New Yorker Magazine: Could an Independent in Kansas Swing the Senate?

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New Yorker Magazine: Could an Independent in Kansas Swing the Senate?


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Secretary of State qualifies Greg Orman for Nov. ballot

Secretary of State qualifies Greg Orman for Nov. ballot.

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New Jersey AG John Hoffman to NJ Independent Voters: Drop Dead

thecenterwins, the center wins,

It is really interesting to watch as legal challenges to closed primaries begin to get traction… and to read the tortured explanations from elected officials about how and why they oppose equal voting rights for independents. 

The coalition (which, full disclosure, I am doing some consulting for) is helping to push for all New Jersey voters to have an equal and meaningful vote in every election. A Motion to Dismiss their suit from the New Jersey AG/Secretary of State essentially argues that private political parties have the right to exclude nonaffiliated/independent voters from participating in private primary elections — regardless that most elections are decided in primaries AND that public taxpayers are paying for those private activities. The right of private parties to require affiliation/membership makes sense… as long as their activities are privately conducted. This seemed  fine when political parties their held private and privately financed primary conventions (which came with their own set of exclusionary problems) AND most voters belonged to one majority party or another.

But now that 42% of all NJ voters are registered independent, wish to continue exercising their right to NOT join a party and their taxes are going to publicly support the activities of the very private organizations, more and more voters (and soon, courts) are finding that something is amiss.

Article from :  Newark, New Jersey – On Friday, May 9, 2014, New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman, on behalf of the secretary of state’s office, filed a motion to dismiss a complaint challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system. Secretary of State Kim Guadagno argues that U.S. citizens in New Jersey do not have a right to vote in primary elections, but political parties have a right to use taxpayer dollars to fund them.

Read the rest of the article, including the original suit and the AG’s motion to dismiss, here.

So, clearly there are many more months and filings to come. But state AG’s and Secretary of States had better start working on not just their legal briefs, but their political explanations to the millions of independent voters across the country who are being systematically denied an equal and meaningful voice in choosing their representatives.

Stay tuned…

Posted in 2014 campaign, Election reform, independent candidates, open primaries, primary election reform | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Steve Shogan joins Colorado US Senate campaign: Hopes for a competitive independent candidate?

Shogan for Senate on TheCenterWinsIndependent Dr. Steve Shogan unexpectedly joined the Colorado US Senate race yesterday. He needs only 1,000 valid signatures to make the November general which should be no problem for a candidate with some means (like Shogan) to wave a checkbook at and get on the ballot.

So who is he and is he a serious candidate?

Shogan is a well-known, very accomplished Denver neurosurgeon who has served on all the right boards, foundations and commissions. He can probably self-fund (a little) — but not enough on his own to buy weeks and weeks of broadcast tv. His announcement and website aren’t detailed enough to know where is on a range of issues. But he says he’s socially moderate & fiscally conservative — which can mean a whole lot of different things to different people.  He had a nice appearance on the Dan Caplis talk show today — Dan was cordial, Dr. Shogan had a solid showing. But not a lot of news different than the announcement tour.

Shogan has some appealing, but less than detailed, interest in addressing deficits and debt, Social Security reform, and jobs creation. But it appears his primary issue, at least at launch, is Obama Care and how to fix it. From what I can tell — and it’s hard to be sure based on his web site or his announcement speech, he seems to be in favor of a modified single payer system that maintains both private insurance and private care that would also provide basic preventative and emergency care to all Americans. It’s potentially a perfectly pragmatic solution that could appeal to a broad swath of voters from both ends of the argument (and cause a bit of concern in both Udall and Gardner camps?).

Most interesting is that Shogan seems genuinely independent. A former Democrat, he’s been registered unaffiliated for several years. He speaks well to the current broken partisan political system and the critical need to give louder voice and choice to the majority of Colorado voters who fundamentally understand that the R’s and D’s are more focused on beating each other up and staying in office than in solving problems.

His announcement yesterday came timed a day after a Quinnipiac survey pegged the  Senate race as essentially a tossup between Udall and Gardner with a small segment of undecideds (more likely “not-paying-attentions/don’t-care-about-politics-in-Aprils” than “undecideds“). The most painful part about the US Senate race to this point? That it’s April and both sides (and their affiliate c4’s) are lobbing tv face-rippers at each other…. and it’s only April… and there are only 10-15% of voters undecided. So, for now, the only early winners are the media consultants, buyers and tv stations behind the lame tv stuff that has next to ZERO chance of actually turning a Udall voter into a Gardner voter and vice-versa, OR to convince any of those undecideds to actually pay attention (again, it’s April).

There is little doubt that the Senate race will be a battle through the summer and fall. Udall did not have the strongest first term in establishing himself on particular issues or in defense/promotion of Colorado on a national level. No embarrassments … but little stands out.

Biggest problems for Udall (besides that few know him after six years of being in office) is that he’s got weak reelect numbers, a weak second term president of his party, grumpy voters angry about health care and the economy — he’s on the wrong side of both. So, he’ll be forced to cynically shore up his core base (women, liberals, environmentalists, base D’s), paint Gardner into the kookie conservative corner, then figure out some later summer/early fall appeals to centrists/independents to make the 51% math work.

On the other side of the aisle, Gardner is the beneficiary of the same grumpy, throw-’em-all-out electorate, a 2nd-term president who becomes a lamer duck every news cycle (btw, did anyone notice that he’s in Japan this week?), an engaged Republican base that desperately wants to win, a cleared primary field, lots of Koch/etc dollars whacking at Udall, and a generally positive name ID. But he’s still a rural conservative Republican that Denver DMA independents and centrists aren’t so sure about.

So where could Shogan fit in the senate election math?

I’m not quite sure yet. And I’m betting same goes for the Udall and Gardner campaigns for now too. They’ll most likely sit on a judgment until next reporting period and/or survey numbers.

I love his intentions and applaud his candidacy. And I sincerely hope that he figures out how to become a competitive player in the race. But it’s not going to be easy.

Survey after survey confirms that there is a wide spectrum of the Colorado electorate that wants more and better choice and voice when it comes election time. Polarized campaigns desperately need a force in the middle that makes them talk to the forgotten middle (even though they are the majority). But those same voters tend to be the least engaged, least vocal early participants. They are not joiners. They want politics — and politicians —  to mostly stay out of their lives.

Dr. Shogan appears to be a level-headed, bright, community-oriented leader who would make a fine US Senator. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to get yourself into the game. So what does he need to demonstrate he can be a player and force his way into the Senate conversation? (in no particular order… except for #1):

1. Money & Supporters. 
Call me callous and jaded. But money talks when it comes to viability. So does a killer finance/steering committee of A-list business, community, political leaders. At least at announcement time, he showcased neither. Since there’s no built-in party support he’ll have to grow a one-time field/finance/political/turnout operation. Cerebral, authentic, scholarly, even-keeled, mild-mannered candidates aren’t naturals when it comes to populist, Elmer Gantry fervor…. and it’s really hard to build volunteer, grassroots movements with sober, intellectual appeals to the NPR/Tattered Cover crowd. Showcase some serious $$ and people on board will make the recruitment sale a lot easier.

2. A Great Idea and/or Great Positive Name ID.
He’s known in philanthropic and medical circles. That’s a tiny slice of the electorate. Positive name ID is first order of business. But that can take years and millions on its own. A previous office… a community good deed or three… anything to provide jumpstart ID. A hot idea or issue can solve a lot. His health care plan is certainly timely. But he won’t be alone in offering a fix or a defense. And his hybrid solution could take a lot of time (and money) to explain. Sure it’s a hot button — but does it appeal enough to his natural, centrist constituency to turn them into rabid Independents with a cause? Probably not.

3. Really unlikeable kooks on the Right and Left. Udall is left-to-sometimes center/left; Gardner is right-ish and mostly stays there. Both are personable enough. Neither comes off as looney toons extremists (though both of them will try to paint the other that way). Sure, each will have their set of issues that puts them off center of the Colorado electorate during the general. Gardner/GOP escaped a lot of potential pitfalls of having to go hard right in a primary and then tack back to center for the general. Both he and Udall are free to start playing out the general election independent appeals now. That’s not such a good thing for an Independent looking for an opening in the middle.

So where does Dr. Shogan go from here? I hope he figures out how to get into the mix.

I really, really want a competitive Independent forcing the race to pay attention to the middle — it would benefit whomever wins the race.  So, in the spirit of hoping for helping an independent get in the game, here’s my totally unsolicited, probably unwanted, totally freebie political consulting points of advice for the day:

1. Raise significantly more money. Duh, right? But sadly it’s the first, last and always on the mind consideration for campaigns that are part of the conversation. Loan it to yourself to get the ball rolling if you have to. $500,000 dollars. Minimum. Sorry, but this is the equivalent of an independent’s first primary. Show you’re serious and you’ll be taken seriously.

2. Get a solid team around you. Volunteers are fine. Serious ones that have been through campaigns even better. A high octane finance and support committee is also critical. Find community influencers/multipliers who will publicly endorse you. No name lists of family and colleagues don’t count. Chamber peeps, business owners, known political animals. Those are the ones that will get tongues wagging.

3. Keep studying the key issues … but learn the dumb ones too. When/if you get a chance on stage with the big boys you had better keep up and surpass them on knowing the big federal issues cold. (But have somebody quiz you on the price of a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas. I had a presidential client/candidate lose incredible momentum in a New Hampshire primary one year when some cub reporter asked him the price of milk and he couldn’t come up with the reasonable number. Nothing can kill a fresh-faced candidate quicker than simple cluelessness to look completely out of touch.)

Also, appealing to higher angels is commendable…. but it can only take you so far in a competitive campaign. I am all for running positive, issue-based campaigns. I’m glad you’re thinking that way as you start the campaign. But if you’re not going to point out where the others are wrong (or where the entire hyperpartisan system is wrong) and why you make a better candidate than they, no one will do it for you.

4. Own 1, maybe 2 issues. Voter attention spans are really short. They will give you a few minutes to hear your pitch. Make it count. What defines you? What is different than the others? Why should they care about some independent guy they’ve never heard of?

Fine to make health care your issue. It fits. So own it. But make sure the way you talk about it tells a deeper story about your approach to government, about you and how you would serve as Colorado’s senator. And keep hammering the “system is broken” message. It works — to an extent. No matter how well voters know the system is a mess, it’s also the only one they’ve got and are used to. Independents are exotic, non-native creatures. Don’t assume voters are ready to abandon their cultural, historical party just because there is an interesting alternative on the ballot. Continue to spell out what’s wrong with this phony, ineffective red v blue construct … show them examples. Remind them of how compromise is how the Constitution was created… how progress is not the same thing as capitulation. They get it… but they will come around slowly.

Last point on this point. Don’t feel compelled to tell voters everything you know. First-time candidates want to show they have a wide-spectrum grasp of lots of arcane issues. It’s good that you know the stuff. And you’ll use it in the right venues — just not in public. Your issues are health care and fixing a broken system (or whatever else you want to own). That’s it. That’s all the time you will have to sell yourself. Keep hammering on those two things. Come up with a variety of stories and anecdotes and personal examples to prove your point. But then tell it over and over and over again. You, your staff, your family and friends will be bored stiff on the 15th time they have heard you tell the same story on the trail. Try to remember that it will likely be the first time new voters will have ever heard it.

5. Own Independents/Centrists. The base R’s and base D’s will almost always return to base when it matters and especially when not given a choice. The persuadable majority in the middle of the spectrum are the ones that matter to you. They’re winnable, they’re approachable. Go get them and lock them down. Start small but then build out concentrically with the messages that will appeal to them. Don’t spend one dime talking to the crazies on either partisan end — you’ll never win them over. Get the 5-10 percent of the middle that would love to vote independent. Turn them into your donors and field army (electronically speaking.) Leverage Facebook/Twitter and more social to find them, talk to them, own them. The 80-20 rule applies here for the foreseeable future (really, until the first survey comes out that says you’re a serious candidate) spend 80% of time on the 20% persuadables in the middle.

6. Be passionate. This may be out of your personality comfort zone. But you have to consistently demonstrate that you’re running for a reason and others should care as much as you do about the outcome. This doesn’t mean banging fists on podiums and screaming at opponents. It does mean finding a positive, productive, active voice and energy to prove your commitment. Nothing kills a campaign faster than a candidate who looks like they’re going through the motions. Some reporter, etc fires another “who are you in this to spoil?” question should get a passionate rebuke: You’re in to win and the question is an affront to the majority U/I voters in the state that Independent candidates are so casually dismissed.

7.  Keep it simple. This applies to everyone on the campaign — especially you. Find your 1-minute, 5-minute and 15 – minute pitch. You’ll rarely need anything more than those three speeches for the next five months (with a few new anecdotes thrown in from time to time). Raise money. Build your committees. Talk to and convert independents and middle persuadables. That’s it. Anything else is taking you off task. Television ads? Don’t even think about it — not part of the discussion until you prove viability.

8. Take the campaign seriously. But not yourself. Enjoy the process — otherwise it turns into a burden and you’ll stop doing it well.

9. Paint the ambulance. I know, it’s a small thing. But it sends a huge signal. You rolled up to your campaign kickoff announcement in a plain white ambulance with a Kinko’s campaign banner kinda/sorta tied down to the side of it.

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Are you in this thing or not? Look serious. Act serious. Only then will you be taken more seriously. Same goes for your online presence. Your NationBuilder site is a nice start. But where’s the campaign’s email and phone number on the site. No one (particularly a reporter, a donor, a supporter) should have to search for it. Again, look serious and you’ll be taken seriously.

That’s it for now. Welcome to the campaign, Dr. Shogan.  Here’s hoping that you can offer a compelling reminder to the majority independents in Colorado that the center wins the big elections. 

Posted in 2014 campaign, 2014 election, Campaign, Centrist, Colorado politics, Colorado US Senate 2014, Gardner, independent candidates, Shogan, Udall, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

No clear winner at 9News Colorado GOP Guv debate

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9News just wrapped a midday GOP primary debate among Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp and Scott Gessler (Tom Tancredo, as he promised he would do for all primary debates, went missing). Nuthin’ like scheduling a live 2 pm – 3 pm Thursday afternoon debate to generate huge audience and attention for something as trivial as a gubernatorial primary debate….

Overall, it was a mild affair. Few slings or arrows flung at each other on stage — even the guy the debaters hope to replace (Gov. Hick) escaped mostly unscathed. Sure, they all took the expected shots at the Guv: “Weak leader… indecisive… bad for Colorado… etc. etc.. ” But it was really tame compared to the hand grenades that will be tossed around in the fall.

It appeared everyone was in a mood to build their own credibility, promote what they think are their selling points and avoid conflict (that seemed to go as well for the milquetoast moderating by Political Reporter Brandon Rittiman and Anchor Kyle Clark). If there’s a frontrunner in this pack, none of these candidates were ready yet to take out any knees at this debate.

TheCenterWins individual debate grades:

Tancredo: Incomplete. No one other than shut ins, candidate staff, Hickenlooper oppo research team, journalists and uber-political junkies actually tuned into this. Not like there was a lot of undecided Republicans taking time from work to endure this one. So, end of the day, Tancredo wasn’t around to say anything dumb, extreme, insensitive, off-message — so at least he didn’t lose any votes. And his email blast this afternoon will certainly point out what he would do differently than those who did show — and, again, no one other than his converted choir will care. The Tanc has the most fervent army and a really clear message. His strategy to stay above the fight and go Reagan 11th Commandment (Thou shalt not speak ill of your fellow Republican.”) is really smart politics (no matter how bad it is for democracy). If this turns into a low volume, 4-way turnout war he can be dangerous. (Remember that he won a really close, contested and unexpected victory when he first ran for congress by staying laser-focused on just a couple compelling issues and turning out his base.)

Kopp: B.  Kopp continues to grow and improve as a candidate. He still seems like he’s searching for his voice in this thing and comes off at times with a “me too” approach to expressing his opinions. But he’s come a long way since first getting in and looks more serious and capable. And taking top line at GOP convention is a mildly big deal (and a good argument for raising money and stature among the party faithful). Either the rest of the field implodes or he’s got to figure a way to find some running room (and a issue or two he can own) with the R crazies to put a stamp on his campaign and have a chance.

Gessler: C+. The Honey Badger sounded intentionally restrained. He’s best when he gets all “Newt Gingrich” on the media, on liberal opponents, the Governor and fellow GOPers. He does righteous indignation better than any working Colorado pol. As with all the GOP field, he’s a flawed candidate. And in a big mix up primary his myriad political foibles might be the hardest to overcome when the arrows do start flying. If he’s to win the primary he’ll need to take out Kopp completely, neutralize Tancredo and get to a head-to-head with Beauprez with a “winnability” message. Don’t see that happening unless he gets a breakout soon. (Gessler’s brief dig at Kopp about helping Kopp win his campaign and then dinging him for misstating the number of doors he knocked on was interesting, n’est pas?)

Beauprez: B. He looked gubernatorial. He came prepped on the issues. He’s on the ballot (with signatures). He’s raising money. And if the field stays crowded with everyone else pulling from base-right then he’s the logical beneficiary of a subdued, most-holds-barred rumble. Now, all that said, he’s got his own electability problems and a party that wants to win in November. He was clearly trying to give a nod to center and thinking about a general election voter with some of the debate responses this afternoon. Nothing earth shattering — but he’s the only one thinking about independents and moderate Republican women at this stage. As long as the field stays crowded, as long as the others don’t raise enough $$ to lob sustained primary commercial bombing, and as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes, he’ll probably continue trying to act and run like the guy who’s supposed to win.

The Field: C +. No one outright won the debate. They all scored points in different ways and did some things their individual campaigns needed to do at this point. (Some could argue that Beauprez kinda won by not losing.) But the era of good feelings is soon to pass. There will be a tightening and a winnowing that will happen either on it’s own (Kopp runs out of money, etc), or by circular firing squad. The three dimensional chess that will be played out over the next few weeks will be interesting to watch: Tancredo probably stays silent… does Gessler need to call him out? Does everyone leave Kopp alone thinking he’s not a turnout threat? When do knives come out for Beauprez? How much of this will be a mail/phones/whisper campaign to keep the volume/budget down and speak directly to base primary peeps?

Yesterday’s Quinnipiac gubernatorial numbers surely put some fear in all these campaigns, the state GOP (and both CO and national GOP funders). In a year that looks good for GOP nationally and in CO, a president with weak second-term approvals, a survey that shows a tossup Udall-Gardner Senate campaign that also shows Hickenlooper up significantly on everyone in the GOP primary (and most importantly with a sizeable independent advantage) has got to be a concern.

The Governor’s reelect is in no way a done deal. He’s now got a record to defend, a bunch of questions to answer (health care, death penalty, gun control, more) and a really unsettled and grumpy electorate. Repubs have a chance to rebrand and hit a reset with their candidates this fall. As it usually comes down to in every major general election, the center will decide this one too. Can any of these GOP gubernatorial candidates make the case to persuadable Colorado independents and centrists?

Last grade of the day, 9News Political Debate Team: C-.  Yawn. Seriously, a Thursday afternoon live debate? Gimme a break. At least Brandon Rittiman and (usually entertaining) Kyle Clark could you guys have come up with a little more provocative line of questioning? How many times did Kyle thank the candidates for staying within the defined time limits? (seriously, who cares what they said, at least we didn’t have to cut off their mic.) Where were they going with the crazy Nevada rancher questions? Trying to draw the candidates into sounding nuttier than they wanted to? Didn’t seem worthy of a 1-hour debate of Colorado issues. Did they really need two moderators for a three-candidate debate. Just meant more wasted time on asking questions than hearing answers. So few fireworks from the candidates meant the 9News crew needed to light a few so voters got a glimpse at who these guys really are when under fire (instead of the pre-packaged versions). Lastly, the 9News Frazier-Majia political “analysis” team is really stale. There has got to be a way to get a neutral, independent centrist political voice to get in the middle of these caricatures of party hacks and make them honestly analyze serious political/campaign considerations instead of spitting party talking points…. again, yawn.

Thankfully, with the primary coming, the candidates will most certainly wake up and set off a few compelling fireworks to make the campaign a little more interesting. Stay tuned.

Posted in 2014 campaign, Beauprez, Campaign, Centrist, Colorado politics, Hickenlooper, Kopp, Tancredo, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Wave in ’14?… New Surveys Point to One Building… No Rising GOP Tide, But A Crashing Prez

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So…. just a few short weeks ago there was a series of smarty-pants articles by Poli Sci whizzes telling us there was no tsunami building for 2014 midterm. I even posted a brief commentary agreeing that they were probably right

Quick disclaimer here before I change my mind completely: It is only March. There’s a LOT of time between now and November for, (1.) Republicans to get in their own way; (2.) World events to change the conversation; (3.) Public sentiment about O-Care to radically improve; (4.) The President’s favorables/trust #’s could somehow improve (see Item #1/2/3).

But the latest survey numbers combined with a GOP-favored map is pointing towards a wave of some size starting to build.  Per NBC/WSJ numbers and a good write up from @mmurraypolitics shows some alarming news for D’s:

  • Obama’s job-approval rating has dropped to a low point of 41 percent, never a good position for the party controlling the White House;
  • By a 33 percent to 24 percent margin, Americans say their vote will be to signal opposition to the president rather than to signal support, though 41 percent say their vote will have nothing to do about Obama;
  • Forty-eight percent of voters say they’re less likely to vote for a candidate who’s a solid supporter of the Obama administration, versus 26 percent who say they’re more likely to vote for that candidate;
  • And Republicans hold a one-point edge over Democrats on which party registered voters prefer to control Congress, 44 percent to 43 percent. While that’s within the poll’s margin of error, Republicans have traditionally fared well in elections when they’ve held a slight lead on this question.”

Now, these numbers should NOT be read as good ones for GOP. There is broad, deep dissatisfaction with Congress (of which GOP controls 1/2) and Washington in general. Voters want a Congress that will figure out how to get along and make progress… yet see no simple path for getting that done.

The GOP advantage is two-fold: First, voters seem to be increasingly losing trust in the Prez… this has been a slow build punctuated by indecision on Syria, the botched O-Care rollout and the ongoing general public’s discouragement over the lagging economy (and natural 2nd-term blues). Second, and perhaps more politically salient in ’14 is the election map that overwhelmingly is being played on ground the D’s have to defend.

In state after state, the GOP is finding better candidates to widen the playing field (Gardner, here in CO, is real-deal — he’s probably too right for a new-normal statewide election win… but this may not be a “normal” year; Scott Brown stepping over the border to run in NH this weekend and will make D’s spend $$ to defend Shaheen’s seat.)

GOP is emboldened, their grassroots has a huge enthusiasm advantage, the increasingly lame-duck President seems checked-out and pushed out by D’s, a lot of the D base (kids, minorities) don’t turn out for midterms…

All in all, it’s starting to feel like a wave is growing.

The House is a foregone GOP hold at this point… and the 6 seats needed for Senate is looking better and better every week for GOP takeover.

So what’s the problem for GOP? The numbers show if there’s going to be a ’14 wave, the crest will be all about anti-/weary Obama support and not a rush toward a GOP mandate for change. The numbers bear this out: voters still don’t like their GOP representatives… they just dislike anyone connected to the Prez even more. Voters think GOP is wrong on a whole series of issues… but just not as far off as their dislike for the Prez.

It was achingly painful to listen to DC talking heads/panel on Meet The Press this morning fretting about how our politics will get out of the gridlock in which we’re stuck.

Their inability to think outside of the beltway box stops them from seeing the political world except through Red/Blue goggles. “If we could just get a few bi-partisan wins…” they wishfully pundicize…

The answer could be a lot simpler. How about making elections more competitive and our representatives more responsive to ALL their constituents?

In district after district, in statewide elections and state legislatures, the power of incumbancy, gerrymandering and rigged primaries denies way too many representatives from being held accountable. When all you have to do is win your primary to win the general then your need to listen to, work with, represent is diminished to a tiny fraction of your constituency. How about we open up primaries to give majority Independents and other parties a voice and a choice during primary elections? Reform like independently drawn districts, open primaries with top two/IRV primaries will force representatives to campaign and listen to all of their constituents.

Now, this won’t help the President with his favorability anytime soon. But it would push a Congress into getting along using both carrots and sticks. It would open up statewide campaigns to force greater voice for centrists instead of ideological kooks (and mitigate the kookiness).

Most importantly, we could generate waves of support FOR candidates and causes that will move the country forward and lessen the negative tsunami-style crashes that will only lead to the next, inevitable wave crashing on the other side 2/4 years from now…

Posted in 2014 campaign, 2016 campaign, Campaign, Centrist, Congress, Election reform, independent candidates | Leave a comment

USC: Early Evidence Supports Effectiveness of California Election Reform

thecenterwins, top-two reform, centrist

Out this week, an early analysis from the Schwarzenegger Institute at USC written by Prof. Christian Grose, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California, on the effectiveness of California’s election fixes including redistricting and top-two primary reforms.

The early findings are encouraging that the reforms are driving polarized politics back toward the center. From the Report’s preface:


Early evidence suggests electoral reforms in California are associated with an
ideological shift in the State Legislature, toward the center.
Since the introduction of top-two primaries and independently drawn district
lines, the Legislature is becoming more moderate and less polarized.
Since the reforms took effect:
— Senators and Assembly members are more moderate overall, and
— Polarization between the two parties, as demonstrated by an analysis of
members’ votes, has been reduced by 15 percent in the Assembly and 10
percent in the Senate.
During the same time period, polarization between the parties has increased
in the U.S. Congress.”

Read/download the full report: The Adoption of Electoral Reforms and Ideological Change in the California State Legislature

Encouraging progress —

Posted in 2014 campaign, 2014 election, 2016 campaign, California Secretary of State, Campaign, Centrist, Colorado politics, Congress, Election reform | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment