Apr 30, 2011

Time to Break the Mold

From the West Virginia Mountain Party's Jesse Johnson, in the Register Herald:
The other thing is overcoming business as usual with the two-party system. I think that every American and every West Virginian looks at the two-party system, looks at the Democrats and Republicans and says, “We have a problem.”

There’s corruption, and both parties have sold out to Wall Street. We’re having billion-dollar elections now, and this is absolutely insane.

If we have public financing of elections, which is one of the things that I would certainly do, and a restoration, somewhat, of the fairness within the media in regards to those elections. In ’87, I believe it was, the Fairness Doctrine was eradicated, so there is no equal time for anything other than the two-party system. So, if you control, it’s just like a ball team. If you own the stadium and you have two teams come in, whether they are shirts and skins, or whatever, if you are on those two teams, you are going to profit.

That’s what we get handed to us repeatedly. Here are two seemingly different choices, but they line up the same. You saw that with the U.S. Senate race. The New York Times showed that Joe Manchin and John Raese were the two closest as far as platforms of any two Democrats or Republicans in the nation. They acted in the media as if they were drastically different. They weren’t.

I’m giving West Virginia a true opportunity to define itself as a leader, truly define itself as a state that respects fairness, truly define itself as a state that is willing to break that broken mold of business as usual in politics and take the opportunity to find out if their vote really counts.

Apr 29, 2011

NY: Three-Way Race in CD 26 Special Election

From the Rochester Business Journal:
Republican Jane Corwin leads Democrat Kathleen Hochul by a margin of 36 percent to 31 percent in the campaign for the 26th District seat in the House of Representatives, a Siena Research Institute poll released Friday shows. Third-party candidate John Davis Jr., running on the Tea Party line, is supported by 23 percent of poll respondents, poll representatives said. A special election is scheduled for May 24 to fill a seat vacated by Republican Christopher Lee.
According to the poll, Green party candidate Ian Murphy is receiving only 1-2% support.

Apr 28, 2011

Time to Open Up Georgia's Repressive Ballot Access Regime, Say Libertarians, Greens and Independents

From the Athens Banner Herald:
Georgia's election law should be changed to allow more third-party candidates, voting machines with paper records and vetting of presidential hopefuls, according to witnesses who spoke at Wednesday's initial meeting of the Georgia Election Advisory Council. . . .

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office oversees elections, conceived the council and appointed its 15 members . . .  Ray Boyd, a real estate developer who tried to run for governor last year as a Republican and then as an independent, dismissed the whole commission as a sham designed for appearances rather than action.

"Brian Kemp is kicking the can down the road, holding his breath," Boyd said.

He blasted Kemp for maintaining laws that make Georgia among the toughest states for independent and third-party candidates to qualify for the ballot. Those comments were echoed by officials from the Libertarian and Green Party as well as independents.

Apr 27, 2011

Nader Organizing Primary Opposition to Obama

From Politico:
Ralph Nader is convinced that Barack Obama will win reelection in 2012, but that won’t stop him from trying to organize a slate of Democrats in the coming months to challenge the president in party primaries next year.

Nader told POLITICO on Wednesday that he is working on bringing together about half a dozen presidential candidates who could “dramatically expand a robust discussion within the Democratic Party and among progressive voters across the country.” Each would focus on a specific issue where the far left says Obama hasn’t done enough, including the environment, labor and health care.

Apr 26, 2011

Independents Bash Back at CBS News Commentary

In an opinion piece for CBS News, "professor" Michael Kazin bashes political independents in a piece entitled, "The independents: Voters without a clue?"  He writes:
No group in American politics gets more respect than independent voters. Pundits and reporters probe what these allegedly moderate citizens think about this issue and that candidate, major party strategists seek the golden mean of messaging that will attract independents to their camp and/or alienate them from the opposing one. Presidential nominees and aides struggle to come up with phrases and settings that will soothe or excite them. But what if millions of independents are really just a confused and clueless horde, whose interest in politics veers between the episodic and the non-existent?

