Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

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 CarriĆ³n 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,