Posted: 09/07/11 17:33
by Dave Mindeman
I note with interest that the Independence Party is not going to be promoting a Senate candidate next year against Amy Klobuchar.
(IP Chair Mark) Jenkins says the party will instead focus its limited resources on trying to win legislative seats for the first time.
Finally...somebody is thinking over there.
The Ventura success of 1998 turned the Reform/Independence Party into a celebrity showcase party. They put all of their eggs into a statewide race basket and left legislative candidates to fend for themselves.
If they had utilized a two prong approach (statewide and local) to build a party base, then the IP would probably have a little more to show for these election cycles. As it stands now, their celebrity focus has led them to near extinction.
Jenkins early statement on an abandonment of the 2012 statewide Senate race is the first sensible approach that I have seen the IP make. It will be challenging, but a focus on legislative races in places where they may have an outside chance to win will be crucial to finally building a real party.
Now, there will be an IP Senate candidate. In Minnesota's open primary system, all anybody needs to do is come up with the filing fee and they can get a place on the ballot under the IP banner. And again, this is not a bad thing.
However, the temptation for rank and file members to give resources and time to the statewide race needs to be resisted. Strong local campaigns are key to making a respectable showing in 2012. And that will require a narrow focus of resources (money and volunteers) in areas where they can be competitive.
Personally, I have thought that an IP caucus in the legislature would be a good thing for the state. The idea of compromise could not be ignored in a closely divided legislature. IP members, even in small numbers, would force more substantive negotiations by all parties.
IP Party issues would fall more in line with Democrats than Republicans in my estimation. Which, I think, would lead to good alliances and force the Republicans and Democrats to moderate.
So, Mr. Jenkins, I may be an unlikely source of encouragement (as I am often accused of being "hyper partisan".... but an IP legislative win here or there could very well put a slight smile on my face.
So go for it, IP. A strategy that finally makes some political sense.