That is certainly the impression one gets from dipping into the finer details of a mid-April survey of 1,000 likely, registered voters conducted by Democracy Corps, the outfit run by Stan Greenberg and James Carville . . .
The "professor" then goes on to summarize the "mildly hilarious" results from the poll, in which large percentages of those polled agree with the standard talking points of both the Democrats and the Republicans.  He continues:
By a margin of over 20 points, voters agree with these GOP lines: "Both Democrats and Republicans have run up deficits, but now they are out of control under President Obama and threatening our economy" . . . At the same time, by slightly higher percentages, they also agree with the Democrats that Ryan's budget would "eliminate guaranteed Medicare and Medicaid coverage" . . . Since avowed Republicans and Democrats line up consistently behind whichever arguments come from their side, it is the independents who are responsible for the contradictory results . . . [Emphases added]
One might wonder how this is even possible, since self-described Independents only account for 23% of those polled in the survey, and actual Independents only account for 5%!  According to the survey linked by Kazin (.pdf), only 5% of those polled identified themselves as true Independents, while 7% said they were Independent but leaned Democrat and 11% said they were independent but leaned Republican.  Even if one assumes that Independents of all ideological persuasions formed a monolith and answered all the questions the same way in this survey, arguably, there still aren't enough to account for the marginal swings identified by Kazin!

In other words, his article is complete and utter bullshit.  But what else would one expect from a professional propagandist for the dictatorship of the two-party state and duopoly system of government?  Not much, it seems.  Or at least, that's the impression one gets from the comments appended to the article.  A sample:

          by slatep April 26, 2011 2:31 PM EDT

by jd2408 April 26, 2011 2:11 PM EDT
This is great ! This is the 3rd article I have read bashing us independents. We are making a difference. They are starting to pay attention. Politicians who "say the words" but don't keep promises are being held accountable. We are well aware that neither party really works for the people and they are bought and paid for. The two party system is a sham. Independents are trying to take our country back. As an Independent I stay well informed on who I am voting for and what they are doing when elected.
by YetiRider7 April 26, 2011 1:56 PM EDT
I seriously hope CBS didn't pay this meathead for this article.
by workerdroid April 26, 2011 1:33 PM EDT
How about idiot reporter without a clue rambles on about some theory he developed to make himself look smart but ends up a laughing stock because....you guessed it. He's an IDIOT.
by taxpayingvoter April 26, 2011 12:24 PM EDT 
I feel that this mis-informed dolt needs to do a bit of fact finding and checking. I joined the American Independant Party in 1972. It was a real party not one of a bunch of people just wandering around bumping into walls. We had a clue back then when we knew that the 2 party system was just a sham. I do my own thinking, I use my head for more than a buttplg, something I can not say for the author of this POS story.  WE have a clue and we have a plan, to remove the 2 party system of lies and thieves.  Hey Micheal Kazin, don't pinch your azz so tight. You are starting to cut of the circulation to your head.
Of course, in general it is relatively easy to account for the fact that so many Americans agree with both Republican and Democratic talking points on any given issue.  Republicans argue that Democrats are reckless and out of control and the Democrats argue that the Republicans are dishonest and insane.  Naturally, these positions are not mutually exclusive, and, indeed, it is rather easy to see how the wide majority of Americans could agree with both Republicans and Democrats in this way.

NY: Third Party Mayoral Candidate Calls on Incumbent to Resign

From the Times Union:
Mayoral candidate Roger Hull is calling for City Council President Gary McCarthy to resign as acting mayor because Hull said it's wrong for one person to hold the highest position in both the executive and legislative branches of government.

Hull, who held a press conference on the steps of City Hall Monday, issued his challenge one day before McCarthy is to formally announce he'll run as a Democrat in November to be the city's officially elected leader. Hull, who has formed a third party called the Alliance Party, has the endorsement of city Republicans . . .

NV: An Independent Angle?

