Let’s Get Ready to Rumble! The Season’s First “SuperBowl” For Political Nerds Tonight on Fox

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OK, I’ll admit it. I am a political junkie who can’t have too much insider campaign news, gossip or survey results. God help me, I do love it so.

So with the countdown on for first Republican debate, I am in full pre-game mode. My fellow political nerds get it. Our SuperBowl (the first one of the cycle) is Thursday night. I’m warning the wife and kids. Turn off the phone, don’t talk to me – food, water, bathroom breaks, fire alarms be damned. The game is on and I’ll be parked in front of the tube from opening patriotic graphics to the last bloviating analysis.

And just as the sports nuts “debate” pre-game stats, expectations and matchups before their favorite team plays, we political geeks like to prognosticate before the big game too.

Full disclosure: I am a former Republican political consultant. But these days I work exclusively for independent causes, organizations and candidates. That doesn’t mean I’m not biased – but I won’t pull punches. I’m not “cheering” for any of these candidates… I just want a good show!

So here’s how I see the debate playing out for the ten candidates who grabbed a seat at the grownup table and what their campaigns should hope to achieve at this first game. (You better believe I’ll also be watching the kid’s table debate among those who didn’t make the big game playoff… but that will be more like watching an all-star game or the Pro Bowl. It doesn’t really count.)

The rundown (in order of ranking by most recent national polls):

The First Tier:

Donald Trump: The Donald needs to remember to “dance with who brung ya”. You vaulted to the top of the charts by being bold, brash, light on details, heavy on bombast. It’s working. You own the “anti-candidate” space. Keep owning it. Attack the political system and politicians – but not individual candidates unless they throw an elbow first. Don’t try to keep up on wonky policy minutia… that’s definitely off message. Remember your role: Throw bombs, toss red meat, let no personal attack go unpunished. Believe it not, there is a ceiling of support for The Donald. He just hasn’t hit it yet. He will not be the Republican nominee – but for now it’s impossible for political junkies to not enjoy the Trump Express (especially playing parlor games guessing how long it stays on the tracks.)

Scott Walker: Aside from Donald, Walker is one of the few candidates on a roll. He’s building a strong Iowa and national ground operation, he’s popular with a lot of GOP insiders, he’s rising, albeit slowly, in national awareness. But now is NOT the time to swing for the fence. “Slow and steady” should be your mantra. Poised and presidential should ring in your head. Answer questions coolly, calmly, thoughtfully (especially when it comes to your soft-spot knowledge of foreign affairs). You’ve got a modestly impressive record as a governor. Primary voters will like that outside-the-Beltway appeal. Your goal is to survive this first introduction to a national audience unscathed and undamaged. Let the second/third tiers go for others’ jugulars. Walker needs to keep eyes on the prize – make voters start legitimately visualizing him going mano-a-mano with Hillary next fall. Not losing in a primary debate can be a win for Walker.

Jeb Bush: Like Walker, he can score a solid win by not losing. You’ve raised (or, better said, your SuperPac has raised) an incredible amount of primary dollars. But you’re better known for now as son/little brother rather than juggernaut frontrunner. That’s good and bad. True, a lot of GOP primary voters have Bush fatigue. But GOP primary voters for 40 years have ended up nominating the guy (thus far it’s always been a guy) who is supposed to win. That’s what has made this cycle’s GOP primary so interesting — there’s not really a single supposed to win candidate who has emerged yet. With Trump sucking up so much of the political oxygen no one of the other 2nd and 3rd tier candidates are getting any chance to breakout yet. (Recall that Michelle Bachmann actually won the Iowa GOP straw poll and was a one-time frontrunner for the GOP nomination? Michelle Bachmann!) For Bush, this is a good thing. Jeb should send The Donald notes of encouragement and thanks every week The Donald stays in the race as it deflects arrows that would’ve been fired at Bush by now had Trump not been in the race. Bush is quietly building the campaign, raising more money and remaining firmly entrenched in the top tier… waiting for the inevitable Trump collapse… and able to strike when GOPers are ready to anoint the candidate who is supposed to win. Again, Jeb’s goal is to come across as confident and capable. There is no need to attack – unless attacked first – and only then show that you truly did put on your “big boy” pants for the debate.

Everybody else:

Mike Huckabee: I’m surprised he’s doing this well. He’s not raising money, he doesn’t have as strong a ground game as others, and he’s struggling to find the movement conservative voice. He’s in a battle royale with Carson and Cruz and a sprinkling of the others to capture social conservative support. Whoever breaks out with this key component of the GOP coalition – if they can break out – could become an interesting 2nd tier competitor as the race matures. Watch for a heapin’ helpin’ of southern-fried bromides from Huckabee – probably competing with the Cruz/Carson/others faction to see who can blast Planned Parenthood, Iran and Obama the loudest and longest.

Dr. Ben Carson: Who? Is Ben Carson the Herman Cain of 2016? Or the Rick Santorum of 2016? He won’t be the nominee. But can he figure out how to demonstrate he’s got the chops and gravitas to become a real player? Can he define himself as poised, prepared and presidential? Yes, he can safely claim the non-politician mantle (along with The Donald). But what else ya got? Is there more there? He’s a hit on the social conservative circuit. But he’s not alone on stage fighting for that segment

Ted Cruz: The Republican Barack Obama? Or a whole lot less? He’s barely been in the US Senate and he’s off and running for the big chair. He’s got his fans… and he’ll make more with his ability to stand toe to toe with anyone and deliver some great zingers. But his poor party bedside manner has brought with it a great number of detractors inside and out of the party. There’s no doubt he’s smart. But he comes across as a little odd and not very likeable. (And don’t underestimate the power of likeability in party primaries.) Want to share a beer with Ted Cruz? Not so much. The Cruz mission of the evening is to introduce himself to a bigger audience and prove his smarts, demonstrate his oratorical abilities, and prove that he belongs on the stage with some of the better-known (and liked) players. Primaries (and debates) should be about addition — start with your base and add more supporters into your sphere. Yet, Cruz seems wired to subtract rather than add, seemingly itching for a fight. He needs to show he can be the flag bearer for the entire party.

Marco Rubio: What happened? The wunderkind had a great kickoff, great buzz, excellent early money raised. Then. Blah. Nuthin’. No mo’. It’s like he’s fallen off the map. Rubio has a number of challenges that he can start to chip away at during the debate. First, he looks even younger than he is. He needs to look, sound, act “presidential.” The first whiff of immaturity, unpreparedness, weakness from Rubio will be all debate watchers will remember. A few short weeks ago (pre-Trump), Rubio was thought of as a serious player and a better-than-even odds candidate to make it into the competitive top tier. Now? Not so much. Many Democrats think Rubio is the strongest potential GOP nominee – the one they’re afraid to run against. That instantly keeps him around in the primary (and by far the favorite VP nominee for everyone but Bush). But is that enough? Rubio will be afraid of making big waves in this first debate. That’s probably smart considering the potential pitfalls of taking a risky swing this early. Don’t be surprised if he throws an untargeted generational punch or two at fellow debaters (Bush).

Rand Paul: What happened, Part II? “The most interesting man in politics” is now the incredibly shrinking and mostly unseen major party candidate. The pre-announcement excitement was there, the neo-libertarian message was on target, early money seemed to be coming in. But then the kickoff was a jumbled mess. The candidate came across as not ready for prime time. Most recently, articles of campaign in-fighting have been the most interesting element of the Paul campaign. That’s not the chatter you want for your campaign. Others have co-opted his messaging. So, what is the Paul message? And can he find his mojo? How does he show he influence can be bigger than his dad’s fiery but limited appeal? He may be more socially conservative, but he wants and needs the fawning, frenzied libertarian grassroots. As with many others on the stage, Paul needs the debate to reframe his campaign and reintroduce himself to primary voters. The clock is ticking on his campaign’s ability to turn this ship around and get back into the fight… before he’s written off as merely quirky and undisciplined.

Chris Christie: Did Christie miss a better shot in 2012? I think so. So many questions circling about his New Jersey leadership coupled with reasonable questions about where he breaks out? Who is his constituency? Can he claim a natural audience? Is there a large enough base of “moderate” Republican voters that can thrust him into the top tier for the primary? I’m not so sure. And can he out “straight talk” Trump to be the bombastic, “I’m bigger-than-those-small-thinking politicians” leader? He’s the wild card tomorrow night. He’s got to figure out a way to be taken seriously and seen as presidential. But he’s also got to be seen as a no-holds-barred fighter. (First punch at Trump? I wouldn’t put it past Christie.) Interestingly – and personally frustrating for me – Christie has said he’s going to focus on appealing to independents in New Hampshire as they can vote in the partisan primary and have a outsized influence on the first-in-the-nation primary’s outcome. Yet, Christie’s gubernatorial administration is actively, vocally opposing efforts to reform the primary election system in New Jersey to allow unaffiliated/independent voters from participating in that state’s primaries. Hypocrite? Then, last week, Christie took an open shot at Colorado and the couple other states that have recreational marijuana laws, saying that “the party is over for legal weed” if he becomes president. So what is he? Now he’s a proponent of the nanny state? And against states’ rights? (Let’s see how well that will play in the “Live Free or Die” state). The bottom line is Christie has got to find a consistent, winnable message that resonates with primary GOP voters. He’s not found it yet. If anyone aims a haymaker at Trump to try to earn a headline, it’ll be Christie.

John Kasich: A total stranger to many, Kasich has been around the block as a representative and is the current Governor of Ohio. (Yep, the same “as goes Ohio, so goes the country” Ohio.) He’s a mostly-popular executive of a hugely important state. He’s got a couple knocks – Obama Care, taxes, comes across as a bit arrogant to some. Kasich snuck into the adult-table debate, knocking Rick Perry to the pre-game. But he’s the sleeper for many pols, demonstrating he’s solid on the issues, credible, experienced, funded-enough and with a killer network of operatives and GOP big feet both in DC and across the country to be the surprise first tier player if he keeps on the same trajectory. And remember, he did toy with running once before (formed an exploratory in 2000) which gives candidates a great advantage over those that haven’t run. He plays well with constituencies across much of the GOP spectrum. He and team know that it’s early. He doesn’t need to blow the roof off with his performance in the first debate. No one will attack him, yet. He should treat this debate as his introduction to a national audience. Remind voters that you’ve been around the block but have found even greater success outside Washington as a successful governor. Even though he’s not top-tier yet – he should act like he belongs there. A successful debate for Kasich is one in which he doesn’t lose.

Who will win? I’m guessing there will be both winners and losers emerging from the debate. (Of course, if you listen to their campaign staff in the spin room following, every single one of them will claim a win.) The candidates who understand their roles and what they need out of this first Super Bowl will be the ones that have the best shot at claiming “victory.” I’m looking forward to writing a post game analysis already.

So, game on fellow political geeks. Who do you think will win tomorrow night?

Jim Jonas is a Denver-based political messaging and management consultant for independent/nonpartisan causes, organizations and candidates. jim@ivcpr.com

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STATEMENT FROM INDEPENDENT VOTER PROJECT ON FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DECISION REGARDING PARTISAN DRAWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 10, 2015
Contact: Jim Jonas
jim@independentvoterproject.org
720.256.8956

gerrymander

STATEMENT FROM INDEPENDENT VOTER PROJECT ON FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DECISION REGARDING PARTISAN DRAWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

On Thursday, July 9, 2015, the Florida Supreme Court discarded parts of Florida’s congressional district maps saying that state legislators had violated a provision of the Florida constitution prohibiting political considerations in redistricting when drawing the districts.

The Independent Voter Project (IVP) this week filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s “closed” primary election system based on the same premise – elections should serve people, not parties.
Statement from S. Chad Peace, lead attorney for IVP’s legal team:

“On the heels of the recent Supreme Court’s decision in the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case, in which the court made clear the primacy of individual voter rights over narrow partisan/legislative interests, this case in Florida demonstrates that courts are becoming more willing to assert their judicial authority in recognition of the real and dangerous effect legislative actions like redistricting have on the fundamental right of the individual voter. Clearly, the courts are recognizing that the parties are abusing their legislative responsibilities for their personal, partisan advantage.

Justice Ginsberg’s majority opinion in Arizona redistricting case is compelling as she acknowledges that the source of power of the government flows from the people–not political parties or institutions. (In part, Justice Ginsberg wrote, “The animating principle of our Constitution is that the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government.”)

These types of redistricting decisions at state courts are following the Supreme Court of the United States’ lead: Fundamental fairness applies to individual voters … Not the narrow interests of the partisans who are in control of a state’s legislature.

While we are realistic in our expectations on our petition to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the closed primary election system in New Jersey that denies unaffiliated voters (47% of all voters in NJ) an equally meaningful vote at an integral phase of election process, rulings like the recent Florida decision give us confidence that the courts and the country are moving in the right direction on the issue of fundamental voter’s rights.”

About The Independent Voter Project

The Independent Voter Project (www.IndependentVoterProject.org) authored California’s landmark nonpartisan, top-two nonpartisan primary election reform, which voters approved under Proposition 14 in 2010. IVP does not seek to establish top-two as the only alternative system and supports any election process that treats all voters equally, regardless of their political affiliation.

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Independent Coalition Challenges Constitutionality of New Jersey’s “Closed” Primary Elections in United States Supreme Court

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 8, 2015
Contact: Jim Jonas jim@independentvoterproject.org | 720.256.8956

Independent Coalition Challenges Constitutionality of New Jersey’s “Closed” Primary Elections in United States Supreme Court

Petition for ‘Writ of Certiorari’ questions constitutionality of denying 47% of New Jersey’s voters who choose not to affiliate with a political party an “equally meaningful vote” at every integral stage of elections

 (San Diego, CA) – A national coalition of election reform organizations led by the Independent Voter Project (IVP) filed a petition for ‘Writ of Certiorari’ with the Supreme Court of the United States today in a case challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s closed primary election system. The issue in question is whether the New Jersey statute mandating that otherwise qualified voters join one of two particular political parties as a condition of voting at an integral stage of the State’s election process violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

IVP is petitioning the court to declare the fundamental right to vote is a nonpartisan right. Under its current law, however, New Jersey requires that a voter join either the Republican or Democratic political parties as a condition of participating at an integral stage of its non-presidential elections. Such a system robs citizens of the most important liberty asserted in the Declaration of Independence: the right to govern themselves.

“The notion that two partisan political organizations have built special equity that outweighs the individual’s fundamental right to vote offends the most basic building block of our democracy,” said S. Chad Peace, of IVP and one of the coalition’s attorneys. “There is no legitimate reason to give the members of two political parties exclusive access to an integral stage of a public election process. Doing so compromises the stability and health of democracy and all of its institutions.”

For more information about this case, the Writ of Certiorari, the Independent Voter Project and to read all court filings: http://www.independentvoterproject.org/newjersey

Specifically, the writ challenges a lower court’s ruling as improperly framed as a protection of the two state-qualified political parties’ right of private association, a right never contested. The coalition does not want, nor legally seeks, the right to participate in private Democratic or Republican Party primaries. They seek just the opposite: an end to their exclusion from an integral stage of the public election process.

Mirroring the rise in individual voter’s rights issues and the explosive growth of voters choosing to not affiliate with either major political party, nationwide, the Supreme Court made clear in the recent Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case, that, in Justice Ginsberg’s words: “The animating principle of our Constitution is that the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government.”

And yet, those people (voters) who choose not to affiliate with a political party are being denied an equally meaningful voice in the New Jersey political process. As with women’s suffrage, racial equality, and malapportionment, the equal rights of all voters were not always a part of our national experience. The Supreme Court has, over time, recognized that the fundamental right to vote derives from citizenship and nothing else. It has also required that changes be made when infringements on that right are not tolerable to the fundamental concepts of individual liberty, equality, and self-government.

Of note, as New Jersey lacks a public initiative process, disenfranchised voters have no other reasonable path to seek enforcement of their individual voting rights as the two major political parties have complete control over the initial, and often most important, stage of the election process. Unless the Supreme Court considers whether this system is constitutionally permissible, these two major political parties will maintain control over the People of the New Jersey forever.

The writ cites previous court rulings (including Reynolds v. Sims and Gray v. Sanders, where the Supreme Court first articulated the “one person, one vote” standard), arguing that the Supreme Court has already upheld the fundamental right all voters have to full and equal participation in all integral stages of the elections process multiple times, something the lower courts have not disputed in their decisions.

For more information about this case, the Writ of Certiorari, the Independent Voter Project and to read all court filings: http://www.independentvoterproject.org/newjersey

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari

A petition for a ‘Writ of Certiorari’ asks the Supreme Court “to be more fully informed” and to order a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it. In April 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling dismissing the coalition’s suit, citing the state’s argument that if voters feel disenfranchised by the current electoral process, they can “simply join [a] party.”

About The Independent Voter Project

The Independent Voter Project (www.IndependentVoterProject.org) authored California’s landmark nonpartisan, top-two primary election reform, which voters approved under Proposition 14 in 2010. However, IVP does not seek to establish top-two as the only alternative system and promotes several possible election remedies the state of New Jersey could implement to assure equally meaningful participation in all integral stages of elections for all voters.

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The “Trump Bump” on the GOP nomination (Jeb should send The Donald a thank-you note)

TheDonaldThe Donald’s jump in national polls  has the news media all atwitter and Democrats positively giddy.

Most of the The Donald coverage has centered on his inflammatory (racist?) immigration statements at his campaign kickoff with commentators and Ds assuring the masses that he’s killing the GOP’s grand plan to peel away enough hispanic support in key states to overcome the Ds presidential year electoral advantages. Maybe, on the margins, this could be a concern — but the party has created enough self-inflicted damage over its’ ridiculous immigration plan (is there one?) that it’ll be years and a whole series of much smarter, comprehensive reforms (and leadership) before Hispanics will seriously consider the R message on a national scale.

No, they (media, at least) are missing the bigger ramifications of The Donald’s candidacy.

In an incredibly crowded Republican primary, The Donald immediately jumps into a seemingly “competitive” second place in the polls.

But let’s stipulate this: Donald Trump has less chance at winning the GOP nomination than George Pataki (bet you had forgotten that he was even in the race). Sure, Trump has piles of money, incredible name ID and appears to be building a far-flung and capable staff in a bunch of early states.

But he’s a buffoon — and he’ll prove it over the next six months. Dollars to donuts he gets out before Iowa caucuses (he’ll say/do something dumber than usual, his support will crater, he’ll scream at the media, probably sue a few of the other candidates for some “slanderous” affront, then return to NYC with a damaged but bankable enough brand to start peddling the name again.

So let’s consider what are the real headaches The Donald is causing to the GOP field:

1. He’s sucking all the media air from the room.

This benefits the top tier and handicaps the also-rans. With so many players in the field there is scant room for a newcomer to breakthrough when every news outlet wants airtime for Donald. It particularly benefits Bush who had a decent launch and whose Super will report $100MM+ banked in late July? Which leads to …

2. Republicans almost always fall in line. (While Democrats want to fall in love.)

Democrats want to fall in love with their candidate (see: Carter, Obama, Clinton I, etc.). They’re teasing Bernie a little because of the lefty tilt, but they love Hillary (enough). The media will want to make it interesting and will concoct some angle to make it appear that Bernie is a real threat in early states. He’s not. She wins the nomination.

Republicans almost always fall in line with whomever is supposed to win (see: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, McCain, Bush II, Romney) — either because it’s “that guy’s turn” or is the most bankable/viable candidate that cycle. Sure, we’ll get little mini-surges from the little knowns that will throw the pundits into a spin frenzy (“Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll!”), etc. It’s just idle chatter from the politicos required to file their 450 words.

The nominee will be one of the GOP star chamber’s approved top tier: Bush, Rubio, Walker.. and maybe Kasich (though I’m not sold there’s enough there). One of those is supposed to win — so one of them will. That’s how Republicans play presidential ball.

Now this cycle is a little different that Bush III is dealing with such a damaged brand that while he’s firmly in the top tier, he’s not running away with the nomination. Bush also has to deal with the fact the GOP is going thru one of its regularly scheduled navel gazing exercises: who are we? what philosophical direction are we headed? how will we deal with rise of libertarian wing? how to reconcile surging libertarian appeal with movement conservative activists? how do we combat the Ds electoral college advantage with the silly primary system we’ve allowed to develop (that rewards the nuttiest/invites internal — but very public squabbles — that damage the brand in the general?)

But with Trump in the race, Bush is getting a HUGE bump from The Donald deflecting coverage and opportunity to the other potential top tier peeps (Rubio, in particular, has been ceding points to Trump both in early states and nationally.)

But the longer into the calendar we get, and the longer SideShow Trump is on stage, the more difficult it will be for the second/third tiers to have a chance of moving up. You better believe Bush, Rubio, Walker (and maybe someday Kasich?) are digging the carnival — at least for now. (And we haven’t even touched on how incredibly distracting The Donald will be at early debates — will make it impossible for lesser knowns to be heard AND will make the reasonable/rational (read: Bush) seem even MORE important to a normalized GOP electorate.)

But, Bush, particularly, benefits from Donald sticking around. First, it let’s Bush solidify his argument that he’s a frontrunner, message?: he can win, he’s got money — and he’s not Trump. Second, with Trump near the top, the rest of the field can’t solely focus the fire on Bush. Sure Trump will unleash the hounds against Bush. But my guess is primary GOPers hearing receiving the Trump missiles will 1. consider the source and ignore, or; 2. were already against Bush so won’t dig into his base. The result being it helps solidify Bush as the sane — and safe — candidate (regardless that, other than Christie, he may be the most moderate of the field.)

Who’s not appreciating Circue du Trump?

– Christie (no room for another phony “straight talker”/missed his opening 4 years ago)
– Jindal (still trying to understand his rationale and sell his “outsider” message)
– Paul (who had a nice start, tailed off and now can’t find room to run)
– Cruz – (too soon, too odd)
– every other third tier candidate – Perry, Fiorina, etc, etc
– any voter hoping for thoughtful, rational debate on important policy

So here’s my guess how this plays out. With Trump in the race, the field will begin to coalesce by September into the top three: Bush, Walker, Rubio with a slim chance for one break out candidate (Paul? Kasich?) joining the top + The Donald sticking around because his poll numbers will tell him to. The lower tier candidates will start firing staff as the money dries up and they’re stuck in single digits — and will start throwing haymakers in hopes of sticking around (most won’t land). Some of those haymakers will target Trump (plus some of the other top tiers.) Most will be dismissed or won’t have enough buy behind them to matter. This is when the 3-dimensional chess gets fun: (If I’m in lower tier do I attack the top candidate or someone else in top tier? If I’m in 3rd do I attack the #1 or try to take down #2? Or even #4? If I’m in 10th and fading, I’ll swing at anything (Trump may be the easiest.)

Then there will be the inevitable media feeding frenzy over some slip up or previously unreported story… real or perceived… in the fall will take down one of the big boys.

Voters will start really thinking about impending Iowa, NH, SC, etc.. and the prospect of a Trump nomination.. and leap into action. They’ll figure out that while they may not love any other remaining viable candidates (Bush, Rubio, Walker, Kasich) — they absolutely can’t have Trump represent the GOP brand. So, they’ll fall in line with one of the top tier players — just as they always do.

So, if you’re Jeb Bush you welcome the Trump crazy train — at least for now. The Bush name ID and probable money advantage gets him into the finals. And the longer he can keep the others from finding breathing room in a Trump-controlled media cycle the better.

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LA Times: California’s top-two primary: Don’t judge too quickly

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LA Times political writer Mark Barabak recently reported on a really, really early study on the effectiveness of California’s “top two” primary system (in which all candidates for California state offices and US Congress, regardless of their party affiliation, compete in a common primary with the top two candidates advancing to the general election). Barabak says the system isn’t working, that it’s not increasing turnout and that it’s not “moderating” politics in Sacramento.

Thankfully, cooler heads at the LA Times opinion page quickly responded: “Don’t Judge Top-Two Too Quickly”

A couple points:

1 –  It’s way, way too early to declare anything about Top-two’s effectiveness in making government work better in California. Prop 14 passed just four years ago… barely two political cycles. Can we please give it a few more cycles (and a couple open statewide Senatorial/Gubernatorial races) before we bury it?

2- For most proponents and particularly the bill’s authors, and contrary to Barabak and many other detractors’ (mostly partisans) arguments, Top Two was not conceived as a way to get more “moderation” in the state legislature just for the sake of moderation (though some proponents decided that was the way to sell it). Instead, the idea was to put pressure on legislators and candidates to fight more broadly for support across their constituencies to make districts more competitive, and most important, to take the power of partisan designed elections away from self-interested parties (that love them some baked-in/safe legislative districts) and back in the hands of voters — where elections should always focus, right?

LA Times opinion: “Somewhere along the way, though, (some) proponents of 2010’s Proposition 14 found it useful to market their reform as a plan to promote politicians with more centrist positions. That was always a questionable goal. Voters ought to be able to choose representatives who embrace their views, even if they veer far from the center. There is a difference between a bunch of middle-of-the-road lawmakers and a body of principled thinkers who can broker useful agreements despite ideological differences. The success of top-two should be judged by how well the Legislature works, not by how centrist it is.”

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Can Independents Win Statewide Elections

Opinion article I wrote for the Independent Voter News: http://ivn.us/2015/01/05/can-independents-win-statewide-campaigns/?utm_source=ivn&utm_medium=listing_home&utm_campaign=opt-beta-v-1-1
“Can Independents Win Statewide Elections?”

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Greg Orman: “While Senator Roberts won tonight, we didn’t lose.”

This was just the beginning. The independent movement grew stronger with an incredibly impressive showing by Greg Orman in the US Senate campaign in ruby-red Kansas against not just a three-term incumbent but the entire DC political machine. Onwards and upwards — there  are better days to come in Kansas and across the country!

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“This election should send a message to other aspiring independents out there: this can be done!”

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000003217167/greg-ormans-concession-speech.html

Posted in 2014 campaign, 2014 election, Centrist, Greg Orman, independent candidates, Orman | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment