Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Friday, December 07, 2012

Hankster News of the Day for Independent Voters - December 7

  • MTA’s Lhota poised for GOP mayor run (By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief, NY POST) Independence Party strategist Jacqueline Salit said she has yet to hear from Lhota. A potential rival, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, turned up at the party’s annual “anti-corruption awards” ceremony last weekend.
  • Quinn: 'I've been independent for a long time' (By Azi Paybarah, Capital New York) The ceremony at the Tribeca Grill was the 13th Annual Anti-Corruption Awards, along with Carrion and Quinn, also included State Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat who has met with local Republican chairmen about the possibility of running for mayor on that party's line. Pollster Doug Schoen, a Democrat who has done extensive work with Bloomberg and has carved out a niche doing surveys that find a public hunger for post-partisan centrism, was also in attendance…. Carrion said he had "declared my independence," and "it feels good."
  • Mayoral hopefuls court city Independence Party (by Chris Bragg, Crain's New York/insider) Three mayoral hopefuls—Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Queens state Sen. Malcolm Smith and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión—are expected to attend the New York City Independence Party’s “13th Annual Anti-Corruption Awards” ceremony this Sunday, a party spokeswoman said.
  • 13th Annual Ant-Corruption Awards (Michael Drucker, The Independent View) WITH VIDEO - "A candidate's registration is not a deciding factor for us," Jacqueline Salit, a leader of the Independence Party said. "That's one of the great things about having fusion politics. But we're very gratified Carrion became an independent and we're very gratified that the three candidates came here today."
     NOTE: Michael Drucker is a Former Member, New York State Committee of the Independence Party (73rd AD - Eastside Manhattan) and 4th Term Member, New York City Independence Party Organizations - Manhattan Executive Committee and County Committee, representing the 73rd AD. He created his blog in April 2007.
  • Christine Quinn Congratulates Jacqueline Salit (via @capitalnewyork) VIDEO
  • Bill Thompson 'obviously' will talk with the Independence Party (By Azi Paybarah, Capital New York) In 2009, Bill Thompson received more votes for mayor on the Democratic line than Mayor Michael Bloomberg received on the Republican line, but Bloomberg prevailed in the unexpectedly close race thanks to the 150,073 votes he secured on the Independence Party line.

NY1 Blog: NY1's Bob Hardt Reports On Sandy From Rockaway Beach (NY1) There continues to be mounting frustration from other residents here. The Red Cross is quickly becoming the villain because it has been invisible. It's a bad sign for the world that Occupy Wall Street and a Sikh group from Queens are doing a better job at distributing hot food than the largest international relief group in the world. It was also bizarre to see Independence Party activist Lenora Fulani tour the area with State Senator Malcolm Smith -- but at least she's here.



Election Results and Analysis (Pacific Dreams New York Life) Previous to Stein's historic success on Tuesday, the most votes ever received by a female presidential candidate were the nearly 220,000 votes won by Lenora Fulani, New Alliance Party candidate for president in 1988. (NOTE: The photo-montage on this blog by Gregory Rosenthal is worth a peek!)

Monday, December 03, 2012

NYC Independence Party Anti-Corruption Awards Honors Jacqueline Salit, Stephanie Orasco and New Possibilities President Jackie Salit accepting an 2012 Anti-Corruption Award from the NYC Independence Party Organizations, with congratulations to Univeristy of North Carolina at Greensboro independent organizer sister-awardee Stehpanie Orasco. Presented by the NYC Independence Party and Cathy L. Stewart, John Opdycke. Special guests NY State Senator Malcolm Smith, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr.

Video by Sandy Friedman

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"No Party Preference" Fastest-Growing California Electorate Segment

Independent candidates sparse in California despite voter gains (By the Associated Press, The Reporter Vacaville CA) Voters who declare "no party preference" have been the fastest-growing segment of the California electorate and this year hit 21 percent of its 18.2 million registered voters. That is just 8 percentage points behind those registering as Republicans, who now account for less than 30 percent.

  • In 2014, All Initiatives Should Be on June Ballot (By Joe Mathews, NBC San Diego blog) Because the real general election in California is now in June, not November. This change in the general election was part of the establishment of the top-two primary, but few have remarked on this reality because of all the confusion about the top two.
  • Open primary defeat not just about money (Yuma Sun) It is a system that puts emphasis on candidate competence, not party politics. Winners may be from the same party or separate parties. It doesn't matter because the goal is to get the best office holders, not the best person from each party. It is essentially a nonpartisan form of election, and that is what makes it attractive to supporters who want to rid the election process of the current bitter partisan rivalries between parties.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What If We All Become Independent Voters?

  • What if we all become 'independent' voters? (Letter to the Editor, Kennebec Journal) If millions of citizens changed their voter registration to "independent" or "unaffiliated," we would be letting Congress know that they have lost our party loyalty and now we want to see performance. Let them know their party system is in jeopardy of becoming very irrelevant.
Friendly amendment: Let them know their party system HAS BECOME very irrelevant...
  • Overselling the importance of independent voters (Posted by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post/The Fact Checker) The “independent” vote is a political chimera — an ever-changing organism that does not shed much light on who is going to win the election. Political ideology is a much better guide to figuring out who is going to be the winner — and the loser.

  • The Top-Two Verdict: Little Gains, Plenty of Costs The top-two system produced few little gains -- not nearly enough to make up for its costs. (By Joe Mathews, NBC San Diego/Prop Zero) Let's hope California's good government community comes to its senses and takes a clear-eyed look at the evidence. Louisiana and Washington state have shifted to top two -- with no discernible positive impact on their politics. And, unfortunately, other states, unaware of the costs, are considering top two. The good news is that Arizona voters turned down top two.
  • More top-two primaries like Washington’s could be the answer to crippling political partisanship (By Kate Riley, Seattle Times editorial page editor) Washington state’s top-two primary is a model for the nation. Author Mickey Edwards suggests other states should follow Washington to send more moderates to Congress…. “The revolution is starting,” Edwards said. “It’s started in Washington and California.”
  • How to win in California's top-two system (by Sean J. Miller, Campaigns and Elections) Thrown together by redistricting in a conjoined San Fernando Valley seat, Berman initially faced Sherman in the June primary, which was the first statewide use of California's new top-two system. Berman lost by 10 points, but instead of going home under the new rules he advanced to the November election as the second-place finisher.
  • How much did the Top Two Primary change California elections? (Ed Coghlan, California Forward) It’s a question that will be better answered after Tuesday’s election, but there’s no doubt it has changed the political landscape of the Golden State. At least that’s the conclusion of political scientists from Cal Tech and MIT who are studying the state’s new primary system. In 2010, California voters changed the primary system by approving Prop. 14, which reduces the influence of the political parties. Rather than having a guaranteed Democrat and Republican in a November general election, the new system selects the two candidates with the most votes for the November general election, even if they are from the same party.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cathy Stewart and Harry Kresky: Independent Voices on Arizona Failed Grassroots Effort to Win Top Two Nonpartisan Elections

NYC Independence Party chief organizer Cathy Stewart asks independent attorney Harry Kresky about the recent defeat of the Arizona initiative to secure nonpartisan elections. The parties don't favor non-partisan structural reform. Hmmm... Kresky talks about the fundamentals:

But the Supreme Court action does not mean the "Open Government/Open Elections'' initiative actually will be on the November ballot.

Independents Support Arizona Top-Two Open Primary Initiative

By | 10/15/2012 By | 10/15/2012, a national strategy, communications, and organizing center working to connect and empower the 40% of Americans who identify themselves as independents, has begun conducting a survey to educate and activate Arizona voters about Proposition 121, the Top-Two Open Primary Initiative.

Independent Leaders Cathy L. Stewart and Harry Kresky Parse the 2012 Obama Election

Amid a diverse community-based activist audience in New York City, NYC Independence Party leader Cathy L. Stewart and attorney Harry Kresky discuss the 2012 Obama-Romney election relative to independents at the recent Politics for the People forum at the beautiful Scholastic Inc. NY offices on Monday.

A few notes:
  • 45% of independents voted for Obama this year (compared with 52% in 2008) CORRECTED
  • independents were marginalized this year
  • the independent movement is growing, currently 40% of electorate
  • partisan registration is declining
  • we're facing more than just "problems" -- we're facing a major transformation of the global economy, a major cultural transformation in the US and elsewhere
  • independents keep working at the grassroots

Let's face it, changing our political culture is up to grassroots independents! As Cathy Stewart and Harry Kresky and the NYC Independence Party base discuss. Check back here for more clips from this meeting!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

nothing is so profound as the illusion of appearance

Hankster Weekend Roundup for Independent Voters - Nov 18

RNC report: Demographics, late voters sank Romney (Posted by Natalie Jennings, Washington Post/ Election 2012 Blog) Among the slides titled “What Happened?” are several devoted to turnout demographics. They note that the GOP made gains among independent voters but that Mitt Romney captured a very small share of young, black and Hispanic voters, while white voters made up a smaller portion of the electorate.

  • California's New Electoral Reforms: The Fall Election (Eric McGhee and Daniel Krimm, Public Policy Institute of California) The top-two primary also created more competition. All but one of the 28 same-party races occurred in districts that were unlikely to have hosted competitive races in the past. Roughly one-third of those races were decided by less than 10 points.
  • Viewpoints: California electoral reform fails its first test (By Steven Hill, Special to The Bee) The verdict is now in for the two political reforms pushed by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and passed by voters. Both the top-two primary and independent redistricting commission have failed to live up to their billing.


  • Partisan bias in U.S. House elections (By Rob Richie, OPINION Washington Post) [Rob Richie is executive director of FairVote, a nonpartisan organization based in Takoma Park.] Fair voting has great political potential, grounded in major parties that see the value in their candidates winning seats across the nation. It also would probably boost the election of women and racial minorities.
  • Below the Radar, a Good Year for Independent and Third-Party Senate Candidates (  Lost among the bigger elections stories last week was the quieter news that third party candidates for the U.S. Senate did quite well in several states. The highest profile race won by an independent was in Maine, where former two-term governor Angus King easily won his state’s open Senate seat with nearly 53% of the vote.
  • Registrar Blames Voters For Election Day Confusion (by Tikeyah Whittle, CT News Junkie) Urania Petit, the Working Families Party Registrar of Voters, said the biggest issue was the “lack of education about the political process.”

  • Likely Mayoral Hopeful Leaves Democratic Party (By DAVID W. CHEN, NY Times) Adolfo Carrión Jr., a former Bronx borough president and Obama administration official, is all but certain to jump into the 2013 mayor’s race, not as a Democrat, but rather as an independent seeking the Republican nomination, according to his spokesman and others.
    NOTE: Davidson Goldin 
  • Wanted: GOP Mayoral Hopeful With Vague Conservative Impulses, Massive Personal Wealth a Plus (By Colin Campbell, NY Observer/Politicker/ The Elephant Not in the Room) Tom Allon, Adolpho Carrion and… Meanwhile, Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith has been actively courting Republican officials in hopes of securing a spot on the ballot himself. “I’ll meet with anybody that’s interested in running on the line,” Bronx GOP Chair Jay Savino told us before Mr. Smith arrived at one such meeting in August.
  • Blank voter registrations on the rise (Carol Thompson, Valley News Online, Fulton NY and Oswego County) McDonough is allegedly one of a cadre of Democrats, including current and former elected officials, who 38 months ago forged signatures and information in excuse boxes, voted 54 absentee ballot applications and then cast them in the Sept. 15, 2009, Working Families Party primary for Troy City Council.
  • Third Party Groups Ponder Coalition, Some Want Bloomberg As Leader (By Elizabeth Flock, US News & World Report) But not everyone is on board with the New York City mayor, an independent who endorsed President Obama just before the election. "The mayor would certainly not represent our point of view," says Libertarian Party executive director Carla Howell, adding that Bloomberg doesn't fit the Libertarian Party's idea of limited government.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The New California: Top Two Open Primary Promotes Competitive Elections

