September 9, 2016  
 
In her recent piece,   "How the 3 B's (Bernie, Barack and Bloomberg) Abandoned the
Political Revolution,"  IndependentVoting.org President  Jackie Salit asks:  
What kind of movement is needed to transfer power from the parties to ordinary Americans? How do we keep going when the "big shots" have pulled back? Can we develop coalitions that are not simply cross-ideological, common ground coalitions, but "process coalitions" that promote changes in the political system itself?

Salit's questions have spurred a vibrant discussion among independents who are sending in questions for the upcoming national conference call on Tuesday, September 20 at 8pm ET hosted by Salit.  Here's a sampling:   

Vicky Wallace, New York, NY: How has the independent movement in America changed in the l as t year given all the political unrest in our country?  

Richard Sinclair, Scottsdale, AZ: How do we Independents utilize our strength in numbers when we can only vote for the candidates put forth by the ruling party in our states?


Johnette Cosby, Chesterfield, VA: Where do we go from here? How do we change a system that disenfranchises so many voters when the two major parties are making all the calls?


Rick Robol, Columbus, OH:   How realistic is it to believe that we can change political, economic, social, legal and electoral systems that are rigged to prevent changing the status quo and to keep the Democratic and Republican Parties in power?




Do you have a question for Jackie?   Send your questions to  national@independentvoting.org .
Introducing Frank Fear: Social & Political Commentator and Sports Columnist
 
If you've read any of Frank Fear's recent columns in the online publication,  LA Progressive, you've already become acquainted with his fresh take on independent voters and other realpolitick concerns. This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Frank whose path first crossed with IndependentVoting.org when he wrote " Why Independent Voters Matter" earlier this year.  

Recently Frank penned  " Why Political Parties are Unnecessary," and " America's Independents as a Third Force." Through his columns, Frank has become an important voice for independents and for reforming society.

A retired professor and Senior Associate Dean Emeritus from Michigan State University with 40 years in academia, Frank's expertise is Sociology.  Frank became interested in working in academia from a fairly young age. The first in his family to go to college, he also possessed a lo ve of sports and began writing local sports columns in high school and college in New York. Many of his columns, both those in the LA Progressive and The Sports Column intertwine political and sports metaphors and examine the relationship between sports and society at large. In our conversation, Frank analogized the independent movement and work that IndependentVoting.org activists do to connect independents to that of a sports team. "Teams spend time in pre-season doing things to get ready," he said.  "Once the game starts and situations emerge, we're able to learn from experience, develop our strength for the next time.  The country is waking up. Independents are gaining strength because they're asking questions about the parties - 'Is that valid?' they're asking.  'Maybe it's not and maybe we need to look somewhere else for answers'.'"

"Both po litical parties," he continued, "do a disservice to voters. Trying to reform from the inside is not going to work ."
 
Regarding Jackie Salit's recent piece, "How the Three B's (Bernie, Barack and Bloomberg) Abandoned the Political Revolution," Frank said that he knew she had nailed it even before he read the column, when he read the many comments on Facebook protesting Salit's inclusion of Bernie Sanders.  A supporter of the Sanders campaign, Frank said "Bernie played a critical role - but we're not going to bow down to any one person.  All three of these gentlemen (Bernie, Barack and Bloomberg) had the opportunity to practice what they were preaching and they didn't. ...It's important to let people know that there's a stimulus that is for the public good that didn't just come around in 2014, but you've been building the independent movement for years."
Bernie, George and Me: Reflections by Harry Kresky, IndependentVoting.org Counsel
Harry Kresky

IndependentVoting.org's general counsel and a long time progressive activist, Harry Kresky speaks about his own political journey in his OpEd "Bernie, George and Me," which appears in The Huffington Post.  

Said Kresky in the piece: "I hope these reflections on my experiences will help Sanders supporters, particularly young people, work through the disappointment of his rapprochement with the Clintons and the Democratic party establishment... I feel close to the millions of Bernie supporters. Sadly, Bernie's 'political revolution' has proved to be 9 parts electoral politics and 1-part revolution. It will die if it does not move outside the Democratic Party and join with the 43% of the country who are independent. Bernie has decided not to lead this effort. The next steps are up to us ."

Profiles in Independence:
Matthew James, Winston-Salem, NC

Matthew James, a new member of IndependentVoting.org, shares his own political journey in this note to the IndependentVoting.org network:

"Thank you to all the members of Independent Voting who have renewed my passion and dedication to reforming the political processes of this vast, unique, and beautiful nation.  As a natural born Canadian and naturalized American citizen, my journey is itself a unique reflection of how the United States is truly a melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and practices.  I have always considered myself a fairly liberal individual with the belief that a government's duty is to level the playing field so that all persons have the ability to pursue happiness and an overall good quality of life.  Unfortunately, as I researched this more, it challenged my reality. I understood that my beliefs about government were rarely reflected in practice. 

Currently, I work with disenfranchised populations, specifically individuals with extensive and pervasive support needs.  I believe that it is a human right for individuals with disabilities to be active members of our society, especially within political arenas which have such major implications on their quality of life.  Within my field I have realized that individuals who support Republican, Democratic, Green, or Libertarian parties can also support the goals and mission of the inclusive movement.  The traditional or customary approach of supporting a political party and everything it adopts in its platform is becoming less and less commonplace.  

I find that there are many areas/issues which a vast majority of Americans do agree on, yet because of the division between political party camps, little collective action is taken to enact the will of the populace.  I am thankful for organizations like Independent Voting who see a future reality which does not engage in divide and conquer mentalities." 
In the News
  • Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream?, and a recent guest on of IndependentVoting.org's Politics For the People Book Club wrote about the growing state-based political reform movement in his column "Can the States Save American Democracy," which appeared in the New York Times.  In it, he says: "Groups like Independentvoting.org, which has grass-roots organizations in 40 states, are mobilizing against the de facto disenfranchisement of independent voters (who now outnumber both Democrats and Republicans) through the gerrymandering of nearly 90 percent of the nation's congressional districts into one-party monopolies. In states with closed primaries, this denies independents any vote in the primaries, which makes them favorable turf for extremist candidates in the only seriously contested voting."
  • In the face of growing support for reforming the presidential and state primary system and with two propositions on the ballot, Colorado lawmakers edited the 2016 voter guide in an attempt to make open primaries look less appealing.  The Denver Post reports on it here.
  • Read what Wayne Griffin, Chair of South Carolina Independence Party, has to say about Wayne Griffin at Conference why the Party gave its line to candidate Evan McMullin here
    Griffin, a member of the Greer City Council and a longtime independent, has never played by the rules. In 2008, Griffin spearheaded Independents for Obama, playing a crucial role in President Obama winning the SC Democratic Party primary. In 2011, along with Independentvoting.org, Griffin helped create a diverse coalition that included the SCIP, the Columbia Tea Party, the Progressive Network and 13 African American Democratic Party elected officials that successfully intervened against the Republican Party's attempt to close the state's primaries.
Politics for the People Book Club: New Selection

 
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IndependentVoting.org 
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