Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Note from the Stratosblog: Obama inexperienced???

I am listening in to Joe Salzone's Blog Bunker on SIRIUS, and I completely agree with Ted in Washington DC who just called in and said that one way to see Obama's leadership skills is to look at how he took down the Clinton machine. Good point, Ted!! It probably takes an independent to say that!!! -NH

News from the Stratosblog: John McCain's Negatives Won't Attract Independent Voters

stratosblog: the environment in which the smaller and more independent bloggers operate....

From simpletruthiness: What were they trying to accomplish? Were they trying to shoot their feet off? I am trying to imagine the effect of the latest McCain ads on his stated purpose of winning the presidential election..... Ostensibly,these ads are aimed at swing voters. I can’t imagine anything worse than grade school attacks and utilizing our wounded troops for political advantage while lying and practicing a particularly odious form of hypocrisy for currying favor with independent voters who might be genuinely conflcited..... (continue)

From The National Connection (A news blog from some left-leaning folks who have a lot of opinions and think they know everything.):Is Sen. McCain forgetting that his whole strategy is to win over enough "independent" voters to make up for his un-enthusiastic Republican base? Well independent voters will not like the nasty campaigning he's engaging in.... (read)

From Joe Gandelman, The Moderate Voice: ON A PERSONAL NOTE AS A REGISTERED INDEPENDENT AND 2000 JOHN MCCAIN SUPPORTER: I get lots of emails asking me to give my blunt reaction to this. It is this: seldom in my voting life, which began voting in the Presidential election of 1968, have I been turned off so quickly by someone who I once supported and admired..... (read)

Talk/Talk: The Surge Trap

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Below are excerpts from this week's Talk Talk, THE SURGE TRAP. Every Sunday CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, July 27, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos".

Newman: It takes you into the particularities of this war and how this administration conducted this war. The people who support this administration are stuck with that, even if they say, Well, I didn't like Donald Rumsfeld. Fine. But you supported a presidency which carried out this war in a way which is antithetical to the interests of the American people and the United States of America. You have to take responsibility for that. And you can't say, Well, it's all right now because we're having a surge. You're having a surge because the way in which you carried out this war was a failure.

Read Talk Talk in its entirety here.

the breakers


Why 2008 will be a year for North Carolina Democrats (Citizen Times Asheville NC) 95,000 registered as Unaffiliated. Who are these people? We are told many are young and African Americans registering for the first time. It is a safe assumption many have registered to vote for Barack Obama.

Demographic Groups Shift in Battleground Polls (Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire) Looking at changes across all four states, independent voters inspired the biggest shift. Obama saw a 26 percentage point loss from June to July, whereas McCain saw a 22 point gain.

POLITIGAB: 100 percent behind growth (THE GAZETTE Colorado Springs) Only Republicans or Democrats get to participate in the Aug. 12 primary election. That leaves out about 114,000 registered voters who are not affiliated with either party.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

News from the Stratosblog: The Hankster in The Blog Bunker with Joe Salzone

The Hankster was a guest on SIRIUS Satellite Radio's Indie Talk/Blog Bunker with Joe Salzone yesterday. We created an engaged conversation about independent voters -- who are they, why they're hard to categorize, how candidates can get their attention, and why organizing at the grassroots level is so important. We had 2 calls, one from Phoenix AZ and one from Washington DC (from an independent who had been forced to register into a party in order to vote in the primary).
We also created a new word -- stratosblog -- which describes the environment in which the smaller and more independent bloggers operate.... (btw - if you google "stratosblog" you're asked if you mean stress blog. Hmmmm.... maybe!)
The Blog Bunker is on Monday through Friday from 5 - 6pm ET. Be sure to catch it!

jim crow has got to go


Kenric Ward: More voters declare their independence (TCPalm -Treasure Coast/Palm Beach FL) According to the latest figures from the state Division of Elections, a smaller percentage of Floridians call themselves Democrats than they did eight years ago (44.3 percent in 2000; 40.7 percent in 2008). So where are the voters going? Independent parties and non-partisan affiliation.

WA: New primary election rules make voting better (Tri-City Herald) The change should come as a relief to the many independent voters who cringed every time they were forced to use the "pick-a-party" format.
LA: Competition for Congress is intense (Houma Today The Courier - LA) Return of party primaries
OR: It’s a communist plot (LETTER Albany Democrat Herald - OR) Phil Keisling and open primaries: trying to have communistic doctrine made state law.
SC: Aiken to vote on nonpartisan races (South Carolina Bureau, Augusta Chronicle) Mr. LeDuc said Aiken is one of only six cities in the state that still hold partisan elections.

NOTE: Both the venerable New York Times and the somewhat less than venerable New York Sun gave space yesterday to a New York City Independence Party Board of Elections filing for State Committee by Bernie Goetz (remember the guy who shot 4 unarmed black youth on a subway back in the '80s?). Goetz filed 2 signatures in an attempt to get on the ballot to run against long-time independent leader Fred Newman, the primary tactician of the independent movement here in New York and nationally. (Goetz won't make the ballot -- you need 117 to get on....) Read here:

Bernard Goetz Vying for Independence Committee Seat (Special to the NY Sun) * Goetz Enters Independence Party Race (By Jonathan P. Hicks, NY Times/City Room)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

as normal as blueberry pie

Where are the independents in The Big Sort???

I had an email this morning from The Back Forty [the blog of Rural Votes] asking me to take a look at their site. I'm recommending you do too -- and The Back Forty is now on The Hankster blogroll.

