The Elephant and Donkey in the Room: The Future of American Political Parties

Streamed on October 16, 2017 from the National World War I Museum and Memorial

Tired of polarized American politics? Join us for a lively discussion across the political spectrum with a panel including former chair of the DNC Howard Dean, President of Jacqueline Salit, Republican Party Political Strategist Danny Diaz, UMKC Chair of Political Science Beth Miller Vonnahme, and independent candidate for U.S. Senate Greg Orman. Moderated by UMKC Professor and former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Allan Katz.


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Gamechangers? Independent Voters May Rewrite the Political Playbook

Gamechangers: ASU, USC and Independent Voting Release Groundbreaking Study of Independents

Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University and the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy teamed up with Independent Voting to examine the independent voter phenomenon and the impact that it is having on the American political landscape. Their findings have been outlined in the briefing paper, "Gamechangers? Independent Voters May Rewrite the Political Playbook," released last week and noted in POLITICO's "California "Playbook."

"Like Einstein's theory of relativity or Galileo's insistence that the earth revolves around the sun, new ways of seeing the dynamics of our world can be gamechanging," said Jackie Salit, President of Independent Voting. "In our work with USC's Schwarzenegger Institute and ASU's Morrison Institute, we're showing the world new ways of seeing the independent voter. This will have a dramatic impact on the politics of our country."

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added:

"The rising number of voters in the United States who are registering and identifying as 'independent' is a very important phenomenon and is already impacting local, state and national elections. Understanding who these voters are and what they care about is essential to a strong democracy, and I am proud to have my Institute involved with this study."

Read Independent Voter Network's story about Gamechangers

Download Game Changers here.

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Dick Spotswood: New state law moves up primary elections

Opinion | Marin Independent Journal | October 3, 2017

California voters have long felt excluded from the presidential candidate selection process. Our early June primary is at the tail end of the season, making it meaningless. Each party’s presidential nominee is determined long before California goes to the polls.

In the 1990s an attempt was made for the Golden State to play a more prominent role in the process by scheduling its presidential primaries in March. When other eager states jumped the queue even further by scheduling their voting as early as January, the Golden State change was scrapped as futile.

Hope springs eternal. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 568, again moving up California’s consolidated primary to early March on “Super Tuesday.”

The new date for primary elections, also known as first-round voting under California’s top-two system, applies to all elections. The word “consolidated” means that races for Marin County supervisor, city councils, judges, special-purpose district directors and school trustees now set for the “primary” are also moved from the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in June to the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in March of even-numbered years.

To the relief of those pondering a run for town council or county supervisor in 2018, the law isn’t effective until 2019. That gives potential candidates sufficient time to conduct their due diligence, line up supporters, raise funds and meet voters.

Columnist Dick Spotswood of Mill Valley writes about local issues on Wednesdays and Sundays. Email him at

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Kamala Harris gets potentially huge boost!

Kamala Harris gets potentially huge boost due to change in Democrats' presidential primary schedule 

Shift will force candidates to spend time and money on populous California

Jeremy B White | | San Francisco | September 27, 2017

California has moved up its presidential primary by months, a change that could reconfigure the 2020 election and boost Senator Kamala Harris if she runs for president.

Despite being America’s most populous state, California has wielded minimal influence over which presidential candidateswin their parties’ nominations. Because California has not held its primaries until June, contenders typically have sewn up the votes they need before the Golden State votes.

But a bill shifting California’s nominating contest to March, signed into law by Gov Jerry Brown on Wednesday, will reverberate through the nominating process.

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Finding Otherness by Jacqueline Salit

“Finding Otherness: A Blueprint for an Independent Conversation in 2020”

Jacqueline Salit


June, 2017

Coming off of the raucous 2016 presidential election and its fitful aftermath, the independent movement is faced with opportunities and challenges on a grand scale.  The behemoth battles in Washington, and the media circus surrounding them, serve to mask the gulf that continues to widen between the government and the people.  Given that gulf, independents and reformers must be considering (at least!) the following two questions:

1) With rampant public anger about the state of our politics and the mind-numbing dysfunction in governance, how should we be working to fix the system, revitalize American democracy, and give greater power to the American people?

2) Should independents and structural reformers also be considering a strategy for the 2020 presidential elections?  If so, what is that strategy, what are the prospects for a unified strategy, and how would we get there?

Read: Finding Otherness: A Blueprint for an Independent Conversation about 2020

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Bernie Sanders and Independents in a bind

Bernie Sanders and the national independent movement are in a bind.

So says my friend, colleague, and President of IndependentVoting.Org Jackie Salit in her recent Huffington Post piece titled “Bernie, We’re in a Bind”.

As Jackie says, Bernie is stuck between needing independent voters (who are propelling his candidacy) and not being able to “go all the way” with those voters in their calls for reform (like letting them vote in the primaries) because Clinton would attack him as “not a real Democrat”:

You nearly won Iowa, you crushed it in New Hampshire and came within a hair's breadth in Nevada. How? By carrying independent voters who chose a Democratic ballot by huge margins. Sixty-nine percent of independents in Iowa. Seventy-three percent of independents in New Hampshire. Seventy-one percent in Nevada. That's where your competitive margin is coming from. . . .

. . . I know the second that you acknowledge the importance of independent voters to your campaign -- and to this country -- you will be attacked for not being a loyal Democrat. That could hurt you with the Democrat base.

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TV Interview: CA Government functional once again under new reforms

IndependentVoice.Org Director Jason Olson talks to Reason TV about the impact of the Top Two Nonpartisan Primary on California. Olson co-authored a report titled A Quiet Revolution: The Early Success of California’s Top Two Nonpartisan Primary.

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CA Report: Top Two Dramatically Changes California Politics

OpenPrimaries.Org has just released a paper co-authored by Jason Olson, Director of IndependentVoice.Org, on the impact of the Top Two Nonpartisan Primary in California. It finds that the enactment of the Top Two Nonpartisan Primary in California has had three significant consequences since it went into effect in 2012:

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Prop 14 Victory Speech by Joyce Dattner

Joyce Dattner, Chair of IndependentVoice.Org, speaks at the victory press conference for Proposition 14 with Governor Arnold Schwazenegger and Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. IndependentVoice.Org represents the state's 3.4 million decline to state voters (California's version of independent) and is part of the national independent movement fighting to reform the political process.

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