Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Third Party Rising, Tweeting (Which) Revolutions, and Human Development





INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Third Party Rising (By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NY Times) We have to rip open this two-party duopoly and have it challenged by a serious third party that will talk about education reform, without worrying about offending unions; financial reform, without worrying about losing donations from Wall Street; corporate tax reductions to stimulate jobs, without worrying about offending the far left; energy and climate reform, without worrying about offending the far right and coal-state Democrats; and proper health care reform, without worrying about offending insurers and drug companies.[

  • Tom Friedman, Naderite? (Ezra Klein, Washington Post/Voices) The worst illusion pundits foist on the populace is the idea that if we just elect the right guy (or gal) to be president, everything will be fine. It won't be. If you don't like how our laws are being made, you have to change how our laws are being made. [NOTE: I agree -- we need structural political reform. I also think there's a real shot for the American people to elect an independent President. -NH]
      • Independents not buying Dems' core messages (Greg Sargent, Washington Post/The Plum Line) A plurality of independents, 44 percent, agree with the core Dem claim that Dems are better for the middle class. Only 31 percent of indys pick the GOP.
      • HALPERIN’S TAKE: The Third Man (Mark Halperin, Time mag) If unemployment's 10 percent and if it's Bloomberg-Petraeus against Sarah Palin and whoever against Obama, and Bloomberg spends $3 billion, who would you bet on?" 
        With VIDEO

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Independent votes should count (Rapid City Journal Editorial Board) The more people participate in elections, the more representative the government becomes.
  • The process shouldn't involve manipulation. It shouldn't involve disenfranchising anyone who doesn't embrace a party line. Nesselhuf rightly observes that allowing independents to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries would provide needed balance.
  • It should encourage an outcome that represents the will of the people, all of the people - or at least as many as possible - not a small minority that bothers to get out and vote.
  • Secretary of State candidate calls for open primaries (Rapid City Journal - SD) The challenger in this fall's Secretary of State election is calling for the state to allow independents to vote in primary elections in South Dakota.
MIDTERMS
  • Keep Murkowski (by David A. James, Fairbanks, LETTER Fairbanks Daily News Miner) Joe Miller’s supporters want a senator who consistently votes the party line. They have the right to feel this way. However, if I wanted a senator who took a predetermined position on every issue, I would vote for a robot. I don’t want a senator who does as told by party bosses. And given the fact that 52 percent of Alaska voters are unaffiliated with any party, I have good reason to believe that plenty of others agree with me.
POLLS
CALIFORNIA
  • Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor (The Bakersfield Californian) Endorsement: Abel Maldonado risked his political hide to help California get a budget deal a year and a half ago, voting to accept a temporary tax increase -- since expired -- to help close a $42 billion deficit. In the process, he helped steer the Legislature away from its debilitating partisan extremes, convincing his fellow legislators, as part of his agreement to reach across the aisle, to put the question of an open primary on the June 2010 ballot.
  • Independents Endorse Maldonado for Lt. Governor (H/T Jason Olson, IndependentVoice.org) Abel Maldonado proved he's willing to risk his political career and take on both major parties when he used his budget vote leverage to place Proposition 14, the open primary, on the ballot. Because of his courage, 3.4 million independent voters in California will have a full voice in our elections beginning in 2012.  That's the kind of tough and non-partisan leadership independent voters are looking for. 
COLORADO
  • Political mailers full of believe-it-or-not gems (By Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post) When state Rep. Kathleen Curry left the Democratic Party to join the ranks of unaffiliated voters, plenty of party members begged her to reconsider. So the Gunnison lawmaker was both annoyed and amused when voters in her vast House district recently received a political mailer that she says insinuates Democrats rejected her.
  • Big showing by Tancredo could hurt GOP and adopted third party (By Jessica Fender and Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post) "It would require huge percentages of unaffiliated and a vast majority of Republican voters. There's never been any indication in his career that he can do that," Ciruli said. "And there's going to be a residual vote for Maes hanging on there."
  • 527 groups again active in area elections - House candidates seek to steer clear of smear campaigns (John Stroud, Post Independent Staff, Glenwood Springs, CO) A political organization that District 61 State Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison once actively supported has now turned on her with a slew of negative mailers and robo-calls while she seeks re-election as a write-in candidate.
MINNESOTA
  • Hein represents a new direction (LETTER Post Bulletin) Isn't it time to look at a candidate that promises reform in the form of term limits and open primaries where we all choose whom we elect? Join us and vote for Al Hein for the Minnesota House of Representatives.
NEW YORK
  • Lenora Fulani Seems to Endorse Charles Barron, Freedom Party Nominee for New York Governor (Ballot Access News)
  • Hoffman speaks (Maggie Haberman, Politico) “It was never my intention to split the Republican vote in the 23rd District. So today, I withdraw as a candidate from this race."
  • Poll: Cuomo leads Paladino by 24 points (By: CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser) Cuomo leads Paladino by 67 points among Democrats, 11 points among independent voters, and trails Paladino by 34 points among Republicans.
  • Making 'Fair Share' Fairer (by Eddie Bautista, Gotham Gazette) In November, however, a new iteration of fair share will be on the ballot, and it is a proposal worthy of support. If approved, community districts overrun by private and public waste management and transportation facilities will begin to have a more complete picture of their environmental burdens. 
  • Man of the People: The dodges and counters of Pedro Espada Jr. (Albert Samaha, NY Urban Policy Examiner)
  • Paladino Blasts McCall-Cuomo Alliance (Adam Dickter, Assistant Managing Editor, The Jewish Week) McCall’s endorsement is important in helping Cuomo, the state attorney general, gain minority support as some, including Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron, accuse the Democratic nominee of ignoring African American concerns until shortly before the election. Barron, a former Black Panther, has launched his own campaign for the statehouse on the newly created Freedom Party ballot.
TECHNOLOGY
NOTE: I for one am grateful for Malcolm Gladwell's perspective in his article Small Change, and for his statement about Clay Shirkey's stupid and racist example of how social media helps mobilize people.  I also think Alan Rosenblatt makes a good point that "technology is a tool" in his very thoughtful piece. I couldn't help wonder in reading both these pieces if we need to be more clear about what we mean by the word "revolution" (as Rosenblatt suggests) and if indeed we might need to overthrow our way of thinking about what a revolution is. The internet, Twitter, connectivity, and all the other instruments and terms of the new technology, are way in advance of   human development. As human beings, we need to catch up with our own smartness before we do each other in. And while we're at it, you might want to check out Harry Kresky's "Political Reform and Human Development" -- somehow, I think this all goes together.
  • SMALL CHANGE: Why the revolution will not be tweeted (by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker) Article contrasts the civil rights movement of the sixties with today's social media "activism" -- "Social media can’t provide what social change has always required."
  • Which Revolution Will Be Twittered? (Alan Rosenblatt, Huffington Post) Technology is a tool in the hands of the revolutionary. And while, as McLuhan wrote, technology is not ideologically neutral (and therefore favors some revolutionaries over others), it is the revolutionary's cause that drives the revolution. Without a cause that a mass movement can urgently organize around, there can be no revolution, in the sense that Gladwell describes it…. Revolutions of method are different from political/social revolutions.
  • Online Party of Canada - OPC is not just another political party. It is a revolutionary introduction of Internet technology to the political process. (from a press release)

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