I found an interesting book review post by Al Cross called Who's Reading The Big Sort and Why?. "The book counters the conventional wisdom that Americans have become less partisan."

While the book, The Big Sort, is no doubt an interesting sociological study in human sociality and politicalness, from what I've read (I haven't read the book but have read several reviews), it ignores a big factor in today's political landscape: the rise of the independent voter. Sort this: while 99% of our elected officials are either Democrats or Republicans, 40% of the electorate they (supposedly) represent are independents.

We have a divide in the country all right -- between the corrupt partisan system and the voters. That's what this sea change election is about. That's the momentum behind Barack Obama's (and John McCain's for that matter) candidacy. We're in the midst of a pardigm change, but you won't see that unless you step out of the bifurcated world of major party spin. --NH


  • Vote in primary (Muskogee - OK) Oklahoma, at the very least, should change its voting laws to allow open primaries so that voters can choose at their polling places which party ballot they will vote each election regardless of their party affliation.
  • Organizer holds 'Miss Legislative Reform' pageant (Pittsburgh Tribune Review) The nine female and two male contestants wore formal dresses and tiaras, their sashes marked with titles such as "Miss True Redistricting" and "Miss No Lobbyists' Gifts."

  • Is Bob Barr The New Nader? (NPR audio clip)
  • An Unconventional Idea (By David Frum, American Enterprise Institute) Critique of major party conventions: The Democratic convention of 1972 was the first where a majority of the delegates were chosen in primaries--that is, by direct vote of party members.... The show [the convention] is long over. It was fatally wounded by the shift to open primaries and finished off by the imperatives of television. But even so, thousands of the most active Democrats and Republicans in America still agree to gather in one spot for public purpose every four years....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hankster Poll: Should independents be allowed to vote in the primaries?

Independent voters are allowed to vote in primaries in 33 states, but are excluded from voting in primaries in 17 states. Do you think independents should be allowed to vote in primaries in all states?

What do you think?

Go on The Hankster sidebar and vote!

The Hankster on The Blog Bunker Tuesday!

You can call SIRIUS "Indie Talk" Tuesday July 29 between 5 and 6 pm Eastern Time

The Blog Bunker

I'll be talking to you!

We the Purple


Calling All Colorado Independents! (We the Purple/Marcia Ford.blogspot) August caucus planned for Colorado independent voters



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Did you miss BlogHer? I did....

This just in, from the New York Times about the BlogHer conference last weekend:
Last weekend, about a thousand bloggers, almost all without the Y chromosome, attended the annual BlogHer conference, which began in 2005 to help female bloggers gain exposure. It has since evolved into a corporate-sponsored Oprah-inflected version of a ’60s consciousness-raising group....

Conversations on Open Primaries

The little article in the Metro section yesterday of the New York Times about Michael Bloomberg's trip to Minnesota to address the Independence Party there belies a big national movement that has been established by independent voters to open up the primaries.

During the primaries, indies voted (mostly Democrat, and responsible for tipping the balance to Obama) in some version of "open primaries" in 33 states. In the remaining 18 states (or territories), independents were locked out of the first round of voting in one of the most open elections in our lifetime. (Nancy Ross at CUIP ran a primary season campaign for open primaries that asked indies to write letters to the editor and get involved at the local level. CUIP has a national network of activists working on reform issues in 40 states. They're planning August caucuses to discuss the issue.)

Independents wrote letters, blogged, and blogged, called their Board of Elections, and one activist even sent out a media advisory letting his local press know that he, an independent, was going to the poll to try to vote, saying the press might want to be there to see him TURNED AWAY!

The Hankster officially welcomes Mayor Bloomberg to the fight for open primaries. Thanks Mike!

The Hankster will be SIRIUS on Tues. July 29. Will you?

The Hankster is scheduled to be on SIRIUS Satellite Radio's "Indie Talk" Channel 110, on Joe Salzone's Blog Bunker from 5-6pm. If you're SIRIUS, tune in!

Here's what SIRIUS says about Indie Talk: "Indie Talk, an exclusive, groundbreaking SIRIUS talk radio channel serves as an uncensored forum for nonpartisan independent thought and opinion. Indie Talk has no agenda: the channel gives an equal voice to individuals from any affiliation or background, targets the blogger generation, and is a platform for listeners across the country to react to breaking news, issues and buzz."

By the way, Joe Salzone does a "blog update" every 20 minutes during the day (or at least some of the day) where he reads the headlines from some of the big blogs...


REFORM: Budget Deficits, Redistricting, Initiative and Referendum, Electoral College, Ballot Access Reform

  • Bloomberg Wants Independents To Organize To Increase Power (JOE GANDELMAN, The Moderate Voice)
  • John McCain takes my advice. (By mw, Donklephant) The Left of center blogosphere jumped all over it, called it a flip-flop, and completely missed the important point. Sure it was a flip-flop. But most Obama supporters cheered when Obama flip-flopped “moved to the center” on a whole host of issues. So let us just say that Maliki has permitted McCain to “move to the center” on Iraq. You know - where most of the voters are. With this move, McCain takes away the single biggest issue advantage that Obama has over him with moderate, centrist, independent and libertarian voters.
  • Ralph Nader at UGA, criticizes Obama's corporate ties (By JIM GALLOWAY, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bloomberg + Fulani


Who Are Independents And What Do They Want? (Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)

Open Primaries in Oregon?-An Initiative for Open Primaries Will Be on the November Ballot (Associated Content)

