Today we hosted our second tweet chat, this time inviting independent-minded candidates and voters. Nine independent-minded candidates participated: Phil Dodds, Jack Todd Arnold, Maurice Duhon, Linda Parks, Chad Condit, Anthony Adams, Eric Reyes, William "Cleave" Drummond, TJ O'Hara.
This was a unique opportunity for an open discussion among independents from across the country. Topics included: legalizing marijuana, the Occupy Movement, innovation in campaigning tactics, the rise of independent candidates and voters, overcoming hyper-partisanship, and individual reasons for rejecting the two party duopoly. Over the course of an hour, independents had an open forum to discuss their views, opinions, and frustration with partisan politics.
Here are some of the highlights from today's chat:
The first question came from John Spicer, a political enthusiast living in Wilmington, North Carolina.
#indyvote How would you propose to eliminate the national debt? — John Spicer (@terpman92) May 29, 2012
Responses varied among the candidates:
Eliminate national debt by elimination of national waste. Line item expenditure check #indyvote — Maurice Duhon(@MDfor18) May 29, 2012
@terpman92 start reducing debt by looking at foreign policy, should protect borders, but don't need to police world #indyvote — Chad Condit (@ChadCondit) May 29, 2012
I agree with Chad on the most likely area for cuts; defense, especially spending on no-bid contracts.Agree with Eric, too. #indyvote — Jack Todd Arnold (@jacktoddarnold) May 29, 2012
Reduce debt: Troops home for Afghanistan, close corporate loopholes, reduce health care costs, revenue enhancements and cuts #indyvote — Linda Parks (@LindaParks2012) May 29, 2012
Linda Parks, an independent running for Congress in California's 26th district shared with us some of the challenges she faces running without the backing of a party establishment.
I'm facing ~$2M dollar attack by Dems now in primary and will face millions in attacks from Republicans if I make it to General #indyvote — Linda Parks (@LindaParks2012) May 29, 2012
@politikelly Start by walking the walk, I'm not taking special interest money. Congress needs to do what it can to address Citizens United. — Linda Parks (@LindaParks2012) May 29, 2012
Jack Todd Arnold, an independent candidate running for Congress in Tenesse's 7th district shared with us some of the tactics he's using to compete with incumbents and Super PAC money:
I've had some success with straight-up guerrilla web tactics.E.g., my incumbent's fb page allows my fb page to "like" dissents. #indyvote — Jack Todd Arnold (@jacktoddarnold) May 29, 2012
Have met lots of volunteers and voters by "liking" their dissenting posts on the incumbent's fb page. Also by talking to folks #indyvote — Jack Todd Arnold (@jacktoddarnold) May 29, 2012
@LindaParks: I hope you're right about possibly winning without PAC $ or I'm spinning wheels unless I can sell reform 2 incumbent #indyvote — Jack Todd Arnold (@jacktoddarnold) May 29, 2012
When asked how the candidates will reach out to the youth and convince voters that their vote counts, the candidates answered:
@IVNetwork I have a network of supporters helping gather signatures to get on ballot (9X Dem or Rep required). They spread word. #indyvote — Eric Reyes (@EricReyes2012) May 29, 2012
@VoteAnthony That's the way you do it. Phone calls, mailers, and visits to lists of likely voters. That's what wins elections. #indyvote — Humble Libertarian (@thehuli) May 29, 2012
@IVNetwork Voters must be made aware that their Primary votes are so much more powerful than they used to be. They hold the keys. #Indyvote — Anthony Adams (@VoteAnthony) May 29, 2012
Indy candidates have huge burden in effectively communicating the new power that rests in the hands of voters. Education is key! #Indyvote — Anthony Adams (@VoteAnthony) May 29, 2012
@IVNetwork have family run campaign, using facebook and twit to communicate, walking doors, going to events, great volunteers #indyvote — Chad Condit (@ChadCondit) May 29, 2012
We want to thank everyone who participated. The high level of engagement we saw from candidates and voters speaks to the increasing support of independent-minded politicians. In case you missed today's chat, we plan to continue the dialogue throughout this election season and hope to hear from our readers.