Reader’s Forum – David Belmont & Julie Leak on The Independent Voter

The Independent Voter is simply the best book on American politics I’ve ever read. Seamlessly combining the perspectives and locations of its authors, the book tells the story of the American political system from the vantage of point of the future, of what is (hopefully) becoming. Or to put it another way, it is written from a complete historical perspective. Simultaneously looking back and forward while being rooted in the current situation. It troubles the unidirectionality of time. Kurt Gödel would be proud!

And it’s a great read. Reilly, Salit and Ali write clear and engaging stories and analyses that give us insights into what makes the American political culture tick – a story buried by the partisanship of traditional or social media – and what independents are getting organized to transform. The book explores this from a variety of angles and vantage points. A must read.

David Belmont is a multi-media artist, community organizer and long-time political reform activist. He was Ballot Access Coordinator for Dr. Lenora Fulani’s 1988 presidential campaign and is currently a researcher for Independent Voting.

Who is the Independent Voter?

Can only speak for myself — a black woman (senior citizen) who is registered Unaffiliated in North Carolina but who was a Democrat until 2016. There I am in the James Baldwin’ quote: …profound assumptions on the part of the people…

Along with many others I had accepted the idea that black folk were Democrats and lived by that assumption. I did not wake up one morning with the idea of voting Green. It happened over a period of time as I beame politically educated about politics in this country. The final straw was the Democrats ignoring the will of the people and deciding who would be the candidate in 2016. This year those Democrats went to extreme lengths to keep Matthew Hoh off the ballot in North Carolina. 

Having supported Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and this year Matt Hoh, it was a refreshing change to work as a volunteer and then to have a candidate on the ballot that I could vote For and Not Against! We need candidates who are committed to the people and not to corporate donors.  

I believe this duopoly must be upended but I have stopped short of actually joining a third party.  I would like to see parties abolished as I see little hope if money is not removed from our political system. It seems more reasonable to concentrate on local races and in those states with ballot initiatives where change is actually possible. I would like to know the authors opinion in this regard.

Juliette Leak lives in North Carolina and describes herself  as “an Independent finding her voice”.  

Join Cathy Stewart for a Virtual Conversation with

Thom Reilly, Jackie Salit and Omar Ali

The Authors of The Independent Voter

Tomorrow, December 7th at 3 pm ET.


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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