Hidden in Plain Sight: Partisan Bias and Independent Voters

Via The Hankster comes word of a new national campaign by Independent Voting (CUIP) to push for Congress to hold hearings on systemic discrimination against independent voters.  From IndependentVoting:
IndependentVoting.org has launched a national campaign to lobby Congress to hold hearings on the structural discrimination in our electoral system against independent voters.  Independents are 40% of the population, yet the barriers to full democratic participation are so hardwired into the system as to be almost unnoticed.

The purpose of our campaign is two-fold: 1) To educate Congress and shine a light on the effect of partisan control of the election process, namely that 40% of Americans have a second class status; and 2) to urge Congress to investigate these biases by holding hearings.

Two committees were formed to launch the campaign: The Bill of Particulars Committee developed a document that lays out the various ways independents are disadvantaged. Some of these infractions are gigantic and some are minute. But they are all a part of the machinery of government and politics which places the privileges of the party above the voter.

The second committee is the Strategy and Organizing Committee which is developing the materials for independents to use at the grassroots such as a sample letter and postcard, as well as material to help independents set up and conduct meetings with their members of Congress. 
This is a great idea.  CUIP is strongly opposed to partisan redistricting and closed primaries, so it is very likely those points will be emphasized in their materials.  The point that partisan duopolist biases are so hardwired into the system that they basically go unnoticed is an important one, since they affect the way we act and the way we think.  Ballot access issues are an obvious example.  What other barriers and biases against third party and independent voters are hidden in plain sight?


Anonymous said...

I have no opposition too third parties, but I haven't found a third party that doesn't promote extremism.

I voted for Bill Clinton in my first election in 1992, but cut the cord with NAFTA. So in 1996 I voted for Ross Perot, wa moderate ho offered real solutions too our economic problems.

I would procede too vote for George W. Bush in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. But by 2008 I looked for a third party that had some of my views so I wouldn't have too vote for Obama or McCain and found nothing!

Is there a moderate, third-party that promotes a sane agenda before it's too late? Or are they only tools for extremist rants?

TiradeFaction said...


Depends on how you define "sane", and "moderate". Are we talking Lou Dobbs "moderate"? Olympia Snowe?

Ross Perot was arguably a conservative on his most important issue (trade), as his position was simply the conservative one (against Free Trade) where his opponents were in fact liberal on the policy (roll backs of protectionism and introduction of free trade). That's the problem when we use such words, they're often very distortion and hold little ground to scrutiny. "Sane" is entirely in the eye of the beholder, much like "pro life" or "pro choice".

Maybe the modern Whigs might be up your alley?

d.eris said...

Anon, as Tirade Faction says, you would probably be interested in the Modern Whig Party, or the National Centrist Party. Actually there's a brand new organization out there, which I just learned about today, called the Centrist Alliance (http://www.centristalliance.com/) of which the Whigs and the NCP are both members. In terms of info/blogs, you should definitely check out Sol Kleinsmith's Rise of the Center (http://riseofthecenter.com/)

d.eris said...

TF, would you still maintain that opposition to free trade is the conservative position today? There seems to be a similar problem as with "sane." It seems like the Democrats and Republicans are pretty much in agreement in their dogmatic devotion to "free" trade, with Republicans calling it the conservative position and Democrats calling it the liberal position. Interestingly though, populist righties and progressive lefties are basically unified in opposition to free trade these days it seems, and are more likely to advocate fair trade.

TiradeFaction said...

>TF, would you still maintain that opposition to free trade is the conservative position today? <

In the long term of American history? No, protectionism was our long standing policy. But within the last twenty years? Well yes, in terms of our political establishment.

"sane" is in the eye of the beholder. Is "Free Trade" sane for the average American worker? Not really, unless he/she wants to get sold out the river, but it's very sane if you're a CEO who will make a lot of money shifting labor where labor costs are far lower (China, Nigeria, whatever). It's true populists of all stripes are against it, as I am. I'm not defending Free Trade, just explaining it's not a matter of the right, left, or de facto center.

DLW said...

But will they support the use of multi-seated elections? Independents need more exit threat from the two major parties and the sine qua non for that is to give third parties a chance to win some seats via meaningful multi-seated elections!

This is sooooo very much more important than nonpartisan redistricting and "open" primaries.

TiradeFaction said...


I don't know if "open primaries" are what they're cracked up to be, the top two law passed here (Jungle or open primary) is likely to make things worse for third parties and indies here, rather than better.