Reader’s Forum–Steve Richardson

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Shares his observations on:

A Declaration of Independents

How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream

By: Greg Orman

There is a lot to like in this book, which makes a valuable contribution to the Independent movement in America.  It demonstrates that Greg Orman is the real deal – an authentic Independent who can win a high stakes campaign; we also learn that he understands how we have lost control of our country and is committed to helping us recover it.  Despite broad awareness that the system is broken and recognition by a plurality of voters that political parties are to blame, few candidates possess any of these qualities.  We all know why.  True Independents are highly unlikely to be successful, and those with successful experience are highly unlikely to be truly independent.  While we welcome “recovering” Democrats and Republicans, we also need leaders who have never been comfortable with party politics – especially since that’s where most young voters are coming from.

I have several things in common with Greg.  I’m a bit older but also first got involved in politics in the early ‘90s, voted for Ross Perot, and was a founding member of United We Stand America.  (Also, I’m an economist.)  I, too, found that my fiscally conservative and socially tolerant beliefs did not fit with either major party.  For about five years, I was active in the Libertarian Party; but I learned that another party is not the solution to our problem.  At first, I thought it was just that particular party, but after joining IndependentVoting – ironically called the Committee for a Unified Independent Party at the time (2005) – I came to realize that what we really need is a system that encourages dialogue between voters.

I think each of us can relate to Greg’s journey to political independence, whether our trip has lasted just a few years or over fifty.  Some of us are familiar with the statistics and I doubt many of us are surprised by the stories he shares in Part I (“A Dysfunctional Duopoly”) and Part II (“Reinforcing the Duopoly”).  What I appreciate about this core section of the book is that the attacks on both parties are coming not from an activist, scholar, or columnist, but from a candidate for Governor who will undoubtedly face fierce counterattacks.  This is David vs. Goliath, folks!

The best part of this book is the last two chapters (“The Independents’ Difference” and “Declare Your Independence”).  Greg proposes a set of principles that can unite Independents, such as improving our legacy; placing our country’s welfare before special interests or ideology; promoting equality, freedom, and self-government; and conducting politics with transparency, accountability, and honesty.  He offers a few specific policy proposals, but remains focused on a framework for constructive discourse.  Greg does not pretend to be our savior; instead, he asks us to follow through on our own declarations by accepting responsibility for independent thinking and actions that are worthy of the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Americans.

Steve Richardson is a founding member of the Virginia Independent Voters Association and serves on’s national Election Reform Committee.




A Declaration of Independents

How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream


641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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