Sunday, May 09, 2010

Partisan Politics is Anti-Progress and Anti-Youth

The rules affecting voters in the primaries vary from state to state. In Connecticut, voters have to be registered in the party for at least 3 months in order to vote in that party's primary. In New York, voters have to wait until the next election cycle, called being in a "lock box". California independents ("decline-to-state") are at the mercy of  party bosses when it comes to voting in the Dem and Repub primaries. Why is this important? Upwards of 40% of voters who consider themselves independent -- and 45% of voters under the age of 30 -- are currently disenfranchised in states that allow the parties to decide who votes. At a time when we desperately need new solutions, new ideas, new ways of looking at our problems, the voices and votes of independents are vital if we are to move forward. Partisan politics is anti-progress and anti-youth.

  • Improved Picture Isn't Lifting Outlook for Democrats (By JONATHAN WEISMAN, Wall Street Journal) Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling outfit with close ties to the White House, released a memo Thursday saying independent voters, blue-collar white voters and white seniors prefer Republicans by wide margins.
  • Primary registration deadline nears (Wilton CT Bulletin) Aug. 10 will be Primary Election Day in Connecticut. Wilton’s registrars of voters, Tina Gardner and Carole Young-Kleinfeld, anticipate both major political parties will hold primary elections on that day. They also report that Wilton has 4,040 electors who are not affiliated with any political party. Connecticut law requires voters be enrolled members of a political party for at least three months in order to vote in that party’s primary election.
  • 3 GOP hopefuls seek attorney general nomination (Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau) Decline-to-state voters in California, who are allowed to choose which primary to participate in, last month hit an all-time high, rising to 20 percent of registered voters.
  • Local Races Draw Interest In Tuesday’s Neb. Primary (BY RANDY DOCKENDORF, Yankton Pres & Dakotan)
  • Editorial: Vote for reform (Providence Journal Editorial, RI) It’s not too much to ask voters to actually vote for the candidates they put in office, rather than mindlessly voting by party.
  • Freilich to keep options open on independent run (NEAL P. GOSWAMI, Bennington Banner VT)


  • Kentucky Poll: Majority want health care bill repealed (By Halimah Abdullah, Lexington Herald Leader “The independents are going to play a key roll in the midterm as they did in the general for Obama,” said James Thurber, a political scientist at American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. “If you find a great number (of independents) not agreeing with the policies being passed ... that’s a significant problem for Democratic incumbents and candidates running in Kentucky.”
  • Limits of the Two-Party Primary (By Kellyn Brown, Flathead Beacon) Most of us consider Montana’s primaries to be “open” in that anyone can vote by simply choosing to fill out a Democratic or Republican ballot on June 8. But there are limits to that openness since, while you don’t have to register with either political party to participate, you are still pigeonholed into picking between the two. Well, what if you weren’t?
  • Poison Penn (Jonathan Chait, The New Republic)
  •  h/t to Salon Mark Penn is wrong about literally everything BY ALEX PAREENE
  • From the U.S. to the U.K., new political winds (By Mark Penn, Washington Post) In the United States, two mainstream movements have tried in recent years to capitalize on strands of dissatisfaction: John Anderson, a Republican congressman from Illinois who adopted liberal social and environmental views, got a modest amount of support from better-educated voters and college students as an independent presidential candidate in 1980. Barack Obama did particularly well with what would have been Anderson constituencies. The second attempt was by independent tycoon Ross Perot. His voters were primarily concerned about reducing the size of government and the deficit (large aspects of today's Tea Party agenda). At its core, the movement behind Perot was anti-government, while Anderson voters were for restrained but activist government. [NOTE: Actually, the second attempt was Lenora Fulani's historic run in 1988 when she became the first woman and first African American to be on the ballot for President in all 50 states. She ran as an independent and laid the groundwork for both Ross Perot's run in 1992, as well as for Barack Obama's win in 2008.]
  • Political Animal (Steve Benen, Washington Monthly) First, Penn characterizes "independents" as a relatively cohesive group of like-minded centrists, turned off by liberal Dems and conservative Republicans. That's both lazy and wrong, as has been made clear over and over again.
  • British elections: Why U.S. should care (By John Avlon, Special to CNN)

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