Punching a Hole in the Big Boys’ Political Science Paradigm

Punching a Hole in the Big Boys’ Political Science Paradigm

Linda Killian’s book, The Swing Vote  is stirring up the national conversation about independent voters.  Last week, Ruy Teixeira, a DP operative and the author of  The Emerging Democratic Majority (2002) wrote a scathing and self serving review of the book in which he asserts that Linda’s book is based on “the greatest myth in American politics: that independents are actually independent. They are not,” says Teixeira.

James Taranto, writing in the Wall Street Journal, takes apart some of Teixeira’s assertions about who indies are and are not, and his slippery use of polling data.

Linda responded in a Daily Beast piece: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: How Ruy Teixeira Got it Wrong on ‘Swing Vote’.  Referring to Teixeira’s charge that indies are a myth, Killian has this to say: “Such a charge is larger than just one book and goes to the heart of what is wrong with our political system and with the party and the media elite who control it.  They don’t believe there is room for the voters….”

On Friday, Jackie Salit, the President of IndependentVoting.org also responded with a piece on the Huffington Post: “Ruy the Day!

Salit comments, “Teixeira argues that voters are defined by who they vote for….  Leaving aside the obvious point that in nearly every election, the only choice voters have is a ballot, or ballots, for one or another major party candidate, but they still feel it is important to maintain their independence.” 

It is an excellent piece—definitely worth a read.  And I couldn’t agree more with Salit’s ending: “The problem with political science, which Teixeira worships, is that it isn’t a science and it’s extremely political.  Killian’s book may have its flaws.  But she did punch a hole in the Big Boys’ prevailing political science paradigm, the one that is strangling the country.  You go, girl!  That’s worth a read right there.”

Hope you will all get involved in the conversation.  Post a comment here, or go to any of the pieces above and add your thoughts!!!

PS  If you missed our discussion with Linda Killian on February 26th, you can listen by calling (218) 844-0952, password 732282#.  To fast forward into the conversation, you can press 2 once you have logged in.

Sunday Conference Call with Author Linda Killian

Linda Killian (l) and Cathy Stewart (r)

On Sunday, February 26th at 7 pm, Linda Killian —the author of Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents— will be joining us on the first Politics for the People Book Club conference call.

I will kick off our discussion with a short interview with Linda and then we will open up for your questions.

The call in number for the call is 218 844-0860 and the passcode is 732282#.

I am looking forward to our discussion on Sunday.

Here are some questions to think about as you read this week:

1) How does Linda describe the terrain of the independent movement and what forces are organizing independents?

2) How does Linda see independents?

3) What does Linda identify as the problems in our democracy?

4) What is her prescription for change?  What role does she think independents can and must play?

Politics for the People Takes to the Airwaves

Tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, I will be interviewed on the national radio show, Fairness Radio with Chuck and Patrick at 2:15pm ET.  Co-hosts Chuck Morse and Patrick O’Heffernan will be talking with me about our new Independent book club and trends in writing about, for and by independents.  In addition, tune in at 1:15 pm ET, when Chuck and Patrick will be talking with IndependentVoting.org President, Jackie Salit.  Jackie is a monthly guest on Fairness radio and has a book that will be out in early August, Independents Rising.  A book I can’t wait for us to read here at Politics for the People.

You can tune in online at http://www.cyberstationlive.com – click on “Listen Live”.  You can call in at 617-328-8700.  You can also email questions live to be read on the air, or  post a comment on the program’s  Facebook Page or Twitter feed.

Give a listen

50  people have signed up for the book club–welcome.

I am looking forward to our first conference call on February 26th at 7 pm.  Linda Killian will be joining us to discuss The Swing Vote.  I know you will enjoy hearing from and speaking directly to Linda.

I hope that you are enjoying Linda’s book as much as I have.  If you have not had a chance to pick up a copy yet, you can read an excerpt of the book at The Atlantic.

Two weeks ago,  Linda was my guest in Brooklyn for our winter Politics for the People. We had a very lively and thoughtful discussion.  I think you will find it interesting–give a listen to a section of our conversation: Killian P4P – 1.  And if you have not yet watched Linda’s appearance on CSPAN, hop over to her website and take a look.

Next week, I will be posting some questions to be thinking about as you read.

