Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Friday, October 30, 2009


Hi everyone!

I'm on the stump for electing the first independent mayor of NYC on Column C the Independence Party line (no surprise there!) and will keep you up to date as best as I can. Lots happening! Note the majority of voters in New Jersey are independent. New Jersey is one of my (many) home states (and my first home state out of the South) so I'm especially proud of us Garden Staters, whoever you decide to elect for Gov!...

Here in my current home state (and more accurately, my home town of the Big Apple) Mike Bloomberg, in coalition with the NYC Independence Party, carries out an independent nonpartisan race for the future of New York City. See the photo from last night's phone shift in Jamaica Queens -- a coming together of a long-time coalition between Imam Charles Bilal (that's organizer Martha Oliver (r) in the picture) the Queens County Committee of the New York Independence Party, and Bloomberg's local operation (that's Etoy Tharpe, second from left here)

And in LAST WORD(S) -- I hope you'll take a peek at the left/right Dem/Repub dialogue that permeates the print media and the blogosphere. As a long-time leftist and still true Marxist (I got my bonafides in the 1970s in the labor and new left party-building movement and never gave up...), I'm always happy to see progressives take on the right wingers as in Radical? Not! (By Eugene Debs, New Majority) below.

  • Bergen County a key factor in governor's race (By Cynthia Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer) Democrats outnumber Republicans there, 169,000 to 111,200. But the biggest voting group, as it is everywhere else in the state, consists of unaffiliated voters, who number 250,300. Unaffiliated voters have recently been voting with the Democrats.
  • Election not a big draw to Gloucester County voters (By Jessica Landolfi, NJ News-Star Ledger, Trenton Times) Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 with 70,744 registered Democrats, 35,637 Republicans and 82,607 unaffiliated.

  • Hoffman and Owens in a Tie for New York Special Election (CQ Politics/PollTracker)
  • A GOP Civil War in Upstate New York (By KATE PICKERT, Time) But then, the race in the 23rd is no longer about local issues. It's about a Republican Party with little current power inside the Beltway searching for a way out of the wilderness. And it's about conservative Republicans sending a message — the future of the party is the conservative base. (It's also, incidentally, about money; according to the Federal Election Commission, more than $650,000 has flowed to the candidates from independent groups just since Oct. 24.) "The 23rd has as little significance as Gettysburg. It's just where the Armies met," says Bob Gorman, managing editor of the Times and my old boss. "Everybody was looking for a fight and that's where they found each other."

  • Radical? Not! (By Eugene Debs, New Majority)
  • Our Heritage  Newt Gingrich weighs in on events current and Founding-era. (interview by Robert Costa, National Review Online)
  • Are the Tea Partiers good or bad for the GOP? A round table discussion of whether the revolt of the conservative base is a blessing or curse for the Republicans (BY THOMAS SCHALLER, Salon)  EXCERPT: Agne: What we found was that even as these independents have started to pull back from Obama and the Democrats in Congress a bit -- some concern about healthcare, some concern about spending, a few other things -- they still fundamentally want them to succeed. They want to see the edges come off some of these policies, but they want to see it go through. They want the change that Obama promised them in the election, they're just not quite sure what that change should look like. The Republican base voters fundamentally want Obama to fail. They believe that he is intentionally trying to lead the country into a ditch, essentially, that he is trying to lead the country to failure, and thus to socialism. And so they see it as a moral responsibility to oppose every single step of his agenda. There's no sense of compromise. There is a clear moral obligation to stand firm and oppose him, no matter what. And that's really the fundamental dilemma that we were just discussing.
  • Self-Image and Party Politics (By DAVID BROOKS AND BOB HERBERT, NY Times/The Conversation) Is it possible for both parties to lose at the same time?
  • More Signs of Trouble for 2010 (William Galston, The New Republic)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

turnpike series


As we head to Election Day 2009, everyone is talking about the Yankees and the Phillies. And a few people are talking about the Mayoral race in NYC, where independent candidate Mike Bloomberg is poised to become the first independent mayor of New York, running on the Independence Party (Column C) and Republican lines. But not Karl Rove. Kind of a big omission, don't you think? Check out Jon Noltie's Examiner article. However, other independent and Independence-backed candidates in New Jersey, New York and Virginia are soaking up the ink. See today's news for independent voters below:



