Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Utah and Idaho Republican Closed Primaries Problem for Independent Voters

  • Republicans Move to Change Voter Registration Rules...For Republicans (by Bob Bernick, Utah Policy Contributing Editor) Since only Utah Republicans hold closed primaries, the party registration on primary day only applies to them. Without the law, an independent voter would have to sign up to be a Republican 30 days before the primary election, and many likely wouldn’t remember to do so. 
  • Tribune: Lawmaker Wants GOP to Foot the Bill for Closed Primary (Posted by George Prentice, Boise Weekly) This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Lewiston Democratic Rep. John Rusche, the Idaho House minority leader, has introduced a personal bill (bypassing a committee hearing) that would require the Idaho Republican Party to "reimburse counties for any incremental election costs."
But there is recourse! Check out

Monday, January 28, 2013

Effect of Gamma Rays on California Primaries

Nice piece by independent candidate Bill Bloomfield from California...

Viewpoints: Reforms are shaking up political status quo (By Bill Bloomfield, Special to The Sacramento Bee) The two reforms are not panaceas that will magically solve all of California's public policy challenges. Partisanship is still doing tremendous damage to our state and our nation. Meaningful campaign finance reform is necessary that lessens the power of the special interests dominating both major parties. Still, one thing is clear on who won the debate over redistricting and the open primary: California's voters.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hankster News for Independent Voters - January 26

The Top Two open primary system implemented for the first time in 2011is helping people leave the parties in California... Illinois struggles with a closed partisan primary system and Bill Daley (cand for Gov?) promotes top two... University of New Hampshire study of voter attitudes about climate change classifies independents as weather-sensitive... (really?) Read on!

Abel Maldonado, author of California's Top Two
  • Elias: Voter registrations show parties just don't get it (Thomas D. Elias, Ventura County Star) All of which explains why changes like the "top two" primary system, adopted via ballot initiative in 2010 and used for the first time last year, are so popular. Anything depriving the major parties of some influence or promising more independent politicians will draw significant, often majority, support here.
  • Md. voters favor assault weapons ban ( Slightly more than half of Democrats say stricter gun laws will do more to reduce school violence, and the same 52 percent of Republicans say armed guards are the better option. Independent voters slightly favor stricter laws.

Why Daley's Primary Plan Would Violate Federal Law (By Edward McClelland, NBC Chicago) Bill Daley’s plan to do away with partisan primaries could potentially create three election days in Illinois. Daley said Illinois should consider a system similar to that used in Chicago’s municipal elections -- any candidate who gets 50 percent of the vote in the primary avoids a runoff in the general election. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

  • Climate Change Beliefs of Independent Voters Shift With the Weather (Science Daily) "We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held -- literally blowing in the wind. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to," Hamilton and Stampone say.
  • Among Independent voters, belief in climate change actually shifts with the weather (Robert T. Gonzalez, ion "We come from the future") Temperature effects concentrate among one subgroup, however: individuals who identify themselves as Independent, rather than aligned with a political party. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, Independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indies Are US: Get involved in strengthening the independent voting movement!

For some good indie reading, read Indies Are Us, a Hankster-recommended blog by Dennis Sherrard:

If you are tired of the same old story in politics, then do something new.  Get involved in strengthening the independent voting movement.  It's not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.  The ability to break the stranglehold on American Politics by the Democratic and Republican parties is a challenge worth working for.  And if you are really fed up with the way things are going today, but don't know how to get involved, well, I have some good news for you.  There are many groups out there today working hard to get better access for independent candidates to get on the ballots.  They are working at the grass roots level and at the national level and they have been at it for some time.  One such group, is a national organization that is led by long time professionals in politics who not only have credibility, talent and innovative ideas on changing the political landscape, they have accesss.  Access is vitally important if you are going to make a difference. You have to be able to talk to the right people and be taken seriously.  This group is taken seriously.  They have been working with the likes of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others to drive a wedge into the works and make it easier for independent voters to be heard.  Jacqueline Salit, the President of is a long time political professional who has worked with independents like John Anderson, Ross Perot and the aforementioned Michael Bloomberg. [From A New Beginning]

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grassroots Independents to Converge on NYC Feb. 16 at NYU Skirball Center

Every two years for the past 14 years, grassroots leaders of the organized independent movement from across America come together talk to each other, listen to each other, and appreciate the hard work and gutsy-ness of a growing movement of nonpartisan, non-ideological, non-box-ified outsider political cultural change agents. It's called the National Conference of Independents. This year will be the 7th biennial conference.