From The Hill:
Nevada Republican Sharron Angle would consider waging an independent bid for Congress if she were passed over by party insiders in a potential special election for Rep. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) House seat . . .

Apr 25, 2011

Constitution Party Makes the Case against the "Fair Tax"

From the Constitution Party discussion forum:
This is a text version of a research brochure we produced in WA and was approved on 16 April 2011 by the state committee as our official statement on the subject. The brochure format is available for download and print at: http://www.constitutionpartyofwa.com/for...xFacts.pdf

« The Fair Tax is an unapportioned direct tax upon the people. As such, it is not authorized by the 1787 Constitution, nor is it authorized under the 16th Amendment which changed the original intent of the founding fathers by implementing a personal income tax. Without seeing any constitutional authority whatsoever to support the case in favor of the Fair Tax, the Constitution Party cannot support it.

« The Fair Tax does not guarantee a lower overall level of taxation. In fact, it could result in a higher level of taxation than is currently being paid by Americans. The initial rate of 23%, coupled with the approximately 9% sales tax currently being paid by Washington State residents, would make a 32% tax rate with no guarantee against Congress raising that rate in the future.

« The Fair Tax does not provide a simplified means of taxation. It replaces one complex system of taxation with another that is equally convoluted. The only real difference is that it moves taxation from being placed on a person's income to being placed on their expenses. It still requires an annual registration of household members and their Social Security numbers.

« The Fair Tax continues and expands the welfare state. The "Family Consumption Allowance" (FCA) is provided to every registered household, regardless of income. If implemented, it is estimated that the FCA would constitute the single largest entitlement program in American history.

« The Fair Tax expands the size of government. It eliminates one agency, the Internal Revenue Service, but creates multiple agencies to in its place, including an Excise Tax Bureau, Sales Tax Bureau, and state agencies, where the primary collecting of revenues would take place.

« The Fair Tax makes states the primary tax collection agency.

The distinction between state and federal government is further eroded by making states the primary collection agency. It also requires state taxing authorities to annually register every household and household member in the state, accelerating the current trend towards treating states as mere political subdivisions of the federal government thus putting the Constitutional principle of state sovereignty (the 10th Amendment) in even greater peril.

Constitution Party National Committee Meeting this Weekend

From the Constitution Party of West Virginia:
The National Committee meeting will start Friday morning, April 29, 2011 at 8:30am at the Harrisburg East Holiday Inn. After lunch there will be a short tour of the Pennsylvania Capitol. The Eastern States Regional meeting will convene Friday at 5pm.

The banquet will be at 7pm. Confirmed speakers for the meeting include Sheriff Richard Mack – former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and long-time crusader for freedom and individual rights; John McManus – President of the John Birch Society; Dr. Taylor Haynes – Recipient of an unprecedented Wyoming write-in vote; Robert Owens – Chairman Constitution Party of Ohio; and Congressman Virgil Goode – (R-VA 1997-2009)

Apr 23, 2011

CA: Green Party Starts Major Organizing Push

From Green Party Watch:
Last week, in Hollywood, California, a Green Party fundraiser was held at the home of a Green Party member with an asking “donation” of $25 with the hopes of raising funds for the Green Party of California in preparation for 2012. Ximena Kaiser Morris, a Green Party leader of Switzerland, was in attendance, along with other key Green Party members.
On Friday, April 15, the Green Party of San Fernando Valley held a protest against a Tea Party protest, with the goal of showing not only the Tea Party but the community that there are alternatives and differing voices when it comes to political parties. The Green Party was joined by other like-minded citizens in protest against the Tea Party.
Los Angeles area Green Party members held tabling events throughout the week at UCLA in the spirit of Earth Day.
On April 22, President Obama visited Culver City, near downtown Los Angeles, with Green Party members attending in protest with hundreds of others protesters. People called for Obama to recognize the Armenian genocide, passage of comprehensive immigration reform, end to deportation of Dream Act students, end to engaments/occupations of of other countries, among other things.
On April 30th, May 1st, the California Green Party will hold its state plenary in Berkeley, Alameda county. Here is a link to the events taking place that day…  http://www.cagreens.org/plenary/schedule.txt

NY: Greens Confront Gov on Earth Day

From the Albany Times Union:
On Earth Day, the Green Party of New York called upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban hydrofracking for natural gas, shut down nuclear power plants and undo a delay on a sales ban on outdoor wood boilers. Speaking outside the governor's mansion, Green Party officials said the governor's environmental stances are lukewarm at best. "He is not doing enough," said Mark Dunlea, chairman of the party's Issues Committee.

