Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

INDEPENDENT VOTER EXTRA: Revolution Breaks Out in Colorado!

Not since the Western Federation of Miners has there been such an outbreak of spirited independence as what we are witnessing now in Colorado. Today's backdrop is an increasingly anti-partisan and independent electorate, a stupidly partisan Congress and a beloved President who can't seem to win for losing (his Party loyalty straining credibility on all fronts....); today's battle cries are "Open Primaries!" "Non-Partisan Elections!" "An Independent on the Federal Elections Commission!"

I hope you enjoy this lively round-up.

Wishing all of you the best (independent of course) New Year ever!


  • Give Independents a Voice (LETTER NY Times) from Jackie Salit and Harry Kresky
  • Five steps to recovery for Dems (By: Steve Rosenthal, Politico) Now, take a few moments and listen to candidate Obama's stump speeches from 2008 to remind you what attracted millions of new voters, including Independents, to the Democratic Party.
  • The end of the Democratic Party (Joseph Farrah, World Net Daily/Between the Lines)
  • Democrats Do Not Need to Become More "Moderate" to Win in 2010 - Four Rules for Victory in November (Robert Creamer, Huffington Post)
  • With new priorities, Obama and Democrats can recover in 2010 (By Dan Balz, Washington Post)
  • The Obama Way (By ROSS DOUTHAT, NY Times) He’s a bipartisan bridge-builder — unless he’s a polarizing ideologue. He’s a crypto-Marxist radical — except when he’s a pawn of corporate interests. He’s a post-American utopian — or else he’s a willing tool of the national security state.
  • Poll: More Americans prefer Democratic policies (CNN) "But independents will be the key to the midterms, and the numbers among independents spell bad news for both parties among that important group."
  • Deadline for voters to switch parties is this week (By MELINDA CHARLES, Maysville Ledger Independent) Voters who are already registered in Kentucky have until Dec. 31 to change their political affiliation, according to a release from office of Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The deadline also affects candidates who wish to switch political party affiliation and run in their new party's primary election, or those seeking ballot access as an independent, the release said.
  • Independent Kentucky Chairman Michael P.W. Lewis was a special guest on "My View Matters" Radio show on December 17th. If you happened to miss it, you can listen to it on Ed Springston's Blog.
  • Decade Brought Change To Campaign Finance (by PETER OVERBY, NPR) Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith says that's it for public funding. "Participating in the public financing system is now considered the mark of an unserious candidate," he says.

Monday, December 21, 2009

columbus stars

Open Primaries, Independent Parties, and the Authorities

Must read on Redding News Review -- Lenora Fulani explains why she did not support Bill Thompson in November's mayoral race in NYC.... *******   With more than 40% of the country being independent, opening up the primaries is an important democratic (small "d") electoral reform that would promote non-partisanship and allow independent voters access to the first round of voting. Californians will vote in June 2010 on a "Top Two" version of open primaries, and while this concept is very popular at the grassroots, the loudest opposition is coming from minor party spokespeople like Rich Winger of Ballot Access News. However, Jon Fleichman at Fox & Hounds Daily (a news site dedicated to the principle that "an economically healthy California is a boon for all citizens") unintentionally makes the best argument in support of open primaries.   *****   And speaking of third party voices, I was glad to see that the Independent Political Report picked up The Hankster's coverage of the attacks on the Working Families Party--maybe one day IPR will recognize the NYC IP as well....   ******* Mike Bloomberg apparently has something else in common with Fred Newman (in addition to their both being independents): neither of them gives grades!  *******  NY Post's Frederic U. Dicker has really lost it -- he seems to be living in a place where up is down....  *******   And finally, lots of interesting analysis of health care, Obama, independents, and the current nature of our political culture.  ******  Oh, and one more thing! Technorati's got itself a brand new bag. See why I care at The End.

