Strategies for Change: How to Make the American Political Dream Work

By Dick Simpson; George Beam | Go to book overview
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Chapter 3
How to Win Elections

Independent politics differs from old style parties and campaigns. To understand it better we will look at several Chicago campaigns and a new type of organization, the Independent Precinct Organization. Although reform movements in Chicago have existed since the 1890's, independent political organizations began thirty years ago with the founding of Voters for Victory which has become the Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI). For many years independent politics was confined primarily to the south side, particularly the Hyde Park area around the University of Chicago. However, the McCarthy presidential campaign of 1968 greatly increased the number of citizens in other areas of the city with direct experience in campaigns. Moreover, the 1968 Democratic convention was not a remote event for people living in Chicago. Many of us were in the parks and saw the brutal "police riot," as the Walker Report later named it. On television we saw the liberal wing of the party voted down by the old guard on important issues such as the Vietnam War. Therefore, hundreds of us in Chicago were left with both campaign experience and a desire to change the kind of American politics that we had experienced in the 1968 Convention and in our day-to-day encounters with Daley machine.

In October 1968, we joined together on the north side of Chicago to form the Independent Precinct Organization (IPO). IPO has been able to elect aldermen, state representatives, constitutional convention delegates, and a state senator. We have also effectively supported blue ribbon candidates running for county and state offices. At the same time, the independent move

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