Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Robert J. Dole Institute Explores the Rise of Independents

In a Political World dominated by Voices from the Republican and Democratic Parties, the Robert J. Dole Institute at the University of Kansas stepped outside of the Partisan narrative with its Spring Semester Discussion Group focusing on the “Rise of the Independents.”

By Self-Identification, Independent Voters currently make up 45% of the Electorate. Yet, the Two Parties dominate the Media Narrative, our Elections, our Legislatures, and even our Courtrooms.

This Spring, the Dole Institute of Politics hosted a Series of Seven Discussions led by Jim Jonas, a Dole Fellow and Executive Director of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers. Jonas and his Guests discussed a changing Political Landscape that is bubbling under the surface of an otherwise Partisan Political Narrative.

WEEK #1: “Hyperpartisanship: How did we get here, and how do we fix it?” Special Guest: Matthew Dowd, Author and Political Analyst for ABC

WEEK #2: “The Shifting Electorate: The American political parties and the makeup of the electorate are experiencing enormous changes.”
Special Guest: Patrick Caddell, Political Strategist and Fox News Contributor

WEEK #3: “Third Parties and Independent Movements in Kansas” Special Guest: Scott Morgan, Chair, Kansas Party of the Center

WEEK #4: “Challenging the Duopoly: Legal, Infrastructural, and Electoral Barriers” Special Guest: S. Chad Peace, Legal Strategist, Independent Voter Project

WEEK #5: “Hacking the System: Examining Unite America’s Plan” Special Guest: Nick Troiano, Executive Director, Unite America

Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America (formerly “The Centrist Project”) joined the Dole Discussion Groups to highlight the Rapid Growth of Independent Voters and the surge of Competitive Independent Candidates at all levels of American Politics.

Troiano lays out the many Challenges facing Independent Candidates: Lack of Centralized Data, Access to Talent, Access to Consistent Fundraising, and more, but also the many Opportunities for Unaffiliated Candidates tapping into Voter Disgust with Partisans more interested in Re-Election and Partisan Advantage than finding Common-Sense Solutions to the Nation’s Public Policy Problems. Nick’s Organization is building the Infrastructural, Finance, Legal, and other Components that will provide the necessary Resources for Independent Candidates to start Winning Competitive Campaigns across the Country.

WEEK #6: “Candidates and Reform in 2018 and Beyond” Special Guest: Kyle Bailey, President, Peachtree Strategies

WEEK #7: “Candidates and Reform in 2018 and Beyond” Special Guest: Jackie Salit, President,

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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