  • NY mayor in Twin Cities, says good things about McCain, Obama (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • Bloomberg, on a Visit to Minneapolis, Urges Independents to Organize for Clout (NY Times) Mr. Bloomberg criticized the electoral process in places like New York City, where only those who are registered as Republicans or Democrats can participate in the primaries. He said the system essentially disenfranchises some 700,000 voters and gives undue clout to special-interest groups like labor unions.
  • NYC mayor making the rounds in Twin Cities (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • Bloomberg: No endorsement yet in presidential race (USA Today)
  • Bloomberg withholds presidential endorsement (Minnesota Public Radio)
  • Bloomberg Declines To Endorse In Minnesota (CBS News/Horserace)
  • Bloomberg Praises McCain, Obama (Washington Independent)
  • Independent to the last, Bloomberg criticizes primaries, won't pick pres (DAILY NEWS)
  • Bloomberg Told to Cool Pro-McCain Rhetoric (ABC News/Political Radar) The chairman of the Independence Party of Minnesota tells ABC News on Friday that his party members complained to him after he told the press Thursday that Mike Bloomberg's aides had signaled that the New York mayor was planning to use a Friday speech in Minneapolis to praise Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Book Review: Declaring Independence, The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System

Book Review by Jacqueline Salit

Declaring Independence
The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System
by Douglas E. Schoen
Random House, 240 pp.

Declarations about political independence are a dime a dozen these days, including from some pretty lofty places. Tom Friedman of the New York Times opined that an independent presidential candidate “might be able to drive a bus right up the middle of the U.S. political scene
today – lose the far left and the far right – and still maybe, just maybe, win a three-way election.” Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve System, observed “a vast untended center from which a well-financed independent presidential candidate is likely
to emerge in 2008 or, if not then, in 2012.”

Douglas Schoen, a top tier political consultant (Bill Clinton, Jon Corzine, Mike Bloomberg), also projected the viability of an independent presidential bid in 2008 in his book Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System. But unlike the pop prognosticators, he understands this is not a top-down phenomenon.

Schoen is decidedly different from those who perceive us independents (40% of the country) as doing nothing but waiting for a billionaire savior. He has serious respect for independent voters and for those trying to shape a viable independent political movement into a force for progressive, post-partisan change. (Continuing reading Salit's review of Declaring Independence)

Obama in Berlin

Ich bin ein Americaner





  • Report: Bloomberg to tout McCain (NY Newsday) speaking at Minn IP fundraiser

  • Bloomberg Calls for Action on U.S. Infrastructure (NY Sun)

  • The Independence Party -- the party of what might have been (MinnPost)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ryan Christiano -- independent thinker

Please visit Ryan Christiano -- "A Political Scientist with a concentration in Political Philosophy and International Relations. I am a fierce Independent who believes Political Parties create group thinking rather than good thinking. I love to write and I am an Inductee of The National Political Science Honor Society. This honor is most likely due to a fortuitious clerical error."

(Now on The Hankster sidebar!)



Third-party candidates face deadline for WV ballot (West Virginia Public Radio) Bob Barr on the ballot in 48 states

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If you're an independent, you need to know who Fred Newman is!

... And now there's a website so you can...!

"Fred Newman is the public philosopher who for 30 years has translated the mostprogressive ideals of the 1960s into effective instruments of social and personal transformation. The centerpiece of Newman’s work in culture, psychology and politics is our capacity to create the conditions for our own development.... "

Fred Newman Ph.D. is highly recommended by The Hankster! (now on The Hankster sidebar)



  • NC: New Democrats, Unaffiliated Voters Outpace Republicans (Daily Record) Election reform group Democracy North Carolina has compiled and released an in-depth analysis of voter registration during and around this year's primary election.

  • “African Americans: And America’s Hypocrisy” (By Fahim A. Knight-EL, Keeping It Real) This writer canvassed many neighborhoods on behalf of Dr. Lenora Fulani taking signatures of registered voters who agreed that we needed a Third Party that differed from the two corporate parties—Republican and Democrat. This writer does encourage the Keeping It Real Think Tank audience to take a look at the Green Party’s planks; if nothing else American Democracy needs a Third Party.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hankster gets SIRIUS!

NancyHanks Hey - The Hankster herself will be on Sirius Satellite Radio Indie Talk Blog Bunker Tuesday July 29, 5-6pm. DON'T MISS IT!

Watchblog writers shift to PoliWatch

Poliwatch Indies: A message from David Remer

Dear former WatchBlog visitor,

Some of the writers from WatchBlog have set up a similar web site called PoliWatch. Unlike WatchBlog which is currently down, and has not seen a software upgrade or single additional feature added in years, PoliWatch has pulled out all the stops in purchasing licensing and hosting to provide the latest in blogging technology, software, and services for writers and visitors, alike.

We are adding one or more new features every week. We intend, over the next several months, to achieve a true social networking web site, centered around the liberals, independents, and conservatives 3 column format.

We hope you will check PoliWatch out, and become a participant in our comments or even perhaps, as a featured writer at some point in the future. We want your ideas, your feedback, your involvement, and participation.

PoliWatch's focus and purpose is to bring citizens who want better government together to discuss that way forward.

Hope to chat with you at PoliWatch.

