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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The uselessness of the Independence Party

Does this election mark the end of the Independence Party? Peter Hutchinson got fewer votes than Tim Penny, who got fewer votes than Jesse Ventura. The only other race of note, that in the Fifth District, was more of an anti-Keith Ellison vote than a vote for Tammy Lee. Had anybody else been the DFL candidate, Lee would not have been a factor at all. So why should the Independence Party stick around?

The issue is not really that of the party not standing for anything, although that is true. It is simply a matter of the voting system we have: a first-past-the-post electoral system will not have third parties. Read about it.

If people want there to be viable alternatives to Democrats and Republicans, voting for losing third parties isn't the answer. The answer is changing the voting system. Proportional representation or instant run-off would lead to other parties sprouting up. It's not impossible to change voting systems; Minneapolis just did it. The supporters of IRV in Minneapolis have the right idea: get elected officials to support the change regardless of their party orientation. Then, after the change, you can start supporting candidates from other parties.

Until that happens, though, the Independence Party isn't going to accomplish anything. It's time to put it out of its misery.


At 6:59 PM, November 12, 2006, Blogger mike said...

Meanwhile the Independence Party ground troops, fundraising machine, and average vote total increased significantly this election. You don't get IRV delivered without first supporting alternitive candidates in the voting booth. If the Democrats do pass IRV it will be as a line of defense against the emerging Independence Party.

We pulled off an upset in 1998, and the vote totals in that race for the Independence Party have of course gone down, but the party of Fiscal Conservitism (hear that Mike Hatch excuse makers) and social liberalism is here to stay as we not only stand for something, we stand for the things most Minnesotans stand for. Don't waste my taxes, and stop worrying about the gays.

At 8:01 PM, November 12, 2006, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

The party of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism is called the Libertarian Party. I don't think that Tammy Lee, Peter Hutchinson, or any other Independence Party candidates ran on a Liberatarian platform.

Most Minnesotans aren't Libetarian. In fact, the largest group out there is probably the opposite: fiscally liberal and socially conservative. They are protectionist, they want higher minimum wages and farm subsidies, and they don't like the gays or abortion. The myth of the libertarian elite dies hard, though.

At 9:06 PM, November 12, 2006, Anonymous jeffk said...

Libertarians are generally pretty hard-line. I'd call the current independent platform fiscally moderate and socially liberal. True libertarians let nothing stand in the way of capitalism - the independents arn't nearly that frightening. They're really just liberals who are disenchanted with some poor spending choices, broken promises and corruption, and while I hate that they are spoiling elections, I can hardly blame them.

Social conservatives are the most obvious enemy to me. If Minnesotans really are this, we should work to change it.

At 9:51 PM, November 12, 2006, Blogger mike said...

Did you notice when the Libertarian party exited the Minnesota political scene? If the Independence Party is fiscally moderate that would mean the Republican party is fiscally liberal. The Independence party is not insane and out of touch like the Libertarians, but we are in large part fiscal conservitives. Sure Tammy Lee is a little less so, and Peter Hutchinson in his honest approach to budgeting talks about taxes, but all Independence Party candidates understand who's money they are playing with and actually give a damn about the tax payers.

At 12:49 PM, November 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tammy Lee and Peter Hutchinson would be considered liberal Democrats in any other state but this one. I would argue that Hutchinson was to the left of Hatch. The same goes for the majority of recent Independence Party candidates in Minnesota. Their sole purpose for existing at this point seems to be helping Republicans defeat Democrats. I just don't get it.

At 12:49 PM, November 13, 2006, Blogger KT said...

At least we know that 21% of the people in the 5th CD really don't like Ellison so the voted for Tammy Lee.

At 5:55 PM, November 13, 2006, Blogger mike said...

The arrogance of DFLers is pathetic. So Tammy Lee Robert Fitzgerald and John Binkowski all who propose a national sales tax are to the left of the DFL? Seems to me they are actually to the right of the Republicans on tax and spend issues. Sure they are to the left of the DFL on issues like Gay Marraige and immigration and the war on drugs, but thats simply because the Democratic party is filled with gutless cowards who sell out to the Republican base on those issues.

By the way there was only one major party candidate that was against spending tax payer dollars on stadiums, it was Peter Hutchinson, wether you want to call him liberal or conservitive on that one he was the only sensible candidate in the race.

I voted for Peter Hutchinson because I'm a fiscal conservitive, and would never consider voting Democrat, and am seeing my one area of agreement with Republicans eveporate.

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