Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Sunday, July 31, 2011

CNN's Don Lemon Brings Back Independent Panel: Dr. Omar H. Ali, Joe Gandelman, Nicole Kurokawa Tonight at 7pm ET

Today, Sunday, July 31st at 7:00 pm/ET, Dr. Omar Ali, Joe Gandelman and Nicole Kurokawa will appear as a guest on  CNN as host Don Lemon brings back his independent panel for commentary on the week's political news.

Omar is Editor of The Neo-Independent who latest installment is available here
Joe Gandelman is the founder and Executive Editor of The Moderate Voice.
In case you missed them, below are links to recent CBS and Fox news segments featuring voices from the network.

JS on Fox President Jackie Salit appeared on Fox & Friends introducing herself as a member of the "anti-Party" and among the 38% of Americans who don't like parties and don't like partisanship. "There is no middle ground, but there is a way to bring Americans together, and the way to do that is around the issue of structural political reform" said Salit. 
The Early Show on Saturday Morning CBS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Early Show logo (CBS News)  
Time is running out to raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. begins to default on its obligations, a deal appears to be nowhere in sight, and Democrats and Republicans only seem to be getting angrier at each other. 
So, who's to blame for the debt lid gridlock in Washington?  "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" put together a panel of independent voters to address the question.

Fox and Friends - Independent Voters on the Budget Negotiations ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fox and FriendsThis "Fox and Friends " segment Tuesday on the budget negotiations featured independent voters John Odycke from New York, Greg Moohn in the DC bureau and Linda Ricke in Tallahassee, Florida. 

"Negotiations implies the assumption that the two sides are actually listening to each other, not just talking at each other." 

Linda Ricke, Florida Sunshine Independents
Washington Should Not Forget the Independents
Salit headshot

"The Republicans want spending cuts. The Democrats want to preserve the safety net. Obama believes that his job is to stitch together a solution that draws from both. Put another way, he's trying to be the non-partisan President. And no doubt, the President's advisors hope that independent voters - who decided the last two elections - (actually three, since independents in open primary and caucus states picked Obama over Hillary Clinton) will see him that way."

Jackie Salit
Des Moines Register
Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

who goes there?

QUILT: Kim Svoboda

Pew Research: Obama Losing Among Independents

Obama Loses Ground in 2012 Reelection Bid - In GOP, Romney Leads, Attentive Like Perry, Bachmann Most Visible (Pew Research Center) This is consistent with a drop in Obama’s approval among all independents. Currently, a majority (54%) disapprove of Obama’s performance for the first time in his presidency. His approval among independents has slipped to 36% from 42% last month and 49% in late May. (See “Public Wants a Debt Ceiling Compromise, Expects a Deal Before Deadline.”)

Jackie Salit, President of, says 'I'm a member of the Anti-Party' -- most Americans don't like parties, partisanship, and Americans will come together around structural political reform. There is no center -- O needs to come out strongly in support of political reform and indies will support him.

California Changes: Voters Welcome Independent Redistricting

  • Independent commission finishes drawing new districts (Sac Bee/Capitol Alert) The new maps, which will be released to the public on Friday, are expected to generate a flurry of lawsuits and at least one referendum drive, all of which would, if successful, shift redistricting to the courts for final resolution before the 2012 elections.
  • Members Brace for California Map (By Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call) Just one seat has changed party hands since the 2001 redistricting, and at the start of the 112th Congress, the average tenure of California's 53 Members was eight terms. That's about to change, with the potential for a handful of Member-vs.-Member races and perhaps a few retirements.

Utah Lawmakers Not Listening to Voters on Redistricting

  • Critics say lawmakers don’t listen on redistricting (By Lee Davidson, The Salt Lake Tribune) But the Alliance for a Better Utah, Fair Boundaries and RepresentMeUtah! said Wednesday that lawmakers have not responded well enough, and their maps still protect incumbents more than they keep communities of interest together. They said keeping communities whole is what most commenters in public hearings have said is their top concern.
  • Don't ignore what Utahns want in drawing new boundaries, advocates urge (By Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News) "We're concerned that the public input process has been nothing more than a dog and pony show," said Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better UTAH. "We hope we're wrong, but we don’t think we are."

NY CD 9th Special: David, Goliath and Independent Wild Card?

  • City & State First Read (City Hall & The Capitol) A rumor making the rounds contends Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is pushing hard to deliver Jews for Weprin… How high are the odds stacked against independent candidates in special elections? Ask Justin Wax Jacobs, a college student...
  • David Is Goliath (LETTER To The Editor, Queens Tribune) Turner will have to rely primarily on ordinary, local, non-political, community-based volunteers. Other than Councilman Eric Ulrich and Brooklyn State Sen. Marty Golden, he has no local GOP/Conservative public officials to assist him. His recent endorsement by former Mayor Ed Koch will move some Jewish, Democratic and Independent voters into Turner’s column. Unfortunately for Turner, many of Koch’s supporters from decades ago have moved out of town or passed away.

Capital Tonight: Is the Tea Party ready to govern? (By: Allison Sandza, YNN Austin) NOTE: The article is worth reading for Texas politics, but more significant is that YNN has expanded to Austin where it has taken over Austin New 8. YNN is controlled by Time Warner Cable.

Salit: No Middle Ground, I'm a Member of the Anti-Party

Debt distress, partisan pollution... 'There is no middle ground, but there is way to bring Americans together. President Obama is trying to play to the center when there is no center...' -Jacqueline Salit on Fox & Friends

Thursday, July 28, 2011

proof of life 2011

California Independents Took Matters Into Their Own Hands with Props 14 and 20

Political change starts with moderates (LETTER San Diego Union Tribune) The independent and moderate voters in California took matters into their own hands during the last general election and passed Proposition 14, which allows independents to vote for any candidate during the primary election. Proposition 20, which will replace the current gerrymandered district boundaries so incumbents are no longer guaranteed re-election, was also passed.

Liberal Discontent with Debt Ceiling Wars

The summer of liberal discontent (By: Glenn Thrush, Politico) “Every policy outcome for liberals is a loss at this point,” said a senior party operative, reflecting the prevailing view among progressives that the alternatives mulled by Obama in the debt talks range from the awful to the unthinkable. “We may win on the politics,” the operative said, “but the policy battle is lost. It’s just depressing.”

