George Washington, in his farewell address, said this about political parties and associations:
“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
Though George was clearly right, what our founding fathers missed was the chance to limit the power of parties as "potent engines" by enshrining in the U.S. Constitution the rights of the American people to a multi-party system. That is what we fight for here at LIV -- competitive elections, more choices, and the restraining of abuses of power. How do we get there is the question of the American democracy story as it unfolds before us.
What is LIV and its purpose and what's an independent voter, anyway?
LIV is a 501c4 nonpartisan, nonprofit membership association for voters of all persuasion who call themselves independents..
LIV's purpose is to develop independent voters. Independents are identified largely by pollsters who believe very few Americans are independents. According to this 2019 study by the respected Pew Research Center, most independents lean towards either major party. While we do not disagree with this assessment, we also wonder what else you would expect in a deeply entrenched two-party system.
We found this statement I paragraph 31 of the Pew Study very helpful to understanding what is a basic for independent voters:
Large majorities of both Democrats (85%) and Democratic leaners (81%) say the U.S. economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Most independents who do not lean toward a party share this view (70%).
We at LIV think that just who independents really are must be established by independents themselves. To do so requires they (we) get organized. LIV was founded in 2013 as a membership association for independents to self-organize and define themselves. But we define ourselves in the organizing process, not by holding debates over ideology, that is, a set of beliefs. If we believe in anything, we believe in mixing things up, and experimenting with ideas as practical problem-solving. In this way, we see LIV as an engineering project, not a propaganda machine as are most political actors on the scene today.
Here is why we take this approach. Ross Perot said,
"If you really want to know who's responsible for the mess we're in, all you have to do is look in the mirror. You and I own this country, and we're responsible for what happens to it."
What Does It Mean to Join LIV? Or, how can I become an independent?
LIV members are voters who vote for the person, not the party. Membership, in no way, changes your status as a voter. You can vote in any party primary or attend any party convention you wish and be a member of LIV.
The state of Texas does not have partisan registration. Your party identification is solely based on if/when you vote in a party’s primary or attend a party convention as a voting delegate. Therefore, your identification lasts for only two years until the next primary.
For now, the parties in existence in Texas are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Green. There is no "independent party," though there are new parties now organizing in Texas seeking to become established parties. A new party forming in Texas and around the country, is the Forward Party. And, do realize that Texas candidates can choose to run as "independent" -- unaffiliated with any party. To learn more about independent candidates, we suggest you check out Independent Texans PAC. For more on the LIV Board go here and for our Advisory Board go here.
Does LIV participate in the primaries?
For now, LIV encourages voting in the party primaries where the electoral action is. This is where the winners are decided in lopsided (gerrymandered) districts. That is most districts, unfortunately, in Texas. There are likely 5-6 or even 7 million out of 13 million of us independent Texans. We want candidates and office holders in all parties or independents to more directly "woo" independent voters with honest intentions to address our concerns. These concerns start with competitive elections -- more than two choices -- and our developing work explained in our Beefs and our Grow the Independent Movement pages
Does LIV Support Candidates
or Ballot Measures?
LIV is here to help you learn the mechanics of getting candidates of any persuasion on the ballot. We also have deep experience in the petition process for local local measures using our municipal petition rights guaranteed by the Texas Constitutional Amendment for Home Rule. (See our section on Homegrown Petitions.)
On occasion, LIV supports candidates, especially in non-partisan races — City Council, school boards, water boards, -- though electing candidates is not our primary mission. We require a 2/3 vote to gain our candidate endorsement.
LIV supports and opposes ballot measures. And, sometimes, we help local groups develop their own “homegrown petitions” for a public vote on local issues. See our Homegrown Petitions page here.
LIV does work to get candidates and officeholders to adopt our policy agenda. The more members we have, the more likely they are to listen to us.
You're also invited to get involved in LIV!
LIV by-laws allow for the election of up to 36 board members representing geographic districts across Texas. You may view on LIV's Districts Page. We also highly recommend our News Page to see just what kinds of matters we actually are involved in.
LIV also has a weekly meeting we call our "Working Group." Visit our Events page to sign in to join us.
Become a member and get involved, y'al!!