Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hankster News of the Day May 10

  • Millions of Voters Leaving Political Parties, the Silent Revolution (by Chad Peace, IVN) I am not suggesting that political parties should not and do not serve an important roll in organizing, promoting, unifying political sentiment.  Rather, my position is that control over the electoral process should derive from the wills of individual voters, not party central committees.  In other words, I am suggesting that parties should be able to influence outcomes through advocacy rather than manipulation…. But, as the American voters become increasingly dissatisfied with their partisan representatives, non-partisan electoral reforms passed in states like California have the potential to revolutionize the way we elect our representatives and broadened the voters to whom they are accountable.
  • President Obama’s independent problem is nothing new. (Posted by Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix)
  • Battleground Poll: Dead heat (By: James Hohmann, Politico) The former Massachusetts governor has opened up a 10-point lead, 48 percent to 38 percent, among independents in a poll conducted Sunday, April 29 through Thursday, May 3 and a 6-point lead among those who describe themselves as “extremely likely” to vote in November. Obama led Romney by 9 points overall in POLITICO’s February’s poll.
  • Beltway Blog — Study: Colorado grows independent voters, Democrats, GOP struggle to keep up (By Allison Sherry, The Denver Post/The Spot) Since 2008, Colorado has added voters in all groups becauses the state’s population is growing. But Democrats have added the fewest voters at 13,497, according to the study. Republicans have added 36,896 voters since 2008. There are more than 130,000 more independent voters now in Colorado compared to 2008, according to the study.
  • Push is on for open primary in Arizona (by Dan Nowicki, Arizona Republic/TUCSON CITIZEN) The pros and cons of the “top two” primary idea, which is in use in Louisiana and Washington and will go into effect in California this year, will be debated today during a panel discussion organized by the O’Connor House. The organization, named after retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s former home, advocates for centrist and nonpartisan policy solutions and civil discourse.
  • Open primaries worth a look (OPINION Arizona Republic) The discussion includes film producer and California politician Steve Peace, the architect of that state's top-two primary system. Also on the panel will be Richard Winger of the Coalition on Free and Open Elections, Grady Gammage, Jr., one of the authors of the Arizona initiative, and Alan Maguire of the Maguire political consulting firm. A new paper, "The Nonpartisan Primary: Is it a Game Changer?" by Morrison Institute Senior Fellow David R. Berman, will be distributed.

  • Commentary: ‘Top-two’ system makes primary a whole new ballgame (By Casey Gudel, AgAlert - Weekly Newspaper for Calif Agriculture) A number of candidates, who would have been receptive to issues important to family farmers and ranchers, lost by just a few votes in the last primary election. Had the top-two primary system been in place, Farm Bureau and allied organizations could have worked on behalf of those business-friendly candidates in the general election. When you combine the new top-two primary system with changes to legislative districts as drawn by the Citizen's Redistricting Commission, you find no shortage of candidates this year. Redistricting caused a number of retirements in Congress, which opened up a game of musical chairs that also involves seats in the state Assembly and Senate.
  • Everybody in the Pool! (By Loretta Redd, PhD, Santa Barbara View) Anyone who doesn’t think we’ve legalized dope in this State has only to read the helpful voter guide from Secretary of State, Debra Bowen: “California law requires that the term ‘party preference’ now be used in place of the term ‘party affiliation.’  On the voter registration form, a voter may choose whether or not to indicate a preference for a political party.  A voter with no party preference (NPP) is anyone who chose to not indicate a political party preference when he or she registered to vote.  Voters who were previously known as decline-to-state voters (because they did not have a party affiliation) are now known as having no party preference.”
Obama leads Romney, helped by independents (Deborah Charles - Reuters, Chicago Tribune) Independents swung behind Obama. Forty eight percent approved and 40 percent disapproved of his performance in May compared to 37 percent who approved and 57 percent who disapproved in April…. The poll, conducted from May 3-7, showed voters from the two parties are falling in behind their candidates, which makes the independent vote more important, Clark said.

  • Tea party set to topple Sen. Richard Lugar. Could he try third-party run? (By Mark Trumbull, Christian Science Monitor) "I don't think that Lugar would want to split the party," says Brian Vargus, a political scientist at Indiana University in Indianapolis. "The coalition between social and economic Lugar makes last-ditch Election Day plea for votes, rules out third-party run (By Justin Sink, WITH VIDEO, The Hill) Indiana has an open primary, meaning anyone registered to vote can cast a ballot in Tuesday's Republican contest. And while Lugar remains popular statewide, the 80-year-old senator acknowledged that the money and enthusiasm had tended to favor his opponent… But Lugar deferred when asked if centrists no longer had a home in the Republican Party.
  • Lugar unloads on 'unrelenting' partisanship (By MIKE ZAPLER, Politico) Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times.

  • Out of the Margins, Into the Fray: Vermont Progressive Party Wields Outsized Influence on State Politics (by Steve Early‚ Beyond Chron) In many other states, most labor activists like David-Friedman have shied away from "pure" third party activity because they don't want to back political "spoilers" or, short of that, just mount losing campaigns with no impact on major party behavior or election results. Elsewhere in the northeast, labor-financed Working Families Parties (WFP) were launched instead so "fusion voting" could be used, where permitted under state law, to reward the friends of union causes by giving cross-endorsed candidates an additional ballot line. Banned in most of the nation a century ago (as part of the corporate counter-attack against Populism), fusion allows major party candidates, in states like New York, to garner additional votes on each endorsing minor party's separate ballot line.
  • ROSE NOLEN: Electoral process, political parties have left voters confused (BY Rose Nolen, Columbia Missourian) The efforts by some political parties to pass voter registration laws, which will require some people to provide various forms of personal identification in order to vote, is troublesome and will undoubtedly cause some to avoid going to the polls. It has occurred to many that the political parties no longer want individual citizens to vote, unless they are willing to vote their way. Until we have an independent authority to interpret law, we are without recourse. The political parties are completely out of hand. It seems to be impossible to establish a third party, although Ron Paul seems to be on a good road toward accomplishing that goal.


Education reform bill heads to Malloy (Linda Conner Lambeck, CTPost) The reform bill went through several rewrites over the past three months and set the Democratic governor at odds with teachers across the state because of its efforts to reform teacher tenure. In the end, however, teachers say they got a lot of what they want in the compromise package and Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor said he got a reform package that will improve education for children and strengthen the state's bid to win a federal waiver of the No Child Left Behind law.

Americans Elect Sputters in Effort to Field Nominee (By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics) The struggles of Americans Elect have not come as a huge surprise to the media or the political cognoscenti, even among those rooting for anything that might detox traditional party politics. In March, New York Times columnist Gail Collins described the group’s concept as “delusional, in a deeply flattering way: We the people are good and pure, and if only we were allowed to just pick the best person, everything else would fall into place. And, of course, the best person cannot be the choice of one of the parties, since the parties are … the problem.”

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