The Independence Party: After Horner, what’s next?

Tom Horner, shown Tuesday night giving his concession speech.
MinnPost photo by John Noltner
Tom Horner, shown Tuesday night giving his concession speech.

It was Monday night, the final crisp night of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The buses were due any minute at Midway Stadium.

Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate, was finishing up a grueling day-long, statewide bus tour that was to culminate in a rally at the Saints’ ballpark in St. Paul.

His arrival was timed for the biggest — and last — “earned media” opportunity of his campaign, the final 10 o’clock news shows before voters went to the polls.

But Horner campaign manager Stephen Imholte and media staffer Bill Crum, on site to manage the event, had a problem on their hands, a visual and an organizational problem.

There wasn’t a supporter to be found in the minor league stadium’s grandstand. Not a one. The lights were on, but no one was home.

The 18-year-old Independence Party — run by dedicated volunteers, funded by a few zeroes of cash, not the seven-digit zeroes of the DFL and Republicans — was striving this time ’round to become a serious option for Minnesota’s voters, a winning option.

But not only couldn’t it fill this minor league stadium, it couldn’t deliver any more bodies to this “rally” than those already on the campaign buses that were now headed down Energy Park Drive.

So, Imholte and Crum quickly altered the staging, moving the lectern that once stood at home plate inside the stadium to the parking lot outside where the “live at 10” cameras found about 120 Horner backers chanting and waving signs. Horner and running mate Jim Mulder were quickly framed by the entrance to the stadium, not the shiny, empty bleachers.

“Absolutely, there should have been more people,” said Jack Uldrich, chairman of the Minnesota Independence Party. “There should have been. We know we have a lot of work to do.”

But, now, with Horner’s campaign instant history with 12 percent of the votes, the question that he and the party face is this: Will there ever be an IP rally that fills a stadium or arena?

While it has consistently retained its “major party status” on the strength of gaining at least 5 percent of voters in a statewide race  — and while IP candidate Jesse Ventura won the governorship in 1998 with 38 percent of the vote — can the IP burst out of its tiny silo?

How?

The path
Horner got just about every newspaper endorsement in the state, generally positive media coverage and was a participant in nearly 30 debates with Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer. But 12 percent is all Tom Horner could muster, although 246,000 votes is nothing to sneeze at.

And it could be argued now that Horner’s presence in 2010 and IP Senate candidate Dean Barkley’s 16 percent in 2008 forced two recounts in two major elections that showed just how divided and polarized Minnesota’s electorate is.

Add in Ventura’s 1998 victory and Tim Penny’s solid 16 percent in 2002 against Tim Pawlenty and Roger Moe and you’ve got a legitimate force here.

But this year, this seemed to be THE year for the IP, what with the well-spoken Horner and polls showing lukewarm feelings for both big-party candidates among their traditional bases. And the IP’s fiscally moderate, socially progressive platform.

“It was a good path,” Penny said of Horner’s position between Dayton and Emmer in a year of voter disaffection with incumbents and professional politicians. But while Horner  was known by some business leaders and political insiders, he wasn’t a household name, like Ventura or even Penny when they ran.

Said Uldrich: “I don’t think the stars could have aligned any better for us than they did this year. We had Dayton to the left and Emmer to the far right. Tom [Horner] was perfectly positioned. We would have loved to have given him more support.”

But the party apparatus and treasury has barely grown, with Uldrich allowing that there are today about 5,000 Minnesotans who consider themselves IPers, with about 500 statewide activists.

Former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger, who endorsed Horner and was among the Midway Stadium assembled, said, in his view, the IP isn’t really a party like the DFL and Republicans, but rather merely “a vehicle” for candidates and to bring “more moderate or sensible people together.”

Former Gov. Arne Carlson told MinnPost contributing journalist David Gillette Tuesday night, “There is no IP Party, really. We’ve been too generous on that.”

When Horner became the IP candidate, Uldrich told him that the party’s standing afforded him “a platform that [will make you] one of the three in the debate.”

And, of course, the critical access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in public campaign financing because of the IP’s major-party status.

While the IP ran an extensive slate of candidates, even those that Uldrich and other party faithful thought might do well in legislative races, didn’t. The IP ran seven state Senate candidates and 10 House candidates. Of those 27 challengers, two scored higher percentages in their races than Horner did in his. The rest were in single digits.

