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4 Things We Learned About the State of American Politics in 2015

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The end of a year is an important time for reflection. In order for a person or organization to grow they need to continually ask themselves: What has gone well for me so far? What can I improve on? As the new year approaches we here at The Centrist Project wanted to take a look back at our experience thus far so we can take the lessons learned with us into 2016 and beyond. Here are a couple of the big ones:

1. American politics needs a disruptive innovation

The spirit of innovation has been alive and well throughout our nation’s history. In an age of Facebook, smartphones, and commercial space travel, why are we still buying into two – over 100-year-old – organizations?

Why don’t we take that innovative spirit that has served us so well in the private sector, and apply it to our dysfunctional political system?

Why don’t we take that innovative spirit that has served us so well in the private sector, and apply it to our dysfunctional political system?

Some believe that if their party holds a majority in Congress then things will run smoother. Others think that by implementing new types of electoral reform will do the trick. Truth is, our current system is almost broken to a point beyond repair and if we want to get our country back on track we need a disruptive innovation that can only come from solutions-oriented leaders who will work outside the party duopoly.

Senator Pressler understood this. In his new book (An Independent Mission: An Innovative Campaign for the U.S. Senate) the senator explains that he decided to come out of retirement and run for Senate as an independent, despite having a distinguished career as a Republican, so that he would be able to serve the people untethered to a party’s special interests.

2. Independent candidates need to prove credibility and viability early

Every election cycle there are numerous independent and third-party candidates that run for U.S Congress. Chances are you probably have only heard of a select few.

Part of the reason for this is that the media rarely covers an independent candidate because they do not believe that the candidate can win. This lack of coverage actually creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to these candidates getting less attention from donors, less excitement from voters, and even less attention from the media.

To address this problem head on, The Centrist Project has begun building the Independent Election Engine (IEE) which will help provide centrist-independent candidates with the necessary infrastructure and support early in the campaign so that they can build the momentum needed to win their race.

3. The major parties are determined to keep their stranglehold on Washington

As I have pointed out before, the major parties are willing to do whatever they can to keep themselves in power.

This became even more evident in the 2014 election cycle as the national parties began funding smear campaigns against any Independent who started to gain traction in their race. We saw this in Kansas last year. As independent candidate, Greg Orman, began closing the gap in the polls against Republican incumbent, Pat Roberts, the national party and outside groups flooded the state with misinformation about who Orman was and what he supported.

We now know that we need to be proactive and take steps to educate the electorate about what a centrist-independent really stands for.

4. The country is at a crossroads right now

While the career politicians are battling it out amongst themselves in their respective primaries, there is a growing movement of Americans that want to elect problem-solvers that won’t waste time – or tax dollars – playing politics.

With the lessons we have learned (and continue to learn), The Centrist Project will work to bring independent voters and leaders together so America can have a better, more functional government. 

Editor’s note: This article, written by Dane Sherrets, originally published on the Centrist Project’s blog, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN. 

Photo Credit: Andrea Izzotti / shutterstock.com

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The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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37 comments
Dissident Politics
Dissident Politics

CP asks "Why don’t we take that innovative spirit that has served us so well in the private sector, and apply it to our dysfunctional political system?"

I thought that's what IVN was doing. That's what I was doing.

For what it's worth, the political system is part of the private sector. Money is exchanged for services. As far as I can tell, the political sector is just as capitalistic a sector or industry as just about any other. The incentives that drive private sector innovation, e.g., money, power and ego, drive the political sector.

Matt Croner
Matt Croner

The corruption goes deeper than our elected officials

Brenda Addison
Brenda Addison

Bye politicians ! Bye GOP / RNC ! I am glad I'm NOT IN YOUR SHOES! WE HAVE LEARNED THE HARD WAY - YOU are FAILURES WHO SIT ON YOUR FAT BUTT AND EAT AND DRINK AT AMERICANS EXPENSE. HOPE YOU CAN LIVE WITH YOURSELVES. BET YOU CANT! Don't throw away your stolen loot to seek reelection !