California's New Electoral Reforms: The Fall Election (Eric McGhee and Daniel Krimm, Public Policy Institute of California)

Races were more competitive than in recent years, especially for Congress.
The new redistricting plans created more districts that were potentially competitive between the two major parties. Among races between candidates of opposing parties, 18% had a margin of victory of less than 10 points, up sharply from the 7% average of the last 10 years. The top-two primary also created more competition. All but one of the 28 same-party races occurred in districts that were unlikely to have hosted competitive races in the past. Roughly one-third of those races were decided by less than 10 points. This increased competition led to some increase in fundraising compared to the average over the last five election cycles: up $136,518 per candidate for the state Senate and $134,954 for the U.S. House, though down somewhat (-$103,780) for the Assembly. By comparison, the average House race received less money in the nation as a whole this year ($428,842 in 2012 vs. $459,085 from 2002 through 2010). Read more

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hankster News of the Day for Independent Voters - Nov. 14

  • Obama and Independents: The Micro, the Macro, and the Forest (Jacqueline Salit, Huffington Post) The Democrats have settled on an electoral strategy based on appealing to Americans on the basis of identity (ethnicity, gender, etc.) and the fear that the Republicans will shred the safety net. But sheer demographics and maintaining the status quo is not enough. Creative and innovative approaches to social and economic problems that are desperately needed, and are being worked on in the nonprofit sector, outside the party dominated governmental apparatus, can only thrive in the fresh air of a non-partisan political culture.
  • Google Founder Calls U.S. A 'Bonfire of Partisanship' (By AMIR EFRATI, Wall Street Journal) Supported Obama. As a result, he called the government a "bonfire of partisanship" and urged Tuesday's winners to go independent "in name and in spirit." He concluded: "It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country."
  • Why Winning The Independent Vote Can Actually Be A Bad Thing (Brett LoGiurato, Business Insider) In fact, what the Independent vote is often more telling of is a lack of commitment among "leaners" to the party.
  • First Thoughts: Lessons learned? (NBC News/First Read) So now twice in the last three elections -- in 2004 and 2012 -- the winner has lost the indie vote. What does this mean? Well, party ID appears to matter much more...
  • Editorial: Wisconsin remains proudly independent (The Northwestern) Religion, race and sexual orientation are increasingly non-factors.

  • Let's review redistricting, primary rules (Asheville NC Citizen Times) Now that there are no immediate election pressures, this would be a good time to reform the process. A nonpartisan redistricting commission would do worlds of good, and open primaries are an idea worth exploring… North Carolina ought to wait for more data before making any commitment to open primaries. There is, however, no reason to hold up on the redistricting commission. Salamanders are good in nature but not in politics.
  • Proposition 121 - Voters shut door on open primary proposition (Sean Peick, Cronkite News Service, Tucson Sentinel) Voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure to do away with Arizona's partisan primary system in favor of open primaries advancing top vote-getters regardless of party. Unofficial returns showed Proposition 121 trailing by a wide margin.
  • Koch Brothers Defeat Prop 121 “Top-Two” Open Primary in AZ (By Chad Peace, IVN) The Koch brothers funneled more than half a million dollars to fund the partisan attack on Proposition 121. The money powered an aggressive “No” campaign, led in a bipartisan manner by the leaders of the Republican, Democrat, and even third parties in Arizona.
  • Editorial: GOP risks becoming irrelevant - Party must broaden its base (Statesman Journal) Being a Republican, or a Democrat, isn’t enough to win election in Oregon. Candidates must take clearly defined, well-articulated positions instead of relying on personality or party affiliation.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Presidential Election Roundup: Blacks, Latinos, and Independents - A New Political Culture for America

African-Americans and Latinos, along with Asians and women re-elected President Obama. And if you look closely, you will see a new coalition emerging in America that bodes well for a new political culture. And among that demographic are many many independents. We are the 40% and counting!

  • President Obama Wins Florida with the Independent Vote (By Brenda Evans, IVN) The large group of independent voters swung in Obama’s favor gaining 50 percent of the vote. The percentage of Republicans was equal to that  of Independents, putting the decision largely in the hands of independent.
  • Election lessons: Latino vote, ticket-splitters rule the day (By Laura Myers, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL) Independents, who made up one-third of the Nevada electorate, by far favored Heller over Berkley, 54-34, or by 20 points, the exit poll showed. Romney led Obama but by a slimmer margin, 50-43, among independents.
    • Democrats, Latinos flexed muscle for Obama in Pa. (MARC LEVY, Associated Press, Seattle Times)  In PA, independents and Republicans voted against Obama in higher proportions, as did older voters and whites, according to an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.
    • Obama Abandons Independent Voters (Seth Mandel, Commentary Magazine) [NOTE: Commentary is a right wing publication] Put two and two together, and you have an abandonment of the chase for independent voters. Obama’s exhortation to just vote is made to his supporters at rallies–people he knows (or assumes) are in his camp. And that is exactly to whom his issue-based pitch is made. The broad electorate has soured on Obama’s foreign policy, nearly erasing the lead he once had on the subject. And that’s because the country thinks a foreign policy must be about more than just adhering to withdrawal timetables. But that’s what Obama’s left-wing base wanted out of him on foreign policy. And that’s all they got.
  • Save the Date:

    Saturday, February 16th, 2013
    National Conference of Independents
    Sponsored by
    NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
    New York City
    Register here

    Reimagining America along nonpartisan and developmental lines

    Tuesday, November 06, 2012

    I'm an Independent, Can I Vote for Barack Obama?

    Yes, you can! As an independent voter, I'm voting for Obama today. In 2008, independents put him in office as the first Post-Partisan President. Today, in a sickeningly partisan political environment, we will vote, and then more importantly, independents will keep working to break down the partisan culture that is killing our country.

    I hope you are safe and warm and well tonight and I know many of you are not.

    After all the endless media reports about the dangling boom of the crane at 157 West 57th, a luxury tower in-the-making for the super-rich, the real damage of Storm Sandy is beginning to be assessed. The frustration, anger, anxiety, the loss of community, the powerlessness that many people feel is very real. But I believe that we the people can make a difference.

    I hope you will join the thousands of independents who are making a new political culture that is inclusive and up from the bottom. That work begins anew right after we vote building an independent grassroots movement.

    My best,

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    by any other name...

    Independent Voter Watch: Jackie Salit on "Reimagining America" at TEDx New England Wednesday

    On Wednesday, Oct. 24th at 12:30 pm, president Jackie Salit will deliver a presentation on the independent political movement at the TEDx New England conference entitled "Reimagining America".

    Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. 

    Jackie will share her thoughts about changing the political culture before a live audience at the WGBH studios in Boston, MA on Oct. 24th at 12:30 pm. You will need to register for the live streaming.
    Also, in case you missed it, Jackie's appearance on the PBS show Arizona Horizon is now available online.  Host Ted Simons explores the terrain of independent politics in this 12 minute interview about the independent voter movement and its potential impact on future elections.

    Next stops on Jackie's Independents Rising book tour.
    October 30th 
    Greensboro, NC. Independents Rising and the 2012 Election: A Public Conversation with Author Jacqueline Salit and Dr. Omar Ali, 6:00 pm, School of Education Auditorium (Room 120), UNC-Greensboro. Sponsored by College Independents, Black Student Union, Dept. of Political Science and North Carolina Independents. Book signing to follow.
    October 31st
    High Point University, High Point, NC.  Independents Rising and the 2012 Election, 5:30 pm, Phillips 101. Sponsored by the High Point University Politics Club.  Book signing to follow.

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

    CA Independent Voter Organization Endorses Post-Partisan Candidates

    “Top Two” Open Primary System Allowing New Coalitions Between Voters & Candidates

    Proclaiming that California voters now have the tools to take on a government broken by partisanship, IndependentVoice.Org, a statewide association of independent voters,  announced its “Post Partisan” Candidate Endorsements. 
    The group endorsed candidates Abel Maldonado (Republican, 24th Congressional District), Marc Levine (Democrat, 10th Assembly District), Bill Bloomfield (No Party Preference, 33rd Congressional District), and Chad Walsh (No Party Preference, 28th Assembly District). The candidates were selected based on their demonstrated support for political reforms that empower independent voters – referred to as “No Party Preference” in California – like the “top-two” open primary and redistricting reform. 
    For the first time in over a decade, independent voters will have a real voice in state and congressional races,” said Jason Olson, the Director of IndependentVoice.Org. “Independent voters believe that government mostly does what’s best for the political parties, and not the people. Independents strongly support the kind of democracy reforms needed to return power to the voters. We're proud to stand with candidates who want to work with independents to lead us beyond destructive partisanship and move the country forward.”
    The 2012 election marks the debut of the open “top two” primary system and new districts drawn by a citizens commission instead of the State Legislature. Rather than running in party primaries, all candidates ran in a non-partisan voter primary in June. All voters were able to participate and vote for any candidate regardless of party, with the top two candidates moving on to a “run-off style” November election. IndependentVoice.Org was a key proponent of the successful redistricting reform and “top two” open primary measures passed by California voters. 
    IndependentVoice.Org is part of the national independent movement pushing for similar reforms around the country, including in Arizona where this fall voters will have the opportunity to pass a “top two” open primary system.
    Independent voters have been the fastest growing segment of the electorate in California over the past several decades. The most recent report by the Secretary of State puts the total number of “No Party Preference” voters at just over 3.6 million voters, or 21.28% of all registered voters.
    Candidates Endorsed:
    • Abel Maldonado, a Republican who formerly served as Lt. Governor and a State Legislator, is running in the 24th Congressional District in Santa Barbara County. Maldonado has a long record of working with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve meaningful reform.  Most notably, he led the effort to reform the state’s broken worker’s compensation system and worked with the to successfully reform elections in California by putting the “top two” open primary on the 2010 ballot.  “The problem with government is Republicans attack Democrats and Democrats attack Republicans, all-the-while the people’s problems just get worse”, said Maldonado.  “I fought for the ‘top two’ open primary because we need to change the behavior of our politicians and that begins with changing the way they are elected.  Now and with the help of IndepedentVoice.Org, candidates have to talk to everyone to get elected, not just a small segment of an ideological base.  No longer will the 3.6 million independent voters in California be excluded from fully participating in the election process.  Hopefully, this is the first step in what will be national campaign of reform to give independents a full voice in our democratic process.” 
    • Marc Levine, a Democrat, is a San Rafael City Councilmember and candidate for California's 10th Assembly District in Marin and Sonoma. Marc has a record of innovation and practical problem solving at the local level. Highlighting the approximately two-dozen contests across California between members of the same party, Levine is running against another Democrat who is supported by the Sacramento establishment. “I’m a strong Democrat who recognizes the vital importance of recognizing and reaching out to independent voters, and the importance of reforms that empower all voters regardless of party,” said Levine. “Unaligned voters want to see results, not special interest politics or partisan bickering – and they are fed up with Sacramento’s broken political culture. If elected, I will strive to get Sacramento working again for our communities and to ensure that the voices of independent voters are heard in the State Capitol.”
    • Bill Bloomfield, an independent (“No Party Preference”), is a longtime political reform advocate and successful businessman running in the 33rd Congressional District that spans the coastal area of Los Angeles. Many political observers feel that he has the best chance of any independent Congressional candidate in the country to win his race. "I felt compelled to run for Congress because our country won’t be able to recover from a few more years of a hyper-partisan and broken Congress,” said Bloomfield. “We must confront the power and influence of the special interests. Its time to force both major parties to start solving problems and stop playing partisan political games that threaten our nation's future. That’s why I’m proud to have the endorsement of IndependentVoice.Org and the independent voters they represent."
    • Chad Walsh, an independent (“No Party Preference”), is a Trustee and former Governing Board President of the local community college district and successful businessman running in the 28th Assembly District in Silicon Valley. Walsh, empowered by the new “top two” open primary and fairly drawn district, is running on a message of “moving beyond partisanship.” “We need solutions more than ever, but all we get from Sacramento is divisive partisanship from politicians who are serving narrow special interests or strictly partisan agendas,” said Walsh. I'm running for State Assembly to help move California beyond partisanship and special interests and provide solutions to the issues that people care about. Independent voters have been at the forefront of that fight, and I’m proud to receive the endorsement of IndependentVoice.Org.”

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Election 2012: Where Do We Go From Here?

    I had the unexpected pleasure (well, the pleasure was unexpected) of attending a forum at Columbia University yesterday evening sponsored by the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Eta Chapter entitled "Election 2012: Where Do We Go From Here?" loosely subtitled "Obama vs Romney."

    The forum was held at Columbia University before a multiracial, predominately African American audience of about 65 people. The panelists were: Chet Whye, ED of Jarlem4Change; Gregory T. Angelo, Chair of Log Cabin Republican of NY State; Cathy Stewart, Chair of NY County Independence Party; Thomas Basile, founder of a tea-party organization in NY State; Bernard Whitman, Democratic Party pollster and author of 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama.

    Full disclosure: My first thought when I heard the name of the event was 'Great! The election is over and now we can get back to the important work of building a progressive grassroots movement that can change our partisan political culture and is reaching out to youth, to independents, to the full spectrum of the American electorate.'

    The dialogue was intelligent, active and thought-provoking.

    Cathy Stewart is remarkably skillful at hammering away at the structural issues facing an American electorate that tips 40% and growing.

    Enjoy this clip from her opening statement:

    Monday, October 08, 2012

    Performing the World: Independent Candidate -- We Have a Winner!

    Hey hey Hanksteristas!

    I participated in a wonderful and lively improvisational street performance in NYC this weekend called Independent Candidate, instigated by Bogdan Spanjevic, at Performing the World 2012.

    You can catch up on Bambuser, and enjoy our new president!!


    Friday, October 05, 2012

    Hankster Livestream from Performing the World on Bambuser Today

    DOUBLE UPDATE: See IndieCandidate on Facebook for the vid...

    Great work everyone!

    UPDATE: Trouble in Bambuser-land today! Totally my fault as the producer... live and learn, or at least live on...!

    You can listen to the last 20 minutes today of The Hankster session. And keep watching for more Bambuser livestream cam this weekend!!!

    See Hankster livestream on Bambuser -- Check for Independent Candidate at 12:15PM and then Developing Democracy at 2:45PM. See you there!

    Monday, October 01, 2012

    Performing the World 2012: In a World That Can't Be Saved...

    Every two years I participate in a magical event held in New York City called Performing the World. This will be my 3rd year presenting as a grassroots independent political blogger based in New York City aligned with -- and with a eye to the development of democracy internationally.

    This year the conference is titled Performing the World 2012: Can Performance Change Save The World?  The conference schedule, including bios of all the presenters is now up on the website ( for your viewing pleasure!

    My session is titled Developing Democracy Roundtable 2012

    From the Arab Spring to the U.S. independent political movement, our world is in a state of motion. Attendees will join The Hankster in a discussion of the state of democracy internationally and what is needed to develop a participatory political culture. The first 20 participants will receive a copy of Developing Democracy, a documentary created from interviews with Performing the World 2010 attendees.

    This year there are a number of democracy-focused sessions:

    Can Kids Run a Town?
    Dr. Porfirio Grazioli, Nadio La Gamba, Carrie Sackett
    Young people learn democracy by performing democracy. Founded in the years after World
    War II for Italy’s many orphaned children, today Boys’ & Girls’ Town of Italy is home
    to young refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    Performance, Dialogue and Building Democratic Solidarity between Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South African Youth Activists
    Betsi Pendry
    Southern Africa has been torn apart by political conflict, violence and for many, by
    the loss of its revolutionary history and potential. There is increasing conflict between
    political youth groups in Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa as Zimbabwe and
    Swaziland slide into political chaos and South African Youth Congress linked to the ANC supports the "hands off" position of the ANC. The session will explore the activity of the Living Together Project, hoping to develop solidarity through developing the creative and performace skills of a group of political activists in the region.

    Creating Democratic Space and Envisioning Peace: Theatre Confronting Violence and Fostering
    Community Development in Zimbabwe
    Daniel Maposa
    This session gives a third degree examination on the use of applied theatre in nurturing social cohesion in the aftermath of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe in 2008.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Jackie Salit -- Growing Up Politically: Something We Could All Choose To Do!

    Hi Hanksteristas! I hope you will read one of the most honest and direct pieces of campaign hoopla to come across my desk recently -- by Chad Peace over at IVN.

    He concludes (I generally like to start at the ending in these cases....) "While independents can be found across the political spectrum, Salit commented on a common trope that brings them together; the unequal access to the political process: “What this independent movement is about is creating a voice so people can participate.”


    It's a common trope. I like that!

    To Jackie from the home base: Your 'Independents Rising' Tour Rocks!

    Get Busy!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    • Living Room Conversations and Changing the Political Culture (By Chad Peace, IVN) Joan Blades, founder of, and guest speaker Jackie Salit, author of Independents Rising, hosted an event in San Francisco on Saturday to discuss a new political culture in America; one focused on understanding different perspectives. Salit opened the discussion with a light-hearted memory of the barriers she faced at a young age. ”I don’t remember ever becoming an activist, but grew up in a very political family.”  Here's another interview...
    • Three Things Independents Can Do To Make a Difference in 2012 (by Nancy Hanks, The Moderate Voice) Jackie Salit speaks about the independent movement and her new book Independents Rising (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) at Lenora Fulani’s ‘Interviews With a Black Independent’, a monthly series coming to you from the Harlem State Office Building.
    • Political Independents: The Future of Politics (by John Avlon,the Daily Beast) Two timely new books—Mickey Edwards's The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans and Jacqueline Salit’s Independents Rising offer valuable insights into the impulses that have inspired a record number of Americans to reject the two parties and demand something different… Independents Rising is a street-level look at the grassroots activism of independent politics, propelling the creation of the New York Independence Party (described as an “anti-party party”) and electing New York City’s independent Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Salit’s book is more of a memoir, a look at the rise of independent politics largely through the prism of her own life...

    • Number Of Independent Voters On The Rise (by Steven Covelman, Staff Reporter, USC University of Southern California Annenberg) The Los Angeles Times reports that more Californians than ever before are registered as no preference voters. "In California the influence of independents is growing," Jeffe said. "Republicans and Democrats must reach out to independents to get out of the primaries." At this point in the presidential race, the amount of independents who remain undecided is small. According to Jeffe’s estimates, only around 5 to 10 percent of independent voters have not picked a candidate yet. [YES, GET OUT OF THE PRIMARIES! VOTE FOR THE PERSON!]
    • What Do We Know About Independent Voters? (By Gina McGalliard, Truthout) Quotes Linda Killian and reads: In keeping with the idea that political views often defy easy categorization, Independent Voters of America now has an online quiz for voters. "[We're trying] to map independent voters' thinking, issues, [and] preferences in more of a three-dimensional way than just a left-right continuum or a conservative-liberal continuum," says Hillsman, who also noted that independent voters tend to be more prevalent among those under 40, entrepreneurs and those who work in the tech sector. "And the example I use very often is libertarians. Democrats think libertarians are very conservative because, by and large, fiscally they are very conservative. Republicans think they're total liberal whack jobs because they don't believe in drug laws," says Hillsman. "They don't believe in a lot of restrictions on personal freedoms, etcetera. So, where do you put those people?"   [NOT QUITE SURE THIS IS AN ATTACK EXACTLY, BUT WHERE do YOU PUT THOSE PEOPLE?????]

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Hankster News of the Day for Independent Voters - September 19

    • Analysis: WMUR Poll shows Romney, Obama still fighting over N.H. independent voters (WMUR) For 20 years, independent voters have decided general elections in New Hampshire. The reason is obvious: they are the largest voting block. The most recent voter registration numbers suggest that 38.5 percent of registered voters are “undeclared.”
    • The Romney conundrum: Winning independents but losing overall (By Christian Heinze, The Hill/ Ballot Box) And during that time, Romney has done something with independents Obama has yet to do — lead among them by double digits. In fact, post-Democratic National Convention, a CBS/New York Times poll had Romney up by 11 percentage points with independents, while a CNN survey had him up by 14. Meanwhile, Obama led overall by 3 in the CBS poll and 6 in the CNN survey. Simply put, Romney is winning nationally with independents, but they’re not playing their usual tiebreaking role in elections.

    Let the debate on open primary finally begin (ARIZONA DAILY SUN) With two months to go before the votes are counted Nov. 6, we can expect a vigorous campaign by both sides, although we will be interested to see which groups come out in defense of the status quo. On the other hand, any change to the electoral process as substantive as the one that will ushered in by Prop. 121 is bound to have some unintended consequences, and we'll be interested to learn what those scenarios might contain. So far, neither Washington state nor California has encountered major problems with their new open primary systems, and we urge Arizona voters to become educated on the issue and cast an informed vote on Nov. 6.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    What Does President Obama Not Understand About Independent Voters: Structural Political Reform

    Morton Kondracke says Prez Obama ignored independents in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Party convention. Personally, I don't think he ignored independent voters -- worse, he has no idea who independents are and therefore addresses independents mistakenly. This is especially disturbing given that independents were his margin of victory, in open primary states, in a hotly contested Democratic primary against Hillary "My Turn" Clinton in 2008, and went on to become his margin of victory in a ruthlessly honest and proud battle against the powers that be in the general election. Fortunately, independents are not depending on the President to fight for us. But he would be smart to call for Congressional Hearings on the state of independent voters, now 40 percent of the electorate, who suffer all manner of indignities and infringement of voting rights.

    News of the Day & Notes for Independent Voters - September 13

    NOTE: Thanks to all who noticed that I put "August 5" on my September 5 post! Apparently, time's a-wastin'!

    ANOTHER NOTE: Big shout-out to Jackie Salit on her national book tour with Independents Rising (Palgrave)! Check out the delightfully energetic review by The View Point below: "Independents Rising is all at once a history book, a mystery/thriller, a soap opera and a textbook on grass-roots political movements. Salit’s writing, crisp and descriptive, takes us through her first-hand journey of becoming involved in politics as a kid, working “both sides of the fence”, working for democrats and republicans in the mid to late 1960’s and early 70’s. She worked in the news business for part of the mid 1970’s for a while and then became involved in the birth of a political party: The New Alliance Party. Fred Newman, the patriarch of this party established in 1979 and Salit remain life-long friends and traveling companions as they both made the somewhat surreal journey through the ups and down of the independent political movements over the next 3 decades."

    AND ANOTHER NOTE: Morton Kondracke says Prez Obama ignored independents in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Party convention (see below). Personally, I don't think he ignored independent voters -- worse, he has no idea who independents are and therefore addresses independents mistakenly. This is especially disturbing given that independents were his margin of victory, in open primary states, in a hotly contested Democratic primary against Hillary "My Turn" Clinton in 2008, and went on to become his margin of victory in a ruthlessly honest and proud battle against the powers that be in the general election. Fortunately, independents are not depending on the President to fight for us. But he would be smart to call for Congressional Hearings on the state of independent voters, now 40 percent of the electorate, who suffer all manner of indignities and infringement of voting rights.