  • Tuesday's Elections and the Democratic Agenda (By KARL ROVE, Wall Street Journal) A year ago, Democrats crowed that Mr. Obama had reshaped the political landscape to their advantage. Voters have lived under Democratic rule for nine months, and many of them, especially independents, don't like what they're seeing.
  • Strength of independent candidates indicates GOP missing opportunity (Columbus Republican Examiner, by Jon Noltie) In 2 of the 3 most watched electoral races this year, the GOP stands a good chance of losing due to the strength of independent candidates, in addition to not even fielding a candidate in the New York City mayoral race.
  • Dividing And Conquering In State Races (John Zogby, Forbes)
  • Quinnipiac Sees a Different New Jersey Race Than Rasmussen, PPP (National Review)
  • Corzine Up 5 Points In New Jersey Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Governor Tops Christie On 'Honesty' Score (Quinnipiac) Corzine leads 79 - 8 percent among Democratic likely voters, with 10 percent for Daggett. Christie leads 79 - 7 percent among Republicans, with 9 percent for Daggett, and 45 - 30 percent among independent voters, with 20 percent for Daggett.
  • NJ Gov Poll: Corzine Takes 5-Point Lead (RealClearPolitics)
  • Daggett: Republican urged him to quit gov's race (The Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer)



  • Bloomberg, Liu Favored In Tuesday Voting; Some Close Council Races Expected (BY JOHN TOSCANO, Queens Gazette)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Independents Endorse Kasim Reed in Atlanta Mayoral Campaign

Atlanta, GA --- Georgia Independent Voters (GIV), a state-based association representing independent voters, announced today its endorsement of former State Senator Kasim Reed for mayor of the City of Atlanta.

“We’re proud to announce our support for Kasim Reed for Mayor of Atlanta,” said Thyrsa M. Gravely, a long-time independent political organizer and a key player in GIV’s candidate screening process. “Reed has been on the just side of important electoral issues here in Georgia, and in our conversations he indicated a willingness to address our concerns regarding political reform by being a spokesperson at the state and national level.”

"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," said Reed. "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."

GIV’s endorsement came as a result of candidate screening sessions and numerous dialogues over the course of the summer. In July the group met with nine of the hopeful candidates, but elected not to endorse at that time. “We wanted to see how the field would shape up after the filing period closed in early September,” said Murray Dabby, a co-founder of GIV. “We wanted to endorse when we thought we could have the biggest impact.”

Numbers of independents continue to grow, and independents currently form 39% of the electorate according to a recent Pew Research poll. As a result, independents have played an increasingly important role in elections around the country. In the 2008 presidential election, independents tipped the scales for Obama, helping him secure the Democratic Party nomination over Clinton.

“Kasim Reed is a part of a new generation of Democrats, like President Obama, who appreciate independents. Reed is very conversant on issues of concern to us and is clearly the most independent-minded, and most reform-minded candidate in the race,” said Dabby. “Issues of political reform are a mystery to many old-guard, traditional politicians, but things like lowering ballot access barriers, making voter registration easier, and making the redistricting process less political are issues that are important to independents, who are left out of the political process in so many ways.”

Georgia Independent Voters is a grassroots organization working to reform the political process and develop the voice of independent voters around Georgia.

Friday, October 23, 2009


While the conclusion by the US Justice Department to disallow nonpartisan city elections in Kinston NC, in spite of a 2-1 favorable vote last year by the electorate, is questionable (was it knee-jerk liberalism, exuberant Dem partisanship, or just plain bad judgement???), the fervor with which the right wing press has picked up on this smacks of more anti-Obama, knee-jerk reactionaryism, exuberant Repub partisanship, and just plain right-wing politics:


  • Why One Democrat Thinks New York Needs a Strong GOP (By DAVID PARKER, Wall Street Journal) Democrats have also used their muscle to fight structural reforms. When Mike Bloomberg (full disclosure: the mayor is a former client) pushed to replace primaries with nonpartisan elections in a 2003 referendum, the Democratic Party pulled out all the stops to defeat the measure.
  • U.S. Justice Department OK’s New Arizona Law that Forces Tucson to Use Non-Partisan City Elections (Ballot Access News)


The Gay City News endorsement of Thompson in the Mayor's race appears to be purely partisan...

Thursday, October 22, 2009



  • How Dems Can Cut Their Losses (by Charlie Cook, National Journal) Part of the genius of the 1994 GOP "Contract with America" was its message that resonated with the independent voters and others who voted for Ross Perot in 1992. It was less ideological and more outsider.
  • Morning Fix: A premature celebration for the GOP (Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix)
  • Public option gains support (By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post) Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983. Political independents continue to make up the largest group, at 42 percent of respondents; 33 percent call themselves Democrats.
  • The Return Of Coughlinism (Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic/Daily Dish)



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'M JUST SAYIN':Weird Stuff for Independent Voters and Mothers of All Stripes

Here's something weird for ya' -- in a search for "Whitney Larkin" (an indomitable young woman, a grassroots organizer for CUIP) -- word has it she was in the Styles Section of the New York Times on Sunday... (not surprised--she's definitely on the cutting edge of style!) -- I came across this article by Ann Hood about the sad and unfortunate loss of her daughter Grace and her subsequent adoption of a Chinese child and then a near-death experience with that child.... 

But here's the weird part: the title of the article that came up in the Google search was "To Mother Again, With Courage" [which in my weird Nancy Hanks World was a word play on Bertold Brecht's play Mother Courage, one production of which I saw at Target Margin in NYC] but which was titled "To Nurture Again, With Courage" on the online version.

I'm just sayin'....


Monday, October 19, 2009


  • Forces lining up against Democrats in '10 (By Dan Balz, reprint in Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Tea Party insurgency marches into key states--But will Tea Party protest energy help or hobble the Republican Party? They're challenging some GOP candidates and could split the vote in those races. (By Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor)
  • Party Moderate Purge (By Kellyn Brown, Flathead Beacon)
  • WARNING: INDEPENDENTS MAY GO REPUBLICAN IN 2010! (Jack Jodell, The Saturday Afternoon Post)
  • Serious as a heart attack: The independents' story (By Jackie Salit, Rapid City Journal)

  • Fight Night in Jersey: Christie Can Get the KO Without Throwing a Punch (By Bill Pascoe, Politico) He's risen from 13 percent support from Independent voters in August to 20 percent today, while Christie has slipped among those same Independent voters, from 55 percent in August to 40 percent today. Coincidence? I think not.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Independent Voters: Health Care or Partisan Politics?

I have been an independent activist for many years, and I created what is now considered to be THE independent political blog, The Hankster, because I felt that independent voters were not being represented accurately -- or at all -- in the mainstream media.

There are lots and lots of polls out there mainly concerned about the critical independent vote in the upcoming mid-term elections. These polls are being interpreted by media outlets without comment and without input from "on-the-ground" independents. It's as if our national record of the Civil War ommited Matthew Brady's battlefield photos...

Personally, I think the story that Jackie outlines in this commentary below is a "sea-change" story that "big media" picked up on briefly in 2006 and again in 2008 (election fever) but is now somehow completely missing from today's analysis. More than 40% of the American electorate identify as independents. And that growth was produced in large part by the progressive wing of the independent movement. If you blink on this, you will miss the story.

Independents are vulnerable to being peeled away by the Republican right. The Pew Research Center reports that were the 2010 midterms to be held today, independents would lean towards Republicans by a 43 to 38 percent margin. But, the evolution of a 21st century independent movement is not that simple. First, the movement is very fluid and very new. Historical movements develop through twists and turns, not in a straight line. The far right has attempted to take over the independent movement before. In 1994, Newt Gingrich crafted the “Contract with America” to woo Perotistas back into the Republican tent. And in 2000, social conservative Pat Buchanan hijacked the Reform Party presidential nomination, though he was roundly repudiated by independents in the general election. [FULL PIECE BELOW]

Please feel free to use this article in any way you feel appropriate. And let me know what you think.


By: Jackie Salit
When we finally get far enough down the road on health care reform, it will become clear that a driving force in the intensity of the fight was a heart attack. Not the medical kind. The political kind.

Independents swung decisively to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. And it is this shift by independents – who repositioned themselves from center-right to center-left – that gave the Republican right the political equivalent of cardiac arrest.

In 1992, 19 million independents voted for Ross Perot. In 2008, 19 million independents voted for Barack Obama. Over the span of 15 years, the largely white, center-right independent movement re-aligned itself with Black America and progressive-minded voters.

This did not happen out of the blue. It did not happen by magic. It happened because the progressive wing of the independent movement did the painstaking and often controversial work of bringing the Perot movement and the Fulani movement together at the grassroots. The Fulani movement refers to the country’s leading African American independent, Dr. Lenora Fulani, who exposed the black community to independent politics and introduced the independent movement to an alliance with Black America.

No doubt the dramatics that the right wing brought to the Town Hall meetings this summer were intended for the television cameras. But the organizers, strategists and radio personalities who orchestrated the theatrics had a particular audience in mind: Independents. If they could tarnish Obama’s image with indies, they could damage the black and independent alliance and re-establish the Republican Party as an influential force amongst independents. Some of that could be accomplished, they felt, by claiming Obama’s health plan would drive up the national debt – a concern that animated the early Perot movement. Some Republican strategists felt that if they simply branded Obama a socialist, it would scare independents away – not from the health care plan (everyone recognizes a plan of some kind will get passed) but away from the center-left coalition that elected him.

If indies are feeling somewhat disillusioned with President Obama over the health care reform fight, it has more to do with fears that he is being overly influenced by the partisans in Congress. Since independents voted for him to be a more independent president, it’s easy to see how some felt disappointed by his handling of the Republican onslaught. Obama’s independent appeal was based on his challenge to the prevailing culture of Clintonian opportunism in the Democratic Party and partisanship inside the Beltway. Put another way, the independent vote for Obama was an effort to define a new kind of progressivism, one that was not synonymous with Democratic Party control.

After years of hard work and organizing, independents have become a sought-after partner in American politics. They elected President Obama and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, arguably the country’s two most independent and pragmatically progressive elected officials. No wonder the Republican Party right wants a clawback.

Independents are vulnerable to being peeled away by the Republican right. The Pew Research Center reports that were the 2010 midterms to be held today, independents would lean towards Republicans by a 43 to 38 percent margin. But, the evolution of a 21st century independent movement is not that simple. First, the movement is very fluid and very new. Historical movements develop through twists and turns, not in a straight line. The far right has attempted to take over the independent movement before. In 1994, Newt Gingrich crafted the “Contract with America” to woo Perotistas back into the Republican tent. And in 2000, social conservative Pat Buchanan hijacked the Reform Party presidential nomination, though he was roundly repudiated by independents in the general election.

If Republicans are increasing their influence among independents, it’s also because the Democratic Party Left has not been a friend to the independent movement. Sure, Democrats were happy that indies broke for Obama. But they were disappointed that we didn’t become Democrats. They equate progressivism with being in the Democratic Party. But they’re wrong.

Neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party has been enthusiastic about the development of indies as a third force. For different reasons, surely. But they share a common goal: to maintain the primacy of two-value logic (where there is only one or the other, never neither) and make sure independents are passive companions. That’s one reason that the fight for open primaries – which allow independents to cast ballots in every round of voting – and the campaign to appoint independents to the Federal Election Commission are so important. Those fights are about our right to participate and our right to represent our interests in changing the political culture.

The independent movement went left in 2008, after many years of grassroots organizing to link it to progressive leadership. Now the right wants to peel it back. Obama, presumably, wants to hold on to the partnership, but must also privilege his own party, which turns independents off and makes them more susceptible to Republican attacks. Meanwhile, independents are working hard at the grassroots to hold our own.

Jackie Salit is the president of and the campaign coordinator for Mike Bloomberg’s mayoral campaign on the Independence Party line.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dr. Lenora Fulani speaks in Harlem on the significance of Mike Bloomberg's independent run for Mayor of NYC for the Black community

Must see for independent voters, not only in New York City, but throughout the country: Lenora Fulani speaks out on the Mayor's race in NYC -- Black or Independent? How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Synthesize, synthesize, synthesize!

Don't let the big shots tell us what it means to be Black, don't let the parties tell independents we don't stand for anything. Au contraire, mon frere!

Fulani says in her speech "It's no longer about 'Yes we can", it's about 'Yes we did'." It's a new day. We are creating a new Black community, a new world of peace and world security... Let's get to work."

Ditto from Hankster readers: Let's kick some more!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Should the US get out of Afghanistan?
  • Parsippany independents hold key to mayoral race (By Eugene Paik/For The Star-Ledger)
  • Voters More Favorable to Afghan War Troop Hike (CQ Politics)
  • Terror-Free Afghanistan Is Worth American Blood, U.S. Voters Tell Quinnipiac University National Poll; But Only 38 Percent Want To Send More Troops (Quinnipiac) Independent voters came down in the middle, but a plurality of 40 percent favored a troop increase, while 28 percent said there should be fewer US troops

  • Term limits tweak maybe heading back to ballot (By Anthony York, Capitol Weekly) The term-limits change is just one of the government reform measures that may be headed to the ballot next year. Gov. Schwarzenegger has endorsed the concept of an open primary. Signatures are already being collected on a part-time legislature initiative. And labor groups are contemplating pushing changes to the legislative vote requirements to eliminate the current two-thirds requirements to pass new taxes and state budgets.

Independence Party and Working Families Party together will determine the election of top NYC posts, and some status-quo-ites are unhappy about that!
  • New York’s Two-Party System--Public-sector unions on one side, billionaires on the other (Harry Siegel and Fred Siegel, City Journal) The Democrats will also have competition of sorts from the Independence Party...
  • NYC Mayor: What's In A Party ID? (National Journal/Hotline)
  • Betrayal! Boro’s two top Dems are supporting non-Democrats (The Brooklyn Paper / Ben Muessig)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


  • On healthcare and other hot issues: Follow the independents--The number of voters not tied to Democrats or Republicans is expanding fast. Both parties need to adjust. (By the Christian Science Monitor's Editorial Board) Were the 2010 elections to occur today, 43 percent of independents say they would vote Republican (in a generic congressional ballot), while 38 percent would vote Democratic, the Pew Research Center finds. That's quite a shift from 2006, when independents favored Democrats over Republicans, 44 to 33 percent.

  • South Dakota Democrats Will Allow Independent Voters to Vote in their Primaries (Ballot Access News)
  • Re-enfranchising New Yorkers (by Richard Flanagan, Gotham Gazette) Voters overwhelmingly rejected Macchiarola's plan for nonpartisan elections, 70 percent to 30 percent. But only 13 percent of registered voters bothered to show up for the off-year election of 2003, and many had ties to the unions, interest groups and political clubs that benefit from the status quo and know how to pull the levers of the current system to their advantage. They were loathe to expand the electorate and risk the surrender of power.


In an unsettled political environment where voters are exercising independent options, independent candidates like NJ gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett pick up support....

NYC Dem machine targets independent run by Mike Bloomberg with 2 darts: money (the Mayor is very wealthy...) and term limits (which the Dem-controlled City Council extended....) Good luck with that! Meanwhile, it's the NYC Independence and the Working Families Parties that are supplying the spark in this year's city-wide elections. In a city of 5-1 Dem registration, that's gotta hurt the clubhouse...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

independent queens for mike


California's independent-minded gov Arnold Schwarzenegger still fighting for open primaries--Repubs officially reject his reform leadership


Mike Bloomberg, a registered indy, is running for mayor of NYC on the Independence Party line and on the Republican Party line. (NY is one of the few states that allows candidates to appear on the ballot on more than one line, and the vote totals are aggregated; it's called "fusion.") His Democratic opponent, William Thompson, is a career politician who currently serves as the city's little known comptroller.
Mike's expected to win; the real question is whether he'll pull a a big enough vote on the IP line to make the statement that New Yorkers aren't voting for Republican-ism but for nonpartisan governance. Proponents of partisanship -- including the so-called liberal intellegentsia (which, it's been pointed out, is neither) -- are doing whatever they can to prevent such an outcome. See:
  • Bloomberg's Term Limits Scheme- How Mayor Mike gamed the system (By Tom Robbins, Village Voice) He cut the same insiders' pact with the cultish local chapter of the Independence Party. The party's nominating convention this spring featured all the democracy of a Chinese Politburo meeting, including a ruling clique that fawned over the visiting mayor.
  • Liu, de Blasio Win Democratic Nods for NYC Controller, Advocate (By Henry Goldman, “Let’s get serious; there are a couple of Republican candidates, but they have no chance whatsoever,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a City Hall news conference yesterday. “You have one party that so dominates that it’s very unlikely that anybody will win but whoever wins the runoff.”... The current city comptroller, William Thompson, 56, is the Democratic candidate opposing Bloomberg’s bid for re-election on the Republican and Independence party ballot lines.


  • Housing (Mansfield for PA) I am Robert Allen Mansfield and I am candidate for Lt Governor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania