Rebuttal: Independent Party provides voters & candidates a new voice

Sal Peralta_thb

by Sal Peralta

The Oregon Catalyst’s resident curmudgeon, Larry Huss, is the latest in a long list of partisans to take aim at the Independent Party and its process for establishing a platform and agenda.

Larry makes several claims in his essay, I’d like to respond to a few…

1)  The IPO has no platform.

Untrue.  What unites our members is a frustration with the two major parties and a belief that both parties need to work more effectively and collaboratively in service to the public interest.

Unlike the Democrats and Republicans who demand rigid adherence to a mashup of special interest positions designed to win the party money and votes, the IPO surveys its members to determine their preferences.  The process is as rigorous as we can make it, using a methodology recommended to us by the Institute for Applied and Industrial Math.  We aren’t interested in telling people what to think.  We are interested in learning what our members want and then providing them with the tools to communicate their preferences to our elected officials and our candidates.

The party determines its agenda by implementing a series of preference surveys, with questions on each survey becoming narrower and more specific until the survey questions line up with specific legislation under consideration by the Oregon legislature.   Members are given an opportunity to weigh in on their preferences and encouraged to lobby legislators in support of those positions.

2)  The IPO has not done much

Here is a short list of IPO accomplishments and actions in the legislature:

Repealed a 2005 law that makes it more difficult to run for public office as an independent; defeated a 2009 law to gut Oregon’s campaign reporting system on the floor of the Oregon House after the bill had passed in the Senate. defeated a 2011 effort by the House Majority leader to gut Oregon’s open meetings law; helped to pass Buy Oregon First legislation that requires the state to give preference to Oregon businesses when awarding state contracts; pushed for reforms to the state’s PERS system; helped to provide tax credits for businesses that engage in capital construction for the purpose of expanding their workforce in Oregon; and fought to protect the public initiative system.

That may not be a huge list, but it’s a lot more work than folks like Larry give us credit for.

3)  The IPO needs to be more overtly partisan.

There are already several strongly ideological parties in Oregon for people who don’t like the Democrats and Republicans.  Libertarian, Constitution, Green, Progressive.  None of these parties have much popular support for the same reason that Democrats and Republicans are  losing popular support.  All of them are rigid and ideological.

Most voters are not.  

Larry runs through a laundry list of things that need to be adhered to if you are a Democrat.  Republicans have a similar list.  

My question is, why should someone’s view on abortion or gay marriage stand in the way of us working together on economic development or PERS reform?  Social hot-button issues have long been a good way for the major parties to divide voters.  Our party isn’t interested in the things that divide us, only in what unites our members.  

There are a large number of candidates, voters, and views that are left out by the current system.   What the IPO is doing may not be for everyone, but there is little question that it’s growth and early success are predicated on providing candidates and voters with a valid alternative to the two party system.   

Folks like Mr. Huss may not like it, and they may not understand it, but until the major parties start listening to the American people, groups like the IPO are only going to continue to grow while support for the major parties continue to wane.  

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Sal Peralta is Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon

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Posted by at 07:30 | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    Why doesn’t the independent party change its name? It is pulling a fast one calling itself the independent party, as most folks checking the independent box on their voter registrations think they are actually saying they are unaffiliated with any party. The independent party took advantage of a lapse in election governance, and duplicated the name of the box on voter registration applications which was aligned with being non affiliated. Changing the name of the party would correct this condition, and make the party more genuine than continuing to live off of citizens lack of political savvy.

  • Sal Peralta

    Bob – Please get your history straight. Democrats and Republicans removed the word “independent” from the ballot as part of a larger package of bills to disenfranchise political independents. In response to those changes, the Independent Party was formed. It’s not like it was any big secret that this was happening, We have been making noise about this for a decade, and every major paper in the state has run stories about it. Here’s a link to a piece that OPB ran about it in 2007.

    • Francis Pettygrove

      Save it, Sal. You’re fooling no one. The “independent party” was formed by a bunch of deceptive crackpots to take advantage of voter ignorance.

      • HBguy

        Maybe that’s true maybe it isn’t.

        But that doesn’t mean it isn’t evolving into a true independent movement. Lets see what happens in 2014

        • Sal Peralta

          Francis – The party was formed to protect the rights of independents that had been stripped by the legislature. The IPO is a punishment being visited on the major parties for their legislative shenanigans in 2005. Every move by its leaders has been to encourage member participation in the development of a platform and in the selection of our candidates.

      • guest

        Datz udder ‘snot, FP!

        Rally know folks! Compassionate, yet conservative Oregon Republicans are sick and tired of being mired in blue state politics that have drover-ed over Oregon’s raw hided, right minded, citizens ‘sins’ 1987.
        Take heed that it’s been sway, too long, albeit for change that’s long overdue.

        Rx: Cast out the sack em ‘secular; demCONways and means nitwit Whizzards of Odds.

        The current Demophilic regime from atop to bottom must be sent packing.

        Otherwise, the same old, same mold will grow and fester upon US – and, the barack fungus continue to tsunami, ad infinitude

  • 3H

    Larry came across like he was trying to rename the Republican Party: same polices, just not attached to the damaged brand.

    • .

      Dano, book whose squawking – 3H, a DEMO in surmise but not in stead with ardbed, a self stylus Blue, Inc. leaner but not a nitwit in standing with the BHO maladministration.

  • HBguy

    Those who think that most IPO members are foggy NAV’s should look at the voting statistics.

  • Dan Meek

    The bill to gut the Open Meetings Law was in 2013, not 2011.

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