  • Independent candidate to join Senate debates (By DAN RING, Mass Live/The Republican) Brown, Coakley and Kennedy will face off in the first televised debate on Tuesday. The debate will be taped, and it is scheduled to be aired on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston from 8 to 9 a.m. on Dec. 27 and on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 28.
  • Decision-making publicity suits Goodman just fine (By Michael Mishak, Las Vegas Sun) Goodman was changing his party affiliation from Democrat to nonpartisan, a necessary step if he decides to run as an independent candidate for governor next year — something he’s been hinting at for months.
  • Dean's Blind Spot (Ronald Brownstein, the Alantic)
  • The Flawed Logic of William Kristol (By: SJGulitti, FireDogLake/The Seminal) To date, had independents firmly embraced the principles of the conservative movement generally or the G.O.P. in particular, the percentage of voters identifying as Republicans would show a marked increase and so far that is not the case. I would argue that the shift to the right among independent voters is far from solid and is conditional, being subject to a set of factors that will likely change by the time of the 2012 election.
  • Why Obama Is Failing (By Robert Parry, Consortium News) By failing to do the hard work of building institutions, the progressive community has largely sidelined itself, sitting in the stands and booing the players on the field.
On the 3rd anniversary of The Hankster, I complained in a post that I was losing authorities on Technorati. Well, I'm not sayin' somebody was listenin', but... Technorati has changed! They changed the way they  calculate authorities and guess what -- we're doin' swell! Watch out, HuffPo, The Hankster's gaining on you! And here's the reason: independents are the fastest growing political constituency in the country. Keep up the great work, indies! And keep challenging those authorities, wherever you run into them!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Independents Angry White Men? What about all the angry progressive black, white, Latina and Asian women and men?

Media discussion of a return to 90s "angry white male" profile of independent voters BIG OMISSION -- the face of independents is increasingly black, Latino, Asian, female, and progressive.... but let 'em rant! [See section 6 of Jackie Salit's How the Independent Movement Went Left by Going Right]  Whoever independents are, Mark Silva got it right -- they dislike both parties. Independents don't like partisanship. Period... ****** Discussion of open primaries (there's a "Top Two" referendum on the ballot in California in June 2010) is really heating up! Proponents think open primaries is good for democracy, opponents think minor parties won't be able to hold onto their 2%... What do YOU think??... ******* The Working Families Party is taking the heat for becoming relevant in NYC's recent election... ****** And here's the good news: Frank MacKay's maneuver to take over the Reform Party by conference call was deemed outside the law by a US District Court judge..... Now, there's a wise decision!

  • Cornyn Optimistic But Wants RNC Help (By Reid Wilson, National Journal/Hotline) "If there's any lesson that people should have learned about New York 23, it's that when you have closed primaries and a closed-door selection process, people are going to find a way to express their will," Cornyn said. "I think the answer to all that is contested, open primaries, and our goal of course is to, hopefully the Republican nominee, whoever that is, will not be bloodied and broke at the end of the process, because ultimately the goal is to win the general election. I think through that open primary process, all that will be resolved in a satisfactory way."
  • Senate Approves Bill Allowing Non-Partisan Municipal Elections To Move To November (NJ Today)
  • KY: Time running out to change your political party affiliation (Thomas McAdam, Louisville City Hall Examiner) NOTE: BR 222, the open primary bill that newly elected State Senator Jimmy Higdon pre-filed in the state assembly last March, would: “permit a registered independent to vote in the primary of one party for each primary…provide that a primary candidate shall not be a registered independent [and] provide that electronic voting machines be reprogrammed to allow a registered independent to vote for a party’s candidates in a primary.”  Higdon was elected with support from Michael P.W. Lewis and Independent Kentucky.
  • ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Three Nebraska Ballot Access Restrictions (Ballot Access News)
  • Letter [Richard Winger]: Problems plague open primary (Appeal Democrat - CA)
  • Federal Court in New York Issues Ruling in Internal Reform Party Dispute (Ballot Access News) On December 16, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco, a Bush, Jr., appointee, issued an opinion in MacKay v Crews, eastern district, 09-cv-2218. He ruled that the 2008 national convention of the Reform Party in Texas was a valid convention. Therefore, the national officers elected at that convention are the rightful holders of the party’s trademarks and logos. Those officers are: chair David Collison, vice-chair Rodney Martin, secretary Janelle Skinner-Weill, and treasurer Beverly Kennedy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

totally non-partisan

Major Parties, Minor Parties and Anti-Parties

Momentum continues to build for open primaries in California, and most but not all partisans (including minor partisans like Libertarians and Greens) don't support primaries that would allow everyone including nonpartisans to participate in the first round of voting... NYC Independence Party (aka the "anti-party Party" because of its support for nonpartisan elections and open primaries) brought in $65K at Monday night's Anti-Corruption Awards recognizing grassroots activists. Not a bad follow-up to the final count 150K votes in November's citywide election for Mayor... Meanwhile, the Working Families Party is under the gun....

