Outsider Movements, Third Parties, and the Struggle for a Post-Partisan America
A revealing look at how independent voters have been upending the political establishment for thirty years—and how they’ll decide the future of American politics.
In a political system where two parties reign supreme, 40% of Americans consider themselves neither Democrats nor Republicans, but independents. Independents elected President Barack Obama in 2008 and then, in a seeming reversal, gave control of Congress to the Republicans in 2010. So who are these independents? Angry moderates? Frustrated ideologues? The base for a third party? Reformers or revolutionaries?
Jacqueline Salit has spent 30 years as an insider in this growing movement of outsiders. She recounts its little-known history and its rapid expansion as long-standing political institutions and categories become irrelevant—even repugnant—to many Americans. An architect of unorthodox left/right coalitions within Ross Perot’s Reform Party, and manager of Michael Bloomberg’s three New York mayoral campaigns on the Independence Party line, Salit explores how these unclaimed voters are not only deciding elections, but pushing the boundaries of politics-as-usual. Featuring a surprising cast of characters, including Bloomberg and Perot, along with Hillary Clinton, Pat Buchanan, Lenora Fulani, Ralph Nader and Al Sharpton, Salit argues that the failure to heed this movement against partisanship (and even against parties) puts political careers at risk and damages essential features of American democracy. She also reveals how independents still underestimate their power, and how they can make the most of their newfound moment in the sun.
Palgrave Macmillan | 256 pages | ISBN: 9780230339125