Yesterday IVN.US one of the most popular news sources for the independent voter movement, published an essay about the origins, emergence, and future of the Independent Party of Oregon.
While the IPO was founded on the more modest goal of assuring that any non affiliated candidate would have access to the Oregon ballot, it turned out that voters of all ideologies started joining the party to achieve much greater goals.
One thing that undoubtedly accelerated the IPO’s growth was that it’s formation coincided with the growing unhappiness with the two major parties. Specifically how they conducted elections, and especially the role that money plays in our elections and within the two major parties internal machinations. However this large influx of members with broadly represented political persuasions caused a bit of a dilemma for the leaders of the IPO who were at heart more progressive and democratic than not. From the essay:
The rapid growth of the party was not fueled by massive voter registration efforts, but merely by the presence of the Independent Party being an option on the ballot and the voter registration card. Democrats and Republicans claim voter confusion, but the reality is that voters *want* an Independent Party option. 11 percent of Oregonians identify as Independent Party members, even though only 5 percent of voters are currently registered with the party.
For the people who formed the party, this created an ethical dilemma: Could a relatively small number of officers claim to speak for a much larger number of people unless they asked members what they actually thought about candidates and issues? The answer is “no,” obviously. So the party opted for democracy.
Yet, the decision to find consensus among party members paid off. Maybe not for all of the leaderships progressive ideals, but certainly for the disaffected voters in Oregon who hungered for reasonably moderate candidates who were interested in the peoples business and not the Democratic versus Republican ideological battles . Because even though party members came from all parts of the political spectrum, it seemed there were policies that most people – regardless of ideology- supported. And that was a bit of a pleasant surprise.
The Agenda has been set and the Party is poised to become a broader movement supporting Independent candidates that are now emerging to challenge the current large donor dominated politics in Oregon.