The Left's Hue and Cry Against Third Parties

  • The ridiculous third party rallying cry - Bloomberg and Friedman pretend partisan fighting is ruining our country. The real problem is too much consensus (By David Sirota, Salon) As both Dartmouth professor Brendan Nyhan and the Columbia Journalism Review show, this act is so unerringly consistent that it has become cliche #233. And yet despite its maddening monotony, it remains a popular cottage industry. Indeed, from the pornstachioed Thomas Friedman to the Gordon Gekko-haired Jon Avlon to the monocle-and-top-hat-worthy Michael Bloomberg, the Third Party Fetishists provide a glorious career for its most slavishly devoted and dishonest cast members -- and, hey, as grifter jobs go, it's a damn good living.
  • Crashing the Party System - Why does Thomas Friedman want to help a Republican win the White House? (Ben Adler, The American Prospect) Of all the rites of American politics that attend the presidential election, none is more irritating than the inevitable third-party bubble. Around this time four years ago, a coalition of irrelevant old politicos—former Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford officials and a former governor of Maine—formed a group called Unity ’08 to create a bipartisan presidential ticket. They had big dreams of holding online primaries and recruiting candidates like New York City’s independent mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The effort sputtered, then pooped out.
  • Morning Jay: The Fundamentals Do Not Currently Favor Obama's Reelection (By JAY COST, The Weekly Standard) It is worth pointing out that, in the last forty years, no president has ever been elected in a predominantly two-way race with less than 48 percent of the independent vote. (That was George W. Bush in 2004.) with CHARTS

Americans Elect: People vs. Parties


Improved Ballot Access for Third Parties in Tennessee

Green Party, Constitution Party sue over TN ballot access - New law doesn't address judge's concern of stringent rules, they say (Written by Chas Sisk, The Tennessean) That indicates the requirements are too stringent, U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. said in a decision released last September. He ordered state lawmakers to pass a new ballot-access law. The legislature did so in May, passing a bill with broad support from Democrats and Republicans. The law removed the requirement that signers declare themselves to be party members, and it gave parties about 15 more days to gather signatures.

Arizona Voters Are Choosing Independence


Is Redistricting Changing Anything in North Carolina?

Republicans mimic Democrats of old in redistricting ruse (Charlotte Observer/For the Record) In response to criticism about packing minorities into G.K. Butterfield's 1st District, the new version adds some counties and removes voters in southeast Raleigh but includes voters in Durham County. The newly revised maps follow through on previous threats to pit incumbent Democratic Congressmen Mike McIntyre (7th District) and Larry Kissell (8th District) against each other in the same district. It does the same with David Price (4th District) and Brad Miller (13th District), also Democrats.

NYC Mayor 2013 Race Begins


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jackie Salit: Not Enough for Obama to Simply Criticize Congressional Leaders

How Barack Obama Can Be a Non-Partisan President (By JACQUELINE SALIT, SW News Herald - Chicago)

Power politics has a way of erasing the memory of how things happened in the first place. That’s because when institutions come to power, they want the stories about themselves to reinforce their institutional strength. They never like to credit outsider, non-institutional forces, even if the outsiders’ role in a set of events was pivotal.

Both President Obama and the Republican-led Congress seem to be grappling with this very tension in the budget negotiations going on now. Republicans won control of the House in 2010 because independent voters put them there. Obama won the White House in 2008 because independents chose him. Yet the budget negotiations — both in their form and in their content — are thoroughly rooted in a Democrat/Republican reality.

The Republicans want spending cuts. The Democrats want to preserve the safety net. Obama believes that his job is to stitch together a solution that draws from both. Put another way, he’s trying to be the non-partisan president. And no doubt, the president’s advisors hope that independent voters — who decided the last two elections — (actually three, since independents in open primary and caucus states picked Obama over Hillary Clinton) will see him that way.

Maybe they will. Certainly, independents — now 38 percent of the country according to the latest Pew poll — have made it plain enough that they don’t like partisanship, they don’t like ideological dogmatism and they don’t like… well, parties. Even if they vote for them.

Obama would do well, not just to remember that history, but to make it a more visible feature of how he governs. Independents catapulted him — first to the Democratic nomination and then to the White House. When he says that the American people “feel a sense of urgency, both about the breakdown in our political process and also about the situation in our economy,” he can also acknowledge that the American people are doing something about it, namely leaving the Democratic and Republican parties and becoming independents. According to the Pew Research Center, only 23 percent of Americans self-identify as Republicans, down from 25 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2004. 35 percent identify as Democrats (the same as 2008) even though the 2008 elections were expected to swell the ranks of Democrats. Independents, now 38 percent, were 32 percent of the electorate in 2008.

For many Independents, it’s not enough for Obama to simply criticize Congressional leaders for their partisan intransigence. He has to show that he’s willing to back certain structural changes in the political process that make such intransigence more difficult. This means taking a stand in support of open primaries in which Independents can vote. And imagine the shock waves that would follow an Obama appointment (in consultation with leaders of the Independent movement) of two Independents to vacant seats on the Federal Election Commission.

Moves like these would show Independents that the president understands the history of recent electoral unrest and that he is ready to stand up for  changes in the process that promote inclusion over party control and partisanship. Over the long term, that’s what Independents are looking for.

More Voters Walking Away From Two-Party System - A Case for Top Two

It's never been more clear that in order for new ideas, new alliances, new directions to emerge in our country, independents -- those who choose to go outside the box politically -- need to be included in our political process. Top two open primaries is one structural reform that is gaining support all over the country, much to the distress of the parties...

  • More voters walking away from Democrat and Republican parties (AZ Central/Laurie Roberts' Columns & Blog) Meanwhile, with each set of new registration numbers, more and more Arizona voters are walking away from the two-party system. Yet the system remains, just as it has since statehood. When are we going to get around to dropping this antiquated system and going to a general and a runoff, where everybody votes on all the candidates regardless of party designation?
  • Independent voters continue to rack up numbers (By David Rookhuyzen, Green Valley News) The state’s voting system could also be contributing to the high number of unaffiliated voters. Independents in Arizona can vote in any party’s primary election, except the Green Party, meaning there is no penalty for not having a party affiliation, Davis said. However, independents in Arizona are barred from voting in the presidential primary — or Presidential Preference Election — next year, which is reserved for members of the major parties.
  • South Carolina Republicans Win Opportunity to Present Evidence Against Open Primary (Ballot Access News) On July 18, a U.S. District Court Judge in South Carolina issued an 8-page Opinion in Greenville County Republican Party v State, 6:10-cv-1407, the case in which the South Carolina Republican Party argues that the Constitution protects its ability to limit its primaries to party members.
  • California State Appeals Court Sets Oral Argument in Case Against Two Aspects of “Top-Two” (Ballot Access News) This is one of the two cases that challenges two particular details of the Proposition 14 “top-two” system...

