &
Importers (31)

How they Met: USA Made and Importers awkwardly met at a trade conference, drawn together by their support for open primaries, their eyes meeting across a bustling trade show floor as they discussed the wonders of doing business in America.

First Fight: Tensions flared when they initially debated the impact of open primaries on trade policies, their passion evident as they debated the importance of open marketplaces vs protectionist tariffs.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only deepened their connection as they realized that their shared belief in open primaries to stimulate the economy overall, which would lift all boats and their passion for each other.

Local Chains (27) &
E-Retail (15)

How they Met: Local Chains and E-Retail crossed paths at a vibrant marketplace event, their ears ringing as they bonded over their hope of open primaries to unlock gridlock and spur the economy.

First Fight: Tensions flared when they debated how their business models conflict, their eyes spitting daggers about each’s competitive advantage.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only intensified their connection as they realized that their shared enthusiasm for open primaries could lead to a higher tide lifting both their boats and the sheets.

Civil Servants (29) &
Entrepreneurs (11)

How they Met: Civil Servants and Entrepreneurs found themselves at a civic engagement seminar, their hearts racing as they bonded over their support for open primaries, their hands touching as they discussed the potential for more inclusive and responsive governance.

First Fight: Tensions flared when they devolved into a row over red tape and pushing the boundaries on neighborhood character.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only deepened their connection as they realized that their shared belief in open primaries could lead to more creative solutions, their realization leaving them both eager to explore more things together.

Part-time (13) &
Investors (23)

How they Met: Suburban Part-time and Suburban Investors unexpectedly encountered each other at a community meeting, both advocating for open primaries, their eyes locking as they passionately discussed the potential for more engaged suburban communities.

First Fight: Tensions flared when one complained about overall low pay, and the other whined about poor customer comments.

Make Up Sex: Yet, their differences only intensified their connection as they realized that their shared enthusiasm for open primaries could lead to a stronger suburban economy, their epiphany leaving them both to explore new areas of interest.

Nonpartisan Score

POLI had support as nearly unanimous. Our editors were a bit less convinced. Nevertheless, we predict a 67% ±5 (13 Roles) strong supermajority of roles in this country to support the Original First Amendment, including a majority of each of the four sides of the political tablemaking this US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) worthy idea. 

Congress’s approval rating is 13%, the Supreme Court’s is 40%, the media’s 27%. The average score of the policies on the PolicyKeys™ US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) is 73%, with many above 80%—Politics 4.0 is already 2x to 5x better model of US political sentiment and direction than politics as usual.

is based on the
Four Kinds of Love 

Self-sacrifice is giving of one’s self with no expectation of reciprocation. Think of a firefighter rushing into a burning building. 

Nurture is helping someone grow into their potential and keep up their momentum. Think of a coach, a parent, or a mentor. 

Tough-love is being able to invest in the personal pain of watching someone learn from their mistakes. Think of a boss, teacher, or a loved one drawing a line in the sand. 

Self-love isn’t narcissism. It’s knowing you can’t love another until you take care of yourself. Think about putting on your oxygen mask in an airplane before helping someone else. 

It’s ironic how much hate there is arguing about what kind of love should dominate public policy. The Golden Rule barely holds on to be worthy of the US Public Policy Leaderboard. What’s your mix of the four kinds of love on your best day?

The Four Dark
Political Emotions

Envy in Politics

  1. Consumers: Jealous of affluence, some support luxury taxes, disregarding potential harm to small businesses and their workers.
  2. Workers: Envious of higher pay, some advocate for wage caps, ignoring potential skill disincentives and loss of professional standards.
  3. Professionals: Chasing perfection, they may push for rigorous industry standards that, while well-intended, can limit consumer options.
  4. Owners: Coveting government influence, some call for privatization of liberty, causing less justice for others.

Spite in Politics

  1. Consumers: Upset with corporations, some call for tough rules, forgetting that this can increase costs for professionals and themselves.
  2. Workers: Angered by robots taking jobs, some want trade barriers, overlooking trade wars that hurt consumers and the economy.
  3. Professionals: Unhappy with industry shifts, some cling to old ways, missing the chance for growth and innovation that owners can bring.
  4. Owners: Annoyed by unions, some move their businesses overseas, neglecting local workers and weakening demand for their own products.

Sloth in Politics

  1. Consumers: Unhappy with product quality. Some abstain from political action, allowing inferior companies and poor regulations to persist.
  2. Workers: Dissatisfied with wages. Some avoid labor unions, missing an opportunity for change.
  3. Professionals: Aware of flaws, some stick with the status quo, risking harm to consumers and their livelihoods.
  4. Owners: Comfortable in their lifestyle, they don’t reinvest in their businesses to increase capacity and profits.

Greed in Politics

  1. Consumers: Drawn to low prices, some buy imported goods that risk local jobs.
  2. Workers: Attracted to job security, some back grandfather clauses harming new hires.
  3. Professionals: Eager for profits, some lobby for lax regulations that compromise ethics.
  4. Owners: Focused on the bottom line, some advocate for lower safety standards, risking worker well-being.


When taken too far, each political strength is prone to a political weakness.

Self-Sacrifice – Envy: Individuals who prioritize the needs of others might be prone to envy, as they may feel overlooked or undervalued compared to those they’re helping.

Nurture – Spite: Those who nurture and care for others may be more susceptible to spite when they perceive harm or injustice being done to those they care about.

Tough-Love – Sloth: Someone who employs tough love might feel it’s not reciprocated or effective, leading to a tendency toward sloth—why bother pushing others if it yields no result?

Self-Love – Greed: A focus on self-love could tip into greed, where self-care becomes self-serving to the point of disregarding others.

Politics goes negative fast. Does it have to? A political parrot by any other name still stinks.


Our One-Page Narrative Tool, game board, and AI are based on a ground truth: There’s a time to save and a time to spend, a time for freedom and a time for laws. Where can we agree?

This yields four legs of the political table: Abundance, Thrift, Governance, and Commerce, poetically our Political DNA, ACGT.

The four sides of the table are…

Abundance Governance (AG)
National Public Sector and NGOs,

Abundance Commerce (AC)
Technology and New Businesses,

Thrift Government (TG)
Local Municipalities, Guilds, and Consumers, and

Thrift Commerce (TC)
Established Supply Chains and Jobs.

Each side has a bias for change and a bias for the status quo. We scan these eight Information Walls for Key YES and NO Reasons, no cherry-picking.

We search for solutions with the highest hypothetical nonpartisan rating. Something that would solve 80% of the problem with the simplest 20% solution. The Pareto principle, hence a parrot-topia.

The Key Reasons are sorted using our EMIT format: Emotions, Money, Information, and Timespan. We search for these key signals in the political noise.

Key Reasons can look similar, so we edit for redundancy and look for errors, omissions, and innovations.

We look to filter out the GRIFTERS, Gaslighting, Red-herrings, Idolizing, False-dilemmas, Tunnel-vision, Exclusions, Reductions, and Straw-man arguments. 

Birds of a Feather AI

Once the Key Reasons are set, we prescore the puzzle using the Birds of a Feather AI for loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Over 16 million combinations are possible for the 128 roles. The game board starts balanced at zero, with an equal bias for change and the status quo.

We then prescore the puzzle using 56 arch-type roles that best embody each of the 56 loose ties. This yields a general bias for change or status quo and reveals ties.

The editors review all 128 roles for specific reasons and overrule the AI where necessary. These are noted in the Tuesday Tiebreaker article.

Then, we score the puzzle on all four sides of the Political Table: eight Information Walls, sixteen Subcultural Windows, sixteen Bias Columns, and sixteen Influence Rows.


When the scoring is done, a second AI looks for inconsistencies using the SAT9 AI filter. This is 256 ‘supreme courts’ where each role is the chief justice in a presumed 5-4 and 4-5 bench. This generates a ± error margin.

This is all done on a One Page Narrative Tool (OPNT) that we gamified for role-playing at policykeys.com. We call our AI, POLI for Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative.

You can read more about PolicyKeys™ in the upcoming book, Politics 4.0: How Gamification, AI, and National Idea Leaderboards Can Help You Depolarize the World. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recognized PolicyKeys™ for digital engagement.


new PolicyKeys™
Where Can We Agree?® puzzle 
drops every 
Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern at PolicyKeys.com.

PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree? is a real-life role-playing game. Each week, there are sixteen sets of eight ‘rival’ roles. Sit awhile in each of their eight chairs and predict whether a majority of people in those roles would say Yes or No to the week’s question.

The best ideas land on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) if a majority of each of the four sides of the political table agree. You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.


Cue the
Patriotic Music

Imagine a world not paralyzed by political squawking. A Parrot-otopia oasis in a desert of division. Where the sounds of the silent super-majority drown out the droning of the hyper-partisan parrots.

We’ll be freed from the cages of entrenched ideology to fly higher in the big sky of American beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. To boldly go where no political parrot has gone before—ranking solutions with a nonpartisan score.


Where Can We Agree? 
(Why Don’t You Want To Know?)

You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.


60% of Americans are Living Paycheck to Paycheck
CBS News

Support for a Third Party is up to 63%

Congress’s Approval Rating is 13%

49% of Americans View Themselves as Independents

Two-Thirds Say Voting Should Be Easy
Pew Research

Why Open Primaries

All About Voting Methods

The Two-Party System is over 170 Years Old

The U.S. has a ‘primary problem’…

Open Primaries

Breaking a Political Duopoly
WSJ Opinion

The Benefits and Pitfalls of an Open Primary

What is an Open Primary

Open Season on Open Primaries

State Primary Election Types
National Conference of State Legislatures

The Political Industry

It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.





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