Looking to 2020: A Battle Plan for Independents and Reformers

Created: 12 July, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
3 min read

The majority of voters are clearly fed up with politics as usual in Washington. Tens of millions feel disenfranchised, they believe elections are either broken or rigged, and most do not feel represented by the Republican and Democratic Parties.

The broad frustration, discontent, and outrage over the current state of American politics leave the independent and reform movements with both opportunities and challenges in future elections.

"The behemoth battles in Washington, and the media circus surrounding them, serve to mask the gulf that continues to widen between the government and the people," says Jacqueline Salit, president of Independent Voting.

She recently penned a paper titled, "Finding Otherness: A Blueprint for An Independent Conversation About 2020." It lays out some of the opportunities for political reformers to fix elections and even unify ahead of 2020.

The blueprint addresses two questions in particular:

1) "How should reformers be working to fix the system, revitalize American democracy, and give greater power to the American people?"

2) What strategy, if any, should independents and reformers be considering for the 2020 presidential election?

Salit notes that there are already several organizations working on the first question, including the Independent Voter Project (a co-publisher of IVN), Independent Voting, Open Primaries, Level the Playing Field, Represent.us, The Centrist Project, FairVote, Bridge Alliance, and more.

She adds that there are "substantive and tactical differences" between these organizations, including their stated missions for reform, their roots, and how they operate. Yet all of these organizations agree that "systemic reform is urgent."

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The second question, Salit admits, is a bit tricker. She believes it is possible for the independent/reform movements to unite. She believes it all comes down to the will to make it happen

"The period between now and 2020 offers a heightened opportunity to challenge the corruption of the 'partisan/special interest complex' and the reinforced hegemony of the major parties," she explains.

Salit expounds on the current opportunities and challenges in this area, including the strengths and pitfalls of the "third party route," the specific barriers presidential primaries put up in several states, what we can learn from the "Sanders Factor," the "Trump Factor," as well as the strategy for unification and finding "otherness" in 2020.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Reasons Why We Must Put an End to Closed Primaries

"Independents are in a position to take advantage, not just of the disaffection with both parties and with the President, but of the new recognition of the systemic and cultural barriers to moving beyond them," writes Salit.

Salit concludes that it must begin with a conversation. We must engage with each other on these topics, including offering remarks, critiques, and alternative paths and tactics for change.

Salit hopes her blueprint is the beginning of this broader, more far-reaching conversation.

"Ms. Salit’s blueprint is comprehensive and well-informed. A must read for anyone challenging the entrenched system," said Chad Peace, attorney for the Independent Voter Project.

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"Salit understands in her bones the need to break up the two-party duopoly to allow an independent candidate for president to emerge," said Cara McCormick, executive director of Level the Playing Field.
"In 2016, the parties produced a choice between the two most disliked presidential candidates in history. Salit acknowledges that working to open up the general election presidential debates to more than just two candidates is key to giving the American people what they want: a more open and competitive system that produces candidates with better ideas and broader appeal." - Cara McCormick

Read Jacqueline Salit's "Finding Otherness: A Blueprint for an Independent Conversation about 2020" below:

Photo Credit: Scott Cornell / shutterstock.com

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