  • Make party bosses cringe by voting for open primary (By thomas d. elias, Mercury News)
  • The problem with open primaries (By Richard Winger, San Fransisco Bay Guardian) Washington used top-two once, in 2008. Out of eight U.S. House seats, 8 statewide state races, and 123 legislative races, only one incumbent was defeated in the primary. The only real change in Washington in 2008 was the elimination of minor party and independent candidates from the November election.
  • Low turnout? Of course, because primaries are a farce (LETTER Boston Globe) Why do we hold publicly funded elections for private political parties? Why can we not belong to more than one political party at a time? Why is one’s political party affiliation a matter of public record? Does this not violate the premise of the secret ballot?
  • Misguided move to the middle (By STEVEN GREENHUT, Special to the Orange County Register)
  • Islander hailed for work on behalf of Independence Party (By KIAWANA RICH, STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE) The Tenth Annual Anti-Corruption Awards ceremony was held last night at Wolfgang's Tribeca Steakhouse, Manhattan, and the honorees included a Stapleton resident who was recognized for her efforts on behalf of the Independence Party.
  • Course Of Bloomberg's Charter Commission Still Uncharted (By Chris Bragg, City Hall) And as he sought the Independence Party line this spring, Bloomberg told party leaders he was open to again looking at non-partisan elections, which is also a pet cause of party activists.
  • New York City Council Races Get More Competitive (by Rachel Fauss, Gotham Gazette) Incumbent Kendall Stewart did not fare as well in District 45. In the Democratic primary, six candidates appeared on the ballot, and Jumaane Williams won by a margin of 11 percent, getting 3,426 votes to Stewart’s 2,392. Stewart remained on the ballot for the general election on the Independence Party line, and Williams won by a margin of 60 percent.

Monday, December 14, 2009


  • Rasmussen's fictional "Tea Party candidate" bested the Republican in a recent survey...
  • If Abel Maldonado is confirmed as California's lt. gov., he will put people ahead of party...
  • Walter Moore, former independent candidate for mayor of LA talks about voter turnout and partisanship...
  • Repubs in Virginia's 5th CD decide on primary over convention...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

6 am


Monday, December 07, 2009

nyc council reform now!

Lenora Fulani Supports Barron-Avella Reforms for New York City Council Legislative and Budgeting Processes

Dr. Lenora Fulani spoke in support of reforming City Council at a press conference Sunday on the steps of City Hall held by NY City Councilman Charles Barron to announce his candidacy for Speak of City Council and to announce the Barron-Avella NYC Council democratic reform movement.

For video, click here.

Fulani said that while "Charles and I have our differences tactically, we have a strong connection to fighting against poverty." She said she supports reforming the government, but that one difference that she has with Councilman Barron is that he believes you can reform the Democratic Party from inside. "I don't, which is why I'm an outsider, which is why I'm an independent."

Fulani noted that had the Democratic Party had the 150,000 votes [final count] that the Independence Party won on November 3rd in the Mayoral election, they would be preparing for their inauguration.

She emphasized that this is a time for everyone -- "the Mayor, the Council and the citizens" -- to work together.

For Councilman Barron's response, click here.

Reforms are aimed at decreasing the power of the Speaker. Currently the Speaker determines the selection of Chairs to Committees; what Committee Council Members will serve on; how much capital and expense funds each Council Member receives for their districts, and whether a Council Member's legislation with be drafted, be granted a hearing, or receive the light of day for a vote or die in Committee.

Reforms would include:

  • A predetermined equitable distribution of capital and expense funds for Council Members
  • Reforms in the legislative process
  • Reforms in the process of selection of Committee Chairs and Committee assignments
  • Reforms in the process of budget negotiations with the Mayor

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Independents Reaffirm Support for Reed in Atlanta Mayoral Campaign

November 30, 2009

Atlanta, GA --- Georgia Independent Voters held a press conference on Monday
morning, November 30th, on the eve of the December 1st city runoff election for
mayor. Before taking questions, GIV members gave a brief statement. Here is a
transcript of the statement:

Murray Dabby: “Good morning. Thank you all for coming. As representatives
of Georgia Independent Voters (“GIV”), part of a grassroots network of
independents around the country who are giving voice to the growing strength
of independents, we are proud to have endorsed Kasim Reed for mayor of
Atlanta in the general election. GIV first met with Kasim Reed during the
summer and endorsed him in the weeks prior to the general election. With
this press conference, we are re-affirming that endorsement in this run-off