Congress Cares More About Placing Blame Than Resolving the Debt Ceiling Issue

As Hankster readers might know, I sometimes cross-post at The Moderate Voice, whose founder and Editor-in-Chief Joe Gandelman attended the February 2011 national conference of independents in New York City. My post yesterday elicited 3 great comments which I want to share with yo. Thanks to all!!!

From davidpsummers: One symptom is that the politicians are clearly putting as much effort into who might get the blame for the crisis as to the actual crisis. In fact, most of the partisan pundits find who will get the blame, and spin on that topic, as important as anything. In the end, all either side really cares about is partisan advantage.
    I have not doubt that either side would be willing to let the crisis happen if they thought the other side would get the blame. Or, in fact, even just get “more” blame, since they know the two party system doesn’t give voters any alternative to the two parties. That is why we need structural reform.
    I think it is time to mention instant-runoff voting again…

From Allen: Congress is to blame for all of it because Congress has the purse strings. No budget bill has been passed in Congress as yet.
    The Republican party has a minority stake in our government and they are trying to control the majority by holding the financial security of the United States, even the world, as ransom.
    Republicans will no doubt get the blame, domestically, and, internationally.

From ph447sf: This Aug. 2, debt ceiling thing isn’t a crisis. So many times the debt ceiling just gets raised; raise it. Our oversized debt is a problem, but the two shouldn’t be lumped.
    The debt problem can be solved:
    -Roll back the Bush tax cuts.
    -Cut military spending
    -Big Pharma needs to give the USA the prices it gives Canada
    -Change our trade policies
    -Stop giving Corporate Welfare
    -Get out of these crazy wars
    There you go, debt problem solved! I could go on, but that alone would probably do it.

The Debt Crisis: Systemic and Uncontrolled Disease of Partisanship (Posted by Nancy Hanks, The Moderate Voice) Dr. Jessie Fields (she asks the last question) tells us ‘I’m not an expert on the economy, I’m a 25 year physician and I recognize disease when it’s systemic and uncontrolled, and the two parties are strangling our democracy. We as a nation need to turn our attention to reforming the political process. As independents we support comprehensive nonpartisan restructuring of the political process; we think that’s at the heart of this crisis. What are your thoughts, ideas, about solutions?’
The Debt Ceiling Debacle (Robert L. Borosage, President, Institute for America's Future, Huffington Post) Progressives need to learn not so much from the Tea Party as from their own history and build an independent movement to stand with working Americans... The American Dream Movement, championed by Van Jones,, the Center for Community Change, the Campaign for America's Future that I help direct and others, is beginning to build that uprising.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jackie Salit on Fox and Friends Wednesday July 27 at 8:15am ET

Wednesday, July 27th at 8:15 am/ET, catch's Jackie Salit on "Fox and Friends."

Jackie Salit, a twenty-year veteran of the independent movement, is president of and launched The Neo-Independent magazine in the Spring of 2004. A prominent leader in the fight for open primaries, she conducts regular national conference calls with over 150 grassroots independent leaders from around the country. An independent political strategist and journalist, she managed Michael Bloomberg's independent campaigns for Mayor of New York City in 2001, 2005 and 2010, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. She produced the documentary "How the Independent Movement Went Left By Going Right" as well as the video "Can Independents Reform America?" Salit lives in New York City. 

The Debt Crisis: 'Spirit of Party' Gone Mad

Lot's of blame, no room for new ideas. Why? The spirit of party gone mad.  Solution? Structural political reform. See video below of CBS New York Q&A on the debt crisis with independents. Dr. Jessie Fields (last question) tells us 'I'm not an expert on the economy, I'm a 25 year physician and I recognize disease when it's systemic and uncontrolled, and the two parties are strangling our democracy. We as a nation need to turn our attention to reforming the political process. As independents we support comprehensive nonpartisan restructuring of the political process; we think that's at the heart of this crisis. What are your thoughts, ideas, about solutions?'

  • Parties still divided on debt negotiations (Meet the Press, msbnbc) With no deal in sight and political gridlock inside the Beltway, our roundtable addressed this question: Is Washington broken?
  • Michael Bloomberg warns of D.C.'s 'leadership deficit' - 'Our national leaders need to stop staring down the other side,' said Michael Bloomberg. (By REID J. EPSTEIN, Politico)
  • Dreck ceiling: Bloomberg's centrist shtick is getting old, and dangerous (By Steve Kornacki, Capital New York) Never mind that this belief is utter nonsense, stemming from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the growing number of independent voters means. (Short version: Partisan behavior is actually on the rise, even if voters prefer to think of themselves as "independents.") A fair chunk of the pundit class is convinced it's true and has convinced itself that Bloomberg possesses the special formula that will break the D.C. logjam that both parties have contributed equally to. They never explain how he would do this, and neither does he.
  • GOP Pollsters Say Obama Must Pull Voters Back from Brink of Anger - Conservative advocacy and polling group Resurgent Republic's Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee Chairman, and Ed Goeas, a veteran GOP pollster, argue independents like President Obama but don't believe he's made the economy better. (By Dave Cook, Christian Science Monitor)
  • Obama achieves new levels of political demagoguery (By Michael Hudome, The Daily Caller - founded by Tucker Carlson) From Obama’s perspective, the proverbial electoral elephant in the room isn’t any of the GOP candidates for president. It’s the specter of a primary from the left. Don’t think for one minute that isn’t on the minds of the president’s political brain trust. A president with his low approval numbers is ripe for the picking. Imagine the message Independent voters in New Hampshire could send to the president and America by voting for a viable alternative.
  • Our stupid self-inflicted debt crisis (By John Avlon, CNN) But the blame for this stage of failure lies squarely on the party that unilaterally withdrew from the talks -- and that's the Republicans… Independents voted for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections because they wanted checks and balances; they wanted to reduce deficit and debt spending. But they did not vote for dysfunctional government, and they certainly did not vote for default. The polls showing that independent voters say they will blame Republicans more than Democrats for a U.S. default reflects this disconnect.
  • Poll: US voters blame Republicans, Obama on jobs (Reuters) Obama receives higher marks from independent voters than Republicans when it comes to jobs, but appeasing supporters in his own party could be a bigger challenge.
  • Obama, Boehner: Speechs without solutions (By Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun Times) Obama zoned in on the Tea Party freshmen in Congress, though not by name. "I realize that a lot of the new members of Congress and I don't see eye-to-eye on many issues. But we were each elected by some of the same Americans for some of the same reasons." Obama's message: The independent voters who sent Obama to the White House were also some of the people who voted for them. And they can be switch hitters again.
  • Cool Obama meets hot Boehner in dueling debt ceiling speeches (By Chris Cillizza, Washington Post/The Fix) Obama was aiming at the political middle — unaffiliated and independent voters who are seen as the most critical voting bloc heading into 2012. Those voters prize compromise and bipartisanship above any single issue and Obama repeatedly drove that message home.
  • A ‘Unique Opportunity’ on the Debt Ceiling, Lost (By JACKIE CALMES, NY Times) And while Mr. Obama also seeks to appeal to independent voters who make the difference in presidential elections, many Democrats complain he is too willing to compromise, potentially disillusioning their party’s voters and muddying the case against Republicans for proposing much deeper entitlement program cuts. Mr. Boehner’s problem is that some otherwise persuadable Republicans worry less about the general election than party primaries, and fear they could draw a conservative rival by supporting a deal with Mr. Obama.

So, who's to blame for the debt lid gridlock in Washington? "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" put together a panel of independent voters to address the question.

Im an Independent Voter, Can I Vote in the Primary in Arizona?

Independents have to pick a primary in state elections. Call for top two open primaries!

  • Voter registration, early voting increase in Arizona (By The Associated Press, Officials also say about 13,000 people registered as independent voters, while the number of registered Republicans and Democrats fell.
  • More voters walking away from Democrat and Republican parties (AZ Central/Laurie Roberts' Columns & Blog) Meanwhile, with each set of new registration numbers, more and more Arizona voters are walking away from the two-party system. Yet the system remains, just as it has since statehood. When are we going to get around to dropping this antiquated system and going to a general and a runoff, where everybody votes on all the candidates regardless of party designation?

I'm an Independent Voter, Can I Vote in the Primary in West Virginia?

GOP Votes to Stick With Primary (By Whitney Burdette, WTRF) State Republican Executive Committee voted Saturday to select presidential nominee by primary - “Albeit we’d love to pick early, we think it’s important that voters not be confused by the process,” he said. “Independents are able to participate in our process. In the convention format, independent voters were unable to participate.”

From Wikipedia:
In West Virginia, where state law allows parties to determine whether primaries are open to independents, Republican primaries are open to independents, while Democratic primaries were closed. However, as of April 1, 2007, West Virginia's Democratic Party opened its voting to allow "individuals who are not affiliated with any existing recognized party to participate in the election process".

NJ: Of Independents and Sunflowers

Meet the man who should be governor of NJ, if we had any sense (Jeff Edelstein column, The Trentonian) Some of you may remember Kostas; he ran for governor in 2009. (For those keeping score at home, he lost.) But he did manage to get some 2,500 votes, which ain’t so terrible for an Independent candidate who had no chance of winning. Clearly, his message got through to a few of us. He called his party the “For the People,” and what he believed then rings so true today, it made me forget all about the 12-foot sunflower looming overhead.

Who's Behind Americans Elect and What Can We Learn About Democracy From Them?

Interesting read from Micah Sifry at techPresident on Americans Elect, focused on its financial and political backing.

Americans Elect: Can an Internet-Powered 3rd Party Transform 2012? (Micah L. Sifry, techPresident) While AE says its delegates will drive the party's policies, it isn't just the hidden powers of the executive board that concern me. In our conversation last fall, Ackerman described wanting a process that would insure that the candidates of the party would present a balanced ticket representing the middle between the extremes of the two major parties. Experts from both sides of the political spectrum, he said, would be recruited to help frame the questions that candidates will be required to answer as part of the party's virtual primary process. But what is the "centrist" position on the minimum wage, I asked Ackerman. What is the "centrist" position on Afghanistan? In both cases, majority public opinion is well to the "left" of the center, if you define that center by taking an expert from each political party (or their related policy shops) and halving the difference. But Ackerman didn't have a reply, other than to say "We're an inkblot in the middle. How big it is depends on how the two oligopolists [i.e. the major parties] respond."

Monday, July 25, 2011

pretending to be a cat

Cutting Through the Democrat/Republican Reality Fog-Machine

How Obama Can Be a Non-Partisan President (Jacqueline Salit, Huffington Post) Both President Obama and the Republican-led Congress seem to be grappling with this very tension in the budget negotiations going on now. Republicans won control of the House in 2010 because independent voters put them there. Obama won the White House in 2008 because independents chose him. Yet the budget negotiations -- both in their form and in their content -- are thoroughly rooted in a Democrat/Republican reality.
President Pushover (Paul Krugman, NY Times/The Conscience of a Liberal) Even people who are supposedly well informed believe that there was a vast expansion of government under Obama, when in fact there wasn’t. So we’re supposed to believe that independent voters will actually be able to cut through the fog — the deliberate fog of Fox, the he-said-she-said of most other media organizations — and give him credit for spending cuts?
Is Obama seizing the political center? (By Julian E. Zelizer, CNN) Obama has aggressively moved forward on an issue that has caused concern for many moderate and independent voters. By allying with some Senate Republicans, he has made the House GOP look like extremists who are more interested in tying up Congress than in reducing the deficit.
Report: On Debt, Democrats Rebel Against Compromiser-in-Chief (Ari Melber, The Nation) Obama has made Republicans "look bad," Drew concludes, but he is not actually getting much for it.  I'd go even further. By fully caving on this stand-off, where the White House is backed by the general public and large swaths of the GOP (the financial community and the well-informed), Obama would not only fail to impress independent voters, he'd ensure a drubbing on a series of future fights, large and small, with his unreasonable opponents.
Obama takes political, policy gamble on ‘big deal’ (By Zachary A. Goldfarb, Washington Post/Business) Unlike congressional Republicans and Democrats, who have to worry about what primary voters think of a deal when they’re up for reelection next year, Obama is focused on the views of independent voters in the general election. In polls, independents still show support for Obama, but his numbers have come down significantly since he took office.
Matthews Panelist Predicts Obama Will Use the ‘Politics of Fear’ to win re-Election (Fox Nation) New York magazine’s John Heilemann warned Matthews that this time around in 2012, the “hope” is very much gone and Obama’s strategy will be the “politics of fear.”

Americans Elect: Online Democracy for Nominating a 2012 Presidential Candidate's founder Peter Ackerman has bankrolled a new petitioning drive/ internet presidential nomination process that hopes to bring forth a "centrist" or bi-partisan 2012 candidate. Americans Elect participants go online and create a profile of their priorities and will eventually create the debate, make choices for candidates, and hopefully influence the 2012 race. Whether the Unity '08 strategy of a bipartisan ticket can be revived this year, and whether there even is such a thing as a political "center" in America, remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, the group's on-the-ground petitioning drive is already impressive! 50-state access by an independent ticket to the Presidential ballot has been done twice before in the past 25 years -- Lenora Fulani in 1988, and Ross Perot in 1992.

Unfortunately, however, the very issue that can free us up from the partisan gridlock -- political reforms such as open primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, initiative and referendum, etc. -- is not an available choice on the Americans Elect profile at the moment. We would urge Americans Elect to include STRUCTURAL POLITICAL REFORM as a choice for priority. Working along side Jackie Salit's networks and other extra-partisan efforts could be powerful.

Whatever the outcome of the American's Elect process, The Hankster wishes the initiative all the best.

  • Make Way for the Radical Center (By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NY Times) Thanks to a quiet political start-up that is now ready to show its hand, a viable, centrist, third presidential ticket, elected by an Internet convention, is going to emerge in 2012. … (President Obama should dump the Democrats and run as an independent, which he is, at heart, anyway.)
  • The Web’s Stealth Presidential Race - Big names have quietly launched an Internet presidential race that will offer the winner a real election ballot spot in all 50 states. Will this be 2012’s spoiler? (John Avlon, The Daily Beast) That’s the idealist vision driving a new group, Americans Elect, which has quietly collected enough signatures to secure a 2012 ballot line in eight states, including Arizona, Michigan, and Missouri. They will soon submit an unprecedented 1.6 million signatures in California… The money behind Americans Elect understands disruptive business models. The group’s founder, entrepreneur Peter Ackerman (father of Elliot), started… He and some 50 other initial donors have loaned the organization $20 million, out of an eventual $30 million budgeted, to be repaid if small donors join on.

California: Top Two Open Primary + Independent Redistricting = Blow to Partisan System

CALIFORNIASteve Lambert: Redistricting's one-two punch (By Steve Lambert, Whittier Daily News) Shifts in population have forced a redrawing of lines throughout the state, and for the first time since 1992, those choices aren't being made by politicians, rather by a citizens panel that may just well be the most powerful Californians this side of the prison guards union.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CBS Early Show: Independents Talk with John Avlon and Margaret Hoover About the Debt Debate

Independent voters pin blame in debt gridlock CBS News VIDEO (CBS News)
"The Early Show on Saturday Morning" put together a panel of independent voters to address the question. They were joined by two analysts of different political stripes who happen to be husband and wife: Margaret Hoover, who was an aide to President George W. Bush and is the author of "American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party," and John Avlon, the senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Some of the independents were:

Deficit talks strain Obama's bipartisanship goals - He took office with a promise to overcome partisanship in the political process, but with debt negotiations apparently collapsing, the president's options are narrowing. (By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau, LA Times) But if no solution emerges in time to avoid a default, Obama may revert to a more partisan role rather than try to mediate between the parties.

State Politics in Utah and New York

Gay Utah Democratic boss moves beyond sexuality (By JOSH LOFTIN, Associated Press, Mercury News) "We appreciate diversity ... there's an opportunity for us to say to independent voters and disenfranchised Republicans to come to the party of common sense," Dabakis said.

County Independence Party Head Supports Wilkinson Over Cohen Despite Local Party’s Wishes
(The Sag Harbor Express) “We are getting ready for our campaign,” said Jones. “I am working for Zach and he has our support, regardless. The bright spot is I believe Zachary Cohen has been endorsed by the Working Families party and that is where I will vote for him because he is the candidate who cares about the working people of East Hampton.”

Bill Gates' Illusive Quest for Better Schools

Below is a WSJ article about the decade-long $5-billion investment by Bill Gates in the current education system and its failures. A quicker and easier route to better schools is outlined in the special report on solving the education crisis in America, "Let's Pretend!" by Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani -- a must read for anyone involved in education reform.

Was the $5 Billion Worth It? - A decade into his record-breaking education philanthropy, Bill Gates talks teachers, charters—and regrets. (By JASON L. RILEY, Wall Street Journal) One of the foundation's main initial interests was schools with fewer students. In 2004 it announced that it would spend $100 million to open 20 small high schools in San Diego, Denver, New York City and elsewhere. Such schools, says Mr. Gates, were designed to—and did—promote less acting up in the classroom, better attendance and closer interaction with adults. "But the overall impact of the intervention, particularly the measure we care most about—whether you go to college—it didn't move the needle much," he says.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Obama Would Do Well to Remember the Independents


  • Guest columnist: Washington should not forget the independents (Des Moines Register) Obama would do well, not just to remember that history but to make it a more visible feature of how he governs. Independents catapulted him — first to the Democratic nomination and then to the White House.
  • The Rise of the Political Independents - Americans are increasingly alienated from the two parties (by R. Michael Alvarez in The Psychology Behind Political Debate, Psychology Today) To reiterate: rather than becoming more partisan, Americans are becoming more politically independent. Thus, there has been far too much focus on partisan polarization, and not enough focus on the growing tendency of Americans to proclaim independence from the two major political parties.
  • YOUNG HISPANICS COULD BECOME THE NEWEST INDEPENDENTS (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN) Given the specific issues noted in this survey, this could indicate that these young minorities are open to becoming fiscal libertarians.  Issues highlighted in surveying young Hispanic preferences on economic policy include less government interference, lower taxes on business profits, reduced federal spending, and specifically effecting more cuts in federal spending rather than raising taxes to address the economic crisis. Noteworthy is that attitudes regarding limiting the government's role is supported by a strong majority of young Hispanics.
  • Officials recall local elections and the issues that drive them (BY BRIAN ANDERSON, SOUTH BERGENITE, A new study from the Pew Research Center shows more voters identify themselves as independents than in the past-37 percent of voters identify themselves as independents, up from 30 percent in 2005. Pew also found although many of those independents do not identify with a party, they aren't in the middle of the political spectrum either.
  • Unfavorable Ratings for Both Major Parties Near Record Highs (By NATE SILVER, NY Times/GiveThirtyEight) But there are also downside cases for both the president and the Congress. Mr. Obama’s post-partisan branding, evident especially during the early phases of his 2008 campaign, has been submerged by parties that continue to become more partisan on the one hand and less popular on the other. 
  • GOP Makes Big Gains among White Voters, Especially among the Young and Poor (Pew Research Center) Analysis of the overall balance of partisan identification in all Pew Research Center polling conducted in each year – updated with data from the first six months of 2011 –finds that as the number of Democrats has fallen from a quarter-century high in 2008, the number of self-proclaimed independents has continued to grow. As a result, there are now as many independent voters as Democrats (34% each) – the first time this has occurred in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, and, by all indications, the highest percent independent since party identification was first measured in the late 1930s.

Independent Gov Candidate Gatewood Galbraith For Kentucky's Perennial Problems

Try 5 for Gatewood (GREG STOTELMYER, WTVQ) Galbraith has run three times in the Democratic primary, once as the Reform Party candidate and now as an independent candidate.   “A perennial candidate?  Kentucky's got perennial problems,” said Galbraith.

Friday, July 22, 2011

satchel - just sayin'...

Kyle Chamberlin, Independent for South Bend Common Council, District Four

An independent choice for city voters (KYLE E. CHAMBERLIN, South Bend Tribune) From what I've found, I may be the first independent candidate on a ballot for local office in more than 80 years. I recognize that status is not the fast track to a career in politics. However, I view public service as a calling, not a career. I would rather take the difficult path than bow to conventional wisdom. When fellow residents consider where they realistically fall on the philosophical spectrum, I expect my stand for cooperation and common sense will be a fruitful one. And I trust my lack of political party affiliation serves as evidence of my genuine intent to do things differently.

UPDATE: You can see Chamberlin's (very hip) campaign website here

Cyndi Lesher: Minnesota Needs Ranked Choice Voting

If we want to swap polarization for moderation, we should adopt Ranked Choice Voting (By Cyndi Lesher, Under our "plurality-take-all" system, candidates win by mobilizing their party base and scaring undecided and independent voters away from their opponents. Divide-and-conquer campaigns work in a system that locks voters into a "lesser-of-two-evils" choice.

Gatewood Galbraith Files for Gov in Kentucky as Independent

Galbraith files to become independent candidate for governor (By Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald Leader) Saying Kentuckians are "so disgusted with the status quo" in Frankfort, Gatewood Galbraith turned in 7,396 signatures with the secretary of state's office Thursday morning to become an independent candidate in this year's race for governor.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stay Tuned: Independent Voters Talk with John Avlon and Margaret Hoover on CBS The Early Show Saturday Morning

Independents continue to add their voice to the national debate on the debt ceiling and budget negotiations. 

Tune in Saturday morning, July 23rd to CBS's "The Early Show " 7:00 - 9:00 am/ET, for a panel discussion moderated by John Avlon and Margaret Hoover featuring a group of NYC independents.

Also, next Wednesday, July 27th at 8:15 am/ET, catch Jackie Salit on "Fox and Friends."

Jackie's most recent oped, "How Obama can be a Non-Partisan President " was published in the Huffington Post and is slated to appear this weekend in the Des Moines Register.

Finally, in case you missed it, check out this segment from "Fox and Friends " featuring independent voters John Opdycke from New York, Greg Moohn in the DC bureau and Linda Ricke in Tallahassee, Florida.

kentucky independents at the gate

Courtesy Michael Lewis of Independent Kentucky
Independents file for KY gov race

What Can Change in America: The Structure of Politics

A way out of our dysfunctional politics (By Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post/Opinions) What has steadily changed over the past three or four decades is not so much the ideological intensity (though it has grown) but the structure of politics, making it more beholden to narrow, specialized interests — including ideological ones — rather than broader national ones....

...It’s depressing — but the fact that our politics are the result of structural shifts means that they can be changed. Mickey Edwards, a Republican and a former House member from Oklahoma, has a highly intelligent essay in Atlantic magazine, suggesting a series of reforms that could make a difference. Some of them are large-scale, such as creating truly open primaries and handing over the power of redistricting to independent commissions. Others are seemingly small but crucial changes in congressional procedure and practice, for example, filling committee vacancies by lot and staffing committees with professionals rather than with political apparatchiks.... [more]

For more on this topic, read Jackie Salit's The Parties Are Over from NY Newsday, October 2010

Ordinary Independent Citizens Should Not Be Asked to Stand Aside for Rabid Partisan Choices

Phil Power: Partisanship threatens public confidence (Livingston Daily - MI) So he seems to be saying that ordinary citizens (otherwise known as independent voters) should simply stand aside while the rabid partisans choose two candidates at either extremes. Then, maybe, the rest of us might be allowed to pick between the two. That's not my idea of democracy. What worked so well for years was the acceptance of the necessity of compromise.

NY Assembly 23 Special Election Shaping Up


  • Queens Dems Respond To Koch Bid For GOP Vote Swing (John Toscano, Queens Gazette) In admonishing Koch for his opposition to Weprin, Silver acknowledged that Obama has a problem with Jewish New Yorkers, but electing a Republican to take the 9th CD seat was not the answer. Koch had said electing Republican Turner to the long-held Democratic seat would send a message to Obama that his position on Israel was wrong.
  • QUEENS GOP NOMINATES THREE IN SPECIAL ELECTIONS (John Toscano, Queens Gazette) In the 23d AD (Rockaway), County Chairman Phil Ragusa announced, the party nominated Jane Deacy, of Rockaway, the candidate against Democrat Phillip Goldfeder, in the election to fill Audrey Pheffer’s seat. Deacy is a former police officer, a grandmother, and co-leader with Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-C-Ozone Park).
  • Previewing the Special Elections (Gotham Gazette/The Wonkster) The Towns faction and the Lopez faction have been at odds, and some see the outcome of this as a high-stakes proxy fight. ” If Deidra Towns is victorious, the argument goes, there would be a ripple effect for the congressional players involved…. The other races seem more clear-cut. In the 23rd Assembly District in Queens, Philip Golfeder, an aide to Sen. Charles Schumer and former aide to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and onetime City Councilmember Simcha Felder, has Democratic, Independence and Working Families Party backing for the seat in the 23rd district, left vacant when Audrey Pheffer left to become Queens County clerk. Jane Deacy is the Republican/Conservative candidate. Vivian Carter has filed to get on the ballot as the Green Party candidate but documents from the Board of Elections indicate possible problems with her filing papers.
  • Party claims GOP stole its line (Justin Murphy The Citizen, Leaders of the Cayuga County Independence Party, unhappy about the slate of Republicans that will appear on its ballot line this November, are asking the county Board of Elections to remove them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Independent Voters on Budget Negotiations

38% of American voters consider themselves to be independent.