New Contributor

We have a new contributor here at Third Party and Independent Daily: Tiradefaction.  Tiradefaction is a regular commenter at Independent Political Report, Poli-Tea and other sites devoted to third party and independent political activism and advocacy, and is probably already familiar to many readers who peruse those forums as well.  Welcome aboard! 

FL: Election Law Would Not Allow Party Switchers to Run for Office

From Ballot Access News:
Florida HB 1355, passed by the House on April 21, is 157 pages long. Among the changes is a provision that does not permit political parties to nominate anyone for any partisan office (other than president or presidential elector), if that person had been a registered member of another political party at any time during the year before filing to run for office.
The bill makes no exception for new parties. Therefore, a new party, formed in an election year, would not be permitted to have any nominees who had been members of another party for 18 months before the election. This part of the bill, if signed into law, would almost certainly be held unconstitutional. Similar laws in Oklahoma and Nevada were invalidated, as applied to new parties. The Oklahoma case was Crussel v Oklahoma State Election Board, 497 F Supp 646 (1980); the Nevada case was Long v Swackhamer, 538 P 2d 587 (1975). If a law like this had been in effect in 1854, the Republican Party would have been severely handicapped, because a great deal of Republicans elected that year had been Whigs or Democrats or Free Soilers immediately before the Republican Party was formed.
Courts in New Mexico and Colorado have ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state to tell a party that it can’t nominate a non-member. The Colorado case was Colorado Democratic Party v Meyer (1988); the New Mexico case was Whitaker v Herrera (2011).
This prohibition is effectively a disciplinary and punitive probation period for party switchers, meant to discourage the practice to the benefit of the ruling parties.  It is not as uncommon as you might think.  In fact, it is rather similar to the law in Colorado denying ballot access to newly declared Independent candidates for office.  From the Denver Post, early last year:
Unaffiliated candidates running for public office in Colorado must declare their independence well in advance — more than a year — of an election. No other political party, whether major or minor, must follow the same stringent rule. It's an unfair situation.

Joelle Riddle, a La Plata County commissioner, switched her party registration from Democrat to independent in August 2009, intending to run for re-election in 2010. Late in December, state Rep. Kathleen Curry left the Democratic Party and registered as unaffiliated, also planning to run for re-election.

But under Colorado law, the only way the candidates could be placed on the Nov. 2, 2010, ballot was to declare their unaffiliated status by June 15, 2009, the last day the required petition could be filed with the Secretary of State. Now both will have to appear as write-in candidates in the general election.
Riddle has filed a lawsuit and Curry plans to introduce legislation to overturn the current state law . . .

Apr 22, 2011

FL: GOP-Sponsored Election Law Overhaul Seen as Attack on Fledgling Tea Pary, May be Unconstitutional

From Tampa Bay Online:
TAMPA - A little-noticed provision of the state Legislature's controversial elections bill would make it extremely difficult for a new political party to put a candidate on the state presidential ballot – a provision some say is aimed at keeping a tea party candidate off the ballot.

The section says that a new party seeking a presidential ballot placement must be recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a national party, or must collect voter petition signatures equal to 4 percent of voters in the state's last presidential election – more than 335,000.

They must include 4 percent in each of at least half the state's congressional districts, a tough job in Florida's oddly shaped, gerrymandered districts. Getting FEC recognition is also problematic, said Richard Winger of San Francisco, an expert on ballot access laws who argues for easier access to ballots for non-major party candidates.

He said the FEC has no objective rules for recognition, but won't recognize a new party until after it has already run candidates for president and congress in several states.
That's why the Reform Party didn't get FEC recognition until 1997, following Ross Perot's run in 1996 as its candidate.

Winger said the provision appears aimed at keeping a tea party candidate off the 2012 Florida ballot. Peg Dunmire, chairman of a Florida party that says it represents the tea party movement, agreed.
"This is part of the assault to keep choice from the public," she said. "There's a concerted effort by the two parties to keep it a two-party system."
From Ballot Access News:
The bill, if enacted, would violate the 11th circuit decision Bergland v Harris, 767 F.2d 1551 (1985), which suggested that Georgia’s former petition requirement of 2.5% (of the number of registered voters) for presidential candidates was probably unconstitutional. That decision is based on Anderson v Celebrezze, which said that states must have easier ballot access for president than for other office. The Florida bill, if enacted, would probably also violate the Florida Constitution, which says “The requirements for a candidate with no party affiliation or for a candidate of a minor party for placement of the candidate’s name on the ballot shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of registered voters.”

Apr 21, 2011

Pirate Party Recognized in at least Two States, Florida Pirate Prepares for 2012 Campaign

The Pirate Party is now an officially recognized political party in at least two states.  The Massachusetts Pirate Party was certified in February, and just last month another state chapter was officially recognized in Florida.  From the announcement at the party's website:
As Chairman of the Florida Pirate Party, I am very pleased to announce we have achieved an amazing feat: We are an officially recognized political party in the state of Florida. This is an amazing achievement, and is due in no small part to Vice Chairman Bradley Hall, Chris Sheats of the Pirate Party Washington, and Christopher Ochman, a tireless pirate supporter in Virginia.
However this is a small step in what is sure to be a long and tiring journey for us all. We created this party because as I type this, entertainment industry lobbyists, information technology firms and authoritarian regimes around the world are currently working to bring the flow of information and ideals under their control. They view unencumbered free communication as a threat to their profit margins, or their grasp on power.
The Florida Pirate Party, like the worldwide Pirate movement exists as the protectors of freedom of press and expression across any and all methods of communication. We stand against the efforts of the RIAA and MPAA to make governments their personal minions for censorship. We stand against the unconstitutional pursuit by the United States Department of Justice to seize web domains without just cause or due process.
We stand for openness in government. All our leaders must be held accountable. A democracy that keeps secrets from it’s citizens is no democracy at all.
We stand for the reform of intellectual property laws. Lifetime plus 70 years of copyright is ridiculous. We believe in expanding the public domain and creative commons.
We believe the future should be a place where someone can surf the internet without wondering who is watching, or use the phone and not wonder if someone is listening. We should not live in fear of our government or our internet service provider.
And the Florida Pirates are wasting no time beginning their ballot access drive.  The state party's chairman, Ryan Moffitt, has already announced his candidacy for a seat in the Florida House, and begun the petition campaign to appear on the ballot:
It is my pleasure to announce that I have begun my campaign to become the Florida state House Representative from District 86, and become the first Pirate Party candidate for political office in the United States.

Once the paperwork has been certified by the Division of Elections, I will be cleared to gather donations, and begin gathering voter petitions to get a spot on the ballot in the 2012 general election. . . .

Let this be the beginning of the end of the monopolist copyright industry. Let this be the beginning of the end of back room deals and secret operations. Let this be the beginning of the end of warrantless wiretapping and censorship.

With your help, we can bring the state of Florida into the new digital age, in a free and open manner run by the people, and for the people. We can end the old ideals, and the old guard who believe communication and creation should stay in the domain of ivory towers, marble halls or glass office buildings. The future belongs to us, the people.
Cross-posted from Poli-Tea.

Apr 20, 2011

To Be Progressive, the Democratic Party Needs to Embrace More Pluralism in US Politics!