“GIV sees Kasim as part of a new generation of Democratic party leaders who
see and appreciate the importance of independents in shaping the political
landscape across the country. Independents played a critical role in the
election of Barack Obama, over and above more partisan candidates, and were
instrumental in shaping the presidential race overall. In NYC, independents
just elected an independent mayor giving Mike Bloomberg the support to be
victorious in his recent difficult election. There are also important
actions being organized by independents for independent political
initiatives, and for open primaries and non-partisan elections in states
around the country. We see Kasim Reed as the kind of leader who can
understand the importance of this national debate and who has expressed a
willingness to add his voice to these efforts.”

Mike Pickering: “Over the course of our extensive screening process, and
since then, of all of the candidates in the campaign, Kasim has shown the
greatest level of support and engagement with the concerns and questions
independents are raising nationwide and here in Georgia. In addition he has
demonstrated an awareness of the nature of the developing independent
movement. While Kasim is a strong and progressive Democrat, in our
conversations he clearly committed to working with independents to
understand, address and bring the influence of the mayor’s office to bear to
advocate on issues of importance to independents. In a statement to GIV
several weeks prior to the general election, Kasim stated "I am very grateful
to receive the endorsement of Georgia Independent Voters. A political
process that is open to all is a major concern of mine. Too many voters are
disillusioned and kept out of the political process. As Mayor, I will work
with the Governor and the state legislature towards opening Georgia's
electoral process, and making it more accessible to all voters."

“In Georgia, key electoral reforms discussed with Reed include instituting
same-day or automatic voter registration to streamline the voting process and
increase voter participation; drastically lowering Georgia’s ballot-access
restrictions in order to level the playing field for independent and nonmajor-
party candidates in Georgia; and creation of an independent
redistricting commission for the important upcoming redistricting effort in
response to the 2010 census. Reed’s effectiveness as a legislator and his
openness to these issues of democracy and fairness are a primary basis for
our endorsement.”

Jamel Thigpen: “In addition to these concerns, we are endorsing Reed because
during our second interview with him he stated would move “muscularly” on
youth development. Now, when he said muscularly I think of Hulk Hogan coming
in flexing his 24 inch pythons! Seriously though, Kasim feels youth
development is key and a very important issue. Re-opening the recreation
centers in Atlanta is part of Kasim’s move on youth development. As someone
who has taken part in both city-funded afterschool and independent out-ofschool
programs, I understand all too well the importance of community
recreation centers. By turning Atlanta’s recreation centers into Centers of
Hope, Kasim will give young people a place they can go to be constructive
participants in society.”

Thyrsa Gravely: “A non-partisan election is an important aspect of voting to
independents. Georgia Independent Voters placed priority on candidates who
are independent as well as those who agree with some voting rights issues
important to independent voters. A decision-making factor for GIV in this
mayoral race was not only the candidate with respect for independents but
also the candidate with the most effective platform to implement a strategy
to improve Atlanta. One reason GIV endorsed Kasim Reed is his action plan to
resolve issues of Atlanta. Kasim Reed has laid out a plan to fight crime,
improve our youth, and address budget issues. We believe Kasim is the better
leader whose plan will be implemented and result in positive change for

Murray Dabby: “The alliance between Kasim Reed and Georgia Independent Voters
is another example of the ways that progressive major-party politicians, and
grassroots organizations of independent voters can work to generate creative
ways to reinvigorate our democracy. We are proud to throw our support behind
Kasim Reed for mayor, and will be proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with him
once he is mayor toward the development of the City of Atlanta.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

sign of the times

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - Gaining Influence in Atlanta, Utah and NYC

Atlanta Mayoral candidates Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed fight for Tuesday's African American, gay and independent vote. Utah is 39% independent. And the New York "All-The News-That-Money-Sees-Fit-to-Print" Times chooses to report the NYC Independence Party's 150,000 vote in the mayoral race on Nov. 3 in a Sunday editorial yesterday about NY state campaign finance laws... Go figure! Oh - plus, NY press continues to go after the WFP...

