Dawn Of The Independent: Oprah, Hayes, Poizner Fueling "People's Party" Movement
San Diego, Calif.- Oprah Winfrey is a registered independent, wait... what?
The cultural icon said she has "earned the right to think for myself and to vote for myself."
At a rally in Marietta, Georgia for gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Oprah emphasized the importance of getting out to vote over any partisan or policy message.
Independents across the country let out a collective, hell yes!
Oprah The Independent
Winfrey announced why she is not beholden to the two-party dysfunction that's crippling our country. "I don't want any party, and I don't want any kind of partisan influence telling me what decisions I get to make for myself."
While she has historically championed Democrat causes, Oprah admitted to voting red on occasion, "The reason I am a registered independent is because I believe that everybody should have the right to vote their values and vote your conscience regardless of the party. I have voted Republican, and I have voted Democrat, and each time I voted I selected the PEOPLE who I felt represented my values."
The Power Of Democracy
Oprah spoke about how her independent values translate to our current Democracy.
She told the crowd, "Democracy is not just about our individual rights and concerns, our individual protections, but rather it lives and thrives in making sure that everybody is lifted by the community. Every single one of us has the power at the polls and everyone of us regardless of the color of our skin, our health, our age, it doesn't matter, we are all equal at the polls."
She stressed she isn't going to run for political office, "I'm not testing the waters," she quipped.
Poizner Makes His Push
Oprah isn't the only independent making noise in the public square.
Independent candidate Steve Poizner, who is leading by 6 points in the polls, could be on the doorstep of making history in California. Political experts agree that should Poizner come close to beating an establishment candidate, it would be considered a victory.
Poizner is running for Insurance Commissioner, a position he held previously. If he wins the seat as an independent it will mark the first time an NPP candidate has won statewide office in California.
And the polls show he has a lead.
Poizner leads Democrat Ricardo Lara in a 3 poll average 44.5% to 38.7%.
Poizner is doing it with NPP voters, as well as Republican voters. Poizner is the overwhelming choice for the GOP. According to the Berkeley poll, it’s to the tune of 86%.
The Berkeley poll wrote, “No Party Preference voters are proving to be pivotal to Poizner, as they prefer the independent Poizner over Lara, the Democrat, by a 57% to 31% margin.”
Independent Candidates Making Headlines
In addition to Poizner, there are a number of independent candidates looking to break through on the national scene.
These candidates all vow to bring more sensible solutions to government, replacing the stayed ideas and party talking points:
Neal Simon is running for U.S. Senate. The successful businessman is an affirmed independent, competing in bright blue Maryland against incumbent Democratic Senator Ben Cardin as Cardin seeks a third term. "People in this state understand that the parties have altered certain aspects of our government structure to benefit the parties, and to benefit the extremes of the parties, and we need political reform in this country." - Neal Simon
Craig O'Dear is running for U.S. Senate. The attorney believes government should represent “We, the people” –– not the party bosses or those who can buy access to power. “I decided that running as an independent was a calling that I couldn’t resist. I simply concluded that this difficult time we’re in as a country has been brought to us by two political parties. The leaders and the funders of these parties are at war with one another, and they have become far more focused on beating one another than they have on conducting the business of the people.” - Craig O'Dear
Successful Businessman Greg Orman is running for Governor of Kansas. "I’m a political Independent for one really simple reason – I don’t believe the current system is working for the American people or the citizens of Kansas. The two major parties seem to care more about seeing the other party fail than they care about our country succeeding. They also seem to ignore the American people while placing the needs of their donors and the special interests that control the parties first." - Greg Orman
Terry Hayes is running for Governor of Maine. Hayes believes she has the experience, independence, and courage to unite Maine, fix a broken political system, and lead Maine in a bold new direction. “Partisanship is preventing our elected leaders from solving problems. That ends when you elect me as Governor.”- Terry Hayes
Country Needs Thriving Third Party
The same polls found Republicans (49%) and Democrats (45%) prefer their existing two-party structure. A robust 77% of independents want another option.
It certainly is a clarion call for action. Leadership of the third party movement seems either disorganized, slow to react, or latently beholden to the two party system.
But with star power like Oprah and a big statewide win for Poizner, the independent movement could get a big shot in the arm that might propel the "People's Party," to the relevancy voters are craving.