Why do 40% of voters now identify themselves as “Independents?"

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We are quickly becoming a nation of Independents. Gallup is reporting that 40 percent of voters now identify themselves as “Independents” – the highest number in 60 years. It’s even higher than when Ross Perot launched his near-successful third party candidacy back in 1992 – suggesting that the 2012 election could be ripe for a third-party candidate. Considering Congress – which chock full of Republicans and Democrats and very few Independents – has an approval rating lower than pornography and polygamy – it’s no wonder why more and more Americans choose to be Independents.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
Dec. 29, 2009 9:59 am


An instant run-off voting option would surely scare the pants of these Repubs and Dems about now. Fortunately for them they are pretty much in charge of deciding against it.

.ren's picture
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

I have regarded "independent" as code for "alienated" rather than "middle" or "moderate." Spectrum analysis does not find them because they are not often found between the twin butt halves of the duopoly. I think of it as DC and away from DC. But, "independent" is also code for lacking in analysis for all but a few. They complain about partisanship and how both parties are corrupt. They do not want to have to look at the differences or to admit that one party is the primary cause of the illness. They want to be away from and free from the stench of politics.

The Democratic Party bears its own blame for being a less than effective 'loyal opposition.' The 'New Democrats' of Clinton's DLC betrayed labor and economic populism to triangulate the rule of the Empire. They want a far more inclusive and unified empire than do the Culture Warriors and PNAC ideologues; but they are into empire instead of its foreclosure.

A true realignment of party affiliations could be in the works. I know many abandoned Republicans who have a pre-Southern Strategy small business conservative concern about the urban scale of government, and certainly about global corporate/empire. We can talk, and some of their criticisms about the urban style are appropriate. Their dilemma is that they have nobody on their side representing them. Converting to the opposition is not as easy as we think it ought to be.

The Democrats would do well to recognize that "independents" are not automatically theirs just because the Republicans have gone over the edge. Being left with the Empire as the Republicans abandon all historical memory is not going to work. Instead of being "tough enough on Iran" to mute their warmongering, it is time to change course and get with the winds of democracy blowing free, and the American Empire away asap.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

good, once that number reaches 100%, we can have a functional democracy.

tomas.savage's picture
Dec. 27, 2011 9:29 am

There are 228 million elligable voters in the US. 129 million of them voted in 2008. 60 million of them voted for McCain. We can assume that about 25% of elligable voters will vote fascist. Therefore, to defeat the fascists a candidate must get 26% of elligable voters, out of a pool of the 30% who vote Democratic and the 45% who do not vote. An optomist, for example looking at the Newsom / Gonzalez race in S.F., can hope for about 1/2 of Democrats to consider leaving their party - that means he needs close to 1/3 of non voters to come out for him. Percentage wise that's about 2x what Obama did. (interesting factoid - the increase in turnout in 2008 was essentially the same as Obama's margain of victory - 8 million new voters, 9.5 million margain of victory)

Not that it cannot be done, there may be lots of favorable situations, but the raw numbers explain why "sensible" people prefer to either attempt to reform the Democrats or simply give up.

In 2008 a universty posted a web site with an extensive list of policy questions and the positions of the at the time 13 Democratic and Republican candidates - without identifying the candidate - it would then chose the candidate that most matched the voter, if the voter voted his conscience rather than his conditioned response. The winner - with over 50% of all voters in a field of 13 - Dennis Kucinich. If this idea were tried this year the winner would be Rocky Anderson. Google him. And note that you have to. Mr. Anderson, if he ran a 3-way against Obama and a Republican, could win by taking 35 million votes from Obama and 15 million of the 130 million who normally do not vote (this assumes that the 8 million who came out of the cold for Obama go back out)

Also interesting to me is doing the same analysis for a libertarian. Ron Paul tops out at about a quarter of the Republican vote, so let's generously give our libertarian 8% to start. But to beat a Democrat he needs 30% - 22% out of Democrats and the non voters, in other words, about 5x what Obama did. Ron Paul, to win a 3-way race, would need to take 15 million votes from the Republican and get 48 million from the 130 million who normally do not vote. (including the 8 million who came out of the cold for Obama in the "do not" camp)

The totals, though, for a 4-way? Obama 35 - 43 million, Republican 45 million, Libertarian 15 million, and Progressive 35 million. (remember) non voters 122 - 130 million. Those who do not vote lean heavily left, but for comparison purposes in 2000 Nader got 3 million votes.

doh1304's picture
Dec. 6, 2010 9:49 am

*Bipartisan Bird of Prey* - “Judge Napolitano ponders whether elections are simply means of social control and what“public opinion” actually tells us about what free people think.”

Check out the Judges excellent video presentation regarding the false Left vs. Right paradigm at Freedom Watch.

Presentation: http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/freedom-watch/index.html#/v/1371284386001/bipartisan-bird-of-prey/?playlist_id=163776

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB16CGR8X1A

Liberty-Pac's picture
Jul. 7, 2011 9:55 pm

Because he has disappointed me every time I have tried to follow any of his arguments, and because I am short on time to waste instead of packing to move, I will wait for those who review his actual comments to say more than that I expect him discredit any Left and to justify the extreme on the Right. He is a showman, not an intellectual.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Trump Is Using Racist White People To Make The Rich Richer

There is this whole mythology that Donald Trump came to power because 53% of white women voted for him, because 66% of white working men who didn't have a college degree voted for him.

That may be, but those are not his constituents. Those are his suckers. Those are his rubes.

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