Thank you, David R. Remer
Manager, PoliWatch
Religiously Unaffiliated Voters Strongly Favor Democratic Candidate


  • Two more initiatives qualify for Ore. ballot (Oregon Keisling and other supporters say "open primary" would bring more independent voters into the process and cut down on excessive partisanship.
  • Two more initiatives qualify for Oregon's November ballot-One measure offers to redistribute lottery revenues, another to make a nonpartisan primary (The Oregonian)
  • "Open Primary" Plan Headed To Oregon Ballot (KOIN - Salem)

  • OBAMA HOLDS SLIM LEAD IN NH, MANY VOTERS STILL TRYING TO DECIDE (University of New Hampshire) Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center. “Both candidates have real opportunities to sway independent voters to their sides between now and the election.”
  • Belief Growing That Reporters are Trying to Help Obama Win (Rasmussen Reports) As for unaffiliated voters, 50% see a pro-Obama bias and 21% see unbiased coverage. Just 12% of those not affiliated with either major party believe the reporters are trying to help McCain.
  • McCain, Obama to Appear at Evangelical Non-Debate (Washington Independent) almost all McCain's town hall meetings take place in swing states, with high percentages of independent voters.
  • Poll: McCain Trounces Obama Among White Evangelicals (Washington Post/The Trail)
  • Republicans and Religious Voters (American Spectator) I have an alternative hypothesis: many religiously unaffiliated voters are willing to set aside or overlook appeals to religion when they find the policies advocated are congenial. What matters to them is the earthly substance, not what they regard as the heavenly rhetoric.
  • A Battle Of Leadership Definitions (Oxford University Press blog) Rightly or not, the media, the world, and liberals are hungry for a message that they have not heard from White House in a while. What remains to be seen is whether independent voters will take to the message... Let the voters decide.

Pollina will run as an Independent candidate (Vermont Public Radio) Gov candidate switches from Progressive Party to Independent to appeal to more voters

Monday, July 21, 2008

Performing the World/ Blogging the World

I hope you'll join me this year at Performing the World 2008 [aka PTW].

PTW has in the past been attended by educators, psychologists, social workers and other community-based practioners who are attempting to deal with social issues in their communities ranging from genocidal war (Bosnia) to sexual assault (Prince George, British Columbia) to educating and helping refugee children assimilate (Decatur, GA) to community health issues (South Africa).... Most of these programs and helping professionals use a variety of performance-based approaches to human development.

Most attendees, I would daresay, consider themselves changers of society, if not changers of the world. They are political activists in the larger (and best) sense of the word.

This year the conference organizers decided to reach out more broadly and I was invited to submit a proposal for a session on blogging.

My session is a panel discussion called "Blogging the World" and is designed to engage the issues of grassroots activism, influencing the political process from the bottom up, and ways the internet/ blogging/ etc. has (and has not) democratized our political process. (I have one or two more slots on the panel, so if you're interested, please email me and I'll get you the details.)

And let's face it: 2008 a big fat election year, and I'm also interested in promoting and discussing independent politics.

PTW promises to be very interesting this year. Over 200 proposals have been submitted from every corner of the world. Here are a few:

Human Flag of Peace: Meditation for Planetary Peace - CHILE
This is a performance happening that will take place outdoors in a public space involving scores of PTW attendees. Developed by the Green Planet Collective in Valparaiso, Chile, the “Human Flag of Peace” is a performance-meditation involving in three circles created by human bodies, surrounding by another big circle created by human bodies. It is the international symbol of peace agreed on in 1935 by all the nations in Americas. The three circles in the middle represent art, science and spirituality and the big circle represents the culture of peace.

Bukom Dance Ensemble - GHANA
The Bukom Dance Ensemble is a drumming and performing group. It was established in 1989 to raise awareness on the link between culture and development and travels to communities within the country to educate the public.

Youth Theatre in Ireland – A Model of Practice - IRELAND
Orlaith McBride, the Director of the National Association for Youth Development in Ireland, will discuss the innovative approaches to working with young people through theatre developed by the Irish National Youth Theatre. The session will present the specific methodologies that have been developed over thirty years of practice from its unique method of auditioning to the building of an ensemble company through the rehearsal process to an exploration of the impact of the experience on the young people’s personal, social and aesthetic development as well as the impact of the National Youth Theatre on theatre practice in Ireland. The session will chart the development of the Youth Theatre movement in Ireland in the late 1970’s and the particular place the fifty youth theatres in Ireland occupy in 2008 in the spectrum of theatre in Ireland.

‘Inside A Box”: Community Theater in Times of Community Crisis - ISRAEL
This study focuses on the impact of participation in a community theater on women living in an Israeli city near the Lebanese border during a time of security crisis in Israel. Amnon and Esther Boehm will discuss how the participants’ coping resources were developed in the process of creating community theatre.

Mother{r}ight - MACEDONIA
Mother {r}ight works with Roma (Gypsy) mothers who beg with their children on the streets and intersections of Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The session will look at different aspects of this project and will include performative aspects of their work through video questions recorded by each Roma mother involved in the project.

Improvising Yesterday to Clarify Today and Illuminate Tomorrow; Performance for Conflict Resolution and Political Stability in Nigeria - NIGERIA
The session will include a discussion of the use of performance in Nigeria as a means of conflict resolution and a performance of a comic solo skit titled “Bicycle.” “Bicycle” is a 10-minute comic solo skit dramatizing the anguish of a 45-year-old man who has to work as a house boy to make ends meet. The skit is a reflection of the extent to which poverty dehumanizes.

The Hankster will be there, capturing a little bit of it for you online. But if you can join us here in New York City Oct. 2-5, you'll be in for a treat. Hope to see you there!