“It needs to be more focused,” Carlson said of the IP.

“The Independence Party isn’t going away,” said Penny. “It’s a serious party. It deserves a place in our state’s politics.”

Going forward
Organization is clearly one factor. Last weekend, Horner campaign manager Imholte said that the IP made about 150,000 get-out-the-vote phone calls; 100,000 of those had to be made by paid callers, not volunteers.

During the campaign, Horner raised about $1 million. The IP’s major-party status did allow Horner’s campaign to get about $350,000 in state public campaign financing; that was a major gift from the IP, even if a legitimate “ground game” of door-knocking and get-out-the-vote efforts were difficult.

Emmer raised about $3 million and Dayton more than $4.5 million. The central committees of their more established and branded parties gave each of them about $600,000.

Tom Horner danced with wife Libby at Tuesday night's Independence Party event.
MinnPost photo by John Noltner
Tom Horner danced with wife Libby at Tuesday night’s Independence Party event.

Other than access to the public financing, the IP gave Horner about $15,000. Emmer, Dayton and their independent-expenditure pals carpet-bombed Horner’s lesser TV commercial presence and, at times, went after Horner in their commercials.

Still, as Horner gained some momentum with the business community and disaffected leaners of both parties, the same old message came from Dayton and Emmer: A vote for Horner and the IP is a “wasted vote.” Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton called former GOP lawmakers who went for Horner “quislings,” an insult of traitorous proportions.

That’s why the future of the IP is linked to many strategies, but none so powerful as the statewide introduction of Ranked Choice Voting.

For sure, Uldrich said, the IP needs to hire a full-time party executive director. For now, there has not been one because the IP hasn’t had the sustaining funding to hire one.

For sure, as Penny points out, there is a marketing problem. The other two major parties have a two-century headstart on the IP, and every kid grows up learning about and “conditioned to believe” in the two-party system.

Said Penny: “It leads to 20 percent of the electorate being prepared to vote for any Democrat even if they’re a dud and 20 percent voting for any Republican even if they’re a dolt … Every Independence candidate has to build from the ground up.”

In interviews with key IP officers and new backers — such as Durenberger — all mention the need for the IP to work with FairVote Minnesota to promote statewide Ranked Choice Voting. It would tackle head-on the notion that a vote for an IP candidate is a thrown-away vote.

Horner and his backers say there was an element of “fear” generated by both Emmer’s and Dayton’s camp that a vote for Horner was going to help the “other guy” win the election.

Voters who feared Emmer, but weren’t sold on Dayton, still cast their vote for Dayton, the theory goes, because they were concerned a vote for Horner would be one taken away from Dayton.

Said Uldrich: “I’m tired of people saying, ‘Who does the IP candidate take votes from?’ The system takes votes from us. We have a winner-takes-all system. If we change that, suddenly you’ll see our candidates polling better and be more competitive.”

With Ranked Choice Voting, a Horner supporter could have placed the IP candidate first and then Dayton or Emmer second. If Horner’s first-place rankings didn’t add up to be on the top of the “standings,” then that second-choice for Dayton or Emmer would take effect.

RCV is in place in Minneapolis in some races and will be used in St. Paul next year. FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey said she is working with both the IP and DFL to get a system in place statewide by 2018 when voting machines can be adapted for the system.

With RCV in Minneapolis, Uldrich said: “We as a party have to find in three years a good candidate for mayor and for city council and become the second party in Minneapolis. It’s a one-party town. The Republicans don’t exist. We have a huge opportunity for the Independence Party. If we don’t capitalize on that in the next three years, we deserve to go away. And you can quote me on that.”

Virtually speaking
Penny also believes the IP should become “a virtual party” and forget about the accoutrements of the old-line parties.

Said Penny: “To the degree to which we structure the IP so it looks like the other two parties, we’re playing by the wrong rules.”

Conventions online, more webinar-like? More commitment to databases? Politics aside, Penny said, the IP needs to be more like MoveOn.org. “More user friendly,” said Penny.”

There is also an effort to nationalize the party, with IP director Michael Burger of Mankato a proponent. Burger is working with Independent Party groups and similar parties in more than 20 other states.

 The Horner effect
 “What we need, too, is for Tom and his supporters to stay involved,” said Uldrich.

Peter Hutchinson, the 2006 candidate, didn’t stay involved. But Ventura and Penny and Horner have provided some glue for new IP supporters. Tuesday night, Horner seemed ready to explore building the party and surely the RCV effort.

“There are so many people who have talked to me about the base we’ve built,’’ said Horner. “What form that takes, I don’t know … There are a lot of things we can do.”

So now, once again, after an election in which it was a player and a factor but still a distance third, the Independence Party needs to throw off its “wasted” label, choose its path and make some headway.

Said Penny: “With each passing election cycle, we increase the number of folks who have found in our candidates the message they are looking for.”

Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 11/03/2010 - 11:34 am.

    I have two recommendations, but first, I continue to think Tom Horner is a great candidate and ran a great campaign. I hope he’ll continue to run in the future. I also observe that IP can’t be only for elections, obviously, we have to have policy interest 365.

    And yes, it’s rough going into the headwind of the liberal sound-byte media and the 2-party system. (And I notice Fox is also enamored of the Republican Party, and not too open to IP). That is why we must have policy interest. Just like the Tea Party.

    Which brings me to my first recommendation (which is not for a full-time executive director, her power should be minimal, power should be in the hands of the people under the laws, the party should not be some private organization full of “screening” committees, we have a primary system in Minnesota). My first recommendation is that the IP, apart from its principles, accommodate diversity of opinion. The lack of tolerance of good-faith ideas and the 1st Amendment is exactly what killed different versions of the Republican and Democrat parties.

    When I got involved, I had seen Dean Barkley say he welcomed Tea Party people. But then I was told someone had decided the Tea Party (which is the name of a movement) NOT be WELCOME. I am a Tea Party person because at the national level (and I’ll get to that), I totally object to the path the Democrats are on, and even the Republicans. I want to shrink the size and scope of the federal government and return the power and revenue to the state, (the people, the private sector and state government) to stimulate the economy and policy development. That would be to Tom Horner and legislators from the Independence Party, following the Constitutions, etc. That view must be included in the IP. Also, I differ, apparently on my concern for social issues, not because I want to interfere in other people’s lives (and if we fundamentally transform marriage laws, that WILL interfere in a lot of people’s lives), but because of their consequences, for instance the consequences of abortion on demand. If people with some higher level of involvement in the IP consider those issues inconvenient and unnecessary hindrances to libertarian thought, that makes the IP less relevant. So we must tolerate diversity of opinion, not just say, we are the party of economic conservatives/pragmatists, but social liberals. And that was done.

    The other key recommendation I would make now (and I have other ideas, too), is that we’ve got to support Congressional policy and Congressional candidates. Personally, I don’t know if Horner campaigned with any of the record 7 Congressional candidates our party had this year. I know he was busy with debates. But that is what the Dems and Repubs do, and puts an organization into action when it’s needed. And similar things could have been done with the social media. I know money is a problem, but better organization and purpose is also possible. The great dissatisfaction this year was the U.S. Congress, especially the House of Representatives. What did the Independence Party think about that? Is that another inconvenient policy hindrance, the necessity, perhaps to criticize the federal government? Did we have to support taking federal ObamaCare money without leaving open just the possibility that that might be open to change. Was the ObamaCare position flexibility by Tom’s campaign, or dogma? We’ve got to talk about what is good for America, what is a coherent growth strategy for America, just as Tom Horner had a coherent growth strategy for the State of Minnesota. Minnesota is affected, obviously, by the national and international environment, and in fact the U.S. economy cannot be successful, only 50 state economies can be successful and collectively drive national growth.

    Finally, then, I would say that the whole purpose of the Independence Party is to allow high-quality independent policy leadership at every level of government. As such, it represents the highest aspirations of a free people, and must continue. But we should not be confused by the media’s horserace and commercial interest in “politics” just racking winners and losers in each election. If we do that, there is a winner (media) and a loser (the American people). And we cannot let that happen. Jesse Ventura is right, even a third-party can be corrupted, and we must continue to intelligently, even brilliantly, develop new policy for Minnesota, its localities and institutions, and yes, the United States.

  2. Submitted by Jesse Mortenson on 11/03/2010 - 11:50 am.

    Wow, great article. I can’t remember the last time I read a similarly deep and fair look at one of Minnesota’s third parties. Media coverage rarely examines the challenges in building a third party in the US beyond a dismissive look at poll numbers.