Welcome to the Politics for the People Book Club

For our first book, we’ll be reading The Swing Vote, The Untapped Power of Independents, written by journalist Linda Killian who I recently had the pleasure of interviewing at a Politics for the People  in Brooklyn, NY.  Here’s an audio clip of our conversation (Killian P4P – 1).
Linda spent 2 years researching us — independent voters — and has written a thought provoking book.  She interviewed many independents in the IndependentVoting.org network including: President, Jackie Salit (whose own book “Independent Rising” is due out in July), Counsel Harry Kresky, Julia Pfaff from the Virginia Independent Voters Association, Joelle Riddle and Kathleen Curry of Colorado and more.
Here is how the book club works:
  • Get your copy of the book.  (Amazon / Barnes and Nobel)
  • Start reading.
  • I post reviews, audio clips, interviews and lots of thought-provoking questions over the next several weeks.
  • Then, on Sunday, February 26th  at 7 pm, call in for our national discussion of the book.
If you have thoughts as you are reading, please leave a comment on the blog.
And, if you want to suggest a book to be a Politics for the People selection, also leave a comment.

Book Club Selection

From Macmillian

As our country’s politicians engage in bitter partisan battles, focused on protecting their own jobs but not on doing the nation’s business, and political pundits shout louder and shriller to improve their ratings, it’s no wonder that Americans have little faith in their government. But is America as divided as the politicians and talking heads would have us  believe? Do half of Americans stand on the right and the other half on the left with a no-man’s-land between them?

Hardly. Forty percent of all American voters are Independents who occupy the ample political and ideological space in the center. These Americans are anything but divided, and they’re being ignored. These Independents make up the largest voting bloc in the nation and have determined the outcome of every election since World War II. Every year their numbers grow, as does the unconscionable disconnect between them and the officials who are supposed to represent them.

The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents tells the story of how our polarized political system is not only misrepresenting America but failing it. Linda Killian looks beyond the polls and the headlines and talks with the frustrated citizens who are raising the alarm about the acute bi-polarity, special interest-influence, and gridlock in Congress, asking why Obama’s postpartisan presidency is anything but, and demanding realism, honest negotiation, and a sense of responsibility from their elected officials.

Killian paints a vivid portrait of the swing voters around the country and presents a new model that reveals who they are and what they want from their government and elected officials. She also offers a way forward, including solutions for fixing our broken political system. This is not only a timely shot across the bows of both parties but an impassioned call to Independents to bring America back into balance.

Amazon:  $16.97 / Kindle $12.99       * * *      Barnes and Noble: $16.97 / Nook $12.99

Meet Linda Killian, Author, The Swing Vote

Note: Linda Killian will appear at the January 26th, 2012 Politics for the People class in Brooklyn, NY.  Details and directions below.

From Macmillian

Washington journalist Linda Killian is the author of the upcoming book The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents—a forward-thinking examination of the independent centrist voters who will decide our next national election—as well as The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution? which was praised as a “fair, thoughtful, and eminently readable account” of the anti-Democratic 1994 election and the outcome of Republican control in the House of Representatives.

Linda Killian is a journalist and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has been a columnist for Politico, U.S. News & World Report.com, and Politics Daily. She has also written for The Washington PostThe New Republic, and The Weekly Standard, among other national publications. Her previous book was The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution? She lives in Washington, D.C.

* * *

“Linda Killian does a great job of not only examining the importance and historic role of those Independent and moderate swing voters who live between the partisan and ideological forty-yard lines, but she examines their mind-sets as well. What makes swing voters tick, what swings them and why?  An understanding of swing voters leads to an understanding of the volatility and the turbulence that drove the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections and will likely drive 2012 as well.”

—Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and political analyst for NBC News

We’re Heading to Brooklyn…Reserve Your Seat!

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On Thursday, January 26th, 2012 Politics for the People is coming to Brooklyn. Cathy Stewart, the founder of the NYC Independence Party’s Politics for the People free educational series, will be leading a discussion entitled The Untapped Power of Independents.

Independents are “the talk of the town” when it comes to local, state and presidential politics. But is our potential being truly developed? Can independents reform America, or will be stay “swing voters” in the Democratic and Republican Party game? Nobody is better than Cathy Stewart at organizing environments to explore these and other questions.

Politics for the People is free, but seating on the 26th is limited to just 80 people, and will be given on a first come, first serve basis, so please reserve your seat early by clicking here.
The details are below.  Happy New Year, and see you at Politics for the People!

Bob Conroy

Chair, Brooklyn Independence Party
The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents
with author, Linda Killian 

Thursday, January 26, 2012
6:30pm
South Oxford Space, the Great Room

138 South Oxford Street ~ Brooklyn
Map:  Click Here

Trains: C to Lafayette or 2/3/4/5 to Atlantic Ave.

For more information, please call (212) 962-1699

or visit www.ipnyc.org
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