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Independents in California gives way to new election dynamic


The recent Pew Research Center study points out that party identification is declining, while independents are on a dramatic incline, and that 43 percent of independents identify as squarely moderate. The future is bright for the independent movement. But the work has just begun, and we have a long road ahead.

In voting for independent leaders, the “centrist majority” is sending a clear message that politicians at the local, state, and national level need to pull out of partisan gridlock and get back into the business of solutions. We don’t need combative politics, we need constructive politics. The important work of governing our country should be done with dignity, with pragmatism, with diverse coalitions, with consideration for compromise, with authenticity. This message is important to independents at large, and these values, along with the needs of their district, are independent leaders’ chief priority, not partisan politics or dogmatic purist affiliations.

Read More: Independent spark flares at ballot box

About Post Author

Austin Battenberg

Austin Battenberg was born and raised as a Californian. After living for several years in Virginia, Austin now lives in El Dorado, California with his wife and son. A strong believer in individual rights and the non-aggression principle.


  1. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson June 18, 2012

    Cutting and pasting has its limits.

    Not all of the candidates in Austin Battenberg’s opening paragraph will move on to the general election under California’s horrendous “Top Two” system.

    For example, Chad Condit, the son of a former Democratic congressman, ran a distant third in his bid for the U.S. House from California’s 10th congressional district.

    Austin’s source, it turns out, is the founder of an organization called icPurple, a centrist organization that unapologetically supports Top Two.

    One should always be leery of centrists, or those in the middle of the road. As a late politician from the Midwest once noted, that’s always where the worst accidents occur. Top Two is no exception.

    Moreover, the color purple is always a potentially dangerous mixture of shades — symbolizing a certain degree of mystery and magic.

    It’s a nice color, but that’s about it.

    There’s no mystery in the “Top Two” system. It’s a plague on open politics and democracy.

    As much as the Purple folks want it to be true, all of the supernatural powers in this world can’t make California’s “Top Two” appear as anything more than the spectacular dud that it proved to be on June 5th…a gray hue of what democracy is supposed to look like.

  2. Richard Winger Richard Winger June 18, 2012

    Darcy is right. Independent candidates do get elected, in states without top-two primaries. In 2010, eleven states elected people to state or federal office who weren’t Dem or Rep nominees, but none of those eleven states were top-two states.

    California elected an independent to the state legislature in 1986, 1990, 1992, and 1994, and elected a minor party member to the legislature in 1999. California, and almost all states, had independent candidates on the November ballot for Congress in 2010. Independent candidates are not helped by top-two systems.

  3. Austin Battenberg Austin Battenberg Post author | June 18, 2012

    I live in California and I HATE top two. Trent wanted the article posted, so I have done so. Just because I don’t like the system we have doesn’t mean we shouldn’t report on it.

  4. Richard Winger Richard Winger June 18, 2012

    #3, yes, but IPR shouldn’t reprint things that aren’t true. The very first sentence in the report claims that Linda Parks, Chad Condit, and Nathan Fletcher are moving on to the November election. But they all came in third. Furthermore Nathan Fletcher was running in a non-partisan election anyway so even if he had qualified for the Mayoral run-off, that would be irrelevant to top-two.

  5. Austin Battenberg Austin Battenberg Post author | June 18, 2012

    Sorry Richard. That was my mistake. I edited the article to reflect the truth. Reading the article made me believe that they all got at least 2nd in their respective primary so they could move to the general.

  6. Austin Battenberg Austin Battenberg Post author | June 18, 2012

    That’s why we have watchdogs like you to correct IPR when mistakes are made. 😉

  7. Independent Voting [Lake, well kinda]

    Dear Independent, As we get into the heat of summer, media coverage of independents is picking up.

    Jackie Salit’s oped on the demise of American’s Elect is an important read and appeared in the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

    In it, she describes how an effort that aimed at provding an alternative presidential nominating process came up short and was forced to fold in May.

    Also of note this week, Cathy Stewart extends an open invitation to join her via conference call on Sunday, July 15 at 6:00 pm ET for a tour of the ideas presented in a new book of interest to independents — The Cause by Eric Alterman and Kevin Mattson — as part of her free educational series Politics for the People.

    In her blog posting today entitled The Best Years of Our Lives, Cathy asks legal counsel Harry Kresky to weigh in with initial thoughts on the current title.

    And just in time for the 4th of July, the Canton Repository newspaper conducted a survey, asking readers about their “journey as a voter.”

    Included in the survey was this question: “If you’re politically independent, has this always been the case? Why?

    If you once belonged to a party, which one, and why and when did you become an independent?”

    Cynthia Carpathios, founder of Independent Ohio, was one of 70 people who responded and her reply drew the immediate interest of the paper which subsequently published her oped What Do Independents Want?

    Sarah Lyons, Dir. of Communications by | | 225 Broadway, Suite 2010 | New York | NY | 10007

  8. paulie paulie September 10, 2015

    Comments removed from this thread; see to find them.

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