Defining the Independent Party
NAGAS posted today with concerns about the Unite party holding a meeting at ATO. He thinks having a meeting at a frat house instead of the Reitz undermines their claim to sharing history with the independent movement. This is something Christian Duque has complained about all year.
But as I’ve been blogging about, the independent movement has had a history of working with rebel greeks (and the one time with Ignite to help their friend Nikki Fried), and this help usually puts them in a more competitive election and, in the end, ensures more independents (and non-greeks) are elected to the Senate.
To wit, here is a low-down of SG’s political parties since Fall 1999, and their affiliations.
I (Independent), C (coalition with rebel greeks), FBK, F/C (coalition with FBK), RG (rebel greeks), 3rd (other party), J (joke).
Fall 1999: Progress (FBK), Vision (I)
Spring 2000: Impact (FBK), FSP (C), Vision (I), Keg (J), BSU (3rd)
Fall 2000: Impact (FBK), SUN (C)
Spring 2001: Fusion (FBK), SUN (C)
Fall 2001: Fusion (FBK), Voice (I)
Spring 2002: Ignite (F/C), Swamp (RG), DVDA (J)
Spring 2003: Ignite (FBK), Student Alliance (I)
Spring 2004: Access (C), Innovate (FBK), Keg (J)
Spring 2005: Gator (FBK), Impact (C), Progress (C), Voice (I)
Fall 2005: Gator (FBK), Impact (I)
Spring 2006: Swamp (FBK), Unite (C)
Of course, Access, Impact and Progress had minimal at best support from Greeks (Progress had an inactive Greek for VP, iirc), so they were pretty much independent in the historical sense. Progress was, indeed, very much like Vision was in its more radical ideology, and even shared the same party colors.
What I think people are most concerned about, though, is that Unite has the most substantial coalition of independents and greeks since the post-Vision days of 2000-2002, except in fall 2004 (when Access absorbed its greek rival Innovate). After several years of returning to Independent roots, people aren’t used to the coalition concept.
And I agree – it’s not the ideal way to win, especially after Access proved you can win with little greek support on the first ballot. But given that Unite has a better than even chance of winning this thing, you shouldn’t worry about ideological purity.
On the other hand, I hope Nikki, David, and the others that are listening take notice – you need to wipe up the Independent vote, too. SUN did it with its renouncing of FBK’s least popular practices. Unite can do it by focusing on competence, the inability of the Swamp leadership to fulfill campaign promises even when the Swamp ticket controlled the Senate, and putting meat on the promise to end “politics as usual”.