  • Georgia Independent Voters Announces Support for Kasim Reed in Atalanta Mayoral Race (Press Release) Georgia Independent Voters (GIV) – a state-based association of independent voters will hold a press conference announcing endorsement of Atlanta mayoral candidate Kasim Reed. Monday, November 30, 2009 - 10:00 a.m., Atlanta City Hall, 68 Mitchell St SW, Atlanta, GA.
  • Atlanta runoff neck and neck (By Errin Haines, Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer) "What it comes down to is if she gets more black votes than he gets white votes," said political strategist Tom Houck. "When people say race doesn't matter, obviously it does. There is no dominant issue that distinguishes these two other than she's a white woman and he's a black guy." While the folksy Norwood, 57, contrasts with the more serious and polished Reed, 40, both have focused in their campaigns on public safety, transparency, and accountability. Norwood, who says she is an independent, has been accused of being a closeted Republican, and Reed, a Democrat, has challenged her for the votes of another key minority, gay Atlantans.
  • Black-white turnout key in Atlanta mayoral runoff (By ERRIN HAINES (AP)
  • Debunking Some Runoff Myths As Atlanta Prepares For The Next Round (By Dr. Charles Bullock, Insider Advantage Georgia)
  • Atlanta Mayoral Hopefuls in Dead Heat (By COREY DADE, Wall Street Journal) Meanwhile, Mr. Reed and his supporters have ratcheted up their attacks on Ms. Norwood, highlighting her inability to get a single of her proposals passed by the council in eight years as a member, challenging her record of supporting gay rights, and forcing her to defend her political affiliation as independent (and not Republican, as the Reed campaign and state Democrats have alleged).
  • Atlanta mayoral candidates appeal to gay vote (By Richard Fausset, LA Times)

  • UTAH: Peter Corroon a step closer to race for governor (By Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News) Only 13 percent of the respondents identified themselves as Democrats, while 39 percent said they were independent voters and another 39 percent, Republicans. 

  • It’s All About the Money (NY Times Editorial) Mr. Bloomberg won by a scant 50,000 votes, and he got at least 150,000 votes on that Independence line. That is very tidy housekeeping.
  • Still Outnumbered, but Council Republicans Count on More Clout (By DAVID W. CHEN, NY Times) The new Council is expected to be more unpredictable, given the prospect of new, loosely fitting blocs like the Republicans and the candidates who opposed the rewriting of term limits and were powered by the Working Families Party.
  • All In The Family Part 1 (By Edward-Isaac Dovere, City Hall) Using The Working Families Organization, The Working Families Draws Uncapped, Unrestricted Money And Lobbies The People It Helps Elect
  • Oddo Still Top Dog (Strictly Political, By Tom Wrobleski, Staten Island Advance)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Georgia Independent Voters Announces Support for Kasim Reed in Atalanta Mayoral Race

Georgia Independent Voters (“GIV”) – a state-based association of independent voters will hold a press conference announcing endorsement of Atlanta mayoral candidate Kasim Reed. Monday, November 30, 2009 - 10:00 a.m., Atlanta City Hall, 68 Mitchell St SW, Atlanta, GA.

Independent voter organization, Georgia Independent Voters (“GIV”), screened mayoral candidates over the summer and endorsed Kasim Reed who won a spot in the runoff election with 36% of the vote in the general election. GIV activists will reaffirm their support and urge Atlanta independents to vote for Reed in the runoff scheduled for Tuesday, December 1st.

Reed won the endorsement of GIV because of his commitment to work with independent voters if elected, as well as his support for political and electoral reform issues that are the primary concern of independents. Independents comprise 39% of the electorate nationally according to a recent Pew research poll.

For more information, contact Mike Pickering, Co-founder, Georgia Independent Voters
Cell: 404.513.9074 - Email:

Monday, November 23, 2009

fall wardrobe

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - Independents have a lot to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving is this week. Time to clear out the leftover stalks from the harvest. All those dried leaves from the NJ and VA gov races and the NY-23 congressional race... And the pods from the NYC mayoral (by the way, the final count including paper ballots is 150,000 votes on the Independence Party line). Do we pile them up, burn the field, or mulch and wait? Some of the most interesting things in the field right now are the roots -- nonpartisan elections, open primaries and independent candidates in local races -- as independents prepare for the next season. We have a lot to be thankful for -- let's celebrate a bountiful harvest!







Thursday, November 19, 2009

independents steal home

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS -- Is it too early to talk independent in 2012?

The parties will continue to open or close their primaries depending on what they stand to gain or lose in the next election based on media polls. That's why we need national policy that supports a primary voting system that allows independents the right to participate.

Interesting speculation brewing on Mayor Bloomberg's prospects for an independent run at the White House in 2012. While Katie Connolly imagines that independents are "too fickle, picky and non-committal" to provide a base of support for such a run. She also snarks that maybe Mike could pay people to stand on street corners. (What Connolly either doesn't know or chooses to ignore is that hundreds of volunteers stood on street corners on November 3rd, doubling the NYC Independence Party vote.) Meanwhile, Mark McKinnon on The Daily Beast makes a very good case for that 2012 run. I'd say the race is on!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

here's lookin' at you(rself) cat

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - Of Third Parties and Con-fusions

Chatter continues about where independent voters are in the countdown to the 2010 midterm elections, this week's theme being the subjective/emotional "state" of independents -- indies are angry, frightened and turning right, say the pundits -- oh, yeah, and anti-incumbent. Poli-Tea started a very interesting and I think important dialog in several posts last week about the impact on independents of the rules the major parties enact to prevent the rise of a competitive third party in The Dialectic of the Subjective and the Objective in the Reproduction of the Two Party-State. In the meantime, a state chapter of the Working Families Party has been formed in Vermont... Surely the success of in NYC (both NY and VT have a form of fusion voting where candidates can run on more than one party line) of both the Independence Party and the WFP deserve some investigation in light of the formidable barriers that exist? More on this later. And on a final note, there's fusion and then there's fusion -- Doctor Zero's fusion is, well, CONfusion... -NH

  • Polls: Voter/Independent's ire for incumbents reaching critical mass (Wichita Independent Examiner, Geoff Caldwell)
  • Edward Achorn: Frightened independents send Washington a message (By EDWARD ACHORN, Providence Journal)
  • The Silver Lining of the Left in Power (by Dennis Prager, Townhall) It is difficult to overstate how important this is. For decades, the left has largely controlled the news media, the arts, the universities and the entertainment media. And vast numbers of Americans have imbibed these leftist messages and the leftist critiques of conservatives. What these Americans have never been able to do is to see what the left would actually do if in power.
  • Independents Turning Right (By Sarah Gravlee, KULR 8 Billings MT)
  • Poll: Beau Biden Grabs Lead in Delaware Senate Race (By DAVID WEIGEL, Washington Independent)
  • Barack Obama Proves He’s No Bill Clinton (By Ron Nehring, Chairman of the California Republican Party, Fox & Hounds Daily - CA)
  • Rasmussen delivers more the-sky-is-falling-on-Obama spin in the WSJ (by Eric Boehlert, Media Matters) Since when do serious, 'independent' pollsters write columns urging the president to "shift right"? While you’re at it, tell the City Council that you want them to appeal the U.S. Department of Justice’s ridiculous decision to overturn our vote on nonpartisan elections.
  • Constitutional convention initiative moves toward ballot (By Gary Quackenbush, North Bay Business Journal) “Redistricting authority should be given to a nonpartisan commission and not be left to legislators. Open primaries would allow voters to vote for anyone during the primaries and the two highest vote-getters for each position would then appear on the general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation.”
  • A fond farewell to Buddy and Jimmy (Bryan C. Hanks, ENC Today) Article mentions the Justice Department's decision to deny voter-approved nonpartisan municipal elections...
  • So much for the power of incumbency (By The Monday Fix, Washington Post) What's clear from this and other national polling as well as a variety of state data is that there is a widespread belief that politicians are not acting in the best interests of those they represent. This sentiment isn't terribly new, but the depth of these anti-incumbent feelings -- particularly among political independents -- makes it newsworthy.
  • Christie versus Booker must wait, as mayor intent on building upon their alliance (By MAX PIZARRO,
  • An insider's view of Christie's N.J. victory- During "that roller-coaster ride," the campaign focused on independent voters, and the issues. (Russ Schriefer, Philadelphia Inquirer)  NOTE: Russ Schriefer is a 20-year Repub consultant
  • Working Families Party forming in Vermont (By Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press) Vermont is one of 10 states that allows candidates to run with more than one party affiliation noted on the ballot and those are the states that the Working Families Party have targeted. The party was founded in New York in 1998 and then spread to Connecticut. Vermont has three major political parties -- Democrats, Republicans and Progressives. A political party is considered "major" in Vermont if one of its statewide candidates received more than 5 percent of the vote in the most recent election. Vermont also has had three minor parties in recent years -- Liberty Union, Libertarian and Constitutional.
  • Lopez’s Legacy Looms Large (By Aaron Short, Your Nabe Brooklyn)
  • The Essential Fusion (BY DOCTOR ZERO, Hot Air) The part of the conservative movement broadly defined as “social” is essential to defeating the moral argument of the Left. Electoral victory requires persuading moderate and independent voters, and even some liberals who are still open-minded enough to give the other side a hearing. Such persuasion is impossible without a compelling moral argument, because conservatism does not seem coherent without it. Say what you will about the fundamental argument of collectivism, but you can’t deny it’s simple and consistent: give us your vote and we will take care of you, at the expense of people whose greed is worthy of your hatred.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

our relatives

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS -- A pox on both your parties!

Terry Hurlbut comes closer than most to capturing the true character of independent voters, if from a conservative view (tipoff -- he talks about NY 23, but not the election of NYC's first independent mayor on the Independence Party line), and questions the major pollsters' analysis. Independents, organized, is what will give independent voters more say in politics and policy...  One stop on that road is open primaries, on the ballot in California for 2010.....  Henry Stern (Yonkers' own) gets it right -- and then gets it wrong.


  • Independent voices (Essex County Conservative Examiner, Terry Hurlbut) An independent voter, called an "unaffiliated voter" here in New Jersey, is one who does not identify with either of the two major parties.
  • Sabato: The Democrats Aren't Doomed (By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers, US News & World Report)
  • Obama Is Losing Independent Voters (By SCOTT RASMUSSEN AND DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN, Wall Street Journal)
  • Lou Dobbs for president! The former CNN host sounds like he's running for office -- and if so, he's a GOP nightmare (BY JOE CONASON, Associated Press, Salon) Mr. Independent is a star-spangled superhero, dazzling enemies with his ferocious smile as he restores truth, justice and the American Way to a grateful "independent nation."



  • Polls Predicted a Bloomberg Blowout, but Expert Knew Better (By SAM ROBERTS, NY Times) Mr. Gyory, a lobbyist, political consultant and aide to three New York governors, was convinced that the race would not be the blowout predicted by numerous polls, precisely because of what the polls themselves consistently revealed: The percentage of New Yorkers who said they would vote for Mr. Bloomberg barely climbed above 50. Apparently, the only people who listened worked for Mr. Bloomberg.
  • New York Civic: E-Day Plus 10 - What Happened, and Why? (By Henry J. Stern, Yonkers Tribune blog) City-wide, voters cast 142,817 votes on the Independence Party line for Bloomberg, In 2005 his total on the Independence line was 74,655 and in 2001, his first race for mayor, his Independence total was 59,091. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Talk Talk: Independents, Organized

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009

Every week CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist/philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogues compiled on Sunday, November 8, 2009 after watching selections from "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" and "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

Newman: Because I don’t know what “it” is and I don’t know what “power” is in this context. Look, you have what you have. That’s what you have. And you organize what you have.

Salit: Yes.

Newman: When I say I don’t know what “it” is, I mean that it’s still very embryonic, very new. And it’s emerging at the rate that it’s emerging at. And it does the things that it does. So, when you say that they’re looking for trends, that’s not quite accurate. They’re looking for trends which they take to be comprehensible and possible, but only from a two-party point of view.

Salit: True enough.

Newman: So, they’re not looking at trends at all. They won’t look at our trends. They’re not even looking at trends in the same way that we consider trends. We know that there are two dominant major parties. But we also know that there’s something else going on. It’s a “becoming,” if you will.

Salit: Yes.

Newman: And they don’t consider that when they analyze what the elections are all about. It’s all swing, swing, swing, swing. Last year they swung one way. This year they swung another. Well, what if what you’re calling a “swing” is the emergence of a new kind of political movement?

Read Talk/Talk in its entirety here.

Grading the Media on Coverage of Independent Voters

I've decided to give out grades today on the media coverage of independent voters.

John Fund gets a D for his midterm paper. While he recognizes that independents are in revolt, he simply regurgitates Repub spin about independents' lack of support for Dems and draws a questionable conclusion: But independent voters are clearly swayed by arguments that the Obama administration and Democratic Congress are moving too far to the left too quickly. Mr. Fund needs to think harder about this and possibly get some help. 

John Zogby gets a B+ on his paper for drawing attention to the fact that ""Moderates" and "Independents" are not the same thing". This is a very good start to correcting some of the misinformation that Mr. Zobgy has been spreading about who independents are.

And Wendy Kaminer gets an F for anti-independent thinking for her piece in The Atlantic today and for referencing Nancy Rosenblum's claim that "partisanship, not independence, is the morally distinctive political identity of representative democracy."

Overall, this is a mediocre class of journalists this year who don't seem to understand that independents have an agenda of political reform and just don't like parties. Period.



  • Barnes Backs Fellow Democrat for ATL Mayor (By Susanna Capelouto and John Sepulvado, Georgia Public Broadcasting) Party affiliation has become an issue during this non-partisan election runoff election, scheduled for December 1... “The party machine system is dead,” Barnes told GPB after the rally. “It’s been headed that way for a long time, and it’s not [a motivating factor for my endorsement].


  • Colorado Independent Candidate Will Sue to Overturn Ballot Access Law (Ballot Access News)
  • Riddle takes on state election law (The Durango Telegraph/Quick and Dirty)
  • Press Release Announcing Lawsuit (Joelle Riddle, Independent Commissioner blog)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Where the Independent Voters -- and Independent Candidates -- Are in 2010

You'll never see what happened last Tuesday looking through a two-party microscope! Nope. You need an independent historyscope to get this one!

I had the pleasure of hearing independent strategist Jackie Salit give her analysis of the November elections on Sunday night on her regular national conference call which is attended by around 150 activists around the country every six weeks.

Jackie is a long-time independent activist based in New York City, the president of the Committee for a Unified Independent Party (aka, the executive editor of the Neo-Independent Magazine, and the campaign manager of Mike Bloomberg's Independence Party campaign. She's someone I follow very closely -- and so should you if you care about independent politics.

A statement released by the campaign via email on Wednesday after the election said: This year, the IP delivered 13% of the total votes cast - the largest percentage ever by a minor party for a cross-endorsed mayoral candidate.

The Hankster (my blog) and Donklephant (where I am a guest blogger), in addition to The Independent View (NYC IP activist Michael Drucker's blog) and the NY Daily News' Brawl for the Hall blog seemed to be the only media outlets that even referenced this astounding result from the election. And then today, I caught Maine's independent mayoral candidate Alex Hammers' post on The Moderate Voice "Independents are a Sleeping Giant".

In the CUIP conference call, Jackie emphasized that, far from being the "margin of victory" for Bloomberg's win as an independent in NYC, the vote on the IP line was the foundation of the campaign. At a time when the votes of both major parties Dems and Repubs went down, the 15 year old grassroots Independence Party doubled its vote.

It is indeed wonderous that no other media picked this up.

But if your framework is a bipartisan -- indeed partisan -- system, you don't pay a lot of attention to the margins, no pun intended! You don't see what's happening on the horizon. You're not looking to the future -- you're looking to the past and how pollsters have been able to parse the vote based on prior elections. Polls are supposed to be predictive. They're interesting, and we all follow them. But predictive?

You'd have to have a 6-billion-person polling operation to figure that one out. And still, you'd get it wrong because what the NYC mayoral race points to is the power that independents have as an organized force. It's something like what the unions used to call "strength in numbers" when we still sang Solidarity Forever and meant solidarity forever for everyone.

Old-fashioned as it may be, independents in NYC have banded together, we have talked with each other, we have made endless phone calls night after night year after year, we have fought back against a stupid and vicious state party chair, we have constituted 5 county committees under state law that are directed by a collective 94-person executive committee, and have inched our way forward into NYC politics as players.

We just led New Yorkers to elect our first independent mayor.

In my book this is something that ordinary people can be proud of. And that ordinary people -- nonpartisans -- all over the country can learn from and emulate.

And indeed they are. Take Joelle Riddle in Durango CO, a former chairwoman of the La Plata County Democratic Party who won her post in 2006 with party support and decided to go independent in August, would have to run as a write-in candidate after inadvertently missing a deadline to change her registration.

“I seek to remedy this burden that falls unequally on small political parties and independent or unaffiliated candidates, unfairly discriminating against them and not affording them the same privileges as the major political parties,” she wrote in a statement announcing her decision Tuesday.

Partisan politics isn't the future of our country, but the search for an independent alternative might be.

You/we independents can do it. If we're organized.