Independent? Vote Angelides
In a series of cutting-edge moves designed to reach out to California’s 3.6 million independent voters, gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides has responded to the Independent Voice candidate questionnaire, and thereby linked himself to the independent political movement. He also has endorsed a series of key political reforms to break the stranglehold of special interests on the political process.
With polls showing that the overwhelming majority of independents are still undecided in the governor’s race, this, and further moves being discussed between IV and the Angelides campaign, could improve Angelides’ standing among the state’s millions of independents, which could project Angelides into the governor’s mansion.
Historically, major-party candidates have viewed independents as swing voters—to be manipulated and ignored—rather than as a critical electoral force to be courted and reckoned with. The moves by Angelides are a major step in independent voters’ attempts to influence the political process, to win elected officials over to the need for democratic reforms of our political system, and to establish themselves as a powerful, unified and organized political constituency.
With 23 percent of the state electorate registered independent, political pundits have been saying for months that independent voters will provide the margin of victory in the gubernatorial race. While independents provided Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his margin of victory in the recall election two years ago, he has taken a hands-off approach to independents this year, acting like a traditional major-party candidate and ignoring the demands and requests of independent voters. Schwarzenegger has refused to engage in the IV process and has declined to fill out the candidate questionnaire, which outlines where a candidate stands on key issues of political reform—the cutting-edge issues for non-aligned independents.
Clearly, Angelides has established himself as the “political reformer” in this year’s election. As important, he has established a precedent in California, recognizing that respect for independents is critical for any elected official seeking statewide office.
I wish to congratulate Mr. Angelides for the work he has done so far to support independent voters and the issues of concern to us, and I look forward to continuing our discussions to inject the will of independents into the political process.