PTW ‘08 is sponsored by the All Stars Project, Inc. ( and the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy (



  • Editorial: Corruption in Harrisburg-Hold them accountable (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Link states to the national vote (Detroit Free Press) To date, the National Popular Vote bill has been introduced in 45 states and enacted by four with almost a fifth of the electoral votes required.
  • Keep the College for good reasons (Detroit Free Press) Without it, our two-party system would quickly degenerate into a multiplicity of small parties, with the result that minority presidents, elected in runoffs, would rule.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

  • Hey, Jack, is that you?
  • Yeah -- Jamela? I can hear you but I can't see you...
  • I'm over here.... On the left!
  • With the Democrats?
  • No, over HERE on the left with the independents!



The Week in Politics (TIME Magazine) If most of those million fleeing Republicans have become tenuous independents, then who are those 700,000 new Democrats?


  • MI: Graduate the Electoral College-States should dump winner-take-all system and award electors proportionally (Detroit Free Press) Polls show that 70%-80% of Americans support abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct, popular election of the president.

  • PA: Proposed election board rattles Republican Party (Lancaster Online)


  • Nixing term limits is key Capitol reform (Lansing State Journal editorial) Lansing pols want roll back of term limits in context of reform proposal

  • A plot to rule state-Democrats' secret strategy aims to trick voters into one-party advantage in Michigan (DETROIT FREE PRESS)

  • "Who's on First?" for the State Reform Proposal? (The Flint Journal)


McCain hits Maine Monday for votes, money (Morning Sentinel/Maine Today) independent voters outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in Maine. About 39 percent of voters are unenrolled, 29 percent are registered as Democrats and 32 percent as Republicans


  • Swing vote key to win in Congress (Zanesville Times Recorder)

  • Do the math, Republicans-The rise of independent voters in California means a boost for GOP moderates. (LA Times)

  • More News (Republican & Herald) Monday, Reps. Chris King and John Galloway, both Democrats from Bucks County, called for a referendum this November on whether to conduct a constitutional convention in 2009.



Marcos Moulitsas' Daily Kos moults to Netroots Nation in an attempt to flex muscle on the scrawney left-wing of the Dem Party...

  • Left-leaning bloggers flex muscle in Texas (Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle) "We knew that the Internet and Internet alone is not going to win elections. If our people on the Internet were not also organizing on the ground, we're not going to be effective," Obama's deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, a 22-year veteran of political campaigns, said Saturday. He urged the bloggers in Austin to talk about the 56 million unregistered voters in the United States, particularly people of color and youth, then get out and register them.

  • Gore, Pelosi Address Liberal Bloggers at Convention (Associated Press/Fox News Election HQ)

  • Texas Boot Camp for Bloggers on the Right (NY Times/The Caucus)

  • LIVE from Austin:: From Dean to Obama - Four Years (Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate)

  • Liberal Bloggers Rally, Drink in Austin (Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire)

  • The War, Dems, MoveOn and The Uprising (Guerilla News Network) David Sirota now has a new book out: The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington. In it he expands on his criticism of the Democratic Party and its partisan, professional antiwar activists in the leadership of MoveOn.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


  • Poll: Independent Voters Unenthusiastic About Obama And McCain (The Moderate Voice) Even though their impact is pooh-poohed by some partisans on both sides (until the votes are actually counted and it shows their impact) both camps will be going after independent voters.
  • Independent, uninspired, and undecided (Boston Globe/Political Intelligence)
  • Sad Independent Voters Are Excited About Nothing (Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip Blog)
  • WARNING to Boston Globe and Wonkette: Demean independent voters at your own risk!


  • New York State Independence Party Leadership Consolidates More Power Over County Units of Party (Ballot Access News) -- State party faction doesn't want any grassroots activity they can't control...
  • Consultant fees raise questions in Davis bid for Independence Party nomination-Wives of two officials paid $5,00 each (Buffalo News) -- The internal shenanigans of the upstate faction of the New York Independence Party....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.


Different take on federal elections (THE DAILY IBERIAN) For the first time in nearly three decades, Louisiana will have closed Congressional primaries Sept. 6.

  • Dems Finding Success in Center (RealClearPolitics) That's how the party plans to win seats this year, too, DCCC executive director Brian Wolff told Real Clear Politics. "These are going to be the more fiscally responsible" Democrats, he said. "We're not talking about a lot of progressive Democrats that are running."
  • Obama widens California lead to 24 points ahead of McCain (San Diego Union Tribune)

Libertarian party impact on 2008 elections (ENCToday - North Carolina)

Independence Party changes rule, gives Donno ballot line (New York Newsday) NOTE: MacKay wants to control the Independence Party in New York, not grow it, and his hand-picked State Committee goes along with it. This is the fight the New York City Independence Party Organizations are having with the State Committee and State Chairdictator--NH

Thursday, July 17, 2008


REFORM California nonpartisan redistricting..... Missouri open primaries..... Maine initiative and referendum.... North Carolina fair ballot access.... Oklahoma ballot access
  • CA: Proposition 11 levels the redistricting playing field (Mercury News)
  • CA: House Dems oppose Calif. redistricting measure (Daily Comet)
  • MO: In our view: Consider local races (Joplin Globe) Our recommendation is that party affiliation is secondary to ensuring that competent people are elected to our county offices.
  • ME: AUGUSTA Charter panel mulls petitions and their limits (Kennebec Journal)
  • NC: Ballot laws hurt democracy-N.C. obstructions thwart third parties, independents (Daily Tarheel, UNC)
  • OK: Barr fight: Ballot access is candidate's focus (, The Oklahoman Editorial)

  • Green Party candidate wants case reopened (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Bonusgate, a distraction we don’t need (The Sentinel) Meanwhile, a serious reform — a constitutional amendment to take partisanship out of the redistricting process — languished in committee, which means it can’t be passed in time for the next round of reapportionment following the 2010 census.
  • Something’s Rotten in the State of Pennsylvania (Dissident Voice) Bonusgate involved the use of state employees to challenge the nominating petitions of Ralph Nader in 2004 (Also see Political Profiling in Pennsylvania, CounterPunch )

Editorial: Barkley: IP gets a serious candidate (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Syncronized flip-flopping

Talk/Talk: Arnold and Donna

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Below are excerpts from this week's Talk Talk, Arnold and Donna. Every Sunday CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, July 13, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos".

Salit: Something else that I liked about Schwarzenegger was his commentary on flip-flopping. He said he was pro-flip-flop. Part of the story here is that more traditional progressives are saying that Obama's flip-flopping on the issues is going to undermine his base. They're really talking more about themselves than they are talking about Obama, it seems to me, meaning that Obama's changes undermine their position. In any event, Schwarzenegger says, 'I love flip-flopping. Flip-flopping is a good thing. You're allowed to change your mind.' It was a welcome change from the usual.

Newman: The last thing the Democratic Party gets upset about is its left wing being upset about flip-flopping. The Democratic Party left has never displayed that it has the courage to vote for what it says it stands for anyhow. They're strategic flip-floppers, so to speak

Read Talk Talk in its entirety here.


  • Idaho Repub chief Norm Semanko interview with comments on open/closed primaries (BOISE WEEKLY)
  • If Idaho is a bellwether, Democrats are looking good (Idaho Mountain Express) Key fight within Repub Party over open primaries, inclusion of independents

  • Provincial Progressives: The New Yorker Magazine and Why Obama May Lose (Huffington Post) Progressives, Democrats and all those independent voters like me who long to turn the page on the Bush catastrophe -- get a grip!
  • Obama on a pedestal could be worse than an absurd caricature (Politics In Color) I'm not satisfied with the complaints that the New Yorker gave comfort to right-wing nuts. It may be better to see this over-the-top image now as independent voters assess the Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois rather than October when the undecided are about to make up their minds on which candidate they will chose at the polls.
  • Obama holds 9-point lead over McCain, poll shows (by Staten Island Advance)
  • Women, Blacks Give Obama 9 - Point Lead Over McCain (Quinnipiac University)
  • Obama Moves Right? Pundits Cheer (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) Analysis of media coverage


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neo-Independent: Is this the Rainbow We've Been Waiting For?

Spring/Summer Issue of The-Neo Independent is now out.

The only magazine written by and for independent voters.

E D I T O R ’ S N O T E
The culture of the independent movement has not
permeated the American mainstream in the way, for
example, that SpongeBob or Brangelina have. Not
to worry. Avant-garde theatre, music and fashion first
appear in out-of-the-way performance spaces or on
the streets, often taking decades to filter through to
Broadway or Dancing with the Stars. Likewise, the independent movement is creating its own outside-thebox
culture in a variety of venues as we develop into a
mainstream force.

There is probably no more edgy American political/
cultural performance than wearing a tee shirt. We
had some great ones this political season. In South
Dakota, which held one of the final primaries in the
Democratic line-up, independents were barred from
voting but wanted to make a point. Kim Wright of
South Dakota Voice of Independents and family
members put their plight out there in plain English.

And at the start of the primary season, before a single
vote had been cast, independent Lenora Fulani
raised questions about the black political establishment’s
wholesale backing of Hillary Clinton without
a public debate on the Obama option, asking “Who
Decided Hillary is Best for the Black Community?” She
put her question on a bright yellow tee that became a
bestselling item from Harlem to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Today it’s a collector’s item.

And then there were the awards ceremonies. No red
carpets and flashbulbs, but Robert Sullentrup of
Missouri and Larry Reinsch of Iowa, both co-founders
of Rock the Debates, received Anti-Corruption
at an event sponsored by the Independence
Party of New York City that was packed with independents.
And in the publishing world, launch parties
are a must. We had one for the last issue of the Neo –
where contributing writer Matt Meiners and I posed
for photos with a portrait of our first president.

Hope you enjoy this issue. We independents are
grappling with the best ways to exercise our developing
power and we’re having a good time doing it…

Jacqueline Salit

Who listens to blogging heads?

From the Los Angeles Times:
"....They are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, rather than as independents, and are more likely to call themselves liberals or conservatives rather than moderates. Political blog readers are more likely to vote, give money to candidates or simply talk about politics. They live and breathe politics...."

h/t to Josh's tumblelog for this

Websites For Independent Voters

From Everyday Woman
By Marcia Ford (Reprinted from We the Purple: Faith, Politics, and the Independent Voter )

It would be impossible to list all the worthwhile independent-voter blogs and Web sites I've discovered, so I've pared the list down to sites that reflect general interests. Some of the links below refer to sites mentioned in the previous chapters, but some referred to earlier are not on the list below. That is no reflection on their value to independent voters but rather an effort to avoid too much duplication. Be sure to visit the sites mentioned in the chapters as well.
Most of the sites below provide a list of links to sites that narrow the field to, say, independent conservatives, evangelical progressives, or liberal populists.

Ballot Access News ( This one's a real eye-opener, even if you're not interested in ballot-access issues. Just read a few random posts, and you'll get an inkling of the challenges faced by independent candidates - and independent voters trying to simply register as independents. Of course, if you're a ballot-access junkie, this is where you'll get your fix.

Central Sanity ( "Supporting the Rebellion of Reasonable People in an Unreasonable World." This site is for moderate Republican and independent voters but provides news and smart commentary that transcends political ideology.

Committee for a Unified Independent Party (CUIP) ( Pretty much a national clearinghouse for all things politically independent. This group has done more to rally and unite independents than any organization or individual out there. Great source of information and news, plus a link to the CUIP publication The Neo-Independent, where you'll find indie-related articles and commentary. This is where you start if you want to find out more or connect with other independents nationwide.

The Hankster ( Hands down, the best source for daily political news that independents would be interested in. Nancy Hanks has been politically active for decades and really knows her stuff. It would be a good idea to bookmark her site and visit it often.

Independent Texans ( Lots of information of interest to Texans, but also some great information on political reform; just follow the link by that name in the left column.

Independent Voice ( The voice of California's 3.6 million independents, or at least those who have found the site and appreciate its perspective on independent politics. There's lots of overlap here with CUIP, but it's still a site worth visiting.

The Moderate Voice ( "Domestic and international news analysis, irreverent comments, original reporting, and popular culture features from across the political spectrum." Sometimes just fun stuff, but often the kind of news you won't get from the mainstream media. Well worth checking out.

Project Vote Smart ( An all-around excellent site for information on candidates and the issues. Besides, you have to love a group that boasts a purple bus and the slogan, "We provide more information about the candidates than they remember about themselves."

The Purple State ( "Political Commentary from the Youth Vote"; specifically, a group of students, mostly from Vassar, who founded the site because they "could not take it anymore" - "it" being the partisanship that is obscuring the nation's real concerns. Now they're blogging, and what they have to say is significant.

WatchBlog ( I especially like the format of this site, which provides three columns of news and commentary of interest to Democrats and liberals, third-party voters and independents, and Republicans and conservatives. After reading the items in the center column, dedicated to us, you can spy on the partisans to the left and right.

Excerpted from We the Purple (Tyndale House Publishers) by Marcia Ford. Reprinted with permission.
We the 'Purple'

Bonusgate: A Tsunami for Reform

From PACleanSweep

In 2005, the legislative pay raise was a seismic disturbance that rumbled beneath the surface of Pennsylvania's political ocean. In 2006, the electoral effects were felt in what was commonly dubbed a "political earthquake." Three years later, the resultant tsunami - otherwise known as Bonusgate - has finally come crashing to shore.

Citizens should applaud the agents of the Attorney General's office and members of the grand juries. The volume of man-hours apparently involved in pouring through mountains of records and testimony to reach this point is astounding. That the investigation continues and more arrests are likely is even more breathtaking.

The biggest accolades, however, must be reserved for the people of Pennsylvania and their historic reaction to the pay raise. Absent the intense citizen activism during the 2006 election cycle, Bonusgate would not even be a blip on the radar.

Although the grand juries found that the intermingling of campaigns and legitimate legislative functions began prior to 2006, the sheer number of electoral challenges that year created an opportunity for the practice to be utilized to an extent that commanded the attention of the media and law enforcement.

Without pay raise outrage, the practice might have quietly remained behind the scenes for years to come. Without pay raise outrage, journalists might not have had the editorial foresight and ripe audience required for stories that grow "legs." Without pay raise outrage, law enforcement might not have felt compelled to launch such a substantial investigation.

Under grant of immunity, one individual involved in the scandal nailed it: the pay raise "changed the whole map."

Bonusgate should spur aftershocks from voters for the same reasons the pay raise did. Both incidents arose from the fault line of arrogance and greed that unfortunately runs directly beneath our Capitol's dome. For some, apparently, the weight of incumbency is simply not enough advantage in the ongoing fight for power and personal privilege.

Despite gerrymandered legislative districts, the availability of free media coverage for legislative work during re-election season, the ability to dole out public funds, taxpayer-funded newsletters and public service announcements, certain individuals within at least one caucus viewed retaining their positions and gaining a majority in the House of Representatives as objectives that reside above the law.

Although the recent revelations are likely just the first phase of the tsunami, Pennsylvanians must begin considering the cleanup and rebuilding efforts now. Clearly there are instances of individual abuses, but many of the problems of Harrisburg are rooted in the structure of government and inherently systemic.

Will further internal legislative rule changes be enough? Will stronger statutes and threats of stiffer penalties prevent such activity in the future? Can any legislative body effectively police itself, or should Pennsylvania tackle the Mother of all Reforms - an objective constitutional convention where sitting public officials are prohibited from serving as delegates?

These questions can only be answered properly if Pennsylvania's citizens are informed, actively engaged in the process, and honest about both the mistakes of the past and the challenges that lie ahead.

As the waters from the Bonusgate tsunami retreat back to the proverbial sea, some parts of the political infrastructure in Harrisburg will have crumbled while others remain standing. Those that remain standing will have been built on the solid ground of the law, ethics and accountability. It is these principles that will guide us in finally ending Pennsylvania's crisis of confidence.

Constitutional Convention Enabling Act (SB1290)
About PACleanSweep
PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to reforming state government in Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit
For more information:
Russ Diamond, Chairman


  • Big Primaries, Big Changes: Iowa, New Hampshire And Voter Registration (CBS News/Horserace) Unlike in Iowa, most New Hampshire independents who chose one of the parties in the primary (roughly 138,000 of the 196,000) left it just as quickly as they joined, re-registering themselves as independents again on the way out of the polling place!
  • Young voters find their voices this election (Greensboro NC News Record) n North Carolina, at least 110,000 new voters registered before the May primary, with a sharp rise among unaffiliated voters, Democrats and African Americans, according to the state Board of Elections.

  • Voter registration report shows Arizona may be 'going blue' (ASU Web Devil) Rise in unaffilitated voter registration
  • Minnesota Polls: Obama Leads McCain by 18 Percent (MyFox Twin Cities) Decline among indies for both candidates--25% now undecided

Pa. editorials have sharp words for bonus scandal (York Daily Record)

  • Ventura Won’t Seek Minnesota Senate Seat, Unless ‘God Speaks To Me’ (CQ Politics)
  • Green Party Taps McKinney for President (Chicagoist)
  • Ohio Libertarian Party Federal Court Hearing (Ballot Access News)
  • Green Party Hopes to Expand Ballot Access by Pairing States that are On with States that are Petitioning (Ballot Access News)
  • Nader collecting signatures to gain ballot access (
  • Nader has enough signatures to qualify in R.I. (Providence Journal)

The Hankster has not given much attention to the New York State Independence Party until now. However, there are some interesting dynamics because of the national political scene and the rise of independents throughout the country that warrent bringing this story in. Here are some of the local reports:
  • Bloomberg'$ Indy History (NY Daily News/Daily Politics) Omissions from yesterday's "report"....
  • Mayor Bloomberg Gives $150,000 to N.Y. Independence Party (Ballot Access News) [NOTE: That's the anti-democratic State Committee faction of the NY IP, as controlled by the State Chairdictator --NH]
  • Nassau Independence Party to back GOP's Donno (Newsday) [IP State Committee plays party politics]

Monday, July 14, 2008


REFORM: Raging debate in Massachusets papers over popular vote


Cambridge elects black mayor-Also marks first time for a woman to lead city (Washington Times)

THIRD PARTY NEWS: Mayor Bloomberg gives $150K to anti-democratic upstate faction of New York Independence Party


Civil Rights and the Conservative Movement- How the right got it wrong. (Wall Street Journal)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing in the park by Hudson Warehouse


Our view: Don't abandon the Electoral College (Eagle Tribune - North Andover MA) [Another establishment view... -NH]

  • Is McCain a maverick, moderate or mystery? (DETROIT FREE PRESS) Craig Ruff, a Lansing political consultant, said he believes this year's presidential race is all about attracting independent voters and crossovers.
  • Contradictory Polls: Obama Falling, Obama Rising (The Moderate Voice)
  • Newsweek giveth, and Newsweek taketh away (The Carpetbagger Report) [Amen, brother! - NH]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Making history from the bottom up in Cambridge MD

Baltimore Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby / July 9, 2008


  • Obama's Liberal Shock Troops (Wall Street Journal) A redistricting commission would be set up to reshape political boundaries, but state courts would be barred from reviewing any plans it draws up. (Only federal courts could review the boundaries.) Voters would also be barred from rejecting or amending the commission's work by initiative.
  • Confusion hides in constitutional amendment's fine print-Voters should beware; proposal has way too much 'other stuff' (Detroit Free Press)
  • Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Attacks National Popular Vote Plan (Ballot Access News)
  • Don't Mess With the Electoral College (Wall Street Journal)
  • The push for a popular vote (Boston Globe)
  • Current system needs an update (LETTER to Boston Globe)
  • Same-day voter registration pushed-Revised bill backed by Augustus gets Galvin’s nod (Worcester Telegram & Gazette News)
  • Naming rights (Boston Globe) Same Day Voter Registration - long-running battle between Asian activists and the state's top voting official on how to conduct an election.

  • The NEWSWEEK Poll: Is the Glow Fading? (Newsweek/Stumper blog) Is Barack Obama losing independents' support???
  • North Dakota Poll Released by Rasmussen Reports: Barack Obama 43%, John McCain 43% ( McCain earns the vote from 87% of Republicans while Obama attracts 79% of Democrats and holds an eighteen point lead among unaffiliated voters.
  • Wisconsin Poll Released by Rasmussen Reports: Barack Obama 50%, John McCain 39% ( In Wisconsin, Obama attracts support from 86% of Democrats and has a twelve point advantage among unaffiliated voters.

  • OK: Slim pickings affect interest in primary election (The Journal Record) Another reason for fewer votes in primary elections is the increase in the number of registered independent voters. There are more than 200,000 of them who are not eligible to vote in primaries. Some states allow it as well as cross-party voting in primaries. Oklahoma does not.
  • OR: Ben Westlund bucks “career politician” label (Politicker-OR)
  • MN: Ventura is saving any news for TV (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • MD: Md. city with edgy racial past elects black mayor (AP-Google) Newcomer ousts incumbent in nonpartisan race, Decades after the demise of segregation, this sleepy city on Maryland's Eastern Shore has elected not only its first black mayor but also its first woman to the post.
  • MD: Cambridge makes history-Racial strife in the past, city picks first African-American mayor (Baltimore Sun)



Body Politic, Rest & Motion (Texas Observer) Review of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart [The Hankster's 2 cents: it's not clustering that's tearing us apart, it's the two-party partisan system that's got us divided]