Last Tuesday, the Politics for the People book club network from across the country spent an hour talking with Jacqueline Salit about her book, Independents Rising: Outsider Movements, Third Parties, and the Struggle for a Post-partisan America.
If you missed the call, you can listen to the recording here.
“It really came about because there was an increased attention being paid to independent voters, to the power of the independent vote and to the future prospects of where this movement in the making might go. Given that was happening, it was very, very important to write a book…that told the history of that movement from the inside. So much, in fact 95% of what is said or written about independent voters is written or stated by beltway insiders, by political pundits of one kind or another and largely who we are and the things that animate or motivate us, and even actual events that have taken place in which independents have been involved are often just not accurately represented. So I just really wanted to write a book that could set the record straight and could lay out in some detail how this movement has developed over time.
In a way there’s two things happening simultaneously. One is that the number of independents in the country is growing, and now it’s at 40% or 42% depending on which poll you look at. That’s huge, just absolutely huge! But that mass of Americans is unorganized but the attraction of being an independent is growing. And, at the same time though, there is an organized independent movement that has grown up over time, over the last 25 to 30 years that has a relationship to that developing but unorganized part of the population. And so I tried to give a characterization in the book of those two aspects of the changing conditions of American political life. To really present a really unvarnished picture of what’s gone on in the independent movement. It’s been very messy. It’s been very unorthodox. It’s been filled with risk, filled with blowback, filled with successes that we’ve had and also with efforts to derail us, or to contain us, or to take us over, or to point us in a particular direction rather than where we want to go.
So, I thought given the juncture that things had come to, and it was clear to me and I feel very positive about this, the story of independents and the future of independent voters was going to become much more of a factor in American political life. We needed to have a book that came out of our history.”
Stay tuned for further excerpts from our conversation. If you have a question or comment, please post it.