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?
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.