John Opdycke of, Gregory Moohn of Independent Workers of America, and Linda Ricke of Florida Sunshine Independents

campaign for congressional hearings on second class status of independent voters

Massachusetts Coalition of Independent Voters

Independent Voters, Congress, and the Debt Debate

  • INDEPENDENT VOTERS BELIEVE CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ARE MORE PARTISAN THAN DEMOCRATS (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN) 71% of these unaffiliated voters say congressional Republicans are now acting more like partisan Republicans. 65% think that congressional Democrats are governing like partisan Democrats. Inside-the-Beltway politics in the eyes of 72% of unaffiliated voters will likely become more partisan over the next year. 
  • House passes GOP debt measure; Obama praises compromise plan (By Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen, CNN) A CBS News poll released Monday indicates that two-thirds of Americans say any agreement should include spending reductions and tax hikes, with 28% saying a deal should only include spending cuts and 3% saying it should only include tax increases. According to the survey, there is little partisan divide on the question. More than seven out of 10 Democrats and more than two-thirds of independent voters support a balanced approach, as do 55% of Republicans and 53% of self-described tea party movement supporters.
  • Commentary: Debt debate shows two-party system doesn't work (By Larry Mendte, Fox59 - Bloomington) I urge Independents to run for office and i urge independent voters to seek out and support those candidates. You want real change than change the system because it doesn’t work.
  • Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff (By: CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Alan Silverleib)
  • GOP’s Debt Kamikazes (John Avlon, The Daily Beast) The fact that defaulting on our debt would raise interest rates—deepening the fiscal hole we’re in by compounding the size of our deficit and debt overnight—is not addressed.  Instead we are greeted with nihilistic bubble talk...

California's Top Two Open Primary Challenged by Democrat-Tea Partier

TOP-TWO OPEN PRIMARY FACES LEGAL CHALLENGE FROM DEMOCRAT-TURNED-TEA PARTY ACTIVIST (by Damon Eris,  CAIVN) Having voted for himself as a write-in candidate in the special general election, Galacki seeks to challenge top-two both as a registered voter who was prohibited from running for the office as a write-in candidate and as a voter who cast a write-in ballot that was not counted.

Kentucky's Gatewood Galbraith to Announce Independent Candidacy for Gov

Galbraith to officially enter governor's race (Fox 19) Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith is expected to officially enter the governor's race as an independent candidate later this week.

Staten Island Independence Party Chair Sarah Lyons: County Exec Committee Will Consider Backing Donovan

Independence Party backs Donovan in bid for 3rd term (By Tom Wrobleski, Staten Island Advance) Borough Independence chair Sarah Lyons said that Donovan has "had a positive relationship with the county organization for many years now." She said the county executive committee will meet with Donovan and vote on the endorsement later this summer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

mani's nainital

Mani Yadav, an open source activist and photographer

coming soon

Independent Voters and the Debt Debate


  • How Obama Can Be a Non-Partisan President (Jacqueline Salit, Huffington Post) For many independents, it's not enough for Obama to simply criticize Congressional leaders for their partisan intransigence. He has to show that he's willing to back certain structural changes in the political process that make such intransigence more difficult. This means taking a stand in support of open primaries where independents can vote, which are currently under fire from right wing Republicans. And, imagine the shock waves that would follow an Obama appointment (in consultation with leaders of the independent movement) of two independents to vacant seats on the Federal Election Commission.
  • The Real Debt Deal (Dylan Ratigan, Huffington Post) We need a new global restructuring of our obligations, a new Bretton Woods or Brady Bonds solution. Greece should not be descending into poverty, it has an educated workforce and wonderful traditions. American homeowners shouldn't be under siege by creditor predator banks, and millions of us shouldn't be unemployed as debt-holders forced into a Survivor-like fight with each other over scraps. We cannot allow giant creditors to turn fights over debt into currency wars, and then into real wars.
  • Voters dis dysfunction: Hear that D.C. debt ceiling players? (Posted by Joni Balter, Seattle Times/Ed cetera) And mostly, I have been thinking about independent voters in particular who, as a group, expect flexible, creative ideas for problem-solving, and, holy cow, that means both sides have to give a little to help the country. 
  • Partisan Myopia Can Be Deadly - Republicans are fixated on the conservative base, but independent voters could make them pay for that in 2012. (Charlie Cook, National Journal/Off to the Races) Independent voters are overwhelmingly nonideological and don’t like Washington, politicians, or political parties. They hate the fighting and the sophomoric, partisan towel-snapping that is routine here. Independents are pragmatic. They just want the place to function.
  • EDITORIAL: Debt crisis gamemanship (North County Times and The Californian opinion) As the past three presidents have shown, it is the center ---- the independent voters unaffiliated with a political party ---- that controls political power in this country. And the center is demanding that Congress raise the debt ceiling
  • Hope Fades for Much Good to Come From Deficit Fight (By GERALD F. SEIB, Wall Street Journal/Capital Journal) Oddly, both the president and his Republican foes sensed that a big deficit-cutting deal was in Mr. Obama's interests, which, given the counter-intuitive way Washington works, probably made it harder to achieve.
  • The real deal on the debt debate (By: Joe Scarborough, Politico) That’s a trifecta worth playing for a president who desperately seeks approval from the same independent voters who elected him in 2008 and abandoned him two years later. The White House sees its rivals destroying themselves, so should they interrupt all the fun with a deal that is actually good for America?… The center of Ronald Reagan’s party cannot hold because there is no center to a political organization whose most influential members of late have been Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
  • CBS Poll: 71% Disapprove of Republican Handling of Debt Limit Crisis (POSTED BY JOE GANDELMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, The Moderate Voice) A new CBS news poll has bad news for Republicans on the debt limit, politician-created crisis: Americans are unhappy with the political class’ performance on the issue but give Republicans ratings so low that they virtually spell out t-r-o-u-b-l-e with the independent voters the GOP will need to win in 2012.

Tiffin Ohio City Council Discusses Non-Partisan Voting System

Council OKs charter issues (By Nick Dutro, The Advertiser-Tribune - Tiffin OH) The most discussed was a proposal for an open-primary voting system, which would allow candidates to declare party affiliation or run non-partisan but would move the top two vote-getters to the general election regardless of party.

Independent Candidate for West Virginia Supreme Court Vows Grassroots Campaign

Allen Loughry Is Supreme Court Hopeful (By JOSELYN KING Political Writer, The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register) Loughry is the author of the book "Don't Buy Another Vote, I Won't Pay for a Landslide," which details the history of political corruption in West Virginia… "Political party traditionalists will be stunned at end of day," he added. "We will be a well-funded campaign, and we will win a seat on the court."

Monday, July 18, 2011

California Political Landscape Changing

Debt crisis may help Obama woo independent voters (By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press) The "American people" who are up for grabs on Election Day are mostly independents. Obama's allies hope they see the president as the adult in the room in the debt ceiling confrontation, and will reward that role 16 months from now.

The region’s political landscape is changing (Pacific Coast Business Times) Whether her opponent is conservative Tom Watson or more moderate former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, it will likely be independent voters, not hard-line party members, who decide who will represent the two counties in Congress.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

mama we ain't got no home, papa says back water left us all alone

thanks to Ramblin' Jack Elliot - High Water Blues

trouble the water

thanks to ramsey lewis

the city that goes to bed really late and gets up really early

Elyse Mendel

Congress Serving Party, Not Country, in Debt Debate

Debt ceiling struggle exposing dysfunction in the U.S. political system (By John Farmer, The Star-Ledger) Once elected, too many members of Congress feel little or no obligation to serve independent interests — or even what they know is best for the country. They serve the perceived interests of their party’s base — its primary election voters.

Utah Independents Give Huntsman 61 Percent Approval Rating

Against Obama, Utahns favor Huntsman over Romney (Salt Lake Tribune/Political Cornflakes) Utah Democrats give Huntsman a 69 percent approval rating and independents offer him a 61 percent approval rating. The former Utah governor would rake in 28 percent of Democrats over Obama, the poll shows, and leads the president among independents by 39 points.

Open Primaries Bring Independent Voters to the Table in 2012

  • Marin Voice: New campaign laws could impact Marin congressional race (By Richard Rubin, Marin Independent Journal) That answer is less predictable after passage of Proposition 14 last November, ushering in open primaries that permit the two top vote-getters, irrespective of party affiliation, to face off in the general election. This increases the chances for more vote-splitting — especially if other high-profile Democrats should decide to enter the race… While this could create some openings, even for minority party candidates, given the numerical and fund-raising disadvantages, it is unlikely any could mount a strong enough contest.
  • Primary confusion (Toledo Blade) But some Republicans want a closed caucus. Because Michigan, unlike Ohio, has no party registration, Democrats and independents are free to vote in a GOP primary.

Iowa Independents Outnumber Dems and Repubs

GOP, Democrats say focus will be on Iowa Senate (By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune) "I think when it's all said and done, it's up to the independent voters," Gronstal said. "They've often said it's good to have divided government." Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Iowa by about 646,000 to 610,000, but there are more independent voters than members of either party: nearly 702,000.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

nova scotia

Cathy L. Stewart

NY: Can We Make Progress Over Partisanship?


  • Working Families Party Demands More Probes Into News Corp.'s "Criminal Activity" (BY ALEX KATZ, Daily News) "It's time for the political class in New York to stand up to these bullies," he added. "The New York Post, Col Allen, and Roger Ailes have set the agenda for our state for far too long. It's time to move on."
  • UPDATE: Bloomberg gives $10,300 to Independent Democrat Conference members (WNYC/The Empire) “He’s been very supportive of us when we formed and what we stand for, and certainly what we’ve done this session,” Azzopardi said. “Above all else we [all] value progress over partisanship.”
  • Cuomo Plays Both Sides In Political Duel (By HENRY STERN, Queens Tribune) The reform movement in New York State public affairs, which consists of traditional, well-regarded government organizations, joined by Mayor Ed Koch’s New York Uprising, has made independent redistricting a priority for 2011. So far the legislature has ignored their wishes, instead convening its own instrument for redistricting, called LATFOR, an acronym for Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment.

Kentucky Independent Gov Candidate Gatewood Galbraith Wants to End Partisan Politics

Williams and Galbraith debate (Written by Scott Wartman, NKY.COM) Two of the three gubernatorial candidates debated in Covington Thursday afternoon, Republican State Senate President David Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith... Galbraith blamed partisan politics for Kentucky’s woes and said as an independent, he will work with both sides of the aisle.

California Top Two Open Primary Creates Opportunity

Editorial: Who'll fill void left by Nielsen and LaMalfa? (Redding Record Searchlight) Last but far from least, no current incumbent lives in either the Assembly or the Senate district, though some might well move. That — along with the new open primaries next year — raises the prospect of wide-open legislative races in the districts that include Shasta County. And that means opportunity. Shasta County once routinely supplied the political leaders who represented the north state in Sacramento, but the area lost its mojo about a decade ago.

Debt Debate: Independents Say Wealthy and Corporations Should Share Tax Load


  • Polls: Should any debt ceiling agreement include tax increases? (By: CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser) As expected, there's a partisan divide on that question, with Democrats by an 87 to 7 percent margin and independents by at 66 to 26 percent margin saying that tax increases for the wealthy and corporations should be included. But by 48 to 43 percent plurality, Republicans disagree that taxes should be included.
  • Debt talks yield little more than partisan positioning for 2012 (By Lesley Clark and David Lightman, Sac Bee) Polls show that independent voters are concerned about the country's mounting debt, and unlike Republican lawmakers, aren't opposed to taxing the wealthy or closing corporate tax loopholes to do something about it, Miringoff said. "The reason we're seeing a lot of President Obama, more than ever before, is he really has public opinion on his side," Miringoff said.
  • Liberal group threatens to pull Obama support (AP) About a dozen people representing the Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered what they said were 200,000 pledges from people who will refuse to donate or volunteer for Obama's re-election campaign if he cuts the entitlement programs. "It's not a question of who they're going to support for president, they're going to vote for Barack Obama. It's a question of where their time and money is going to go," spokesman T. Neil Sroka said.
  • Why is Obama taking fire from left? (By CARL P. LEUBSDORF, The Dallas Morning News in Nashua Telegraph) And while his job approval has dropped 20 points from post-inaugural highs, that mostly occurred among Republicans and independents who didn’t vote for him. Still, friendly fire attacks persist, even though Obama is presiding over the most liberal administration since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s.

NC: Using Voting Rights Act to Create Safe Seats

Chris Fitzsimon: GOP's redistricting reversal (Daily Reflector - Greenville NC) The plans pack African-American voters to increase the number of safe Republican seats and diminish the influence of African-Americans across the state. Republicans cynically defend that practice by pointing to the Voting Rights Act, a law Republicans have long criticized and some have fought to repeal. No independent commission would ever draw maps that look anything like the ones the Republicans are now proposing. They are literally choosing their voters to stay in power and that is exactly what they promised not to do.

Wisconsin: Politics of Cynicism Inconsistent with Healthy Democracy

Commentary: This isn’t what democracy looks like (By: John Franco, Morris Sun Tribune) These cynical partisan strategies are ploys for winning political advantage at all costs. They may cause a backlash. The public can and will vote the Republican Party out of office if it goes too far. The politics of cynicism will not stand. It's inconsistent with a healthy democracy.