Over at Daily Kos, I gave my own spin on the same topic that led to the persecution of tmax.

Now, his post got more attention because of its inflammatory title, "I am THROUGH with Democrats: WE NEED A THIRD PARTY!" But a lot of this attention was of such a negative nature that I don't know if it really made a difference. We need folks to be open to dialogging on the extremely important issue of strategic electoral reform. We don't need opposing camps determined to get they want and to hell with the other side. That is a recipe for disaster!


Apr 19, 2011

Thousands Protest the Democrat-Republican Global Warfare State

On April 9th, thousands of anti-war protesters gathered in New York City to protest the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya supported by the Democratic and Republican parties.  Numerous third party and independent political organizations participated in the events.  Among the speakers were Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, Charles Barron of the Freedom Party and Cindy Sheehan, who challenged Nancy Pelosi as a third party candidate in the 2008 elections.  Video of their remarks can be found below.

Howie Hawkins:

Charles Barron:

Cindy Sheehan

FL: Independents Surge in Sarasota

From the Herald Tribune:
Seven of 10 new voters in Sarasota County are rejecting both the Republican and Democratic parties and signing up as independents or with minor political parties.  And the record surge of independents is not just happening here. Statewide, while the two major parties have lost more than 120,000 voters combined, independents and minor party registrations have grown by almost 120,000 since November 2008.

Elections supervisors in the region say they have never seen such a dramatic shift away from the major parties. While voters for years have been trending away from the major parties, Sarasota County Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent and her Manatee County counterpart, Bob Sweat, are convinced it has become more pronounced over the last two years, as voters become fed up with the political tone in Washington and in Tallahassee . . .

Apr 17, 2011

NJ: Anti-Racist Group "Cracks Nazi Skulls" Ahead of Neo-Nazi Rally

From Philly Burbs:
A clash between neo-Nazis and members of an antiracist organization Friday evening left four Nazis in the hospital and prompted two arrests, according to the New Jersey State Police. The fight involved about 50 people and took place on the eve of a neo-Nazi rally Saturday in Trenton.

State troopers responded to the fight at about 7 p.m. on the unit block of Pemberton Street, where members of the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement were gathering to prepare for their rally.
The group has been described as one of the largest neo-Nazi hate groups in the country and promotes a racist and anti-Semitic agenda, according to both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

While the NSM members were meeting, about 25 people from a Minnesota-based group called the Anti-Racist Action Network drove into the borough and an armed melee ensued between the two groups. They fought with weapons such as knives, pipes and wooden boards, state police said . . .
The Nazi group was meeting ahead of a Saturday rally in Trenton.  From The Philly Inquirer:
Roughly 50 members of a neo-Nazi group took to the streets of Trenton on Saturday to speak out against illegal immigrants, crime, and the nation's leaders . . .
The Anti-Racist Action Network reported on the action on their website:
On Friday, April 15th, 2011 some anti-fascist in Anti-Racist Action learned of the location of the National Socialist Movement's national conference for rank promotion and five-year planning. A group of 30 of us decided to march to where the Nazi's were strongest, to bodily and boldly confront them, and we were decidedly victorious. After the the dust settled six Nazis were hospitalized, more were injured, their vehicles and property were damaged, and their conference was ended. On the other side, one anti-fascist required moderate first aid.

Many of us at the melee were people of color, working class, immigrants, women, queer, transgendered, and/or people on parole or probation. The logic of the victim is constantly thrust upon us. We are said to be 'at risk' and must be protected and pandered to. It is said that we need others, usually the State, to protect and stand up for us. But, through the action of splitting Nazis' heads open, we rejected the logic of victimization. We will continue to do so, we will be victims no longer. We do not need others to stand up for us, we have each other. When we are attacked, we will find each other and counterattack, so hard and so fierce that we will surprise even ourselves.

If the Nazis call us bitch ass faggots, they might not be that far off the mark. But if they conflate those slurs with weakness, the six hospital visits they faced would prove otherwise.

