November 17, 2016
What Just Happened? Is America Going Independent?

400 people from around the country joined IndependentVoting.org President Jackie Salit for some post-election analysis on Sunday, November 13.  Salit responded to a compilation of over 100 questions sent in from independents and posed to her by co-hosts Jim Morrison of Independent Voters for Arizona and Gwen Mandell, Director of National Outreach.  

On the call, Salit noted: 

" The American people are looking for change.  They wanted to change everything and they keep finding that they can't.  Not in a stable and predictable way.  So in those rust belt states, in the deep interior, behind the so-called blue wall, a winning margin of Americans decided to pull the lever to change something....they decided to change how they voted... Where the country is moving to right now, which is very unclear and very volatile...[it] is trying to have a conversation about the relationship between changing everything and changing anything.

Participants said they found Salit's presentation refreshing and different from others they had experienced since the election.   
  • "I wanted to share how great I thought the conference call was," said Julia Katz, a first time participant and California resident. "The conversation was so informative and I'm really looking forward to the next one, especially since we're going to talk about moving forward and where we can go from here."
  • Hugh Campbell of New Jersey said,  "As a first-time listener to  IndependentVoting.org's bi-monthly National Conference Call, I was particularly impressed by the combining of questions that resulted in a very effective and efficient way to respond to so many questions, especially after such a divisive election that could not otherwise be answered in less than an hour."
  • Natesha Oliver, founder of M.I.S.T. (Missouri Independents Stand Together) added, "Jackie's perspective on the election actually let me know that while there is still a lot of work to be done, we as Independents are not losing ground and the letter we are sending to Donald Trump (see below) shows that independents are really hitting the ground running and that is inspiring to know."
You can listen to the  complete call here or choose one of the segments below.
Independents Send Letter to President-Elect Trump
 
Several hundred independents signed on to a letter co-authored by Jackie Salit and chair of Independent Ohio, Rick Robol to President-elect Trump to recommending immediate steps to attend to the problem of partisanship in government.

Dear President-Elect Trump:

We represent the interests of independent voters throughout the United States. Please accept our congratulations on your election. We wish you success in achieving the goal of fixing our nation's "rigged" political and electoral infrastructure. Throughout the campaign, many Americans-whether they voted for you or not-expressed their urgent wish to see our political system put in the hands of the people, not the special interests, be they financial, partisan or ideological. We believe that reforming our political system and revitalizing our democracy is key to solving our nation's profound problems.

ASU Morrison Institute and IndependentVoting: On the Cutting Edge at the "State of Our State" 

Salit and Reilly with host Ted Simons on Arizona Horizon
IndependentVoting.org President Jackie Salit appeared with Thom Reilly, Director of Arizona State University's Morrison Institute of Public Policy, on KJZZ radio and PBS TV in Phoenix in the run-up to the Institute's annual signature event, the "State of Our State."  

The changing electorate in  Arizona and around the country was this year's focus --  including the specific impact of independent voters. 

The ASU Morrison Institute of Public Policy used the occasion to unveil the findings of "Voter Social Networks and New Sources: Silos and Bridges," a new survey on social networks and social media use, which tracked how information is gathered by voters and how it differs among Republicans, Democrats and independents. The study also explored voters' interactions within their social networks, and the impact of independents in those social networks.


"Give me a headline on this report. What do we take from this?" asked Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons. "Independents are going to lead us to a new American political culture," said Salit. 

This year's event was co-sponsored by IndependentVoting.org and the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.  
 


Amendment V Garners 45% of the Vote
 
Amendment V, the South Dakota initiative for nonpartisan primaries, was narrowly defeated (55-45%), but not without making important inroads.  The campaign was the first time the League of Women Voters has endorsed an initiative for nonpartisan elections, and the vote total surpassed the 30% ceiling of support that many similar campaigns in other states have hit.
 
Rick Knobe, Chair of the Vote Yes on V campaign, had this to say:
 
"Change is a hard thing to accomplish, and tonight's result for Amendment V proves that. We thank the Campaign members and volunteers, and especially the 157,844 South Dakotans who declared themselves part of a movement to fix our broken politics by voting Yes on V.
  
During the campaign, voters continually expressed that they had been unaware how our political process filled most legislative seats without a competitive election, and how 120,000 independent voters had little voice. Our coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents appreciated the chance to advance the dialogue with South Dakota voters on what kind of political system we want for ourselves and our children.
  
Unfortunately, those inequities in our election system remain, as they do in most states across America. This movement to empower voters will not be defined by any single election or event, and we pledge to continue to fight for the future of South Dakota and America. In the days and weeks ahead, our coalition will carefully examine the best way forward to give every voter a voice. Stay tuned."
Independents at Take Back Democracy March in
Washington, DC 

Several weeks ago, Independent Ohio's Rick Robol and I (Gwen Mandell) were invited to speak at the Take Back Democracy March in Washington DC.  We were joined by Paul Calvanelli of Pennsylvania and Steve Richardson of Virginia and spent the day speaking with march participants (most of whom were there because they were angry about the failure of our democracy). We collected 110 signatures on a petition calling on CNN/MSNBC to host an independent debate.

Profiles in Independence:
Rachael Briley, Sillsbee, Texas
 
Rachael Briley is a new member of IndependentVoting.org who met us during the Bernie Sanders campaign.

" I consider myself to be an ordinary person who enjoyed a childhood full of what I would refer to as kitchen table politics.  Our family discussed and dissected regularly the promises and pitfalls of the two party system. However, as an adult I now find it difficult, if not impossible, to tease out differences between the two and can no longer find an ideological home among them to call my own.  Like most Americans, I have become disillusioned with the choices being put before us.

I don't envision the solution to be a third party, but rather a one-party system in which everyone belongs to the independent movement of thought. I believe when given a path to real choice, people will make up their own mind for the greater good, not for the enrichment of the few.

Among the lessons I learned in all those dinnertime debates is: What one thinks is irrelevant compared to How one thinks.   IndependentVoting.org is a forward-facing vehicle to encourage just that. IndependentVoting.org can draw in and mobilize people who see themselves as ordinary but in action are capable of the extraordinary. People who have never engaged in political activism are precisely who we need now more than ever and I am excited to see the political change I know in my heart we are ready for and capable of accomplishing together."


In the News


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Gwen Mandell
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IndependentVoting.org 
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