I was pleased to share yesterday that, as of a couple days ago, I am taking over as the new owner and publisher of Independent Political Report. Today I want to fill everyone in on my plans for the site and share some other background information.
SO WHAT’S THE PLAN?
In the short-term, very little is going to change.
First, and primarily for my own nostalgia, I have decided to roll back the IPR logo at the top of the page to a version we were using about a decade ago. I think the image is a little smaller and quicker to load than what the site had been using.
Second, I have removed much of the advertising in the hopes of decreasing clutter and increasing page-load times.
Both of these changes are temporary. At some point in the next couple months I intend to completely redesign and relaunch IPR with an increased number of contributors and a renewed focus on original reporting. The new website will be more modern looking and more friendly for use on a variety of mobile devices. There will be a new logo and there will be advertising on the site, although not quite as much as in recent years.
Down the road I do have some ideas for expanding IPR into producing short form videos or podcasts, but that stuff is secondary to the major site redesign.
Finally, please note that everything will need to be relocated to a new web hosting server at some point, and there is a chance we will be off-line for a few days during this migration. I’ll give as much advance notice as I can before that happens.
OK, BUT WHAT’S MY SECRET AGENDA?
WARNING: This part is boring and self-indulgent, but I did want to offer a bit of background on my own history and political leanings in the interests of transparency. Feel free to skip to the end.
My first memories of politics come from following the presidential campaign back in 1992. I was only about 11 years old and remember watching Jerry Brown on Donahue and Pat Buchanan’s fiery election night speeches. But I also became curious about the primary election results published in my local newspaper every few days. I knew who Clinton, Tsongas, Brown and the other major candidates were but what about this Larry Agran guy? Who is Eugene McCarthy? What about Lyndon LaRouche?
I struggled to figure out who these people were and why weren’t they also on television and included the debates. Thousands of people were voting for them, but back in those days I had no Internet access and we didn’t even have cable TV yet!
When Ross Perot leapt into the contest and changed everything during the summer of 1992, briefly leading the Republican and Democrat in polls, I was fascinated. When the local news gave 15 seconds to Andre Marrou passing through my city, I was baffled. There are OTHER candidates? I can vividly remember stumbling onto a Bo Gritz infomercial one weekend, probably late at night, and being shocked even further. This guy is running too?!
Finding a copy of David Gillespie’s Politics at the Periphery at my local library would eventually help me fill in a lot of gaps. I probably checked it out 5 or 10 times in the mid-90s.
By 1996 we had cable TV and CNN. I can still hum the “Inside Politics” theme song. I was excited about Ross Perot’s new Reform Party, read Harry Browne’s book, watched the entire Libertarian convention on C-SPAN, saw John Hagelin and Howard Phillips on Larry King, and followed Ralph Nader’s first bid for the White House with great interest.
The first vote I’d ever cast, four years later, was for John McCain in the 2000 Florida GOP primary. In the general election that year, I proudly voted for Libertarian Harry Browne.
Living in a heavily Republican county and wanting to be involved in local politics, the only thing that made sense to me was to register as a Republican, though my own views at the time (particularly on social issues) were pretty libertarian-leaning.
In 2006, I was elected to a nonpartisan local office. That experience was eye-opening and I came to realize that what most Republicans claimed they believed in was often quite different from how they actually governed. I remained involved with GOP through the McCain campaign in 2008 as a delegate candidate and precinct committeeman, getting to shake the Senator’s hand a few times and even attending the RNC in Minneapolis. But I did not feel at home in an increasingly conservative party. Soon afterward I officially registered as a Libertarian, served a brief term on the LP of Florida’s state executive committee and even had the honor to act as a candidate for presidential elector on Gary Johnson’s slate.
While I enthusiastically supported Gary Johnson for president in both 2012 and 2016, my own views have evolved in a somewhat less “big-L” libertarian direction.
Two years ago I was proud to get involved with the Reform Party of Florida as both an officer and campaign manager on Darcy Richardson’s gubernatorial bid. We recruited a well-respected former state legislator to join the ticket and Darcy polled more than the difference between the Republican and Democrat despite operating in a brutally polarized political climate.
Last year I was very happy to register as a Democrat in order to vote for Andrew Yang in the primaries. His stances on many issues, particularly the need for radical campaign reform and some type of universal basic income, really appeal to me. And yes, I do think Donald Trump is an authoritarian boob who has proven himself to be unworthy of holding the high office to which he was elected in 2016.
I say all of that to say this: I have political viewpoints many of you will not agree with and I have my own set of biases. That is inevitable, but that is not why I decided to invest my time and money into reinvigorating IPR.
My vision for this site is to build it into a serious news outlet covering a wide range of often-overlooked political viewpoints. This will include serious, objective reporting on third party and independent politics. It is my desire is to see IPR become the Politico for the growing tens of millions of Americans who reject establishment politics and the “major” parties.
Though our writers may be centrists or radicals, the mission of IPR will not be to advocate for any one particular party, candidate or cause to the exclusion of others. Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Socialists and all others are welcome and will be represented.
Not many websites survive 13 years and that’s all due to the tireless and mostly volunteer work of dozens of writers and hundreds of active commenters. We have built a meaningful, long-lasting community and I hope that our ranks continue to grow.
Stay tuned and I’ll share more information as I’m able.