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

On February 16th, 2013, hundreds of independents will gather from all across the country to take stock of a growing movement that is reimagining America along nonpartisan and developmental lines.

David Cherry, Chicago

The independent movement is raising a broad social reform question; should political parties be the singular vehicle for political participation and representation, or do we need new forms of political expression—forms that transfer political power from the parties to the people?

That's from the home page of the new website of National Conference of Independents sponsored by

On the site you can register (which you must do to attend), find helpful information for hotels and other resources to ease your stay (including some limited free housing for network activists), a blog-full of posts from past attendees -- do not miss this! - and video from past conferences...

And just BTW, The Hankster covered the 2011 National Conference live on livestream. If you would like to see this happen again, let me know. C-Span usually covers us, so you can always see that later, but there is something fun about live media!

So, go sign up for the rockin'est gathering of grassroots independents in the country gettin' organized!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Third Apparition and Independent Voters: Whither Bound in 2013?

Amid the dwindling attention in the media to independent voters after President Obama's re-election in November (below see who won independents' votes in 2012), I'm drawn to re-read Jacqueline Salit's Obama and Independents: The Micro, the Macro and the Forest -- A Post Election Independent Analysis addressed in memo form on's website to The Networks dated November 9, 2012...

In her memo, Salit observes that, "The Obama campaign team did everything right... An impressive operation... Amazing technology and our obsession with data, fused with the time-tested political machinery of the political parties, has produced a slice-and-dice culture of campaigning where the "micro" rules and where the geeks are inheriting the earth. Or, at least they're helping the parties maintain control of it." (Emphasis added.) It's an important piece and I highly recommend reading -- or re-reading it!

Below you will see a number of articles and opinion pieces that highlight some of the fall-out from the 2012 national election relative to independent voters. For regular readers of The Hankster, you  know that I seldom agree with the powers-that-be.  To paraphrase a close independent political colleague/activist here in NYC, "Pundits rate one step below Politicians when it comes to reflecting the desires of ordinary people!"

Not to give away the ending, but Salit opines: "In Act IV, Scene I, the Third Apparition tells Shakespeare's Macbeth he will never be vanquished "until Great Birnam wood ... shall come against him." In other words, until the forest itself comes to Macbeth's fortress. Macbeth is comforted because he believes that could never occur. Of course, it eventually does. Which is one reason why it's never a good idea to take your eyes off the forest"

I think it's important for us grassroots independent activists to keep up with the trends, the players, the successes and failures of the partisan system, well... yes, the drama of it all!

Hope you are having a wonderful 2013! See you from the forest soon!!

  • Holy Grail of Voters - Although independent voters have stolen the spotlight, people who describe themselves as moderates could be even more important. (By Charlie Cook. National Journal) The point of all of this is not to be dismissive of the importance of independent voters and obsessed with moderates, but to show that both of those groups matter and that either party that ignores either of those sectors does so at its own peril.
  • The disappearing independent (By Lois Romano, on Arizona Central) “Moderates is a better way to define the people who swing back and forth … and those are the people who you’re going to fight over,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina at a recent POLITICO Playbook breakfast, when asked if the notion of independents deciding elections was passé. And by that definition, Messina claims that Obama prevailed with swing voters by 15 percentage points.
  • Thomas D. Elias: Parties ignore voter registration trends (Appeal Democrat) All of which explains why changes like the "top two" primary system, adopted via ballot initiative in 2010 and used for the first time last year, are so popular. Anything depriving the major parties of some influence or promising more independent politicians will draw significant, often majority, support here.
  • Virginia Governor's Race Highlights a Republican Rift -- Contest for Governor Pits Tea-Party Hero, Clinton Friend and Possible Third Player (By NEIL KING JR., Wall Street Journal) "Virginia will be this year's big indicator of where the Republican Party is going and whether we can appeal to independents and win elections," said one of the state's top GOP fundraisers, Bobbie Kilberg, who is hosting Monday's event and supports Mr. Bolling. 
  • Florida GOP seeks new direction after election losses (By Scott Powers, Orlando Sentinel) Florida Republicans failed to win over independent voters and did particularly badly with the fast-growing pool of independent Hispanic voters.
  • Out with the old, in with the ... what? (Donna Brazille, Our two-party system has changed, radically, in the last 40 years. Until Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” and “positive polarization,” our two parties were basically centrist. But as modern media psychology gained ground in campaigning and winning elections, both parties have moved from the center-right and center-left to further right and left, respectively. Huddled in the middle, and now constituting the majority, are unaffiliated, independent voters.