    • Political books to get readers ready for the campaign (By Jean Marie Brown, Forth Worth Star Telegram) Mickey Edwards also looks at Washington's gridlock and how it is harming the country in The Parties Versus the People: How To Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans. Yale University Press, $25. Meanwhile, Jacqueline Salit's Independents Rising: Outsider Movements, Third Parties and the Struggle for a Post-Partisan America puts a face to the independents who, she says, were the key to Barack Obama's win in 2008. Palgrave Macmillan, $25
    • Book Review - Independents Rising (The View Point) If you do not know who Jacqueline Salit is and you care about politics, then you need to get yourself introduced to her and her writings. Ms. Salit, along with many others who are discussed in her book has been saving our “political backsides” for the last 30+ years. Without Ms. Salit’s work, we would likely all be political serfs giving favor to our noble lords and masters in the two major political parties and receiving only paltry scraps of progress in return.

    Majority of Central Mass Voters are Independent - Why It Matters (Adam Joseph Drici, GoLocalWorcester Contributor)  According to new data released by the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office, 289,202 primary voters registered as unenrolled in Worcester County. This group of unenrolled voters represents 57.59 percent of the roughly 500,000 total voters registered in the county. 145,252 voters, or 28.92 percent, registered as Democrats, and only 64,505, or 12.85 percent registered as Republicans. 705 voters registered as Green-Rainbow.

    • Obama's Speech Ignores Independent Voters (By Morton M. Kondracke, Roll Call Senior Editor) Heading into the Charlotte, N.C., convention, President Barack Obama was in trouble with independent voters. But instead of winning them back with appeals to national unity and promises of  compromise, he told them: You've got a stark choice - so choose. He tossed them (us) a few rhetorical bones - a reference to the Simpson-Bowles debt commission he previously ignored, a bow to free enterprise as a jobs engine, acknowledgement that government can't do everything and needs reform.
    • September 13, 2012 - Obama Tops Romney Almost 2-1 In New York, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Gillibrand Does Even Better In Senate Race  -- In today's survey, President Obama leads 94 - 4 percent among Democrats and 58 - 37 percent among independent voters, while Republicans turn to Romney 89 - 10 percent. Obama has big leads among all income and age groups.

    • Primaries Decide Statehouses as Arizona Weighs Top-2 Plan (By Amanda J. Crawford, BloombergBusinessweek) Many states, including Arizona, have sought to change the electoral process through measures ranging from public financing for campaigns and term limits for lawmakers, to overhauls of redistricting. The move to scrap partisan primaries, a more pronounced shift in how elections are conducted, comes as hundreds of statehouse races nationwide are uncontested and there is little or no competitiveness in many districts, including for the U.S. House of Representatives.
    • Judge: Open-primaries initiative qualifies for November ballot (Howard Fischer, Arizona Star)
    • Arizona Supreme Court Upholds ‘Top 2’ Initiative (By Shawn M. Griffiths, IVN) “The problem is people are expressing some kind of dissatisfaction with government,” Dr. Downing replied. “Specifically, they feel that government doesn’t express the consent of the governed.”

    Wednesday, September 05, 2012

    Hankster News of the Day for Independent Voters - August 5


    Can Independent Voters Gain Power and Create Change? (By Jacek Popiel, Today we have the problems, the discontent and a large mass of neglected voters, but as of yet, little response.

    Taking the Politics Out of Redistricting (Or Not)  (Tucson Weekly) 3 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20; $100 donation. The seminar is in Phoenix, and in Tucson via videoconferencing.


    Mickey Edwards On Democracy's 'Cancer' (NPR/ Fresh Air from WHYY - with COMMENTS) Edwards says party primaries are a major reason why Congress consists of politicians who are committed to sticking with a particular ideology and are unwilling to compromise. The most ideological and partisan candidates tend to succeed in party primaries, Edwards says.

    Third-party quandary (Written by Craig Lyons, Portland ME Daily Sun) The biggest influence of third parties is the impact they can have on the dialogue and policies of the two major parties, according to Schmidt.

    CNN's Gary Tuchman with Omar Ali and Ana Navarro

    CNN's Don Lemon with Dr. Omar Ali and Ana Navarro

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    Harry Kresky: A Cautionary Tale For Electoral Reformists

    The Hankster reprints here in full NYC attorney Harry Kresky's brief article concerning Richard Winger's $243,279.50 attorney fees for anti-"Top Two" lawsuit.

    Harry Kresky is councel to and Chair of Election Law Committee of New York County Lawyers Association. He blogs at Legal Briefs and publishes regularly on Huffington Post.


    Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News and a longtime advocate for the rights of minor parties, has, along with several others, been held liable to pay $243,279.50 in attorney’s fees after losing a lawsuit brought to invalidate California’s new “top-two” primary system, adopted in a June, 2010 referendum.  I understand that a motion for reconsideration has been filed, and I am hopeful that this penalty will be vacated so that Richard’s important work in the area of electoral reform will not be crippled.
    This unfortunate situation is a cautionary tale for those of us who seek to advance the cause of electoral reform through the courts.  
    Richard and I have worked together for many years in various efforts to open up the electoral process and level the playing field for independent voters and minor parties. We differ strongly on the issue of top-two.  In Richard’s view, top-two hurts minor parties by limiting the candidates on the general election ballot to the two highest vote getters in a non-partisan primary election in which all candidates and all voters, regardless of party affiliation, participate on an equal footing.  Candidates are permitted to list a party preference.  Under the traditional system of party primaries, still operative in most states, each qualified party, major or minor, is assured that its candidate will appear on the general election ballot under the party’s name. 

    For independents like me, top-two is a positive reform because it allows independent voters (who are more often than not barred from party primaries) to fully participate in the electoral process, and it breaks the hold of the parties on the candidate selection process. 
    In their efforts to defeat this reform, through the courts and otherwise, Richard and other minor party activists have, in my opinion, allowed themselves to be used by the major parties. The parties, major and minor, have opposed the top-two system.  In California, the Democrats and Republicans decided it was best to allow the minor parties to play the more active role both in the media and in the courts.  And since the adoption of top-two by a substantial majority (53.8 to 46.2 percent) of the voters, the major parties have worked to discover how to use the new system to their advantage, while Richard and the minor parties in California have continued to litigate against it. 

