IVN Monthly Update: Record Number of Independents Give Voters Hope

Happy New Year! And what an exciting year 2018 will be for independent candidates and the reform movement!

In an election year that is supposed to be highly dramatic and very expensive, voters will be told that they have only two options to choose from, red or blue. However, the midterms will offer a record-number of alternative choices to voters who want to end the two-party duopoly.

Unite Colorado, for instance, launched Tuesday with a historic slate of independent candidates for the state legislature.

“For the first time in Colorado’s history, there is a credible, competitive, and coordinated slate of independent candidates running to put the people before the parties.” -Unite Colorado’s Executive Director, Nick Troiano

Also in Colorado, the state could see its first independent congressman as Nick Thomas runs an extremely viable campaign in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. In Missouri, Craig O’Dear, a highly respected attorney who promises to represent, “We, the people –– not the party bosses or those who can buy access to power,” just announced his candidacy too.

Could there be a larger movement afoot?

In Kansas, independent Greg Orman-- who nearly defeated incumbent Republican US Senator Pat Roberts in 2014 -- is building momentum in his run for governor, while Maine independent candidate Terry Hayes is championing the will of voters over the partisan political machine in her state.

State Senator Bob Krist ditched the Republican label so he could run as an independent for the highest office in Nebraska, while a lifelong Democrat has joined a lifelong Republican to form an independent ticket for governor in Connecticut.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Many more candidates are running for local, state, and federal offices, and IVN will continue to keep you updated on independent activity nationwide.

Yet, the road for these candidates will not be easy as the Republican and Democratic Parties control the levers of our political process at every institutional level, including our elections. They control the primariesthe debatesballot accessredistricting, and even the national narrative.

They say independents cannot win. They say a vote for anything other than a donkey or an elephant is a “wasted vote.” They say a vote for that candidate you like will end up being a vote for that “evil” candidate on the other side.

Not true.

That is one reason why organizations, pundits, celebrities, and reform leaders from across the political spectrum will meet in New Orleans on February 2-4 for the Unrig the System Summit, to discuss the best solutions to fix our broken and rigged election system.

Speakers and guests include actor Jennifer Lawrence, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Harvard professor and IVN Editorial Voice Lawrence Lessig, former FEC Chair Ann Ravel, and many more. Follow IVN on FacebookTwitter, and Instagramfor live coverage of the event! We will also be presenting!

Also in the news, President Donald Trump dissolved the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, citing the refusal by many states to hand over voter information “despite substantial evidence of voter fraud.” He has tasked Homeland Security with looking further into the issue.

Meanwhile, Congress is back in session, but leaders in both parties are too busy trying to score political points to take care of the people’s business. US lawmakers face yet another funding deadline, something former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson says should have been taken care of in December.

Yet, Congress kicking the can down the road on crucial issues like government funding and immigration is a major reason millions of voters are so frustrated. The seemingly never-ending cycle of dysfunction, gridlock, and hyper-partisanship has led to many voters feeling disheartened and forgotten.

But voters are not giving up. From Maine to San Diego, people are challenging the status quo, demanding change and taking back our representative system for the people, including the more than 40% of the American people who don’t want to join a party to have an equal say.

We have this opportunity, so let’s not waste it.

OTHER REFORM NEWS:

Welcoming More Voices to IVN

IVN continues to add prominent and influential editorial voices to our community.

Progress for All founder, Tim Canova, discusses the need for open primaries in Florida, where over 3.4 million voters are registered independent, but do not have an equal voice in taxpayer-funded elections.

Canova is also running this year against US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and discussed his campaign in a previous podcast on IVN.

IVN also welcomes prominent political reporter Lindsay France to our family. France launched a new podcast this week, “The Business of Politics.” She talks with Libertarian candidate Nick Sarwark, who is running for mayor in Phoenix.