    I’m a Green, so I have some significant disagreements with the Independence Party. But I think most Minnesotans would agree that politics in this state would be better if the system incorporated multiple parties as legitimate options. The IP has been running high quality, constructive (moderate) campaigns for Governor that have lent a new dimension to the public discussion, even without the benefit of celebrity (since Ventura’s departure).

    Without a third party in the race, the dynamic of “we just need to get people to dislike the other guy more” becomes even more pronounced. I didn’t vote for Horner but I am glad he was there to mitigate the mudslinging at least a little and put another set of ideas on the table for Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 11/03/2010 - 11:54 am.

    If — and that’s a BIG if — the Independence Party wants to be a party, it needs to be a party, not just a collection of middle-of-the-road flotsam. There is no “party” there. You should have heard the pathetic phone call I received from one of his volunteers! I wished I had taped it as an example of how not to make a persuasion phone call. And the urinal ads. Worse than Tim Penny’s “comic book.”

    And even with the Star Tribune doing to Horner what can only be compared to a sexual favor, ranked choice voting wouldn’t have helped Horner. It’s not like everyone was saying: “I really like Horner, but I’m voting for Dayton instead because I don’t want Emmer to win.” (Or vice versa.) Not many people outside of the editorial boards at newspapers and a few of the same IP folks found him or his ideas that compelling. His utter lack of actual political experience combined with his too-close, insider-trading-like reputation didn’t appeal to the swing voters. For all of Emmer’s many faults, he made a compelling case – even if was virtually a pack of lies. (I’m going to restore education funding.[WTH?])

  4. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 11/03/2010 - 12:40 pm.

    @JeremyPowers What’s not compelling about the idea of having an independent voice for the state of Minnesota, and not one that favors the Republican or Democrat special interest groups? If you were to make the decision right now, you’d just been elected, would you (1) balance the budget through straight cuts (not simplifying, especially federal taxes), (2) would you restore all the tax revenue that Jesse Ventura cut when times were better, or (3) would you try to cut some, raise some revenue, but basically grow the pie, grow the economy? How is this latter not a compelling idea to you? It sounds like it’s because this is just a leisure activity to you, you don’t consider someone has to make this decision, and make it cogently if possible.

    In this case, because the Democrats have gravely erred, and because the Republicans were well-funded, their side of the tug-of-war won out, and they will still not fix the basic issues, but their friends will get the revenue from the tax cuts. But what about the next election, when the Dems regroup, raise taxes again and give the money to their constituents. It’s compelling to break the cycle of partisan gridlock. Remember, there are other countries out there. They are competing with us, it is not just that one party or the other likes to outsource our jobs. For example, it’s Obama who is selling GM, a whole industry, to the Chinese so he can look like he’s a slick businessman. (They kept that pretty quiet until after the election to avoid public debate). We need compelling and cogent solutions to all the policy issues, at every level of government, and we need to do it in Minnesota, while we have the chance with the Independence Party.

  5. Submitted by Jeff Johnson on 11/03/2010 - 01:12 pm.

    What an excellent and thought provoking article, it is worthy of high praise.

    As a blogger and commentator on the Independence Party I think there are several things that the IP needs to do to break its “glass ceiling” which may or may not be self-evident.

    The IP unfortunately appears and disappears from the radar screen of the majority of the people of Minnesota before and after election cycle. From Tim Hutchinson to Tom Horner only the brief period of time that Dean Barkley was in the news for the Senate race did the IP make the news. While elections of course increase exposure the IP needs to stop from completely disappearing off the radar screen during these times.
    With the advent of Social Media it is unquestionable easier and even more accessible to create the virtual party as Tim Penny has suggested, but that means the IP party needs to build the infrastructure and the leadership to push forward such a vision. Thus in reality they need to do both what Traditional Parties and the Virtual Party are envisioned of doing. So hiring an Executive Director and an assistant or two as well as bringing in better Social Media experts to work on Web-Presence.
    All that requires money and not just during the election season but 7x24x365, so the idea of professional fundraiser is also not out of the question.
    My choice for the first paid Executive Director would be Tom Horner.

    Social Media is a key ingredient in keeping a diverse group in contact but the importance of personal contact is also a key. Quarterly meetings at the local library or in someone’s home to discuss the IP position and platform are more important now than ever before. A face to face conversation can generate so much more interaction and understanding than a posting or a tweet.

    Another change I would love to see is rather than people floating in and out of the parties as candidates I would hope the IP would take a more long term approach to finding, recruiting, and dare I say educating candidates. It is not party building if your candidates appear on filing day and disappear the day after the election. In addition the IP really needs to get more candidates involved.
    It was great that the IP had candidates in 17 state legislative races, but the reality is the party need candidates in at least half of the 201 legislative races. The party has a long way to go on that regard and more importantly the party has to continue to be involved in the “same” races; it does no good to have a candidate in 59B in one election cycle and then no one in the next while someone different runs in 59A.
    Much was made of Bob Anderson candidacy in the 6th Congressional District for a second time. Without question he had little if any at all chance of succeeding in his bid, but his presence generated plenty of exposure for the party. The same can be said to a lesser degree about the state districts.
    The IP should be working with candidate like Amy Smith of the 65th State Senate District to determine her interest in running in the next election cycle. If she or any of the other candidates are than the IP should begin working with them on Fund Raising plans, speaking plans, and other forms of engagement.

    In the end it all comes down to two forms of capital, people and money, in politics you can’t have one without the other?

  6. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 11/03/2010 - 01:25 pm.

    @Steve

    I am not the audience I am talking about.

    If you spend any time in the field working on a campaign, you will realize how ignorant the average voter is. Painfully ignorant! They’re not stupid; they’re disinterested. And a goofy budget explanation on minor tax increases and small budget cuts is not going to capture attention of anyone who isn’t paying attention anyway. And Horner’s numbers prove me right. Half of his votes were probably no more than “none of the above,” which is essentially all the IP gets in most of its elections, leaving a whopping 5 percent and change of the electorate that’s interested in his method. Politics is a game of numbers. Five percent is never a winning number.

    I found Horner wanting in every facet. He had his OWN special interest groups of rich western suburbanites and former clients. You speak like he was some sort of Pollyanna, here to save us all if we would just listen. I didn’t get that at all. He was the insider’s slick insider. Having worked in public relations for a decade, it is a dirty business – spying for corporations, lying for them, planning ways to make mistakes look less bombastic, inventing personalities for corporate CEOS who don’t have one of their own, etc. Frankly I’ll take the DFL “special interests” of public school teachers, public employees, construction workers, factory workers and the poor over anaything you find west of 169.

  7. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 11/03/2010 - 02:04 pm.

    @Jeremy None of us really understand the issues until we participate in a discussion to take binding action. Then we get all the different sides, consequences, hopefully still listening at that time. I can’t judge Horner on his having been in PR, I’m sure you find all types in their, they’re like journalists, really. But I do know that Tom brought to the discussion views the Repubs and Dems simply wouldn’t bring up. They get together in a little gang before the discussion and decide what they’ll talk about and when they’ll vote. Individual legislators or other decision-makers may bring up some points, but rarely do people bring up the right solution even to be considered.

    We need the Independence Party, and Tom Horner to keep bringing up these right solutions to be considered. And we need this at every level. Otherwise, we’re left with just picking between competing special interest groups as you’re suggesting.

    And what I’ve found is media people not interested or informed, not individual members of the public, who seem quite interested in the sales tax or whatever.

    I’ve worked in media a lot and understand what the media method is. They just kind of touch on issues so they can say they’ve stimulated thought in their audience. Which usually they haven’t. Including this story just above.

    The bottom line is this: Tom Horner is NOT the Independence Party. He is 2010 candidate for governor for the Indepence Party. So we have to get back to the question: What is the Independence Party? Short answer: It is.

  8. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/03/2010 - 02:22 pm.

    What’s next is that Tom Horner will realize the last six months have been a complete waste of time and he will go back to his old job. The IP will do absolutely nothing until the next election cycle when it will find another so-called “above partisan politics” moderate who, like Horner, is nothing of the sort. Assuming that candidate did not star in the movie Predator and was not part of a tag team with Mad Dog Vachon, he or she will get about 10 percent.

  9. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 11/03/2010 - 03:01 pm.

    Independence “what” ?? It’s not really a party – just a haven for disgruntled partisans – refugees from the two-party system. Centrist is nothing – the mid-point between two other points. What does the IP really stand for?

  10. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 11/03/2010 - 04:15 pm.

    @Steve

    You obviously have a vested interest in the IP as one of their candidates. But you are going to need 2,000 people just as interested in it as you are to make the party work. And I’m not holding my breath. Party work is hard. And IPers in my neighborhood are non-existant.

