Independent Party voters indicate support for progressive policies

By Sal Peralta and Robert Harris. Sal is the secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon. Robert is a long-term attorney in Washington County has been active with the IPO since 2011.

Last week, the Independent Party of Oregon completed its 2014 primary election and member survey. 1,700 members participated in the survey and 1,100 of those people participated in the election.

These are engaged citizens who self-identify as politically Independent. In this election, they sided with the Republicans who went 8-1-1 in contested races. In 2012, the Democrats won every contested race for the IPO nomination and went 10-2 in general election races involving cross-nominated Independent-Democratic candidates.

But this post isn’t about analyzing the nomination results. Instead, I want to focus on the survey results and emphasize some good news for the BlueOregon community.

The IPO's survey process is not scientific, (though it was recommended to us by staff at the Institute for Applied Industrial Mathematics) but we believe that it represents a decent cross-section of engaged Oregonians who are frustrated with both major parties. They were reasonably well informed, having been delivered a statewide voters' pamphlet that was distributed to the Independent Party's full membership and being marketed to by the various campaigns.

These are the policies that obtained 65% or greater approval – super-majority support -among all IPO voters.

And these policies received majority support.

What was interesting to us is the degree to which people who supported Dennis Richardson agreed with policy goals that are supported by many progressives.

Here are policies that Richardson voters approved:

IPO leaders have long believed that if we take the position that hot button issues are matters of personal choice and not party policy then it becomes easier to identify a populist agenda for which coalitions can be built across traditional ideological, social, and party lines.

In the areas of education, campaign finance reform, tax breaks for corporations, and how government can help grow the economy, there is a great deal of cross-partisan consensus. Oregonians want higher education and vocational training to be more accessible to more people. Oregonians want to protect the diversity and strength of our agricultural economy. People want a political system that is transparent and fair. And they want citizens to have a bigger voice than they currently do in our political process.

And therein lies the core mission of the Independent Party of Oregon. We seek to identify these broadly popular policies and build coalitions to help move these issues forward in a way that will survive the vagaries of electoral politics.

And so, we begin the very difficult process of working with our nominees in the coming weeks and months to build a consensus agenda for Oregon. One rooted in a shared understanding about the direction that we need to move as a state on the economy, the role of government in economic development, consumer protection, and transparency.

One idea that we believe whose time has come is the “Taxpayer Return on Investment Act” (TRIA). TRIA is proposed legislation that Rob has worked on with Jody Wiser and Tax Fairness Oregon over the past 8 months. It corresponds to the super majority approved policy of “Ensuring that tax dollars spent to encourage economic development return more benefits to the public than they cost.”

There will be other ideas discussed and added in the coming weeks and months. But one thing is clear, there will be new opportunities and new coalitions built from the work that we are doing.

The existence of the IPO may not always be good for some Democratic candidates. But it may just be good for people who simply want better policies. If you are one of those people, we'd like to hear from you. For folks who prefer to avoid the noise in the comment section, you can email the IPO at [email protected]

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