Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Independents Are 40% and Rising





INDEPENDENT VOTERS

  • The Rise of the Independent Voice (By Michael Drucker, IVN/ Independent View) Recently the number of independent voters have risen to 40% in some polls. The media has tried to give them a voice. They are called swing voters or democrats and republicans in hiding. They are disappointed with congress and the administration due to their inability to govern. Some of these voters are independent activists. So lets find out where they are from and what they have to say.*
  • Percentage of independent California voters inches upward (Sac Bee/ Capitol Alert) with nearly 21 percent of the electorate now registered to vote with no party preference, according to a report today by the California secretary of state… Meanwhile, the proportion of voters registered to vote Democratic declined to 43.93 percent from 44.04 percent in February 2011, while Republican registration dropped to 28.94 percent from 30.88 percent two years ago..
  • 5 Lessons Learned from the 2013 State of the News Media Report (By Jane Susskind, IVN) 1. Independent voters are key: Major networks need to appeal to independent voters, both on and offline. According to the 2013 State of the News Media report, independents are the most likely to have left a news outlet, making up 34% of those who no longer follow certain news outlets.
* Also see Independents Rising: Third Party Politics In America -- Michael Lewis, Independent Kentucky...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Springtime in NYC...

... (looks strangely like late summer...) - beautiful!


Political Ethics, Closed Primaries, Transparency: Include Independents!


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Number of independent voters skyrockets (October 18, 2012, By: Mark Wachtler, Examiner.com) One group promising that those days are over is the newly formed Independent Voters Association. Based out of Chicago, but slowly expanding nationally, the IVA pledges to be that ready-made army of political precinct workers and volunteers for independent and third party candidates.

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Richard Davis: One-party rule naturally leads to ethics abuses (By Richard Davis, For the Deseret News) This arrogance also is demonstrated in legislative decisions made in closed legislative party caucuses, ever stricter limits on the ability to put citizen-based initiatives on the ballot and closed primaries that exclude most voters.
  • Kansas Democrats vote to limit primaries - Closes primaries to registered Democrats (Topeka Capital Journal) The move reverses the party’s prior primary-ballot rule that allowed unaffiliated voters to cast ballots to pick Democratic candidates to advance to the general election.
  • Teplitz wants caucus for more transparency in Pa. (By CHRISTINA KAUFFMAN, York Dispatch.com) Initiatives include lobbying reform, suspension of pay for the governor and legislators if they don't pass a timely budget and opening the state's closed primary to independent voters.
  • Save money, make the system fairer (By Joe Ferraro, Philadelphia Inquirer) Plan No. 3: Go to an open primary system. That means anyone, including independents, can vote for anyone they want in the primary, regardless of a candidate's party. This idea may not save money, but it would make the system fairer. And, if adopted, it would likely negate Plans Nos. 1 and 2. The county couldn't close polling places because there would likely be more voters, and the political parties couldn't be charged for their exclusive primary election process.
  • American political system is rotten to the core (By Jeff McLean, Seacoastonline.com) In addition, implementing term limits and reducing the number of closed primary states would serve to combat the current role of gerrymandering and money in politics.
  • Guest column: Proposed Democratic election reforms don't go far enough (By Keith Allard, Michigan Live) • End taxpayer-paid primaries. If the two parties wish to play games with the system they have created, the taxpayers should not be liable for the expensive cost of these elections. Allow parties to pay for their own selection process, whether it is a caucus or closed primary.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Darkness


A Big Hankster Howdy to The Moderate Nation!


Howdy ho, Hanksteristas!

Yes, it's round-up time here on the ol' prairie....  Ooops! What I mean is that we have a new colleague in the independent blogosphere: Please check out The Moderate Nation.

As many of you know, The Hankster is an independent political blog that got started in 2006 and is affiliated with IndependentVoting.org. We have supported many independent grassroots voices since then. The independent movement, whether liberal, moderate, conservative, or extreme -- is growing!
Queens Independence Party Vice Chair Bryan Puertas gathering support...

So check out The Moderate Nation. And check in whenever you can!

 _-NH


7th Annual National Conference of Independents






Monday, March 11, 2013

Election Reform: fraudulent voting practices were developed by and are fomented by our partisan system

Election reform has never been more important at a time when less than half of people vote in major elections (and somewhere around 10-15% in important local elections) and yet the establishment (partisan) voices drone on about voter fraud and campaign finance. At a time when 40% of the American people identify as independent... Re-imagine the whole of American politics! [See vid below]

Democracy demands a much higher bar -- full participation by the American people -- which will of necessity come from outside the current party system.

