Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Independents Gain Numbers, South Carolina Repubs Challenge Open Primary

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Voter reg. could be key for Obama in 2012 (AP  By KEN THOMAS, KGO ABC San Francisco) Nearly 2.6 million voters in Florida are unaffiliated… About 500,000 Pennsylvania voters are unaffiliated… Nonpartisan voters remain the largest bloc in the Hawkeye State, representing more than 762,000 voters…

SOUTH CAROLINA OPEN PRIMARY
Republicans ask judge to reconsider open primary ruling (By Eric Connor, Greenville News) In a court filing, state GOP attorney Samuel Harms asks the judge to “clarify the extent and scope” of her opinion, out of the central concern that political rivals are allowed to meddle in the nominating process of a competing party.

2012
GOP eyes Obama campaign tactics (Tony Leys, Des Moines Register) Ann Selzer, a national pollster who runs The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, said she sees opportunities for a relatively moderate Republican candidate to woo Iowans who participated in Democratic caucuses for the first time in 2008. Selzer said about 144,000 of the 240,000 people who participated in the Democratic caucuses that year were newcomers to the process. The largest share of those people supported Obama, and some probably have become disenchanted with his presidency, Selzer said.

OBAMA
Obama finds some solid ground; tests still ahead (By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press, Sac Bee) Axelrod said many independents turned to Republicans last year because they perceived that Democrats had used their partisan edge to muscle through legislation, particularly the health care overhaul. Obama has doggedly tried to change that perception since, cutting a deal with Republicans to extend tax cuts in December and reaching another agreement to cut spending and avoid a government shutdown in April.

BLOOMBERG
Bloomberg: Let vets be your model; Tells Princeton grads to note example of sacrifice (Trenton Times) "In government, too often what's right is less precious than winning re-election," Bloomberg said. "Don't fall into that trap. Don't play by their rules. Don't follow the crowd. Don't fool yourself into thinking that one party is 100 percent right 100 percent of the time, and the other party is dead wrong. History shows that no party has a monopoly on ideas, or God on its side."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Interviews by a Black Independent: Lenora Fulani Interviews Roscoe Orman in Harlem Friday June 3rd


This Friday! June 3rd - 6PM 
Dr. Fulani Interviews Roscoe Orman
Actor, entertainer, writer and children's advocate,   
known to millions as "Gordon" on Sesame Street.

Roscoe Orman  


Mr. Orman will be performing a scene from one of his famous stage roles.  


Please join us for an evening of conversation with Dr. Fulani and a talented actor committed to the growth of our young people.     

 To RSVP please reply to by email or call 212.962.1699

Friday June 3rd, 6pm
Harlem State Office Building
163 W. 125th Street, second floor
Find us on Facebook  
 
Follow us on Twitter

Remembering Democracy, Leading with Development

Memorial Day with Mike Pickering, Julie Lenner and Carrie Lobman (through Democracy and Development)


Over time, electoral democracy became culturally more and more focused on the outcome rather than the process. It was increasingly less and less about the collective process of decision-making and the self-transformative culture that civically active and involved society engenders. It was more about the decision, pure and simple. The product, not the process; the outcome, less and less revolutionary. (p. 167)



But even structural reforms that lead to an expansion and revitalization of electoral democracy, while desperately needed, do not address in and of themselves what is a more fundamental and far-reaching problem for the American community—indeed for the international community. That problem is the breakdown of development. And ironically, as the developmental capacities of contemporary society have diminished, economic, social, moral, personal, and political democracy has been more and more substituted for development in most so-called advanced societies. Consequently, any further efforts to rejuvenate democracy that do not simultaneously and continuously reinitiate development are doomed to reinforce and further institutionalize the nondevelopmental framework, that is, the political culture, of contemporary society. (p. 168)



Newman, F. (2000). Performing revolution (More thoughts on the postmodernization of
Marxism). In L. Holzman and J. Morss (Eds.), Postmodern psychologies, societal
practice, and political life (pp. 165-178). London: Routledge.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blogger Safari Blues

Ok, it seems that Safari is blocking me from my Hankster... Bad Safari! But now we are back in business! Lots to catch up on this weekend for independents! Stay tuned!
NH

Blogger Blues

Hey Hey Hanksteristas! I have not been able to log into my blogspot account on my home computer and it's been crampin' m' stylin'... Sorry for the glitchin'... Hoping to be back on board this weekend! Bad blogger! Bad!
-NH

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Demand Builds for Open Primaries in Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA OPEN PRIMARIES
CALLS MOUNT FOR OPEN PRIMARIES IN PENNSYLVANIA (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) Independent Pennsylvanians have their work cut out for them.

NEW YORK

  • NY-26: Congratulations And Commiserations (BY CELESTE KATZ, Daily News/Daily Politics) Democrat Kathy Hochul bested GOP candidate Jane Corwin 48% to 42%, with nearly 85% of the precincts reporting. Independent candidate Jack Davis, running on a Tea Party line, pulled 8%.
  • Shocking Dem win in NY House special election came down to just 1 word: Medicare (BETH FOUHY  Associated Press, The Republic) The rural-suburban district between Buffalo and Rochester is one of New York's most conservative and has been held by a Republican — including national names like Jack Kemp — for years. But Corwin saw her early lead dissolve after coming out in favor of a Republican budget plan that would cut billions from Medicare.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

California Top Two Open Primary In Action

CALIFORNIA TOP TWO OPEN PRIMARY
  • Craig Huey’s #2 Showing In CD36 … Not an Upset or a Surprise. (By Allan Hoffenblum, Fox & Hounds Daily) This was CA's first congressional special election that was run under the new "Top Two Open Primary" law, with all sixteen candidates appearing on the same ballot and the top two vote getters, regardless of party, going against each other in a July 17 Runoff election.
  • How Did a Conservative Finish as One of Top-Two Vote-Getters in the Liberal 36th Congressional District? (by Jessica Levinson, KCET) The May 17th primary election was one of the first elections held under California's new open primary, top-two election system. Indeed it was the first such race for federal office. Under the new law, any voter can vote for any candidate in the primary election, and the top-two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation proceed to the general election. Hence general elections could see competitions between members of the same party. Such an election was expected to occur between Hahn and Bowen, both Democrats.

Massachusetts Favors No-Party System

MASSACHUSETTS FAVORS NO-PARTY SYSTEM
Parties may be over in Bridgewater (By Rebecca Hyman, The Enterprise/Wicked Local Bridgewater) Over the past three decades, there has been a steady defection away from the two-party system among Bridgewater voters in favor of the no-party system. In 1982, 51 percent of Bridgewater’s registered voters were unenrolled. By 2010, that number was up to 60 percent.

