Third Party & Independents Archives

"Ben Westlund is no Jesse Ventura"

In a particularly intriguing discussion, BlueOregon tells us that “Low on the Hog, blogger Jeff Alworth (yeah, the same one that’s here at Blue) has an intriguing analysis of the Oregon gubernatorial race. He starts by taking a look at Ben Westlund’s analysis of independent candidacies that’s over at Loaded Orygun….”

Westlund, of course, is hoping to draw large number of Oregon's independents. Says Jeff: And of those indies who won't vote for other minor candidates, will they vote or Westlund? My guess is that he's got some work to do--with his history as a major party politician, and his platform, to unite the two major parties, he's not really running on traditional independent footing. He's no Jesse Ventura.

In 1998, Ventura ran for governor of Minnesota as a third-party candidate associated with Ross Perot's Reform Party. The Reform Party had gained recognition quickly as a viable alternative to the two-party monopoly when Perot came in with a staggering 19% of the vote in the Presidential election of 1992. But lack of grassroots outreach, political in-fighting and various plays by big-shot wannabes served to destroy the national Reform Party. By 2000 Ventura helped form the Independence Party.

But let's face it, Jesse Ventura's independent candidacy was made by the people of Minnesota. The voter revolt that took place in 1998 in Minnesota just happened to elect an independent governor. The voters who created that moment were not trying to build a third party, and they may not have even been trying to win the election. They were out to "kick sand" in the face of the Democrat and Republican parties.

Whether or not Ben Westlund will "go all the way" (or even get to first base....) with independents is still unknown. But it's really up to independents about that. We're the ones throwing the party.

Afterall, if the base of independent voters isn't out there pushing those "traditional" independent issues - political and election reform - there isn't any reason for candidates (even independent candidates) to talk about those issues.

That's the thing about a movement!

Political reform doesn't exist. There is no such thing as "traditional independent footing"! It's independent voters that determine what independent footing is. Without independent voters coming together to set the agenda, there won't be any candidates with independent footing.

So, what do you say, Oregon independents? Speak up! -NH

Posted by N. Hanks at June 28, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #162733

I’m an independent from Georgia. What I look at is what the candidates are saying. Then I look at their record if any.
In the case of independent candidates they usually make up their own agenda and the independent voters decide weather they like it or not. If they do they vote for the candidate. If not they find someone else. And that might or might not be a party candidate.
Independent voters unlike party line voters aren’t obligated to vote for anyone. That’s why their independent.
The voters in Oregon will decide if Ben Westlund is worth electing or not. Weather he’s a Jessie Ventura or not.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 28, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #162771

Ron, I agree with you AND I think independents can be pro-active in approaching all candidates with a political reform agenda, ask them to support issues like open primaries, non-partisan redistricting, citizen initiative and referendum, etc. and have a basis to support those candidates who will support this reform agenda. I think that would go a long way towards building an independent movement….

Posted by: N. Hanks at June 28, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #162786

Thanks for the linkup, and for keeping an eye on Oregon’s goobernatorial race. Everyone is welcome to stop by Loaded Orygun for a daily statewide review of all things political and cultural in the Beaver State—home of the NCAA champ OSU baseball team, I might add!

Posted by: torridjoe at June 28, 2006 2:42 PM
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