As Congress, Washington and the president suffer from abysmal poll ratings, the National Association of Nonrartisan Reformers (NANR) announced its launch earlier this week, with an emphasis on increasing electoral competition and voter choice by taking on the duopoly known as the Democratic and Republican parties.
Focusing on politics at the state and local level, the NANR will use the hyper-partisan bickering in Washington as a driving force to end the systemic roadblocks to ballot access for independent candidates while mostly pushing election reforms that are gaining momentum across the country. The NANR seeks to mitigate the role of the parties’ far-left and far-right partisans and bring the nation’s politics back to the middle.
“The partisan political system is fundamentally broken and its leaders are unable to find answers for the very real issue crises facing our country because they are held accountable by their small, partisan base voters,” said Interim NANR executive director Jim Jonas, co-founder of the Colorado Independent Voters Organization
“The (two) party’s leaders view politics as a never-ending battle for partisan advantage instead of a means for seeking common-ground solutions. Those same partisans believe elections should serve the narrow, self-interests of parties instead of being conducted for the benefit of individual voters. That’s got to change.”
The growing movement toward a more moderate, three-tier system – Democrats, Republicans and independents – gained fuel in recent weeks as partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill led to yet another government shutdown and the continuation of an embarrassing string of temporary budget bills.
Beyond the Beltway, the NANR agenda includes anti-gerrymandering reform, open primaries that include independent voters, and “top-two” primaries. The coalition advocates recent reforms such a the open primaries in Colorado, nonpartisan primaries and independent redistricting in California, and ranked-choice voting in Maine.
Founding members include representatives from the Bridge Alliance, Independent Voter Project, the Chamberlain Project, FairVoteAction, Open Primaries, the Centrist Project, California Forward, and Let Colorado Vote.
“The National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers’ success will empower voters of every stripe, improve legislative representation and electoral competition,” Jonas claimed, “and demand internal reforms by the traditional political parties to make them more responsive to their own members.”
Amid the growing voter disgust with hardcore partisanship in the nation’s capital, another new moderate group is coming forward this weekend with a Friday-to-Sunday gathering in New Orleans.
The “Un-rig the System Summit” is ambitiously billed as “convening the brightest minds from the right and left to fix American politics…”
The event hopes to create a meeting of the minds – conservatives and liberals – to engage in solutions-based alternatives toward a select group of issues.
“This is about crossing partisan and ideological divides and working together on concrete solutions to un-rig America’s political system.”