Pennsylvania Campaign for Open Primaries

PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN FOR OPEN PRIMARIES

NY-26: Hochul Claims Independence

NEW YORK
  • Hochul's final pitch: I'm independent (By: James Hohmann (Politico) The push to downplay her Democratic affiliation came the morning after a Public Policy Polling survey showed that, while she’s ahead by 6 points, a plurality of voters want their eventual representative to caucus with the Republicans. That is especially true among those expressing support for third-party candidate Jack Davis, whose support has waned in recent polls… Hochul will need support from independents and some Republicans to overcome a 6 percent GOP registration advantage. There are roughly 27,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in the 26th District, with an additional 9,500 registered Conservative Party members.
  • All Eyes on NY-26: Republicans are bracing themselves to lose a House seat carried by John McCain. (By JOHN FUND, Wall Street Journal) Politics is more volatile than ever in a fast-moving media environment, and Republicans have been slow to realize that either their message or their work product is not resonating with large chunks of independent voters who will determine if they maintain control of the House next year.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Oscar the Grouch 2.0

2012: Year of the Independent Voter

2012
Clarity in the Presidential Race (By John Hood, Carolina Journal Online) For the Republicans to defeat Obama, they will need a candidate who can secure and turn out the GOP base as well as appeal to independent voters. Who are those independents? The latest Pew Research Center voter typology divides them into three groups...

BLOOMBERG
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his 10th year at City Hall, has distinguished himself as the mushy mouth of the middle (By Thomas V. Murphy , Staten Island Advance) Those early years actually bore out some hope. A Republican Bloomberg who was a closet Democrat or at least an Independent? He seemed non-partisan and open to the ‘Grand Mosaic” that Mayor Dinkins advocated and Giuliani denigrated. Moderation as a tonic. But as the years unfolded, there was a new twist on an old Roman adage that poet Paul Violi saw hanging behind a New York bar: “Veni, Vidi, Velcro: I came, I saw, I stuck around.”

argentina where are you????

Pretend!



fingere!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

California Top Two Open Primary: Now You're in a New World!

California's first top two open primary results (and lest we forget, the activity and the hard-fought grassroots movement that spoke to our national increasingly independent political dismay over the past 15 years, the people who gathered thousands upon thousands of signatures to get on the ballot and engineered a win by referendum (California Proposition 14) in a partisan primary in the state of California, to allow independents to vote in primaries -- INDEED, let's try to be straight here -- to include all voters and attempt to do away with partisan primaries and party privilege altogether, AND which WON at the ballot box in June 2010, has now seen its first practical results last week.

And not surprisingly, made some select headlines this week, notably: "Now you're in a new world..." and "leading the people in the purple T-shirts to push the Republican Party to the middle..." Note to Dan Morain and Ben Tulchin -- good luck gaming Top Two for Dems, Repubs and ideologues (aka "moderates"...)

Word to the wise:  Talk with some independents who are building the real on-the-ground movement of serious political independents who don't so much cotton to "moving" any political party anywhere. That's a partisan fantasy. We're looking to take over the political means of production. We're talking to each other and making plans. We're grassroots and gathering numbers, strategy, strength and, frankly, a national moral high ground. Pay attention! Look!


CALIFORNIA TOP TWO OPEN PRIMARY
  • Analysis: Brown returns to inside game of wooing Republicans (By Steven Harmon, Contra Costa Times) "There might be some protection money to protect a moderate vote," said Ben Tulchin, a Democratic pollster. "Before, with a closed primary in a conservative district, you couldn't do anything to dislodge them. But you're in a new world now. We'll have new districts and with open primaries, the threat from the right is smaller ---- you won't get taken out in a primary. If you're a moderate, you'll have a better chance of winning."
  • Dan Morain: SEIU leader wants to prod GOP to the center (By Dan Morain, Sac Bee) Although the 2012 primary is a year away, Kieffer is focusing on new open primary rules, understanding that the system can be gamed in ways that could force conservatives into losing fights with moderates... For 20 years, the SEIU has played almost exclusively in Democratic politics. More than any other interest group, the union drove the party hard to the left. Now Kieffer is leading the people in the purple T-shirts to push the Republican Party to the middle, understanding, as he does, purple is a combination of red and blue, the colors of the two parties.
And in the meantime, below is the usual negative commentary from Richard Winger's anti-Top Two campaign which he promotes on his otherwise excellent round-up of practical, legislative and media sources that might fuel a movement to turn the country around and open up the political system... Too bad...
  • Commentary on California’s Experience with “Top-Two” in Recent Congressional Election (Ballot Access News) SEE following 3 articles linked to BAN
  • California’s Open Primary: An Open Can of Worms? (BILL WHALEN, Advancing a Free Society, Hoover Institution/Stanford University) Judging by the results, Californians might want to take a mulligan on last year’s Prop 14 vote. In a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 18%, the surprise outcome was a July runoff between . . . a Democrat and a Republican. Not a principled Democrat who ran on health care or foreign policy, mind you, but one whose strategy was to purposely dilute the progressive vote. As for the Republican, he’s a little-known advertising exec whose stem-the-tidal-wave-of-red-ink ad was music to the Tea Partiers’ ears: two kids at a lemonade stand, getting socked by a $427,000 tax bill (each kid’s share of the $14 trillion national debt). In other words, a runoff between two pols not to be mistaken for a couple of holier-than-thou moderates.
  • Open primary in CA: adios, democracy (T.A. Barnhart, Blue Oregon) I have been unstinting in my criticism of “open primaries”. I voted against a Portland School District candidate because he had been endorsed by Phil Kiesling, who keeps trying to flog this anti-democratic idea in Portland. I have argued against “open primaries” (which can take various forms but all have the same outcomes) for two reasons: political parties should be free to select their nominees for public office without intrusion from non-members, and small “third” parties will be obliterated./
  • Legal case against Top Two Primaries, Proposition 14 and SB 6 - Richard Winger and Gautam Dutta (Green Party of California co-spokesperson Michael Feinstein YouTube Channel)
UTAH OPEN PRIMARY VS. CAUCUS
OUR VIEW: Voters should choose candidates (By Standard-Examiner Editorial Board) Utah's political parties should move to a primary system to select candidates for office. A state convention that allows a tiny percentage of party members to select candidates is exclusionary. An open primary winner would better represent the values and beliefs of the voters he represents.

ARIZONA OPEN PRIMARY
Arizona's political center yet to find a voice (DAILY SUN EDITORIAL BOARD) In other words, at least two-thirds of the lawmakers in the next session are likely to come from districts where the outcome is not only decided in the primary but decided in favor of a party ideologue -- moderate candidates just can't seem to turn out enough supporters in August to finish any better than second. That's why we continue to push for an open primary for all parties, with the top two finishers going on to the general election in November. That way, the second-place finisher in a primary in a lopsided district -- the norm in Arizona -- at least gets a chance to appeal to a broader electorate not once but twice -- in the primary and the general election.

NEW YORK
  • NY-26: At T - 3 Days, Poll Says Hochul Leads (BY CELESTE KATZ, Daily News/Daily Politics) Siena: "Viewed more favorably than Corwin or independent Jack Davis, Hochul has moved  from trailing Corwin by five points, 36 to 31% in Siena’s April 29 poll to having a lead three days  before the election. Davis has dropped as the choice of likely voters from 23 to only 12%." Green Party candidate Ian Murphy registers 1% support, with 7% of respondents undecided.
  • Analysis: Gay marriage in NY hits stumbling blocks (by Michael Gormley, AP, Seattle Post Intelligencer) Frank MacKay, the influential chairman of the state Independence Party, told The Associated Press last week that he personally supports gay marriage. He noted the state's third largest party opposes "discrimination and prejudice in all its myriad forms." That could counter pressure from state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, who said lawmakers voting for gay marriage won't carry his line.

Pennsylvania Independents Advance: not a single one of the approximately 39,000 York County voters who are not registered with either major party got a vote on Tuesday

Have you noticed? There's a virtual all-out campaign for Open Primaries in Pennsylvania -- led by Independent Pennsylvanians. Get to know them -- they're changing politics in PA!

PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENTS
  • Independent voters to help Pennsylvania keep its electoral clout in 2012 (By The Patriot-News) Statewide, Democrats still hold a big edge, largely because of overwhelming majorities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There are 1.1 million more registered Democrats statewide than Republicans.  “But that advantage doesn’t always show up,” said Treadway, the retired Kutztown political scientist. “People don’t always vote their party affiliation. There are a lot of people who are moderates and independents, and they swing back and forth. It’s just not an extremely liberal or conservative state.”
  • Abysmal Primary Voter Turnout Was Shameful - Those who did cast ballots shaped general election races. (By Tom De Martini, Upper Macungie Patch) Maybe it's because Pennsylvania's primaries are "closed" to independent voters. Still, Republicans and Democrats turned out in very small numbers to support candidates.
  • State primary system draws local criticism for excluding independents, others (By TOM JOYCE, York Daily Record/Sunday News) And not a single one of the approximately 39,000 York County voters who are not registered with either major party got a vote on Tuesday. That includes those registered as independents, as well as third parties such as the Greens and Libertarians. That's because Pennsylvania is among 25 states with closed primaries, meaning only people registered with a given party can vote in that party's primary. Since cross-filed candidates are registered as Republicans and Democrats, those who don't fall into either category can't vote for them… State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-West Manchester, has proposed legislation that would allow registered independents to vote either on the Republican or Democratic ticket during primaries.

The Good, The Bad and the Lamesauce

The Good:
It has been a positive month in Utah for the momentum of independent voters and fair open primaries.

Earlier in the month, the Salt Lake Tribune (http://www.sltrib.com/) reported that a legislator speaking on condition of anonymity indicated support for a direct primary. The same article reported that in January, 61% of Utahans polled supported a direct primary. Weekly letters to the editor in support of open primaries are showing up. Here are a few of the links:

The May 12th Tribune article:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/51789351-90/among-caucus-direct-litvack.html.csp?page=1

The letters:
A Republic Indeed

And this gem by Dave Glissmeyer who ran for Utah's 2nd Congressional District as an independent: Glissmeyer

Plus an op ed:
I particularly love this love for independents who are being left out of redistricting considerations: Lundgren

These gems showed up in the Sunday paper on my porch this morning:

http://www.standard.net/topics/opinion/2011/05/21/our-view-voters-should-choose-candidates
be sure not to miss the embedded editorial cartoon
http://cdn3.standard.net/sites/default/files/imagecache/max_800/2011/05/20/story-22-calnet-82769.jpg which hails close to John Avlon's book "Wingnuts" (see my review of the same http://grassrootsindependent.blogspot.com/2010/06/wingnuts-book-review.html)

I can't put this at the end of this blog as it would show up under 'lamesauce'. Stay tuned, I have another editorial cartoon to publish in the morning.

The Bad:

An open fair election process is not a reality---yet.

The lamesauce:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/51830757-82/vote-candidates-caucus-caucuses.html.csp

Democrat insider opposes direct open primaries: http://www.clippertoday.com/view/full_story/13352909/article-Party-Lines--What-should-be-done-about-the-caucus-system-?instance=lead_story_left_column

Republican insider opposes direct open primaries:
http://www.clippertoday.com/view/full_story/13352933/article-Party-Lines--What-should-be-done-about-the-caucus-system

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blame the Voters

seeing red, feeling blue


nick sousanis spin, weave, and cut

2012: Obama, Huntsman, and the Indies

OBAMA
Fox News Poll: Mixed Views on Whether Bin Laden Raid Was Gutsy Call (By Dana Blanton, FoxNews.com) The president’s job rating jumped not only among Democrats and independents, but also among GOP voters. Some 19 percent of Republicans approve of the president’s performance in the new poll, up from 11 percent (April 25-27). Obama received a similar bump among his party faithful, as 88 percent of Democrats approve, up from 80 percent previously.

2012
  • Jon Huntsman's moves trouble Utah (Politico) Huntsman’s recent decision to headquarter his campaign in Florida makes sense for logistical and political reasons but the location—and some recent remarks about his faith — have combined to produce a sharp reaction from the Mormon Establishment, solidifying the impression for many of the former governor’s constituents that he plans to keep his distance in more ways than one.
  • President Obama to Address Arab Spring, 'Turn the Page' on Policy in Region (BY: DAVID CHALIAN AND TERENCE BURLIJ, PBS Newshour) And then there's New Hampshire, home to the country's first primary, where independent voters get to play, giving more centrist candidates an opportunity they may find elusive in Iowa. Beginning Thursday, Huntsman will embark on a five-day, 12-stop tour of the Granite State that could go a long way toward revealing just how compatible the two really are.

Voters Beware: Pennsylvania Elections Lock Out Independents

Pennsylvania's growing group of independent voters is not happy with being locked out of the state's closed primary rules... California voters won a top two open primary system through referendum last June...


PA NEEDS OPEN PRIMARIES
Feels left out (LETTER Daily American - PA) Yesterday was not an opportunity to exercise my right to vote. Indeed, I was not allowed to vote because I am a registered Independent and the political parties are so afraid of the Independent voters and their free from political bondage thinking, that they have quietly, but surely, removed any chance that we might actually influence a selection of candidates by structuring the voting process to exclude us.

TOP TWO OPEN PRIMARY CALIFORNIA
Playing Chess on the Prop 14 Game Board (By Joel Fox, FOX & HOUNDS DAILY) Los Angeles County election officials say we won't know until at least Friday who will be in the runoff for the 36th Congressional District seat. This race could prove the first test of Proposition 14 and not merely in the sense of having two members of the same party facing each other in the general election.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

California Top Two Produces Unexpected Result

CALIFORNIA TOP TWO OPEN PRIMARY

  • California Special Election Produces Unexpected Result (By IAN LOVETT, NY Times/The Caucus) The race to succeed her is the first for national office in the state since California voters approved an open primary system in the fall, and thus had been closely watched to see how it might change elections in the state. The top two finishers in the primary, regardless of party, move to a runoff if no candidate receives a majority of the vote.
  • TWO DEMOCRATS TAKE TOP SPOTS IN TOP-TWO OPEN PRIMARY [UPDATED] (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) With 100% of precincts reporting, LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn came first in the race with 24.7% support.  In second place was Secretary of State Debra Bowen at 21.5%.  Bowen was followed by Republican businessman Craig Huey, who had garnered 20.4% of the vote.  Republican Mike Gin and progressive Democrat Marcy Winograd rounded out the top five.
  • Contact California-based Independent Voice

Utah Voters Support Open Primary Over Party Caucus

UTAH CAUCUS VS. OPEN PRIMARY

Pennsylvania's Independent Voters Want Open Primaries

PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENTS

  • INDEPENDENT VOTERS SHUT OUT IN PENNSYLVANIA - The Republicans and Democrats maintain control by keeping nonaffiliated voters and candidates away (Philadelphia Magazine/The Philly Post) As I walked into the polling place, I kept my head down and my registration status to myself. A couple of years ago an older Democratic party volunteer outside of the Church berated me for “throwing away my vote” by not registering with a party. Truthfully, I don’t believe in either party enough to affiliate myself. But I did not throw away my votes. (I still show up to vote on the ballot issues—just one this time.) My vote was taken from me on this day by a corrupt and antiquated state law. In the vast majority of states, Independent or nonpartisan voters are able to vote for candidates in a primary election. The voting procedures vary, but the result is the same—no one is denied his or her vote.
  • Contact Independent Pennsylvanians for the campaign for open primaries
  • Former Mayor John Street Considering Independent Candidacy in Philadelphia (by Darcy G. Richardson, Uncovered Politics) If the former mayor decides to enter the race as an independent, he would undoubtedly be the strongest independent or third-party candidate to run for mayor in the City of Brotherly Love since 1975 when attorney Charles W. Bowser — one of Philadelphia’s most respected civic leaders and the city’s first African-American Deputy Mayor — garnered 134,334 votes on the Philadelphia Party ticket while trying to unseat the late Frank L. Rizzo.

New York: Liberal, Conservative, Working and Independent

NEW YORK

  • Former NY Liberal Party boss avoids prison (Associated Press, Wall Street Journal) It was Andrew Cuomo who ultimately sunk the Liberal Party. In 2002, Cuomo walked away from his race for governor for lack of support and money. However, he already had the Liberal Party line, and without campaigning Cuomo failed to get the 50,000 votes needed for the Liberal Party to secure its automatic line on state ballots. The progressive branch of the Democratic Party is now the Working Families Party.
  • Data and Field Services Pushes Back Against Judge’s Order (By Jon Lentz, City Hall News) DFS also changed some of its board members to strengthen their independence. Ed Ott, former head of the New York City Central Labor Council, which gave the WFP a small donation in 2006, resigned from the board; so did Professor Francis Fox Piven of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. United Nations worker David Carter joined the board.
  • In Final Marriage Push, Cuomo Faces Increased Pressure (BY PAUL SCHINDLER, Chelsea Now) On the Republican side, the role of the state’s Conservative Party, a small but sometimes influential minor party, is always a concern on gay rights questions. As Gay City News reported two weeks ago, 12 of the 32 Republicans elected last year, including six of the seven freshmen, relied on the Conservative and Independence Party lines to bring their vote totals over 50 percent. When the state’s gay rights law passed in 2002, however, 11 of the 12 Republicans who voted yes had been endorsed by the Conservative Party in their previous election. Of the eight who sought reelection in 2004, seven had the Conservative line again. Only Joe Bruno, the Republican leader, was punished for his yes vote by being denied the Conservatives’ endorsement. Still, he faced no primary challenger –– and no general election opponent, from either the Conservative or Democratic Party.
  • Despite Scant Results, Bloomberg's Anti-Poverty Project Goes National (by Glenn Pasanen, Gotham Gazette) Despite minimal local impact, the center has just received a federal grant to replicate some of its New York programs in other neighborhoods in the five boroughs and in cities across the country. There is, it seems, a fundamental disconnect between the poverty commission's goal and what it has actually done to change anti-poverty policy and practice in the city.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Low Voter Turnout in Kentucky Closed Primary

KENTUCKY PRIMARY
Independent Kentucky 

April 18, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The final count for voter turnout in the 2011 Kentucky primary election was 10.34%, becoming one of the lowest voter turnouts in Kentucky history.

Two obvious problems affecting voter turnout in Kentucky are a closed primary system and partisan voter registration, which have both been found to restrict voter participation.

Although some members of the Kentucky Legislature and Michael P. W. Lewis, Chairman of Independent Kentucky, have been introducing bills which would allow open primaries, recent attempts have fallen just short of passing.

This afternoon, Lewis met with US Congressman John Yarmuth, who said he believed partisan voter registration was partly to blame for low primary turnout.

Michael Lewis said he was optimistic about the possibility of a national dialog dedicated to open primaries after his meeting with Yarmuth.

“He seemed to concede some of our points, and was very receptive,” said Lewis.

Independent Kentucky remains dedicated to working toward open primaries and non-partisan voter registration for Kentucky and American voters.
# # #

Contact: William Bowe, Communications Director
Phone: 859-536-1537
Email: wrbowe@gmail.com

www.independentkentucky.org


Only 10 percent turn out to cast their votes (By Janet Patton and Jennifer Hewlett, Lexington Herald Leader) That's the lowest turnout in a gubernatorial primary election since 1999, when only 8.6 percent of voters went to the polls. In 2003, 21 percent voted; in 2007, 22 percent voted.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Cordisco Calls for Open Primaries

PENNSYLVANIA REFORM
  • Unlikely bedfellows push state reform (By Gary Weckselblatt, PhillyBurbs.com) John Cordisco, chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, called for a review of lawmaker pensions, suggested that independent voters be allowed to participate in the primary, and wants the lame duck session to be abolished claiming "accountability has been thwarted."
  • Independent Pennsylvanians attended a national conference where focus was on open primaries. What's our new governor going to do? He said he supported open primaries during his campaign. There's a bill to open primaries...will he keep his word?

Historic California Top Two Primary Day

CALIFORNIA TOP TWO PRIMARY DAY

  • Light turnout expected in election for vacant US House seat in Southern Calif.'s 36th District (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Daily Journal) The race also is notable because it is the first congressional test of California's new open primary system for electing lawmakers. Voters, regardless of registration, can select candidates from any party, and if no one clears 50 percent to win outright, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff, even if they are from the same party.
  • Historic election arrives (By Eric Bradley, LA Daily Breeze) Passed by voters last June, Proposition 14 created the "jungle primary" - where all candidates appear on a single ballot. The change is aimed at reducing partisanship and ensuring that general elections are less perfunctory. If no candidate wins a majority, then the top two, regardless of party affiliation, advance to a runoff, set for July 12.

Beyond Red vs. Blue: Americans Choose Independence

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology
Pew Research
OVERVIEW
With the economy still struggling and the nation involved in multiple military operations overseas, the public’s political mood is fractious. In this environment, many political attitudes have become more doctrinaire at both ends of the ideological spectrum, a polarization that reflects the current atmosphere in Washington.
Yet at the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy....

2012
Obama Job Approval Rebounds Amid Voter Discontent on Economy (San Francisco Chronicle) There's a partisan divide on the debt ceiling, with 64 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independent voters saying that failing to raise it would have "disastrous" consequences, while 49 percent of Republicans said so. Yet substantial minorities believe it wouldn't have a serious impact, including 27 percent of Democrats, 34 percent of independent voters and 38 percent of Republicans. The number goes up to 44 percent among those who identify strongly with the Tea Party.

New York Kind of Opportunists

NEW YORK

  • For Congress: Jane Corwin (ENDORSEMENT: NY Post) The self-funded Davis sounds like a conservative populist -- especially on free trade. But he's more opportunist than anything: He's run three times for the seat as a Democrat before trying to gain the GOP nomination this year.
  • APNewsBreak: Chairman of New York's Independence Party backs gay marriage (By The Associated Press, Syracuse Post Standard) The party is New York’s third largest. It has made important cross endorsements in tight races that provided ballot lines for Senate Republicans. Republicans have benefited from having the line that allows Democrats, with a nearly 2-to-1 enrollment advantage over Republicans statewide, to vote for a Republican without having to use the GOP line.

Solving the Education Crisis in America

EDUCATION REFORM

  • NAACP Dinner Focuses on School Reform (BY Allan Appel, New Haven Independent) Yale psychiatrist and school reform pioneer James Comer received a lifetime-achievement award.  His “Comer method” addresses social development as intrinsic to academic development; it is in place at the high-performing Davis Street Magnet School and nine others in the New Haven system.
  • Leveling the Playing Field in our Classrooms (Gabrielle Kurlander, President and CEO, All Stars Project, Inc.) The All Stars Project recently released a new white paper, entitled  Solving the Education Crisis in America: Let’s Pretend, by our co-founders, Fred Newman, Ph.D. and Lenora Fulani, Ph.D. which discusses how poverty and the life circumstances of poor youth impacts on their capacity to become good learners and how that “difficult truth” (as Nocera calls it) can not only be faced – but positively and effectively addressed.
  • The Limits of School Reform (By JOE NOCERA, NY Times) What needs to be acknowledged, however, is that school reform won’t fix everything. Though some poor students will succeed, others will fail. Demonizing teachers for the failures of poor students, and pretending that reforming the schools is all that is needed, as the reformers tend to do, is both misguided and counterproductive.


Monday, May 16, 2011

independence

Independents Shut Out of Pennsylvania Primaries

INDEPENDENT VOTERS

  • Independents shut out of primaries (Stephen Hambric, Centre Daily Times - State College PA) It’s time for an independent category in our political system. The two reigning parties have not been serving us well and do not deserve to continue their monopoly on public service.
  • Contact Independent Pennsylvanians to join the fight for open primaries. "Independent Pennsylvanians is an association of independent and independent-minded voters. We support issues and campaigns at the local, state and national level designed to increase the visibility and power of independent voters in Pennsylvania—now the fastest growing political force in America."
  • Obama can't win without Pa. (Tom Bevan, Philadelphia Inquirer) G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, says Obama's demeanor and perceived lack of empathy might also be creating a disconnect with the state's independent voters. "Like Obama or not," says Madonna, "he just doesn't relate very well. He hasn't been very good or very sensitive on matters of the recession." Obama's trouble with independents in Pennsylvania is no small matter, because most experts believe he can't win the state without them.The bulk of Pennsylvania's independent voters are clustered in the four counties surrounding Philadelphia and two counties in the Lehigh Valley (Berks and Lehigh).


INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES
Independent plans to mount serious campaign for mayor (Niki Kelly and Benjamin Lanka, Journal Gazette - Fort Wayne IN) Haley Ahrendt on Friday filed the required 1,213 voter signatures to be an independent candidate for Fort Wayne mayor – in fact, he filed more than 2,000.

2012
A Requiem for Huckabee (By ROSS DOUTHAT, NY Times) He’ll be missed because he embodied a political persuasion that’s common in American life but rare in America’s political class. This worldview mixes cultural conservatism with economic populism: it’s tax-sensitive without being stridently antigovernment, skeptical of Wall Street as well as Washington, and as concerned about immigration, family breakdown and public morals as it is about the debt ceiling… You can find it among independent voters, particularly in what a recent Pew report calls the “disaffected” demographic, whose hostility to big government coexists with anxieties about corporate power and support for redistribution of wealth.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Independents Lead Fight for Structural Political Reform, State by State, Nationally

INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING

  • The rigged game of redistricting (By John Avlon, Special to CNN) At least 15 states have citizens groups fighting for redistricting reform 
  • People’s election (Salt Lake Tribune) We support this quiet insurgency. The caucus system, in which comparatively moderate Republicans such as Bob Bennett and Olene Walker — who are willing to work in a bipartisan fashion — can be ousted without the consent of a majority of Utah voters, should be changed. It creates a governing elite and contributes to Utah’s embarrassingly low voter turnout.
  • Mathis: Engage voters in redistricting plan - Panel chair wants public connected to process of redrawing boundaries (by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic) Q: Why are you an independent? A: I like being able to approach things issue by issue. Being an independent allowed me the freedom to operate as I wanted.

PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENT VOTERS

  • In Montco, 3,000+ improperly registered as independents (By Jeremy Roebuck, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) Beginning in 2008, Hoeffel said, a (Montgomery) county employee added those names coming through without prior registrations to the voter rolls as independents because there were no party affiliations for them on file. The worker should have discarded them since they had never officially registered to vote in the first place, Hoeffel said.
  • Looking for independent voters in Pennsylvania: Independent Pennsylvanians

COLORADO INDEPENDENTS

  • Businesswoman announces run for Congress (By JEFF TUCKER, Pueblo Chieftain - Southern Colorado) Tisha Casida is running for Congress as an independent candidate.  "There are things I like about all the parties," she said in her announcement Friday. "But the problem is the two-party system is not doing anything to solve our current economic problems."
  • Looking for independent voters in Colorado: Independent Voters for Colorado

UTAH CAUCUS SYSTEM

  • News Analysis: A Political System for a Select Few? (By Con Psarras, KSL Salt Lake City) There's a lot of debate on the caucus system after it was used last year to boot Sen. Bob Bennett from his incumbency. On one hand, it was a sterling example of how citizens can mobilize and be self-empowered to the point of knocking a three-term senator off the convention dais. On the other hand, it may have also been a textbook case of how the nominating system can be overtaken by a well-organized contingent whose views are not necessarily in sync with the party or the population as a whole.
  • Looking for independent voters in Utah: Utah League of Independent Voters

NEW YORK

  • Procedural Victory in New York Vote-Counting Case (Ballot Access News) On May 10, U.S. District Court Judge JedRakoff issued an 18-page opinion in Conservative Party v Walsh, southern district, 10 cv-6923. This is the lawsuit in which the Conservative Party of New York, the Working Families Party of New York, and the Taxpayers Party, sued to overturn a discriminatory New York state election policy on counting votes.
  • Cuomo: NY Legislature doesn't want ethics reform (AP, Wall Street Journal) In a news conference later, he said, "If a law is not passed, then I will appoint a Moreland Commission," a reference to an historic anti-corruption panel. "It is unacceptable to have no progress on ethics." He said if an ethics bill isn't passed by the June 20 end of the legislative session, he will appoint an investigative commission.
  • Donors to G.O.P. Are Backing Gay Marriage Push (By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL BARBARO, NY Times) The donors represent some of New York’s wealthiest and most politically active figures and include Paul E. Singer, a hedge fund manager and top-tier Republican donor, as well as two other financiers, Steven A. Cohen and Clifford S. Asness. At the same time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist who has been a major contributor to Senate Republicans in New York, plans a significant push for same-sex marriage: giving at least $100,000 of his own money, hosting a fund-raiser at an Upper East Side town house, traveling to Albany to lobby lawmakers and giving a speech on the issue.
  • Conservative Republicans bankrolling gay marriage campaign in New York (By Scot Kersgaard, Colorado Independent) The Colorado Independent in the past has drawn attention to the fact that Barbara Bush has cut a video supporting the measure. Turns out, though that GOP support for freedom and liberty in New York could be more than a dog bits man sort of story. It could be the story.
  • Looking for independent voters in New York: New York City Organizations of the Independence Party of New York

2012
Huntsman seeks to break into GOP pack - Former Utah governor to make first N.H. swing (By Matt Viser, Boston Globe) As Huntsman edges closer to a presidential run, he shares another similarity: an early strategy that emphasizes the influential moderate and independent voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

MEDIA & POLLS
INDEPENDENT-MINDED VOTER SAMPLE LARGELY MIA IN POST-BIN LADEN AP POLL (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN)

INDEPENDENT CULTURE/ YOUTH
Ben Vereen To Attend Charity Talent Show (Look to the Stars) “The All Stars is taking the arts into the community and developing a bridge that allows us to see a better way to a future for all of us. When All Stars comes into the poor community, opportunity is built.” states Ben Vereen who was recently awarded the All Stars Project’s 2011 Bridge Building Award for Leadership in Community Relations.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Independents on the Rise Internationally

INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
Under the radar: Significant state changes obscured by redistricting and budget battles (EXCERPT by Nelda Holder, Mountain Xpress - NC) One bill that is not yet seeing the light of day, juxtaposed against the current public hearings on this year’s redistricting activity, is SB 591, the Horton Independent Redistricting Bill, which was referred to Senate Judiciary on April 14.

SOUTH AFRICA
Analysis: The nascent rise of the independent ward councillor (By PAUL BERKOWITZ, Daily Maverick) National anger at perceived failures of the ANC and a gradual maturing of voting patterns in South Africa’s adolescent democracy may be among the factors giving rise to the marked increase in the number of independent individual (not party affiliated) candidates standing in the coming local government elections.

FILM
"Fingere" by Alejandro Ferrer: A Leftist Heart Set Free - Alejandro Ferrer: “You cannot spend your life working. Life is more than working. Life is creating.” (The Hankster)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sen. Jimmy Higdon: Independents Say They Should Be Able to Vote in Kentucky Primaries

DR. OMAR ALI: Americans are Open
His message: Islam 'part of American culture' (North Raleigh News) "What's important is to not make a distinction between Americans over here and Muslims over there," Ali said. "I think that Muslim Americans have the same response as other Americans, which is a sense of relief."

KENTUCKY'S CLOSED PRIMARIES CONTROVERSY
The Pros and Cons of Kentucky's Closed Primaries (Stu Johnson, NPR Radio WKMS) Higdon has heard from independents who tell him they're taxpayers, they help pay for elections, so they should be able to vote. The state senator argues the first political party that voluntarily opens up its primary will enjoy an unfair advantage during the general election....
Read more about the fight for open primaries in Kentucky at Independent Kentucky

POLITICAL AND ETHICAL REFORM

  • Fixing Congress (U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, Boston Review - This article is part of Fixing Congress, a forum on the causes of legislative partisanship and corruption.) States with party-registration laws further protect extremists by outlawing independent as well as opposition voters. With a firm grip on their districts and no worries about alienating voters in the other party, gerrymandered extremists are often the loudest voices in Congress.
  • Ending the Permanent Campaign (Norman J. Ornstein,Boston Review) Externally, adopt on a wider basis the California system of open primaries to provide opportunities for a wider range of moderate candidates to win nominations and elections. Even better, adopt a version of the Australian system of mandatory attendance at the polls. 


2012



UNIONS AND THE DEMS
Richard Trumka: Talking Loud and Saying Nothing (By Mike Elk, In These Times) The AFL-CIO has not talked of restarting the Labor Party experiment in the late 1990s, which several unions, including Trumka’s own the United Mine Workers, backed. Indeed, the labor movement has bowed to the wishes of the Democratic Party by not fostering electoral efforts like New York’s Working Families Party in states that allow fusion balloting, such as Ohio. In other words, the labor movement has no plan to declare political independence from the Democratic Party other than to spend money on electing Democrats through its own channels, rather than giving it to the Democratic Party to spend.

THEATER
The Castillo Theatre Dares to Dream (By Deardra Shuler, Black Star News)  If you live in an area that does not offer much hope you often dream of being somewhere else.  Anywhere where the grass is greener and the beaches are cleaner.  “License to Dream” is a play featured at the Castillo Theatre, located at 543 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, which bring youngsters from East New York together with underpaid dance instructors in East Hampton, in a bid to teach one another the art of dance.  And, along the way, respect each other’s culture and learn that no matter who you are, you can dare to dream.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Partisan Brick Wall

"Fingere" by Alejandro Ferrer: A Leftist Heart Set Free

Alejandro Ferrer: “You cannot spend your life working. Life is more than working. Life is creating.”

Thanks to my long-time friend and colleague John Opdycke, director of development at independentvoting.org (CUIP), I attended a wonderful film this past week by Alejandro Ferrer called Fingere Fingere is a humanistic picture of a very inhuman development of our collective history that plays seriously with history, ideology and social issues - very playfully.


Fingere ("Fingered" is the Google Translation) was presented at the Millennium Film Workshop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of the Videoteca Del Sur Film Fesival on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Fingere takes place and is filmed in Chicago and in the mountains of the Chilean Patagonia, the southern most area of South America, which I learned includes both Chile and Argentina.  Created by Alejandro Ferrer, a native of Patagonia, Chile, this wandering journey through an expansive, remote and beautiful landscape, with some pretty outlandish and wonderful characters, is delightfully playful, thoroughly human, strongly South American (according to my friend Don Maycaza), and, in my opinion, an inspiring portrayal of a leftist heart set free.

I absolutely loved this movie.  It's immigrants, it's America, it's Let's Pretend, it's "We've declared our independence", it's actors performing against type, it's the people vs. corporate capitalism. Fingere is the Good Fight through and through.

The story: Tertullian Correa, a character created by a Chicago advertising agency to campaign for tourism in the Chilean Patagonia, and make millions for the agency, "feels his oats" in his native land of Patagonia. Tertullian romps on the mountainous landscape by foot and (miraculously) by bicycle and bus (the "smoke break" scene is what I think relaxed my over-weight North American/European brain) and escapes the clutches of the ad agency. Sorta. They still have his cell phone number, and Peggy Sue (classico!) calls Tertullian trying to ratchet him in. To no avail. The Chicago ad crew is miffed and increasingly disturbed. Globalism hangs in the balance. Or at least the fate of the Chicago ad agency... Characters pop in and out between Chicago and Patagonia à la Star Trek's "Beam me up, Scotty", or Fred Newman's Outing Wittgenstein's "Past-Transfo."


Fingere Trailer from Fernando Ferrer on Vimeo.


Vignettes include a "virtual war" between Chileans and Argentineans, a beautiful woman who is smitten by a charming chameleon "horse trainer," the national poets who are more and more outspokenly irrelevant but endlessly outspoken, and many more stories from the irreverent and diverse grouping of Truco card players that star in the film Tertullian has assembled.
"Truco is not a game. It is more a philosophy of life where the practice is more important than the results."
I became engaged in this film within the first scenes.  I felt as though I was watching a "new film genre" where real people make "real" movies with their "real" friends and family members (most of the Chicago crew were sons and friends of the filmmaker) about their "real" lives. In a sense, probably every (at least first-time) filmmaker does that. But on the other hand, we don't often get to see that because Hollywood is so god-like. And independent films don't get much play. And in this instance, more importantly, we get to see "fantasy" become reality -- a big no-no in our current reality-determined society.

Tertullian's challenge to his antagonists on his home turf "We declare our independence," is a challenge to all of us. Choose independence. It's as simple as that.

Fingere, won the prize for best film at the Chicago Independent Film Festival and was reviewed here at Diario Electronico de Puerto Natales.

Please explore this film. And get to know Alejandro Ferrer. Check out the interview of Ferrer in Immigrant Connect Chicago:
This all changed on Sept. 11, 1973, when Allende was assassinated. The military took over and declared a state of war, “…which [was] very dangerous. They could do whatever they wanted,” Ferrer recalls. Over the next three years, the military detained some 130,000 people. Ferrer was one of them...
Thank you, Alejandro, for this gift!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

this is not today

In a Two-Party Bicycle Race, Independents Are Key

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Cartoons by ULIV founder Randy Miller "On a Bicycle Built for Two -- Parties" on The Hankster and Kevin Kreneck,Tribune Media Services, on Tim Rutten's "Snapshot of a split America" in LA Times


Tim Rutten: Snapshot of a split America (By Tim Rutten, LA Times)  A Pew survey shows that the most politically engaged Americans are now fundamentally opposed to compromise and split on virtually every issue. It's a landscape California has traversed for years.

More Massachusetts voters enroll as Independent (By David Riley, Patriot Ledger) Party leaders note that it’s easy for voters to stay unaligned in this state, which still allows them to vote in primary elections. But they acknowledge some voters today also seem to feel less bound by party loyalty. There’s disenfranchisement with the entire system, and political parties represent that system,” said Tim Buckley, communications manager for the Massachusetts Republican Party.


IT BEARS REPEATING
  • The misunderstood independent (By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix) Just six years ago, only 30 percent of Americans identified as independents. Today, that number is 37 percent. And while growing so fast (and 7 percent in six years is fast), they are also diversifying very quickly.
  • Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology (Pew Research Center) Yet at the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy.
  •  FOR DETAILS OF THE SURVEY AND HISTORICAL VIEW, SEE ONLINE (This is a 13 page report) OR PDF VERSION
  • Why the tea party won’t determine the 2012 GOP nominee (By Aaron Blake, Washington Post/The Fix) Particularly in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina – which have primaries that are open to independents and, in South Carolina’s case, all voters – there should be plenty of independents and even Democrats casting ballots in the GOP contest. Even in Iowa, voters can change their party registration on caucus day. Remember Operation Chaos? The Associated Press noted in a story this weekend that 42 percent of voters in New Hampshire are independents. In 2008, they voted much more in the Democratic presidential primary than the Republican one; this year, that is likely to change significantly, shifting the entire electorate in the GOP primary to the left significantly.

Independent Redistricting: Empower Voters, Not Parties

INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING

  • Let's break redistricting impasse tradition - Legislature must approve map that puts voters ahead  (EDITORIAL Coloradoan) In our state, independent voters make up almost one-third of the voting bloc. Drawing districts based on political parties' whims is shortsighted and unfair to a large portion of voters.
  • Race, remaps and reforms (By Jack Betts, Charlotte Observer) It's not often you hear a sitting politicians acknowledge publicly that his party will use racial demographics in order to unseat opponents - and identify the top targets. In doing so, McHenry - who was, in his first term, the youngest person elected to Congress - helped make the case that's been so obvious for so long that no one pays much attention to it anymore: An independent restricting panel ought to be redrawing districts, not the politicians in charge. That only allows the dominant party to help themselves stay in power. When politicians pick their voters rather than allowing voters to choose their politicians, you get officeholders practically salivating on ways to put the opposition at a disadvantage.

2012: 'The real sympathy goes to independent voters' Who Will Decide the Election

2012

  • A conundrum named Barack Obama (EDITORIAL Fosters Daily Democrat - NH) But the real sympathy goes to independent voters, who are going to have to weigh the pluses and minus of President Obama. They will have take some from column A and some from column B, then weigh carefully how much another term of an Obama presidency will do for them.
  • GOP shouldn't hesitate - A big moment for Obama, yes, but this glory will fade (By Mike Pride, Concord Monitor) The 1996 Republican primary offers an object lesson. Then, as now, a Republican insurgency had taken over the U.S. House in the mid-term election, weakening an incumbent Democratic president… The best model for the kind of campaign Buchanan ran is more recent than 1996. The candidate who wants to rise above the pack in 2012 ought to rent John McCain's bus tomorrow and start mixing it up with voters at town-hall forums and high schools.
  • Fox ends contracts of Gingrich, Santorum (Ben Smith, Politico)
  • Newberry businessman to lead S.C. GOP (By John O’Connor, The Sun News) Connelly also said he will push to ensure South Carolina is the first Southern state to hold a primary. Florida lawmakers have threatened to ignore the Republican National Committee schedule and move up in the process.
  • South Carolina GOP elects Obama's 'worst nightmare' (By: CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby) "You guys just elected Barack Obama's and Dick Harpootlian's worst nightmare," Connelly told the audience after his win, naming the president and the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party as his foils.
  • The Republican presidential race just can't get started (By Thomas Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer Politics Writer) Johnson, the libertarian former governor of New Mexico, hardly qualifies for the first tier of potential GOP challengers. Were he a baseball player, he might be invited to spring training with the big club, and then he'd be on a bus to double-A.

Electoral College: 'antiquated and disenfranchises voters'

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE
Movement seeks to elect U.S. president by popular vote (Mike Hasten, Shreveport Times) McPherson said the current method of choosing the nation's leader is "antiquated and disenfranchises voters."

The End of Partisan Primaries: California Special Election May 17 Will Use Top-Two

OPEN PRIMARIES

Repubs: Ron Paul Heads the Pack

2012 REPUB PRESIDENTIAL PICTURE

  • AP to skip GOP debate to protest FOX restrictions (The Associated Press, Sac Bee) Fox informed the AP and Reuters that it will only allow one still photographer into the debate at the start, when candidates shake hands, and that the photographer must leave when the debate begins. It also wants the single photographer to distribute the photos to all other media organizations.
  • Huntsman's service in administration gets pass from some GOPers (By Michael O’Brien, The Hill/Blog Briefing Room) But in the week since resigning, Huntsman has rapidly accelerated his political activity. He established a federal political action committee, H PAC, to help build the framework of a possible campaign. And he's started to aggressively woo Republicans, particularly from New Hampshire and South Carolina, the two primary states where Huntsman is likely to focus his efforts if he runs.
  • Ron Paul hauls more than $1 million (By ANDY BARR, Politico) Paul’s presidential exploratory committee alerted his supporters to the 24-hour online fundraising via email and social networks and were able to sit back and watch $1,028,436.56 roll in.
  • Cain Was Able at the GOP's First Debate (By David Swerdlick, The Root) Herman Cain scored, Tim Pawlenty held, Mitt Romney was AWOL and Ron Paul was Ron Paul.
  • Herman Cain shines, but he’s still a longshot (By Rachel Weiner, Washington Post/The Fix) Even before last night, Cain was popular with conservatives who remember him from the 1990s as an advocate against President Clinton’s health-care reform. He performed well against Clinton himself in a 1994 town hall meeting. He’s a business owner who turned around a failing franchise, Godfather’s Pizza, the kind of resume that appeals to Republicans now more than ever. His rhetorical style has been fine-tuned by years on the radio in Atlanta… While he’s popular with tea party voters, their impact in early states will be diluted by open primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

  • THE RON PAUL MOMENT (by W. E. Messamore, CAIVN) Despite the moderators' pleas for no applause, the audience vigorously applauded most of Ron Paul's answers, even including the hope he expressed that with Osama bin Laden's death, America might reevaluate its wars in Central Asia, which Paul said haven't helped us and haven't helped anyone in the Middle East. Typically known for being somewhat dry and academic when he speaks, Ron Paul even drew two big laughs from the crowd. When asked if he had been eclipsed in the Tea Party movement by Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul elicited laughs by answering, "Well, she's not here tonight..."
  •  NOTE: h/t to W.E. Messamore for the following links:
  • Is This the Ron Paul Moment? (WRITTEN BY THOMAS R. EDDLEM , The New American (right libertarian) Representative Ron Paul established himself at the forefront of the Tea Party movement in the first Republican Presidential debate in Greenville, South Carolina. The debate has more and more establishment figures wondering if this might be the perfect political storm for the Texas congressman and obstetrician.
RON PAUL AT SC REPUBLICAN DEBATE 5/5/2011 VIDEO


Friday, May 06, 2011

On a bicycle built for two...parties

Will Parties Understand Independents?

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • The misunderstood independent (By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/Post Politics/The Fix) In politics, it’s often tempting to put independents somewhere in the middle of Republicans and Democrats, politically. They identify somewhere in between the two, so they must be moderates, right? A new study from the Pew Research Center suggests that’s not so true anymore. Independents, in fact, are a fast-growing and increasingly diverse group that both parties are going to need to study and understand in the years ahead. ENTIRE REPORT ON PDF
  • Dead-Cat Bounce Continues (Time-CNN/The Page) “But they have not changed their minds about his stewardship of the economy.  The number of people opposed to his reelection has dropped, although they seem to have moved to ‘undecided,’ rather than to the pro-Obama column,” Brown added.  “The good news for the president is that his largest improvement is among two key groups, men and independent voters.” Independent voters go from a negative 41 – 52 percent overall approval as of Sunday to a positive 47 – 41 percent today.  But only 36 percent of independent voters say today he deserves reelection, compared to 41 percent Sunday.
  • America fears the revenge of Bin Laden’s followers (Gladkov Vladimir, The Voice of Russia) At first sight, the killing of Osama bin Laden should become a guarantee of Obama’s re-election as president. By successfully liquidating of the terrorist №1, Obama not only gained the support of the independent voters but even received the approval of many of his Republican opponents. But, as the latest polls show, the killing of bin Laden can’t solve all the problems facing the American president. More than half of Americans believe that the threat of terrorism against the USA can only grew now.
OPEN PRIMARIES
South Carolina Primary Debate Will Take Place Tonight, Despite The Lack Of A Compelling Reason To Do So (Jason Linkins, Huffington Post) The first scheduled debate of the campaign season, jointly sponsored by NBC News and Politico, was supposed to have been held on May 2. But back at the end of March, the debate organizers rather astutely observed that the presumed frontrunners weren't yet running and that the campaign season had not yet really begun. Presciently, they realized that these conditions were not likely to change during the month of April, so they postponed the event until mid-September, when they might be able to present a debate that voters would find credible. That's how tonight's debate, sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina GOP became the first debate of the 2012 campaign… Instead, the field for the debate will be a bunch of lower-tier and lightly-regarded candidates, including Texas Representative Ron Paul, Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. In that coterie, I count one candidate with an active and devoted base of support (Paul) and one candidate who could potentially obtain the approval of independent voters and elite conservative pundits (Pawlenty). The long-played out joke of this debate is that plenty of seats are available ... on the stage.

BALLOT ACCESS
Illinois Bill, Which Restricts Who can be an Independent Candidate, May Have Been Sidetracked (Ballot Access News)

2012 DEBATES
  • First Thoughts: Ground Zero vs. Greenville (By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, msnbc/First Read) Who’s coming to the debate and who isn’t: Meanwhile, more than 700 miles away from New York City, five Republicans will share a debate stage tonight in Greenville, SC at 9:00 pm ET. Those five include just one top-tier candidate (Tim Pawlenty), two second-tier ones (Rick Santorum and Ron Paul), and two others (Herman Cain and Gary Johnson), who all registered a combined 11% in the Quinnipiac GOP trial heat. Those who aren’t attending: Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich, as well as those mulling a bid (Daniels, Huntsman, Huckabee, and Trump). On split-screen days, it will always be difficult for the GOP field to compete with the president, especially before there’s an official Republican nominee.
  • GOP's top candidates to skip S.C. debate (By John O'Connor, The State (Columbia, S.C.) - Sacramento Bee) Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the highest-profile GOP candidate to say he will take part in the debate. The S.C. GOP will announce the final lineup today, and it is expected to include Godfather’s Pizza founder Herman Cain, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Who Are the Independents - And Can They Reform America?

Can Independents Reform America? On February 12, 2011 hundreds of independent movement activists from 40 states gathered at a national conference in New York City to discuss that question. 
The 2011 National Conference of Independents was sponsored by IndependentVoting.org and hosted by its President, Jackie Salit who delivered this dynamic multi-media keynote address available now on DVD withbonus features including:
  • Live edition of Talk/Talk: Fred Newman and Jackie Salit's uncensored, unconventional discussions of the political scene
  • Meet the Independent Movementfeaturing: Omar Ali, Michael Lewis and Lenora Fulani
  • Dispatches from the Movement: Reports by Wayne Griffin (SC), Joelle Riddle & Kathleen Curry (CO), Linda Curtis (TX), Jennifer Bullock (PA), Nicholas Johnson & Bryan Puertas (NY), and Ted Downing (AZ)
  • Breaking into a Partisan System: Panel discussion with Theresa Amato, John Avlon, Lenora Fulani, Michael Hardy, Harry Kresky, Jim Mangia, Jackie Salit, Douglas Schoen, Cathy Stewart and Bradley Tusk.

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN DEBATE
Obama National Security Record Attacked at Republican Debate (By John McCormick and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Bloomberg) “It is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it, and get the troops out of Afghanistan, and end that war that hasn’t helped us and hasn’t helped anybody in the Middle East,” said Paul, 75, chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve.