Populism vs. Centrism: The Complicated Birth of a Third Party

Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, January 8th at 8 pm EST the book club will hold our conference call discussion on Independents Rising.  Our guest will be Jackie Salit, the author and the President of IndependentVoting.org.

The call in number for the call is (805) 399-1200  and the access code is  767775#  .

I am looking forward to our conversation.

Today we hear from Brandi Martindale who shares some of her thoughts and questions after reading Chapter Two in Independents Rising:

Populism vs. Centrism: The Complicated Birth of a Third Party.  

Brandi is a graduate student in organizational psychology at Columbia University and a member of the Independence Party Executive Committee in Queens County.

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Brandi Martindale

“Chapter two illustrates the political maneuvering used in the nineteen-nineties to establish the Reform party as one who served all people – namely inclusive to people of color, and to people from a wide range on the political spectrum. By forming the Patriot party on a Populist platform, in unison with the Reform party, Fulani, Newman, Sabatine, and other independent leaders were able to reject a Centrist perspective. When absorbed by the Reform party, the Patriot party brought with it a strong, long-lasting sense of inclusive bottom-up organizing. This chapter is a story of a successful organizational merger, speaking volumes to the strategy and strong vision involved in bringing the culture of one organization into another without losing the integrity of the mission, goals, or values that both organizations were founded on.”

Brandi’s Questions for Jackie:

Did the Perot/Lamm runoff for primary endorsement fragment and hurt the party movement, or conversely, did this conflict help to bring the dialogue of third-party-politics into more american homes?

A large portion of the American public is unaware that independent voters make up the majority vote – a contributing factor to Perot’s loss described in chapter two. Could increased access to information be a major tool empowering independent voters?

Throughout the formation of the Reform party, strong allegiances were formed while other relationships fractured. Is the level of interpersonal conflict that exists within political organizations an inevitable obstacle?

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2 Comments

  1. Steve Richardson

     /  January 13, 2013

    Thanks to Gwen Mandell for reminding me of this special session. It was one of the most interesting of many conference calls I’ve joined featuring Jackie Salit. She never fails to remind us that we’re part of a movement that has been decades in the making and will likely take many more years to reach goals such as electoral reform that we have already identified. What I really enjoyed Tuesday was her optimism borne of experience in having met challenges by relying on dialogue (e.g., the “went left by going right” strategy). There was, I believe, reference to a rule that “quality of the product is only as good as quality of the process” – a sound bite that nicely captures what she has been doing intuitively all along. What’s brilliant about Jackie’s strategy is her recognition that real solutions to political problems will come only when we develop a healthy civil discourse. Americans need to learn how to treat one another before we attempt serious negotiations on sensitive issues. Major parties are failing our country because they have a vested interest in creating factions, one issue at a time. Our movement has been successful because we have managed to focus on what we have in common – interest in improving the political process.

    Reply
  2. Brandi Martindale’s question was spot on. The internet has been accessible to the majority of the population for over a decade, and is by far the greatest tool for democracy as it was originally intended. Increased access to information, public awareness, and dare I say… transparency are central to the party movement.

    Reply

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