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2018 SPRING | Rise of the Independents: Candidates and Reform in 2018 and Beyond
February 21, 2018 @ 12:00 am - May 2, 2018 @ 12:00 am
Dole Fellow Jim Jonas
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In a partisan political environment, independent or unaffiliated voters now represent the largest voting bloc in many U.S. states. Can independent and third party candidacies seize upon this shift in party identification? How could they shape the future of U.S. politics? Dole Fellow Jim Jonas leads a discussion group series examining election reform and independent candidates in Kansas and the nation.
Hyperpartisanship: How did we get here, and how to we fix it?
February 21, 2018
Political parties can seem more concerned with partisan advantage than finding common-ground solutions to the nation’s problems. Jim Jonas is joined by guest Matthew Dowd, a best-selling author, cultural commentator and chief political analyst for ABC News. Dowd owns experience working on both sides of the aisle, including time as chief strategist for President George W. Bush. The pair will examine ways to break the U.S. system out of its rut and encourage political competition and solutions to policy challenges.
The Shifting Electorate
March 7, 2018
The American political parties and the makeup of the electorate are experiencing enormous changes. What effects will the rapidly changing political landscape mean for Kansas and the country in 2018 and beyond? For this discussion, Jim Jonas welcomes Patrick Caddell, a political strategist, consultant and FOX News contributor. Caddell has advised over 150 presidential campaigns, including George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Joe Biden, Edward Kennedy and more.
Third Parties and Independent Movements in Kansas
March 14, 2018
What are the prospects for independent and third party efforts underway in Kansas in 2018 and beyond? How can voters who do not feel an affinity for either major party participate in Kansas elections and have an equal voice? Lawrencian Scott Morgan explores these ideas alongside Jonas, drawing on Morgan’s background in local, state and national politics. Morgan served as counsel in various positions for Sen. Bob Dole, culminating in a position as chief counsel for Dole’s 1988 presidential campaign. He is currently the chair of a grassroots group focused on starting a new Party of the Center in the state of Kansas.
Challenging the Duopoly
April 4, 2018
This discussion examines the legal, infrastructural, communication and electoral disadvantages for independents and third parties, and what is happening in the reform space to challenge those barriers. Jonas welcomes Chad Peace, who holds extensive experience in election law and voter rights. Peace is a legal strategist for the Independent Voter Project, a founding board member of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers, and founder and president of IVC Media LLC.
Hacking the System: Examining Unite America’s Plan
April 11, 2018
Unite America aims to strategically elect independent candidates to office who can break through the political gridlock and serve as a voice for all those in the center –– not as a traditional third party, but as America’s first “Unparty.” Their “fulcrum strategy” focuses on electing a sufficient number of candidates to closely divided legislatures where, as a swing coalition, independents can deny both parties an outright majority and use their disproportionate influence to forge common-ground solutions. Jonas is joined by Nick Troiano, who has spent the last decade leading political reform campaigns and is on staff at the Centrist Project. Most recently, Nick helped launch Change.org’s new elections platform as the company’s senior politics manager.
April 18, 2018
Jonas welcomes Kyle Bailey for his penultimate discussion group installment of the semester. Bailey owns over a decade of experience managing and fundraising for independent candidate campaigns, referenda campaigns, and advocacy organizations. In 2016, he managed the statewide referendum campaign that won Ranked Choice Voting in Maine. This year, Bailey is leading a people’s veto campaign on the June 2018 ballot to restore ranked choice voting in Maine after it was repealed by Maine Legislature last year.
May 2, 2018
Jonas caps discussion groups with a visit from Jackie Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org, one of the nation’s leading organizing centers for independent voters. In addition to support for specific candidates, Salit and IV have supported ballot initiatives for nonpartisan primaries as well as legal and political defense of open primaries. Her political commentaries have appeared in a wide variety of publications, and she has been a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, FOX and other outlets.