Jackie Salit’s analysis of independents’ support of Obama, health care and the current state of the independent movement…

Mass independents are lining up behind Brown in the upcoming special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat in the US Senate — ignore the independents at your own peril!

…More and more elected officials are leaving the parties…

Why are California minor parties SOOOOO negative on open primaries? Not sure where Green Party gov candidate Laura Wells stands on the issue (let me know, otherwise, we’ll call her to find out…..)

Mike Bloomberg invested $400K in the NYC Independence Party — is Harold Ford looking in the wrong direction? Hmmm……

More news for independents on The Hankster

Home Politics Independent Voters: Let’s Get This UNparty Started!


  1. In my experience many third party activists are not interested in actually winning elections, or influencing policy. They’re interested in being in a position to be morally superior to those of us who actually do try to win elections and influence policy. In an open primary state there only two slots in the general election, which means that almost all of the third party candidates won’t get to be morally superior on election day.

    Moreover the ones who get through might win, which would mean that they’d be the spokesman for the movement at large, rather then the party leaders who nominated themselves for Governor.

    Obviously there are many non-douchebag third party activists. But given that very few third parties have influence, credible plans to earn influence, or any apparent attempt to make such plans non-douchebags have very little reason to hang around.

  2. Nick, in MA 51% of the electorate are registered under the category meaning independent. By definition, they have the power, and decide every election.

    Nationally, the number of independents grows with each election so that no party can win a national office without them.

  3. Frank,

    It sounds like you mean that post to go into another thread because I didn’t say anything about independent voters. A lot of not flattering stuff about activists from certain political parties, but nothing about anybody’s voters.

    Awhile back I had this problem. My posts would go into the wrong thread. Clearly this was not human error, because I am above such trivial mistakes. Rather, gremlins had taken over the Donklephant server and were conspiring against me. A few heartfelt prayers to Clank, god of Gremlins, fixed the problem. Clearly you should follow suit.

  4. @Nick

    Whats a “non-douchebag” – is that like a “Whig” or something? A perennial politician who’s been around for awhile losing election after election but still giving a try every season? I have been an Independent since I started voting – because I think 2 party politics in this country allows power to be concentrated in the hands of a few – and that is very dangerous to our system of government. There are many political parties that have their platform and their agenda – but our corporatized media system insures these other parties never see the light of day in honest political debate. I believe many Independents would be happy to join a multiple of other parties – as long as they weren’t D”s or R’s. People have to get really angry to demand the kind of change necessary – and the American people are simply too apathetic or willfully ignorant where this issue is concerned.

  5. I tend to share Nick’s skepticism about “third party activists” (which I do not take to be coterminous with independents). A couple of years back, I wrote a post specifically addressing what seems to be their real motivation; over and above that, there’s a kind of prissyness to them, an unwillingness to dirty their hands with the messy business of having to compromise, prioritize, and support suboptimal candidates. Or perhaps, pace the Wachowski brothers, a “Neo” complex to them: a petulant desire to remake the world as they see fit, unwilling to accept the world as it is, which is very often on someone else’s imperfect terms.

  6. @Terence
    Nancy asked why the Greens would oppose an open primary. I said it’s because the Green-party leadership is basically a massive ego-trip, and an open-primary reduces the number of party leaders who benefit from the ego trip because most of them won’t be in the top two.

    Whether that ego-trip is less douchebaggy then the GOP/Dem obsession with power is an open question.

    What is not in question is that ordinary voters are not douchebags.

  7. Hi everyone, thanks so much for your comments and I’m sorry to be so late in responding here. I agree in general with the sentiment I’m hearing in both Simon’s and Nick Benjamin’s comments. Definitely the national Green Party leadership seems to put party uber alles. For better or worse ordinary voters (who are not douchebags!) have rejected third party politics — at least for the moment. Witness Libertarian Joe Kennedy who pulled a *generous* 1.4% in the Mass Senate special election.

    I consider the partisanship (or ego-trip-ism or however you characterize it) of third parties to be a negative factor when it comes to either rising to power or raising critical issues that the major parties implement. It bears recalling that the Republican Party started as a third party out of the abolitionist movement, with all its mishegas and various attempts at local/national parties.

    American voters are re-evaluating their relationship to political parties. I think that’s a positive.

  8. RE: Joe Kennedy:

    I think you have to put Kennedy’s results down to the pragmatic wisdom of folks here in MA. I watched the whole debate here. And frankly, Kennedy won. He voiced almost one-issue concern about spending, and he made both other candidates look a bit foolish.

    _AND_ he as much as admitted that if you were worried about spending, Brown was a much better choice than Coakley. So conceivably, he had influence on the final result that went beyond the number of votes he got.

    He’s the guy that deserved my vote in a perfect world. But MA voters knew he wasn’t viable, and they wanted to decide between the possible winners. If Coakley had stayed 20 points ahead, Kennedy would have gotten between 5 and 10%, I’m pretty sure.

    One more interesting note. I held my nose and voted for Coakley primarily because my impression of Brown (based almost exclusively on his commercials and the one debate) was that he was a little bit of a nitwit and a phony. Based on his post-election appearances, I no longer hold that view. He’s smarter than I thought, and more down-to-earth than I expected. His hokey commercials weren’t as misleading as I assumed.

  9. Independent voters are United States citizens registered to vote. When the United States began, all voters were independent voters. There were no organized political parties until the election of 1800. As George Washington pointed out, political parties are self-created societies which seek special status for themselves in government by controlling elections the way royalty have special status in European governments. Political parties were successful in preventing independent voters from becoming candidates for office by passing prohibitive election laws at state level, obtaining judgments against independent voters in the courts from party appointed judges, and paying the news media with money taken from public revenues to give exclusive coverage to political party candidates. Where they were unsuccessful was in stopping people from registering as independent voters. Now that there are more independent voters than Democrats, the largest block of voters since the election of 1800, independent voters need to start registering as candidates for office to increase their ability to register voters and start to make the two-party system irrelevant.


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