Thursday, August 27, 2009


Independents are playing a key role in the debate on health care. Centrist commentator John Avlon says indies are social liberals/fiscal conservatives; James A. Morone, seeming to speak for the Demo-(We-Are-Not-Socialists)-Crats says indies are moderate, fence-sitting, frightened and don't vote in midterm elections... Independent strategist and public philosopher Fred Newman says "the most right wing voices are saying in their appeal to a base: We don’t want to have any or more or all of our money spent on poor people. It’s not more complicated than that."
  • Commentary: Obama losing independent voters (By John Avlon, Special to CNN) All this is evidence that Obama's election did not represent a liberal ideological mandate, as House Democrats and their partisan cheerleaders might wish. More than 70 percent of independents now disapprove of Congress.
  • Why the Health Care Debate Is So Explosive (James A. Morone, Washington Post/Short Stack) Many Democrats are moving to whittle back health reform in order to win over moderate, fence-sitting, frightened independents. Big mistake...
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper Revisited (Fred Newman and Jackie Salit, I’ve always felt that the long term debate over health care is the societal form of the “socialism or capitalism” debate. That’s what it’s meant. That’s writ large in the current circumstance and Obama is bearing the brunt of that debate right now, while trying to lead the way forward, without using the language of socialism, and almost certainly overworking the language of capitalism. That’s what the raw emotions are about. The right wing is aghast, not by how much money we’re spending. I think that’s ludicrous. Nobody worries about how much money we’re spending, as long as it’s not their money.
  • Polling shows uncertainties about 'public option' insurance in health reform (Portland Business Journal - by Neil Westergaard) Couple that with diminishing support for Obama from independent voters who were key to his election last year, and Cook said, "I don't know that there's an ending that the president is going to like."
  • Reasoned arguments win more debates (Tim Hadachek, Kansas State Collegian) Actually, there’s a reason Obama has made only the feeblest of efforts to debunk these crazy claims. Independent voters are the kingmakers of American politics. Roughly the same number of Democrats and Republicans will vote and cancel each other out. But the candidate that can capture the most people in the middle of the political spectrum usually wins.

Open primaries is probably the most democratic reform that could be implemented right now, one that would allow 40% of the electorate to have a voice

Watch Chris Daggett's independent campaign for governor in New Jersey -- he's raised enough to qualifiy for public funding and is in the debates:

Dems talk amongst themselves... Bloomberg leads in NYC Mayoral race


Steve Rankin said...

Chris Ward ("open primaries") is wrong about Arizona independents. While it's true that AZ independents may not vote in any party's presidential primary, independents (by law) have their choice of either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary, for offices other than president.

When a party does not invite independents into its primary, anyone who wants to vote in that primary should simply change his or her voter registration.

Nancy Hanks said...

Steve, thanks for your comment. As for your advice, I have a different suggestion: When a party does not invite independents into its primary, anyone who wants to vote in that primary should simply go to and sign the letter to President Obama calling for open primaries in national elections and speak out. Independents are now 40% of the electorate and are still treated like second class citizens.

Another suggestion is that we term limit the parties to, oh, let's say 100 years.... There's been enough damage from clubhouse politics already.

Steve Rankin said...

The federal courts may soon strike a blow against the state-mandated open primary, in which the state forces parties to let non-members vote in their primaries. Two such cases are now pending in Idaho and South Carolina.

Are you advocating the aboltion of political parties? That'll never happen. Even in countries where parties are outlawed, people form them anyway. Iraq, about the size of California, has some 75 political parties.

If you dislike political parties, Nancy, why are you a member of the Independence Party? You're an officer, aren't you?