275. Bill Hillsman. The Godfather of Independent Politics. Lessons from Jesse Ventura’s Win 25 Years Later. No Labels = No Candidate. Dems Ramp up Attacks on Kennedy, But Maybe They Shouldn’t. Presidential Primaries Are Broken. Hell to the Naw Season.

Independent Political Strategist Bill Hillsman has masterminded some of the most effective and innovative election campaigns in the modern era. Hillsman first rocked the political world when he helped elect the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone in 1990 in one of the biggest political upsets in decades. In 1993, Hillsman took over a floundering Minneapolis mayoral campaign four weeks before election day, resulting in Sharon Sayles-Belton’s election as the first African-American and the first woman mayor of Minneapolis, a city comprised of 85 percent white voters. He later shocked the world by helping Jesse “The Body” Ventura become Governor of Minnesota in 1998. When he joined independent candidate Ralph Nader during the 2000 election, his inventive campaign, created on a tiny budget, had the whole country talking and rethinking how we sell our politicians. He worked on independent campaigns for Arianna Huffington for Governor of California in 2003 and Kinky Friedman for Governor in Texas in 2006. And he created the groundbreaking and award-winning “Not There” television ad for Operation Truth (later Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) featuring Iraq veteran and amputee, Robert Acosta.

Bill’s innovative creative work has brought him a host of awards, including a Grand EFFIE for the Wellstone campaign. Both USA Today and Business Week named his Wellstone commercials the best political ads of 1990 and his Ventura commercials were honored with five POLLIE Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants. A master of effective TV Ads, marketing and branding, Bill is CEO of North Woods Advertising and has been working in independent politics for a generation–and understands independents better than anyone in America. 

And for decades, Bill has been a man on a mission to change our political system. His book Run The Other Way is an eye-opening look at the political landscape with a cast of characters that includes Colin Powell, Ross Perot, Donald Trump, Kinky Friedman and Warren Beatty. And with independents in the driver’s seat to determine the 2024 Presidential election (and the future of our country) Bill is a wise and experienced leader we all need to hear from. 

He joins our host Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) in this latest episode to share what can be learned from Ventura’s campaign 25 years later, how he defines an independent voter, how he sees them defining themselves, and gives an assessment of the entire independent movement landscape ranging from No Labels and Forward to Robert F Kennedy Jr and Cornel West. And Paul asks Bill who he thinks will win the election—and they talk a little baseball and more. No other show is digging into all things independent politics like we are. 

Every episode of Independent Americans hosted by author, activist and social entrepreneur Paul Rieckhoff is the truth beyond the headlines–and light to contrast the heat of other politics and news shows. It’s content for the 49% of Americans that proudly call themselves independent. And delivers the Righteous Media 5 Is: independence, integrity, information, inspiration and impact. Independent Americans is your trusted place for independent news, politics, inspiration and hope. 

Join the movement. Hook into our exclusive Patreon community of Independent Americans. Get extra content, connect with guests, meet other Independent Americans, attend events, get merch discounts, and support this show that speaks truth to power. 

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