Perry Waag
Perry Waag

I don't disagree that times have changed and that it wouldn't be very practical in reality. It's more of a way of expressing my lament that our current politicians focus more on keeping their jobs than actually doing the work. While I don't dispute most of what you wrote, with regard to the complexity issue.....perhaps these bills are so impossibly complex because they are being intentionally written that way by lawyers and professional lobbyists, and they want to keep things complex and buried deep in bills. I don't feel that the actual issues are all that complex or too complex for average Americans to grasp....provided they are keeping themselves educated on the issues. You mention the danger of people voting on bills without even reading them, but I guarantee you lots of congressmen do that all the time....assuming they are even there to vote and not out fundraising.

Sharla Shore
Sharla Shore

the truth is, you dont get elected unless the global corperate elite want you in.

Michael Hall
Michael Hall

I love how people forget Sanders is a career politician.

U.n. Owen
U.n. Owen

#1 - Congress is full of idots. #2 - The Senate is full of idots. #3 - The Supreme Court is full of idots. #4 - The White House is home to the king of all IDOTS. Hopeuflly the lesson has been learned. Perhaps at the polls voters will arrive better informed on the candidates. Vote for the person - not the party. Remove the idots from D.C.

Steve Fredrickson
Steve Fredrickson

Media must start finding intelligent people to address our problems ... thinking solutions come from politicians is an illusion ... Media must do better in providing voters actionable intelligence versus mindless political theater ... Media must challenge slogans versus just reciting them as 'news' ... Politicians feel empowered to distort knowing public poorly informed ...

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Judy Lawley I don't feed condemned and I know of nobody who is. I don't think most people are even paying attention. I'm discouraged but don't see the situation as hopeless. Americans have gone through a lot before and risen to the occasion.

Regina Baker
Regina Baker

We need to think and do outside the box. Isn't there a managerial book called "Rock the Boat"?

Andrew Michael Leonard
Andrew Michael Leonard

Because of our First Past The Post Voting System, we Need a 2 Party System. With 3 Viable Candidates someone could win with 34% of the vote. The Primaries need to be Open to be fair. In the Primaries you vote for who you think is the best Candidate. However we could Benefit From Consensus Voting. You get 1 ballot and you can vote for all the candidates you want. This way there is no spoiler affect and the Person with the most votes wins. This would be the most fair Voting System.

rbwinn3
rbwinn3

In other words, there is now a faction seeking to turn independent voters into a political party.  Isn't that special?  

All that needs to be done is for independent voters to register as candidates for state legislatures, where state election laws are made.  

All IVN has ever done up to this point is promote the idea that independent voters somehow need to get permission from political parties before they can be candidates for office.  Political parties are not going to give independent voters permission to be candidates for office.  Since the 1960's political parties have done nothing but pass laws at state level to prevent independent voters from being candidates for office.  It does no good to seek relief from these unconstitutional state election laws in the judicial branch of government.  Judges are controlled by political parties.  It does no good to complain to the United States Congress.  It is controlled by political parties.  

Independent voters have to become candidates for state legislatures.  That is the only way to correct the problem.  Independent candidates have to keep one difference between themselves and party candidates.  They have to be elected by petition signatures and votes, not by money.  What is being proposed in this article is to turn independent voters into a political party.

James Clark
James Clark

There was a movie a few years back which encouraged everyone to vote by writing in, "None of the above". It was meant as a comedy, but think about it. Accept as your mantra, "I can't do everything, but I MUST do SOMETHING."

Judy Lawley
Judy Lawley

Its time to stop playing the blame game and get serious, get down to business and fix the issues, and problems of the country. There is too many to count. My suggestion is to start with saving the US before it is too late. If this doesnt get fix nothing else will matter

Judy Lawley
Judy Lawley

Honestly, the system was broken a long time ago. The sad part is the people knew about it and did nothing when there were a chance to speak up and stand up for. Now it is too late. We lost the power and freedome and gave it to corruption so reap what is sown. We need a miracle for a fix to the issues, problems and corrections because nothing is working now that people are starting to say and speak they get condemned for it.

Judy Colston
Judy Colston

We learned that our government is corrupt.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

“Truth is, our current system is almost broken to a point beyond repair and if we want to get our country back on track we need a disruptive innovation that can only come from solutions-oriented leaders who will work outside the party duopoly.” – Centrist Project. “Out of the chaos of this prolonged moment and inside the shell of the old system, a new culture, a new kind of politics, a new kind of governance is being born right before our eyes. Call it what you want. But call it something. Stop pretending it’s not happening.” -- Tom Engelhardt in “Is a New Political System Emerging in This Country?” This article was posted on December 31 on the FB page Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Perry Waag A lot of time and money is wasted for sure. But times have changed. Issues that face us today are too complex for part-time Congresspersons to deal with in two to four weeks a year. Some pure democracy enthusiasts have suggested that the general electorate should just punch a button on their computers to vote for or against every bill that comes up notwithstanding the fact ordinary citizens would have little time to study each bill while also serving in their daily work and family responsibilities. That almost would be like saying you should vote on a (huge) bill hot off the press without first reading it so you can later see what’s in it. Congresspersons nowadays spend much of their time raising re-election campaign cash, likely to the neglect of using time to manage their staffs effectively and properly study the ramifications of proposed legislation.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

“…The Centrist Project has begun building the Independent Election Engine (IEE) which will help provide centrist-independent candidates with the necessary infrastructure and support early in the campaign so that they can build the momentum needed to win their race.” I can imagine that this means the Centrist Project injects early cash into campaigns of the Project’s choice candidates. I believe that the same ideal could be achieved through a properly structured public/private matching fund that encourages local participation and the idea that no congressional candidate really needs to spend more than the median amount spend by winning non-incumbent candidates in the previous election cycle. Further details about my envisioned plan are in the October 16 posting on the FB page Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker

I think it is time to resurrect the "Occupy Wall Street People" and remove both the Republicans and Democrats"

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

Enough of Washington's traitorous trade and immigration policies that have destroyed the real American economy and the future of the American people.

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– What the American people need are leaders that will put the best interests of our own people and country first and foremost.

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– Enough of Washington's bought and paid for puppets and the traitorous trade and immigration policies that have destroyed the real American economy and the future of the American people. What the American people need are leaders that will put the best interests of our own people and country first and foremost, especially our veterans.

Michael Frazier
Michael Frazier

we need to find away to get big money out of politics or we all lose even the fat cats because anarcy is next..

Mary Gribbin
Mary Gribbin

How many government services does YOUR family get?

Perry Waag
Perry Waag

Agreed! I've also said for years that Congress needs to go back to being how it was when it first started 225 years ago. A part time job that regular Americans do, and go to Washington one or two weeks a couple of times a year, actually vote on what needs to get voted on, and go home. The rest of the year they waste time and money on investigating each other to no end.

Inspire Party of America
Inspire Party of America

Expecting both parties to make real changes, especially electoral reform, is like putting the fox in charge of hen house security. We need a major 3rd party made up of the 43% of Americans who self-identify as Independents. We are the ones that actually want to solve problems and get things done without being held hostage by party ideology. We live in the greatest country that ever existed. Why should we have to choose a side? Being in the middle we can pick and choose the best ideas from across the political spectrum and actually get things done.

Johnny Ritchie
Johnny Ritchie

That movement has been going on for more than a Century, with fractions from the far left to the far right and everything in between. It will go on for the next Century, as long as the legislators which made Citizens United and Money equals free speech (with most being false) the corrupting laws of our nation. Only the Unity of the 99% can remove the 1%'s control. The 1% loves the division, they keep control,,,and 95% of the wealth.

FrankMontera
FrankMontera

Hey we need Ron to jump hard into the foray!Announce very early that he is on Rand's team as V.P.Plenty of free plublicity.Who couldn't trust those 2 together?We will finally get to streamline & restore the GOV. to LIbertarian standards.12 years of Pauls would I'm sure set the model of how gov.& Presidents execute their role in the Individuals lifes.I have no doubt that if they do 1/2 of what I think they could do.About year 5-6 everyboby will be walking around with heads up Noticing wow well all will prosper.All have food & shelter.It would be a shame if at that point the .001% get control back.


Don McGee
Don McGee

Everyone should be held to 1 term. Do the work and get out.