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Another Case In Point Re: The Weakness Of The Independence Party

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 09/01/14 11:52

by Dave Mindeman

I have been talking about the Independence Party way more than is really necessary, but I want to note one more thing that is an illustration of what they keep getting wrong.

The debacle with a Tea Party nut winning the IP primary for Senate was bad enough, but the optics have gotten more blurred with this...

Tom Erickson;@TJErickson
Former Independence Party Chair Jack Uldrich and former IP Congressional candidate David Dillion endorse @MikeForMN
(Mike McFadden)

Now Dillon and Uldrich can certainly endorse whomever they wish, but if the Independence Party had any kind of communications office, they would be quick to point out that these guys do not represent the IP in any official capacity. Uldrich is a former chair and Dillion is a former Congressional candidate.

By allowing this to move into the press without comment is yet another IP mistake. Their home page still does not offer any kind of explanation of why their Senate candidate is not there. And now that the previous Chair of the Party and a former candidate have endorsed the GOP nominee, it sends a very mixed message.

Again, Uldrich and Dillon are free to endorse whom they wish but the McFadden campaign is going to utilize these gentlemans former status as a method of sending out a message to Independence Party voters.

A message which the official IP Communications office (if they have one) should refute or at the very least give a detailed explanation. It is also an opportunity to get free media.

If Mike McFadden is deemed acceptable by the IP (even if by default), then they are allowing the differences they have with the major parties to again get blurred and co-opted.

In general, this isn't going to mean a whole lot in the big scheme of things. But it does point to another flaw in the Independence Party.
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The Independence Party Has A Place, But They Need A Plan

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 08/28/14 12:44

by Dave Mindeman

I am going to preface this post about the Independence Party by stating my preference that the IP sticks around. My past thoughts on the IP have been somewhat pessimistic, but that's because I'm going more for a wake up call then wishing their demise. I think that a viable third party option is important to rein in partisan tactics of the Democrats and Republicans....and a means of tempering negative campaigns. A solid Independence Party in Minnesota could do that.

But, having said all of that, I watched the At Issue interview of Hannah Nicollet from Sunday and I have to admit that it was disappointing.

Nicollet said that she switched from seeking the Senate endorsement to the Governor endorsement, basically at the convention. The spot was open and she, more or less, rewrote her speech to address state issues rather than Federal issues. The insinuation being that the nominations were fungible and that it was just a quick shift to make that transition.

We are talking about two very different statewide campaigns and Nicollet had prepared herself for a Senate run on Federal issues. The idea that you can just shift gears on a whim and move to a statewide run for Governor is not something to be taken so lightly. There are a multitude of differences.

And that difference showed up during the interview. Nicollet talked about taxes and began to indicate her opposition to the Warehouse Tax passed in the previous session, but Hauser, the host, had to point out to her that the Warehouse tax had already been repealed. She did not know that and I find that pretty troubling.

Her inexperienced showed. She rambled at times. Went off on tangents. Failed to really answer the question. I don't want to be overly critical, but Hannah Nicollet did not look like someone ready for a highly contested election. She will get there, but she is not ready yet.

And that is part of the problem with the Independence Party. They do not have the depth of candidates to gain that experience or knowledge within the party. Their emphasis on the legalization of marijuana is actually a good issue, but they have to force that into the debate and they do not have the resources or the clout to do that.

The IP has a real problem in this election year. They need a candidate to win 5% of the vote. Now, as I understand the statute, that 5% can occur in any statewide race. The focus has been on Senate or Governor, but I assume that SOS, Auditor, or Attorney General would qualify. There might be a possibility in those races but again, do they have the resources to promote one of those people? If that is their best hope, they might want to pool resources behind one of the more viable options.

There are two other methods of maintaining major state party status. One is meeting a threshold of legislative candidates. They did not meet the Senate threshold in 2012 and since the Senate is not up for election in 2014, they cannot qualify that way. (Remember, the last time they got a 5% vote was in 2010 via Tom Horner - they did not meet that threshold with any candidate in 2012 and since major party status requires them to meet the criteria within the next two elections, 2014 is a make or break year). Getting back to major party status might require the third method which is petitions for nominating about seventy Legislative seats, with 500 signatures on each petition. That would be a tall order for a party in a weakened condition.

As I said above, I really do not want to see the Independence Party lose that major party status. They have a place in state politics, but they need to establish that place with a more solid political base. Solid party building is a slow, meticulous and patient process.

The IP needs to figure out a plan before its too late.
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The Independence Party's Slow Descent Into Oblivion

Category: Independence Party
Posted: 08/15/14 06:25, Edited: 08/15/14 06:26

by Dave Mindeman

I think the Independence Party needs to sit back and do some self-reflection. 2014 is going to be described as either a joke (at best) or the death knell of the IP.

Consider these points:

1. Self-proclaimed tea party member Steve Carlson won the (IP) primary with slightly more than 2,100 votes, defeating Kevin Terrell, the candidate party leaders had chosen to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. Terrell received just 1,376 votes.

Carlson describes himself as a "serious politician who writes, performs and raps". He has delcared he "will create MILLION's of jobs by restoring state usury authority". He writes "interesting" poetry about the courts. The Independence Party is so embarrassed by his primary "win" that it will not list him (or even the office of US Senator) on their website.

The IP had 5 US Senate candidates on the ballot. Their endorsed candidate, Kevin Terrell got 1376 votes (that is statewide remember) or 21% of the total. He finished 200 votes ahead of Jack Shepard - a convicted felon who lives in Italy because he would be arrested if he sets foot in the US.

Steve Carlson probably won because of his Scandanavian name (like Sharon Anderson always getting 35+% in GOP primaries) or voters might have mixed him up with David Carlson who finished 3rd in the GOP Senate primary.

Regardless of the reason, the Independence Party had little means of supporting their endorsed candidates with any semblance of Party organization.

Further evidence of that leads to my second point.

2. Hannah Nicollet, the endorsed candidate for governor, failed to qualify for a public subsidy that would have helped fund her campaign. She needed to raise $35,000 from other sources to qualify for the subsidy, which would have totaled about $178,000.

But at least she won her primary. Of course she also was unopposed and her vote total of 5824 was about 700 votes less than the total vote in the Senate primary.

She will be going into the general election with less than $35,000 - actually her cash on hand balance is about $13,000....and little hope of getting much more than that.

And with all of that, the Independence Party has to find someone in this group who will pull in 5% of the vote so they can retain major party status.

The Party needs to rethink some things. And it is not so much about winning elections as to how it wants to be identified.

I believe there are very serious people in the Independence Party. I believe they do want to debate some ideas on improving the electoral process. But there is another problem here as well....

(Quoting from the MPR article linked above):

The biggest short-term concern is maintaining major party status, said Matt Lewis, who sits on the IP board but has not actively participated in party activities since February.

Mr. Lewis is right about that concern; but the reason for that concern probably shows up in the last part of that quote. He is on the IP board and has not participated since February.

One thing you have to give Jesse Ventura -the original "identity" of the Independence Party - he elicits passion...he elicits a reaction. His ideas and motives may be problematic, but when he was the face of the IP, you knew it was there.

I'm afraid that today's Independence Party doesn't have that fire or recognizable push for reform.

In fact, it may not be long before it may not even exist at all.
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