Let's face it, the most fraudulent voting practices were developed by and are fomented by our partisan system that requires complete allegiance to a slate of partisan scalawags who vow to betray the democratic values of our nation! To wit:

ELECTION REFORM
  • Editorial: Voting laws need big change (EDITORIAL Poughkeepsie Journal) These deflating numbers are clearly unacceptable. A slew of solutions has to be pursued aggressively. They range from scheduling early voting dates, to greatly bolstering the ability of residents to register online. They must involve clearer, cleaner ballots and lengthening registration deadlines. They have to include campaign finance reform to give challengers a fighting chance to compete against entrenched incumbents. They ought to feature an independent process to draw fair, impartial political boundaries rather than leaving it up to the politicians to carve up those lines at will.
  • Ark. AG outlines election reform proposals (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, The Republic - Columbus IN) Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Thursday said he is pushing a package of legislative proposals that would toughen the penalties for fraudulently gathering signatures for a ballot measure and require more disclosures from those working on ballot question campaigns.
  • FEC Complaint Could Limit Corporate Donations In Elections (By Alex Gauthier, IVN) Responding to inquiries from the press, Dan Conston, CLF’s communications director told the Hill, “[It’s] an obvious coordinated intimidation tactic from the left masquerading as just one more utterly baseless complaint.”

EDUCATION REFORM
Reform candidates see mixed results in Los Angeles school board race (Brandon Lowrey - Reuters, Chicago Tribune)  Reformers, backed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Coalition for School Reform, want to expand charter schools and change the way the district hires, evaluates and fires teachers. They faced opposition from the local teacher's union, United Teachers Los Angeles, which has funded its own slate of candidates. Voters handed Villaraigosa and his allies one victory outright, one defeat and one draw that will be decided in a runoff election in May.




Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Independent Movement: Out of the Clutches of Partisan Politics


More voters are becoming independents (40% of the American electorate considers itself to be independent - you can see the C-Span coverage of IndependentVoting.org's 2013 National Conference of Independents here) and as the voters go, so go the politicians... More candidates are becoming independent, too! Open primaries would help our country move forward, out of the deadly clutches of partisan interests. 


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Viewpoint: Independents have clear view of party lines (By Kate McGuire, a freshman journalism major from Waterloo, Iowa. She is a staff writer for the Baylor Lariat) Yet I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. I believe independent voters are more than what people label us.

INDEPENDENT POLITICIANS
  • Detroit lawmaker breaks with Dems, now independent (By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press, Albany Times Union) Olumba's departure from the Michigan House's Democratic caucus gives Republicans a 59-50 edge instead of a 59-51 majority, though he may still vote with Democrats on many bills. Olumba said the move allows him to independently negotiate with Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger on behalf of his constituents "without a middleman," and that he planned to form a one-man "Independent Urban Democracy Caucus."
  • State Rep. John Olumba of Detroit leaves Democratic Party, citing racial slights (By Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press) "The Democratic Party has to start recognizing its most loyal constituents," he said in a news conference to announce that he is becoming an Independent and the sole member of the Independent Urban Democracy Caucus.
  • Michigan state Rep. John Olumba leaves Democratic Caucus, declares himself Independent (Jonathan Oosting, Michigan Live) "I am declaring today that I desire for the speaker, other leaders and members of the House to recognize my status accurately as what it is: Independent," Olumba said during an afternoon press conference at the Capitol, explaining a House resolution he introduced earlier in the day. "I declare myself to be a member of the Independent Urban Democracy Caucus that recognizes and puts as a priority the poor and disenfranchised persons of this state."

