Saturday, February 12, 2011

Unpeeling the power of Independents: Part III

NEW YORK, 3:05P – The floor is open for comments. Jackie Salit, Lenora Fulani, and legal counsel Harry Kresky are on the stage, getting reports from the field. Comments pour in from the delegations. Nevada. California. Texas. New Jersey. New York. Pennsylvania. Illinois.
From l-r: Jackie Salit, president, IndependentVoting.org,
 Lenora Fulani, political activist and educator,
and Harry Kresky, attorney


One man is fired up – inspired by events in Egypt. He's now "walking like an Egyptian, talking like an Egyptian. Talking about revolution!"

The crowd laughs.


One woman details her experience trying to ask a question at a Bloomberg rally. Her "question" devolves into a rant that goes ever left. She is politely listened to by the panel, and politely suggested to step away from the mic. 



Another man asks what would it take to have a "big moment." He's happy that Prop 14 passed and open primaries will be the norm, but wanted to know what the next step was in terms of the "sizzle." 

"I don't think it [Prop 14] is just a big moment for California," Fulani said. "It's a big moment for the country.  But you can't skip over the basic hard work of what's created this room, and what's created this movement overall." 

Another man wants to know how to protect candidates during open primary processes, citing former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and perceived electoral shenanigans.

"You don't. This is a democracy," Fulani said. "I know a lot of people talked about Cynthia's campaign. A lot of people voted against her, a lot of black people. I looked at the numbers for this.

"People get elected to office, and then think they shouldn't get challenged," she continued. "You go out, and make your case. If you want to make your case, you have to go out there and make your case."

One woman asked if the tea party is good for independent voting. "Is there something you see from your vantage point that's very valuable, from your vantage here?"

Salit didn't think so, saying that "the tea party has been very good for the Republican Party. That's as much as we know so far."

Yes, there are some possible overlaps on some common issues, such as concern about the national debt, she continued. But that's about where the positive correlations end.

"There is a history in this country of social conservative movements exercising their muscle to influence the Republican Party," Salit said. "I think that's what's going on now."

The lines to jump on the mic are steady. By 3:40P, the room starts to thin. Those who remain are fixed, with heads nodding with resonant comments.

'There is this unraveling of the old social compact and two parties trying to fight it out," Kresky said. "It's pretty clear we need something new. in many ways, that's why we're here." 

One man comes to the mic, without a question, but full of comments. about 5 1/2 minutes later, he sits down, after making a pitch for approval voting

Another man argues that perhaps independents still need a party, because people are geared toward institutions. Families can live together, and operate as a family, but there's still an expectation that there should be a marriage, he said. Like parties, he said, people get married.

"And then they divorce," Fulani shot back, to the applause of the crowd. 

The segment wraps at 4P, right when the whispers in the crowd

"Political system is out of whack with where the country is at," said Salit, alluding to recent reports showing that independent voters compose the majority of the American electorate. "Part of the reason we don't predict the outcome is that it's not predictable." 

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