  11. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/03/2010 - 07:05 pm.

    Dayton spent $4.2 million, nearly twice as much as Tom Emmer ($2.7 million) and four times as much as Tom Horner (1.2 million).

    On the flip side, two major pro-business interest groups, MN Forward and Minnesota’s Future, have collected $4.1 million and supporting Emmer. Add another 4 million spent by Alliance for a Better Minnesota on Dayton’s behalf and you have well north of 12 million dollars that was spent to win this election. Money is a force multiplier in politics

    Absent special interest money and a well funded campaign it was an uphill battle for Horner from the start. Although Horner did manage to raise the level of debate and present good policy ideas at the same time.

  12. Submitted by Allison Sandve on 11/03/2010 - 07:07 pm.

    This is a well-written analysis. Thanks, as always, MinnPost.

    I’m not a member of the Independence Party and if I have to identify my leanings, I call myself an independent (note the lower-case ‘i’) who tends to vote with the Dems. That said, I have to respectfully disagree with Rob’s comment that ‘centrist is nothing.’ I think centrist is everything and that’s why I supported Tom Horner’s candidacy and remain very proud to have done so.

    In too many races, the sole option is to choose between two candidates that have put a stake in the ground that is way to one side or way to the other. Here’s one example of what I liked about Tom Horner’s centrism: He had the courage to state that our system of taxation is outmoded.

    A structure that is based so heavily on income tax means we are vulnerable — in the short-term — to the wide fluctuations that result from economic downturns. (As someone who was laid off, I know that one of the “down the pike” implications was that I wasn’t contributing until I was re-employed.) In the long-term, our population is aging rapidly. That means — with greatly extended life expectancy — there will be an increasing number of people whose income is not taxed.

    Tom Horner’s proposals to integrate consumption-based tax were as smart as they come. It gives us all a stake. If I was a Minnesota version of Carrie Bradshaw, spending $450 on shoes, I would be contributing more to the tax base. As me, I wait until the great shoes go on sale at DSW for $35. My tax will be lower, a proportionate contribution to the state that provides cradle-to-grave services, ranging from Medicaid to roads. The “Carrie? Or Allison?” scenario applies to every commercial transaction. It’s fair. (And as someone whose property tax increases are killing her, thanks to the incumbent governor, I’m really saddened to see that this idea isn’t likely to have a champion in the governor’s office.)

    So no, the center — as represented by Tom Horner — isn’t merely borrowing from both extremes. In this election, we had a choice between platforms that fit onto bumperstickers and those that push the word limit.

    And it’s not about being disgruntled. I supported Tom Horner’s candidacy with optimism about what he could do for our state. I wanted to step away from elections best described by The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    In 2002, I went into the voting booth fully prepared for vote for Tim Penny, one of the sharpest minds to ever serve Minnesota. (He was my congressman years ago when I lived in the First.) I chickened out at the very last minute and voted for Roger Moe.

    I vowed I’d never do that again. I have no idea what role the Independence Party will have in Minnesota. I know only that as someone who thinks for herself, I am proud to have supported Tom Horner.

  13. Submitted by Peter Nickitas on 11/03/2010 - 11:12 pm.

    I am for ranked choice voting for single winner races. I believe the IP should go for even more dramatic changes:

    1. Unicameral legislature. The Legislature shall have 67 seats elected geographically as the Senate is today. The Legislature shall have 136 additional seats, 17 per congressional district, with these elected by party list proportional representation. This way, geography and political values will make up an effective and efficient Legislature that is currently lacking. This way, gerrymandering will make less difference in our state and national elections in Minnesota.

    2. Multiple ranked choice voting for all judicial races in which there is more than one incumbent up for election in a judicial district, at the Court of Appeals level, or the Minnesota Supreme Court. The proposals to amend the state constitution effectively to allow judges to elect and fire themselves by retention elections is an antidemocratic measure in a time that desperately needs democratic action that reduces the power of entrenched money and entrenched incumbency.

    3. Increased public financing of public televsion and noncommercial radio (note well — not a subsidy for MPR). This will reduce the role of entrenched money in campaigns.

    That is a start. If IP wants “good government” that reduces partisan gridlock and bullying, these measures are a good start.

  14. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/04/2010 - 11:03 am.

    The IP presents itself as the centrist alternative to the ideologically extreme Republicans and Democrats, but the irony is that it only serves to make those parties more extreme. Republican and Democratic candidates are chosen, at least in theory, through a (small d)democratic process. If centrist voters don’t vote in caucuses and primaries, then the major candidates will be chosen by people who are closer to ideological extremes. If people want to elect centrist candidates, it has to start with getting the major parties to nominate centrist candidates, and that won’t happen if the centists go off on their own.

  15. Submitted by Peter Nickitas on 11/04/2010 - 03:17 pm.

    Mr. Hintz misses the point.

    Mr. Hintz assumes that political opinions appear on a linear spectrum with Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other. This is not so. Much overlap between the parties exists, particularly in their dependence on corporate money.

    Clear statement of values and policies, with interests and biases stated as clearly, wins elections, when matched with a smart, energetic campaign, wins elections, builds coalitions, and shapes society. Here, the IP falls short.

    Gov. Ventura has the record of one with clear statement of values and biases, but no success in building an enduring coalition to shape the state. Govs. Carlson and Quie endorsed Mr. Horner as elder statesmen who acted as if they wanted to be grown-ups saving the Republican Party from itself, and not to build a new party (the GOP looks alive and well in the Legislature, no thanks to them). Eight and four years ago, the IP gubernatorial candidates, Penney and Hutchinson, presented themselves as “Not Moe” and “Not Hatch”, the DFL gubernatorial candidates. That does not present a long-term vision either.

    The only IP leader with a vision beyond the next election, in my opinion, is Dean Barkley. He has campaign scars going back nearly 20 years. He is the architect of Gov. Ventura’s victory. He sits ably as U.S. Senator for 2 months. He supports ranked choice voting and, in a rarity, admits the existence of class warfare, as a guest on a Michelle Tafoya broadcast on WCCO radio.

    These traits do not fit neatly on a left-right continuum. They do, however, show the possibility of the IP as a viable force in its own right.

  16. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/04/2010 - 04:10 pm.

    I was going to respond to your assumption about my assumptions, but then I got to the parts about Ventura’s “clear statement of values” and Barkley as a “viable force” and realized it just wasn’t worth the bother.

  17. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/04/2010 - 07:31 pm.

    Steve made a great point about Horner. Granted Horner did affiliate himself to the IP Party. Tom Horner’s party affiliation had no bearing at all on my support. I supported his policy and ideas. It was fortunate for Senator Dayton that Horner was not the GOP endorsed candidate…

  18. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 11/05/2010 - 12:38 am.

    It’s imperative that we keep the political channel of IP open. What I said during my campaign is that small is beautiful once again in 2010. There is a party that empowers leaders and solutions. Horner is one of those leaders, and those solutions have been presented. The legislature, either Democrat or Republican, ignore them at their peril, and ours. If the Republicans follow Emmer and do straight cuts for the whole economic problem, because they ignore the solutions Horner put forward, they will be held accountable, because we are watching. Frankly I think we need to manage our federalism. We need to downsize the federal government, so we can say “Honey, I shrunk the government.” That’s returning power and revenue to the state of Minnesota private sector and government where appropriate. Michele Bachmann said ending Bush tax cuts as Obama wants will mean $1.2 billion of Minnesotans’ money going to Washington. Of that, we’ll get back 72%. This means, folks, that we’ve got to oppose ending those taxes, especially in a recession. We don’t want 72% back, we want to try to create some investment and jobs.

    If the Democrats follow Dayton and just jack up, or attempt to jack up taxes on the rich to cover the whole plan he has, well, he’s going to have big headaches with this legislature, he’s going to harm Minnesota’s economy even further, and there will be more work for Horner and the IP to do.

    I immediately looked at Horner’s budget proposal, listened to his education ideas and his brilliant statement of the role of the IP, and I really think anyone who says they want to “educate” candidates ought to do the same. It isn’t just the IP platform, or screening committees that seek to control and limit candidates. It’s real time, it’s not a rehearsal, and like the Tea Party, we in the IP need to engage these very real issues. I didn’t spend all this time and effort for my ego or for kicks or experience. This country and this state are in a real crisis, and it can get a lot worse. I have enough local, state, national and international experience to understand the gravity of this situation.

    Take control of the situation, on a policy level, or it will take control of you. It’s called freedom, it’s called self-governance. We have a lot more work to do, people. There’s no waiting until another election. It’s happening now.

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