    In continuing down this road, they ignored warning signals that they would not only reach a legal dead end, but that there might be adverse financial consequences for lawyer and client alike.  The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld top-two as constitutional, and the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a further challenge after the Supreme Court ruled.  The efforts of Richard and his attorney to enjoin the implementation of top-two also failed.  
    The lawsuit in question tried to parlay two minor issues, neither of which had legal merit, into a wholesale attack on the top-two system.  The issues were whether a candidate could list as a party preference only the name of a qualified party, and whether top-two made write-in votes impossible.  By lack of merit, I mean that the Courts had already ruled that neither of these was a constitutional right that state legislation had to respect.  They are questions of public policy, with arguments on both sides.  Furthermore, these alleged defects in top-two can be easily remedied by the legislature. 

    Despite all of this, Richard and his lawyer went ahead in their effort to overturn an important pro-democracy reform that the voters of California had supported.  There are lessons here.  They have to do with what you can and can’t accomplish through the courts, and what warning signals you must heed, as an attorney or a litigant, in the electoral arena. 
    Perhaps most important, particularly for independents, we must not allow ourselves to be used by the major parties to prop up a partisan political arrangement from which more and more Americans are disaffected.  Did Richard believe his alliance with the major parties would provide legal and financial cover, despite the weakness of his case?  We all have something to learn from these unfortunate events.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Hankster News of the Day for Independent Voters - August 29

    It's not too late: What should Obama do to appeal to independents? Step out in favor of structural political reform!

    Must-Reads for the Rabble-Rouser (By Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair/Just My Type) Jacqueline Salit’s Independents Rising (Palgrave Macmillan) surveys the political impact of the grassroots groups stirring up trouble on both sides of the mainstream.

    • Independent voters are a growing part of Arizona's electorate (by Rebekah L. Sanders, The Republic) From June to the most recent count on Aug. 14, voters opting for no party preference ticked up 1.5 percent, or 18,757, to nearly match Republicans' 1.25 million registered voters, according to figures from Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office. Democratic and Republican registrations grew by less than 1 percent. Jacqueline Salit, president of the independent-voter advocacy group, said more voters are turning away from the two major parties because they don't feel their views are represented… She champions the Open Elections/Open Government initiative in Arizona as a way to get more independent voters, who historically have low primary-election turnout, to get more involved. [ALSO SEE OPEN PRIMARIES BELOW]
    • Opinion: Obama’s best argument for reelection (By Lanny J. Davis, The Hill) Obama would enhance his chances to win the crucial undecided independent vote by endorsing the bipartisan recommendations of his own Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission — increasing revenues through closing tax loopholes, cutting spending and undertaking entitlement reform.
    • Romney readies final stage of campaign (By Christian Heinze, The Hill) Disgruntled, undecided independents voters are ripe for the picking, yet many haven’t made up their minds. According to the TPM aggregate, Romney is leading Obama among independents, 43 percent to 41, but he has the chance to go much higher, thanks to Obama’s low approval rating with the group.
    • Floridians voted for Obama in 2008, will again in 2012 (By Dava Castillo, AllVoices) In 2008 the “no party affiliation” (NPA) outnumbered the Independents, with NPA at 1,957,049 and Independents at 272,313, which is quite a spread according to the state of Florida voter profile. While some are saying focus on the Independents, if the numbers resemble 2008 the NPA is where the undecided voters are located. This, however, is an unwieldy demographic, and Independent/no party affiliation voters swing between parties depending on which candidates they think will serve their interests. But they also don’t vote as often as people committed to a party, which is all the more reason for the Democrats to work at the grassroots level in key counties to make sure people are registered and can get to the voting booth in November.

    • Open-primary suit headed for hearing (by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Republic) But in the complaint to be heard Thursday afternoon, attorneys for the Open Elections committee argue the staffers validating voter signatures made errors, such as disqualifying people for not being registered voters when they actually are. They also fault the formula elections officials used to determine if there were adequate signatures. In all, the campaign attorneys argue they have 4,900 more signatures than necessary to gain a spot on the ballot.
    • Will the Open Primaries initiative be on the Nov 2012 ballot or not? (video) (by Pamela Powers Hannley, Blog for As of mid-August, Open Primaries was back on the ballot, until this week, when Maricopa County said that there were an extraordinary number of bad signatures. The latest news is that the Open Primaries/Open Government folks have filed a suit to get the initiative back on the ballot. Supporters claim that Maricopa County erroneously rejected.
    • Open primaries could encourage more competition (Yuma Sun) The state's high court ruled last week that the open primary system met constitutional muster. A lower court had said it was illegal because it contained two separate proposals, which is not allowed under the Arizona Constitution. The Supreme Court said that is not the case. Now it turns out the legal dispute may not matter anyway. Questions are being raised by county election officials about whether the initiative has enough signatures to be put on the ballot. The outcome will not be known until the signatures are all verified.
    • Open primary would force political shift (By Today’s News-Herald - Nogales International) An open primary would make the process more straightforward. It would also tend to tone down the long primary campaigns based on party purity and force candidates to consider how best to show they can represent their whole constituency.

    GOP voters get 12.45 percent of Colo. letters questioning citizenship (IVAN MORENO, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Colorado Springs Gazette) U.S citizens are among those who received letters from Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler questioning their right to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday… The vast majority of registered voters who received letters were Democrats or independent voters. Of the nearly 4,000 letters, 1,566 went to Democrats, and 1,794 went to unaffiliated voters. Another 486 letters were sent to Republicans, which equals 12.45 percent of the total.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Jackie Salit on 'Independents Rising' with Lenora Fulani in Harlem

    What are the three things that independents can do to make a critical difference that the future is calling for?

    Jackie Salit speaks about the independent movement and her new book Independents Rising (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) at Lenora Fulani's 'Interviews With a Black Independent', a monthly series coming to you from the Harlem State Office Building.