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • It’s time to open up the District’s primaries (By Thomas M. Smith, Washington Post Opinions) f lawmakers really want to clean up city government, however, there’s a simpler step they can take: Open up the District’s closed partisan primaries, which discourage talented people from challenging entrenched incumbents.
  • Editorial: Open primary in Montana would help tame partisian politics (EDITORIAL Bozeman Daily Chronicle) Unfortunately, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Reichner, was tabled by the House State Administration Committee Thursday, and its chances of moving forward this session are slim. Still, it’s an idea that has worked in other states and could work well for Montana in the future. Our current primary system is too easily manipulated by the fringe. An open primary would offer a workable solution.
  • Bigfork lawmaker wants to open up primary elections (y Marnee Banks - MTN News, KAJ18 Kalispell MT) State Representative Scott Reichner (R-Bigfork) wants to open up Montana's primary elections so that voters don't have to choose a ballot for one party or another.
    Pauls leery of using closed primary - Rep states adoption of method by Dems is bid to prevent conservative wins. (By Mary Clarkin - The Hutchinson News - KS) Thomas Witt, leader of the Kansas Progressive Caucus in the Kansas Democratic Party, made the motion to adopt a closed primary method, during the party's Washington Days in February. He said his motive was to keep unaffiliated voters from voting in Democratic precinct committee races.
  • Kansas Democrats vote to close primaries (By AP, Dodge Globe) the Democratic State Committee voted 86-61 on Saturday in favor of the change, which allows Democrats to identify voters more easily to urge them to vote in the general election.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Independent Voters, Open Primaries, and Poverty

Nancy Folbre in her New York Times piece this week posits that "labor itself is produced outside the market..." and she points to the family as the engine of production. So too in politics, culture, science and all things human (even the family!), innovation comes from outside the existing institutions and their created markets - by definition. Big fight going on nationally around party primaries. Innovation will come from outside the partisan system, even as the out-of-power party fights the in-power party for control. Read on:


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Why Republicans Are Out Of Step With Young Voters (by Don Gonyea, NPR) Austin Jones, a senior and an independent voter, says it's not just the Republican stand on social issues that troubles him. "Evolution is a fact. Climate change is happening. There's no arguing that. If you're arguing that, you're a fool," Jones says. Campus Democrats, meanwhile, see such comments from an independent as an opportunity.

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • A New Primary System? Two For Thought (By John Fuller/Joe Carbonari, Flathead Beacon - MT) Joe Carbonari: There is a move afoot, here in Montana and across the country as a whole, to disenfranchise and/or discourage those voters that the Republican Party cannot attract or hold. Better my Republican friends should spend their time re-examining their positions and their message. We need more voters, and more candidates, who understand the complexities of the issues that face us. Limiting the choices that voters have and working to restrict the opposition’s turnout is not good for the health of our democracy.
  • Pauls leery of using closed primary, Rep states adoption of method by Dems is bid to prevent conservative wins. (By Mary Clarkin - The Hutchinson News KS)  About 58 percent of those voting on the motion during Washington Days supported it. The Kansas Republican Party has a closed primary, and the Democrats' primary also will be closed in August 2014. The old open primary system permitted unaffiliated voters to obtain a Democratic ballot without becoming Democrats. Under a closed primary, voters at the polls wanting a Republican or Democratic ballot will have to be affiliated with either party before obtaining a ballot.

POVERTY & THE MINIMUM WAGE
  • The Business of the Minimum Wage (By CHRISTINA D. ROMER, NY Times) Instead, most arguments for instituting or raising a minimum wage are based on fairness and redistribution. Even if workers are getting a competitive wage, many of us are deeply disturbed that some hard-working families still have very little. Though a desire to help the poor is largely a moral issue, economics can help us think about how successful a higher minimum wage would be at reducing poverty.
    Minimal Wages, Minimal Families (By NANCY FOLBRE - Nancy Folbre, economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst -NY Times/Economix "Explaining the Science of Everyday Life") So, the debate circles back to the dilemma acknowledged by classical political economy in the 19th century. The forces of supply and demand, left to themselves, treat labor like any other commodity. But labor itself is produced outside the market, by families and communities who must struggle to find ways to support their contributions to the future.
  • Economists disagree on whether the minimum wage kills jobs. Why? (Posted by Brad Plumer, Washington Post/Wonkblog) There are lots of possible ways that companies can adjust to modest wage hikes besides hiring fewer people. (Obviously if the minimum wage shot up to $100 per hour, that’d be much more disruptive, but no one is proposing that.) The basic economic theory is alluring. But the world isn’t always that simple.
    [IL Gov] Quinn calls for $10 minimum wage, gun control in State of the State (Daily Register - IL) In a nearly 40-minute speech, Quinn also called for an end to voters having to declare a party affiliation to participate in primary elections and reiterated that rising pension costs are diverting money from other state programs.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Night Hankster Chat: The Independent Movement

Howdy ho, Hanksteristas! It's been a while since our last Friday Night Hankster Chat!

Was thinking today about my colleague Sarah Lyons' wonderful presentation at the February 16th National Conference of Independents when she introduced the independent movement's grassroots leadership panel. It's a proud history!