A Declaration. Independents GREG ORMAN EXCERPT #2 GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP PRESS.

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1 A Declaration of Independents EXCERPT #2 GREG ORMAN GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP PRESS

2 This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and author are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press Austin, Texas Copyright 2016 Greg Orman All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the copyright holder. Distributed by Greenleaf Book Group For ordering information or special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Greenleaf Book Group at PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709, Design and composition by Greenleaf Book Group and Kim Lance Cover design by Greenleaf Book Group and Kim Lance Cover image: Thinkstock/iStock Collection/orderfinishedart Cataloging-in-Publication data is available. Print ISBN: ebook ISBN: Part of the Tree Neutral program, which offsets the number of trees consumed in the production and printing of this book by taking proactive steps, such as planting trees in direct proportion to the number of trees used: TreeNeutral Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper First Edition

3 A Declaration of Independents BREAKING THE PARTISAN STOCKHOLM SYNDROME I began my 2014 campaign in the usual way: talking to friends to gauge the support of those who knew me best and commissioning a poll. The first exercise was more heartening than the second. Most of my confi-dants were as frustrated as I was with the self-serving nature of Congress. Although none had any illusions that a campaign would be easy, especially running as an Independent, they were almost universally supportive. The poll was less encouraging. It showed me running a distant third, which was to be expected. In detailed follow-up questions, the pollster recited the expected positive and negative messaging of all the candidates and we remained in third place. Fully 35 percent of respondents said they wouldn t consider my candidacy because they viewed a vote for an Independent candidate as a wasted vote. This didn t come as a surprise. For over a century, the two major political parties have repeatedly reinforced the wasted-vote notion, and it has taken root. Polling for the Common Sense Coalition showed similar results nationwide. Considering that the majority of Americans express disillusionment and even disgust with Republicans and Demo-crats, 35 percent struck me as too high a percentage of voters unwilling to buck the duopoly. It s as though they are programmed to ignore their own desires. What I think is happening is a version of the Stockholm Syndrome, the tendency of hostages to relate to the people holding

4 An Independent Run them hostage. Although voters dislike what Republicans and Democrats are doing to our country especially in Washington they can t quite envision a world without them in charge. Americans are paralyzed, even when they are presented the opportunity to escape their captors. What the poll didn t show, but what I am convinced is true, is that twenty-first-century American voters desperately want something different. They want elected officials who tell the truth, even if that means relaying harsh facts. They want elected officials with the courage to stand up to the special interests that control the fundraising apparatuses in both parties. They want elected officials who don t go to Washington to enrich themselves personally or who view public office as a lifelong career. They want elected officials who care about this country s future not in the lip-service way, but in the way that makes them willing to make hard choices and encourage their fellow Americans to do likewise. They want citizen politicians to serve as actual public servants. They want real leaders. I believed that more than I believed the poll numbers. I still do, notwithstanding the results of my 2014 Kansas campaign. Nationally, the big political drama of the year was whether the Democrats could retain their Senate majority. The election returns that night provided a decisive answer to that question. Pat Roberts and his Republicans were put in control of the Senate only four years after they wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats. This outcome strongly suggested even greater gridlock in President Obama s last two years in office. This development underscored a great anomaly of the Barack Obama era. Although Republicans never came close to beating him in his 2004 Senate race, his 2008 presidential race, or his 2012 reelection effort, other Democratic Party candidates fared less well while he was in the White House.

5 A Declaration of Independents Kansans never caught Obama fever. As has happened in every presidential year after the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964, a majority of Kansans voted for the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, just as they would four years later. Pat Roberts ending up winning 60 percent of the vote in 2008, outperforming presidential candidate John McCain. Thomas P. Tip O Neill Jr., former Democratic House Speaker, is credited with coining the famous line all politics is local. But as I was reminded in my 2014 campaign, the inverse is often true as well: All politics is national. This is not a new phenomenon. The last time a Republican lost a Senate race in Kansas was Even then, to make it happen took a third-party challenge that diluted the vote, along with Franklin Roosevelt s considerable coattails. It also took one more factor. The Democrats assigned Republican senator George S. McGill an unofficial running mate that year a highly unpopular Republican president, Herbert Hoover. Eighty-two years later, Republicans used the same strategy as a way of helping Pat Roberts. They tried to make Barack Obama my running mate. This was a more dubious tactic against me. I am not a Democrat and Obama was not president during anything nearly akin to the Great Depression as Hoover was but it worked just the same. Joe Biden, of all people, helped the Republicans pull it off. This was frustrating for me for another reason. U.S. senators do not have running mates. Except that in my case, I really did have a running mate literally. My running mate was my wife.

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