Apr 16, 2011

MD: Libertarian and Green Parties Fight for Recognition

From The Republic:
The Maryland State Board of Elections will take another look at signatures that were deemed invalid in a drive by the Libertarian Party and Green Party to have their candidates recognized on state ballots, an attorney for the board said Friday.

The parties' candidates for governor failed to get 1 percent of the vote last November. That meant both needed to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters in order to be recognized as political parties on future Maryland ballots. Late last month, the board notified the parties that they were thousands of signatures short, after close to 9,000 from each were invalidated.

The signature count has been complicated by a ruling issued by the state's highest court about two weeks after the board began its signature count. The Court of Appeals ruled March 22 that illegible handwriting could not be a reason to disqualify a signature.

OK: Party System Undermines Independence of Independent Official

From News OK:
The only independent candidate in Oklahoma to be elected during the last general election said Friday he is considering a switch to the Republican Party.

Lance West, who was the first-ever independent elected as a Noble County Commissioner, said he would switch not for political reasons, but because he may need the financial support of the Republican Party in 2014.

Apr 14, 2011

OR: Anti-Independent Trial Balloon Shot Down

From the Democrat Herald:
A bill under consideration in Salem and scheduled for a hearing this afternoon, HB 2442, would prohibit the use of the word “independent” in the name of any political party. The sponsors of this little bit of nonsense seem to have gone to the “Alice in Wonderland Institute of Politics,” where they teach you to change reality by changing what things are called.

Or perhaps they learned how to neutralize their opponents at the Joe Stalin Graduate School of Political Maneuvering. Don’t like what the party does? Just ban its name.

The sponsors didn’t even put their name on the thing. It was introduced by a committee. Whoever did sponsor it — his spokesman says it was not Democratic leader Dave Hunt — evidently was unhappy with the maneuvering last year when lots of Democratic and Republican candidates also competed in the Independent Party’s online primary to win an apparently coveted “Independent” label next to their names on the ballot.

The online primary was an interesting novelty, but confusing? Hardly. How stupid do legislators think Oregon voters are?

Apr 12, 2011

We Need More Countervailing Powers!

What would John Kenneth Galbraith say?

Our two major parties have both become too susceptible to the influence of $peech and so we need smaller third parties, what we've started calling LTPs over at A New Kind of Third Parties, that are protected against its' influence by virtue of their smaller sizes, lower overhead and greater decentralization of key decision-making.

This is not to say we don't need more scope for the influence and growth of minor parties who aspire to become (part of) major parties in the United States. But the appropriate countervailing powers against the $peech corroding our democracy are LTPs!

Democrat-Republican Political Derangement Syndrome

The argument for the lesser of two evils is one of the primary means by which the ideologues of the Democratic and Republican parties maintain support for the political status quo.  Among the major supports for this argument, on both sides of the duopoly divide, is the claim that the other side is a well-oiled machine, and to stop them the opposing major party needs all the help it can get.  James Joyner takes this argument apart in a post on "Political Derangement Syndrome" at Outside the Beltway:
The idea that the other party is a well-oiled propaganda machine while one’s own is its own worst enemy because of internal strife ranks right up there with the notion that the other side is willing to be utterly ruthless while ours is hurt by being so principled. Both are emotionally satisfying and easily verifiable with examples from within the echo chamber. They’re both utterly ridiculous when one steps back and examines the situation. . . .

Apr 11, 2011

Dear Pollsters, We Want and Need More Choices

A letter to Gallup polls from Ryan Jaroncyk at CAIVN:
Dear Gallup,
Seven months ago, you ran a poll which revealed that 58% of Americans and 74% of Independents supported the prospect of a third major political party.  However, despite subsequent polls demonstrating near or actual record low approval ratings for Republicans and Democrats in Congress, your esteemed organization has not run another third party survey.

As the fastest growing segment of the national electorate, and in some polls, now the largest segment of the national electorate, we Independents would like to be presented with another option besides the Republican and Democratic parties.  We desperately desire more competition in the political arena, and as poll after poll shows, we are highly dissatisfied with only two viable options at the voting booth.
Therefore, we politely ask your firm to conduct more regular surveys regarding the option of a third party presidential candidate in 2012, as well as a third major party in national politics at large.

Ryan Jaroncyk
Independent Voter

Readers, if you feel the same way that I do, feel free to use this letter as a template for your own, and contact Gallup here.

Apr 9, 2011

NY: GOP Endorses Third Party Candidate for Mayor

From The Times Union:

SCHENECTADY -- City Republicans have endorsed Alliance Party founder Roger Hull for mayor along with two City Council candidates, including one on Hull's third-party ticket.  The GOP is backing Philip Tiberio, a Republican and local businessman on Hull's ticket, and Heather L. Dukes, a Republican, as they try to end the Democrats' lock on city government. It's the first time Republicans have endorsed an independent candidate for mayor in the city where Democratic enrollment far outnumbers that of Republicans.

Apr 8, 2011

PA: Party Voting Promotes Ignorance

From Centre Daily:
Title 25, Section 2963 of the Pennsylvania Statutes requires that election ballots enable voters to vote straight party. This is a bad idea for several reasons . . . 

The straight-party or straight-ticket option discriminates against independent and small-party candidates. Not only does the ballot present two places where the voter may vote for major-party candidates, but if the voter opts for the straightparty option, he or she may never see the listing for the independent candidate.

Independent candidates face an additional obstacle. The petition requirements for party candidates to get on the ballot are a lot less than for independents. For example, the 2012 signature requirements for a party candidate are 300 versus 473 for an independent for the 77th Legislative District (Scott Conklin’s seat); and 1,000 versus 3,111 for the 5th Congressional District. The discrimination against independents should not surprise anyone. Democrats and Republicans made these laws.

I know we’re just coming to the primaries, but let me leave you with two thoughts. First, before the November elections, Pennsylvania should join the majority of states and eliminate straight-party voting. Second, in case that doesn’t happen, if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the candidates, don’t showcase your ignorance by voting a straight ticket.

Apr 7, 2011

St. Louis Elects Independent Alderman

From St. Louis Today:
An independent candidate provided one of the few surprises in city aldermanic races Tuesday, winning the 24th Ward seat on an evening that generally favored incumbents. Independent Scott Ogilvie won in the 24th, which covers Dogtown and Clifton Heights, beating former Alderman Tom Bauer, who had defeated incumbent Bill Waterhouse in the Democratic primary. . . .

Ogilvie, a freelance graphic designer and Big Shark bike shop worker, promised change, responsiveness and transparency, voters said Tuesday. He is one of a few independents ever elected in the city. Former Alderman Kenny Jones served Ward 22 for 16 years as an independent. Bennice Jones King won in Ward 21 as an independent in 2003.

Apr 6, 2011

CA: Libertarian Registration on the Rise

From the Libertarian Party of California's blog:
According to the latest Report of Registration from California’s Secretary of State, 1,135 voters registered Libertarian just in the past five months. But compared to the May 2010 Report of Registration, our voting ranks have swelled by an amazing 5,571 Libertarians in only nine months!
The table below shows year-over-year increases in Libertarian voter registration in California. The Reports of Registration for this February and for the month of May since 2008 show not just growth, but a strong surge since May 2010.
Graph showing rapid growth of registered Libertarians in California

Apr 5, 2011

Ventura Open to Running with Ron Paul on Independent Presidential Ticket

From Syracuse news:
In interviews on CNN's American Morning and ABC's Good Morning America this week to promote his new book, “63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read,” former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura said if Paul decides to run as an independent, he would strongly consider being his running mate.

Ventura describes Paul, who vied for the Republican nomination in 2008 and ran on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988, as "the only federal elected official who will stand up for America on the congressional floor.”

But Ventura added that he would never run as a Republican or Democrat. "They are the problem, not the solution. We need to abolish political parties in this country," he said on GMA . . .