2014: Independents Will Become “The New Normal

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Look ahead and stay focused on your goals — this makes up so much of the long, hard road to success. But along the way, it’s important from time to time to look back — not to second-guess your choices, but instead, to enjoy the view for a moment and to take strength from all that is possible.

independentparty_small 2014: Independents Will Become “The New Normal
 

Significant progress and change sometimes emerge from humble beginnings. As we reach the end of 2013, and the seventh month of my IVN diary covering my run as the United Independent Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts, it’s good to reflect on all our growing team has been able to do so far in our aggressive, independent statewide campaign. Our platform, focused on fiscally sensible solutions coupled with pragmatically progressive ideas, is resonating, and the related interest and support we see from voters together are making all the difference.

During 2013, Falchuk for Governor volunteers, United Independent Party supporters, and I have visited more than 70 of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, and met with thousands upon thousands of voters.

I’ve talked with voters, so gracious with their time and insights, at fairs and community events, and in their homes and businesses. I’ve spoken at high schools and colleges, with business groups and with elected officials. I’ve met with new immigrants and people working to advance the cause of equality, with people who are homeless, people who are wealthy, and people in between.

I have had the privilege of meeting with people in senior centers and with veterans, with leaders in women’s health, and with professors and other experts in energy, technology, space, and financial markets. In the process, I’ve put more than 10,000 miles on my car — not easy in a state that, at its longest points, is only 180 by 110 miles.

“It’s important from time to time to look back — not to second-guess your choices, but instead, to enjoy the view for a moment and to take strength from all that is possible.”Evan Falchuk

What these meetings all have in common is that voters want to be engaged. They want to be heard. They want to contribute to and help improve our policy debates and decisions. They care so deeply about the issues — not just those that affect their own daily lives, but those that have the potential to better our communities as a whole. And the messages their voices carry add so much to our discourse and possible solutions.

My independent campaign for governor now numbers a dozen dedicated staff, and hundreds of volunteers throughout Massachusetts. Our campaign accounts are attracting greater amounts of donors and generous donations each month. In fact, in the last month of reporting we out-raised two of the other gubernatorial candidates — a metric, we believe, of how more voters are realizing this is clearly not a “fringe” campaign, any more than I am a “protest” candidate.

The pace and variety of press attention in my United Independent Party campaign for governor have continued to accelerate with coverage in our major state dailies, and on TV and radio stations in Massachusetts and around the country. High-profile press has featured the candidate leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties responding to questions about, or often raised by, my campaign. We are having a real impact on the political dialogue in my state — home to the highest percentage of independent voters in the country. I am humbled by this – and so encouraged.

We’ve accomplished a lot, particularly given that when I started this campaign in late February, we were starting from scratch. We had no party organization to rely on, no city or town party committees to meet with and guide us on our way, and radically different fundraising limits compared to what Democrats and Republicans enjoy. We chose to build all of it ourselves — with the infinite patience of my wife and three school-age kids, and with a spirit of pragmatic entrepreneurship that is so common in the real world, yet so foreign in politics.

As we enter 2014, the public’s attention will increasingly focus on the governor’s race, and the other 2014 elections.

We already know what the party candidates will say about us. But, we know better.

They will say that independent voters are really Democrats or Republicans who just aren’t registered that way. We know the truth. The reason a majority of voters in Massachusetts choose to be independent is because they don’t think the two major parties represent their views and priorities.

They will say that independent candidates just take votes away from Democrats and Republicans. We know the truth: Our votes don’t “belong” to anyone.

They will say that an independent can’t win. We know the truth: who has a successful business track record and fiscally sane views, and who would work to protect our hard-earned civil liberties (source: DAPA Research, Inc., 2013).

They will say independents can’t get on the ballot, can’t raise enough money, can’t debate, and can’t really compete. We know the truth. We will be on the ballot, we have enough money to run through the election, and you better believe we can’t wait to debate.

Compete? We’re doing it already.

“Democrats are keeping an eye on Evan Falchuk, a 44-year-old Newton resident running for governor under the self-styled United Independent Party label,” The Boston Globe just reported on December 14.

They will tell you all of this in the year ahead. But voters are smarter than that.

So we look ahead to 2014, with a final glance back to learn from 2013. In not even 10 months we have done what it takes major party candidates years, even decades, to do. We have built a team and independent structure that is having a meaningful impact on the politics and debate in our state, and we are doing it against candidates who have spent their entire professional lives in major party politics.

Think of what we can and will do in the next 10 months with growing support from voters, innovative ideas, and a lot of plain old hard work. Think of the different possibilities when we have an independent governor, more independent voices involved, and a growing number of smart, practical United Independent Party candidates running for office throughout Massachusetts.

Now think about when people resolve to duplicate this model in other states around the country.

A promising, inspiring New Year’s resolution, indeed.