Third Party & Independents Archives

Independency

It appears that not only are Americans becoming increasingly un-enthralled with the Republican Party but the Democratic Party is also losing much of the support it had. The result, for the first time I can remember we are becomming an Independent country.

A recent Rasmussen poll tells us that during the month of July, the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats fell for the fifth straight month, to 35.9%. The number of people identifying themselves as Republicans is also down, to 31.3%. So while the Democrats can claim that they are not as bad as the Republicans, the sad fact for them is that they are not maintaining their base either. The actions of the Democratic congress is not allowing them to make any gains on those who no longer claim to be Republicans, in fact they are losing numbers to the independent movement at a relatively quick pace themselves.

This means that as we become more and more independent as a country the tired old politics of the two parties may well be coming to an end. It will be harder and harder to use rhetoric based against party affiliation and candidates are going to have to start talking specifics and show results in order to get a following.

The unfortunate part is that there is no cohesiveness between independents now. No unifying force or even stance between the ideologies of the people who make up the ‘independent’ movement. Some are far-left progressive types no longer comfortable with the fact that the Democratic Party is just not ‘left’ enough for them. Some are conservatives who no longer see the Republican Party as a home for small government after the last several years of Republican mismanagement of the country. Hard-core conservatives who want Christian policies to rule the country are beating their heads against the Supreme Court that still will not alter the constitution to allow for their misguided policies to be enacted. Democrats who want to impeach President Bush are not seeing their party doing anything to accomplish this, nor are they working hard enough to get the war in Iraq to end.

All of these different ideologies, and many others that are not listed, are more often than not based on single issues. The ‘single-issue’ voters are the ones that more often than not going independent because they don’t have a basic political philosophy to tie themselves to how the government should be run or how minority views should be handled. The thought process that if the majority believes in something then it should be a law just isn’t what this country was founded upon, but getting that through the single-issue voter’s mind is about as easy as convincing a Muslim extremist not to hate America.

So the good news for the two parties is that while they are losing their bases, they are not going to see a unified ‘independent’ front move against them with the force they could muster. But the bad news is that these are the people that are going to have to be targeted for the next election cycle in order to gain power. And with the variety of views that are going to be out there for capture it is going to make some interesting policy statements by the people you least expect them to come from. The candidate who has the staff that can best position them to gain the most support while losing the least support from those same views is likely to win in 2008, and from what it looks like now it could be anyone’s game with a lot of time left to play.

Posted by Rhinehold at August 6, 2007 2:03 PM
Comments
Comment #228517

Wow! Excellent piece, Rhinehold.

And with the variety of views that are going to be out there for capture it is going to make some interesting policy statements by the people you least expect them to come from.

Yeah, the candidates will have to be really good at balancing all those single issues. He (or she) will have to triangulate all of them to capture the independent vote by running not as a strict Democrat or Republican, but in some sort of third way.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 6, 2007 3:03 PM
Comment #228523

The road to revolution, peaceful or otherwise, is always plodded in fits and starts, heaves and retrenchments, but, with a continual progress toward the intolerable which finally is no longer tolerated. As we have been saying for a couple years now at Vote Out Incumbents Democracy, it will take a number of election cycles for the Independent voters to find their center and mass to bust the duopoly parties up in our offices of government.

Such movements start with a few, grows slowly, as hope triumphs over disbelief, and then grows geometrically as disbelief, anger, and rejection triumph over hope, and a momentum gathers toward fundamental change and redaction of the causes of that anger and disbelief, that cannot be reversed.

Such change is dangerous, and always accompanied by the threat of change forged from passion and hostility instead of reason and intelligence. But, when the threat of no change leaves no other option, the risks are embraced as a badge of honor and courage, and where honor and courage are found in leaders, reason and intelligence are likely called forward to lead, as well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 6, 2007 4:08 PM
Comment #228550

How can the people take back the system from the rich or the rich and famous. The Democrats used to be the party of the “little man”. Now they are supported by the big names in Hollywood who scream about the environment but run around jet setting and use more resourses than a small town.
I’m sick of them all. What can we do?

Posted by: Sharon at August 6, 2007 8:30 PM
Comment #228566

Sharon, I think that is a good question but too broad a stroke. My local Dem I voted for because he really articulated his positions for all. In other words in my opinion he showed a healthy balance between the little guy, low taxes, helping people, etc.

I think most of America is smart enough to know Hollywood is part of the creative part of our country, and naturally tend towards very liberal ideals. I think that creativity has driven some damn good movies and documentaries. Do I agree with them? Most no, but it does spur debate where there was none. I would just appreciate a few movies that were balanced or conservative. I get tired of watching “Little House on the Prarie” and “Rambo” ;)

I don’t like Edwards, but I have grown real tired of the shots at him on representing the poor. So what if he is rich, at least he is creating a platform to represent the poor. It is too easy to point at him and say hypocryte, but he is trying. And I doubt any homeless person that demographically represents what he is saying will stand forward and be covered by the media.

“Rich” is a tough one for me. The speration between the poor and rich is increasing, however, everyone is living in an unprecedented level of income, creature comforts, etc. I tend to see the evil doers as the financial services industry that leverages Americans beyond a reasonable level.

Posted by: Edge at August 6, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #228581

Maybe right now there aint much unity between independents, but in time there will be some new parties come out of it all.
Also a lot of independents will vote for an existing third party because that party more closely represents the values of that person than the Democrats of Republicans.
I’m personally glad to see folks leaving the major parties. They’ve had it their way for to long. They’ve both become full of corruption and neither represent the people anymore.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 7, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #228604

Now if only the Independents take the next step that will be something. that step being of calling themselves Individuals not Independents. That step will require a whole new mindset change in regards to politics and issues.

Posted by: The Griper at August 7, 2007 8:06 AM
Comment #228625


David R. Remer: I don’t believe that Vote Out Incumbents is the best solution. The money is in Washington D.C., just waiting to corrupt whoever is elected.

In my opinion, the best solution is to boycott the elections. Already, half of the people are doing this. Most of those say they don’t vote because no matter who is elected, they won’t represent their interests. If 75 to 80% of the people were to boycott the election, that whole house of cards in Washington would begin to unravel.

Even if it were unsuccessful, a national boycott the elections campaign sure would stir things up.

Posted by: jlw at August 7, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #228634

How, exactly, will not voting change anything?

IF 80% of the people didn’t vote then only 20% of the people in the US are deciding the fate of how our government will run. Those knowing how best to manipulate the sytsem for their own gain will be the only ones voting.

It has to be, IMO, the worst of all ‘solutions’ that have been presented.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 7, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #228647

jlw,

yes, and the beauty of this approach is that it requires nothing more from those disaffected voters than that which they already intend - to refrain from voting. we need not actively, deliberately boycott anything.

it is evidenced by the ongoing and ever-intensifying trends of declining party affiliation coupled with declining voter turnout that we may well one day hold an election which no one attends… and we need not advocate it because the politicians themselves provide the most effective advertising themselves (i.e. the negative ones). “come vote for us; we might be corrupt, but we’re *slightly* less corrupt.”

it will not be unsuccessful - unless the problems are first righted by some other means, it is inevitable…. however, it is undesirable if avoidable. such an occurrence would demonstrate a failing of our government at the most base level, and might well presage revolution (peaceful or otherwise). after all, how can we claim to be a legitimate democracy if we can’t even hold a legitimate election?

i can tell you that the advocates of void do not endorse this quasi-movement… and i have to say, if they can achieve our shared goal by their method, more power to them. i remain hopeful, but skeptical.

rhinehold - a democratic government loses it’s legitimacy in the eyes of the world, and it’s own people, if and when it is put in place by 20% of the voting age population. we’re not talking about a functioning democratic government in this instance, we’re talking about a failed one.

not voting can change an awful lot… and it might be the worst ‘solution’ ever, but it might also be the only one that proves effective.

Posted by: diogenes at August 7, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #228651

jlw, a boycott is the antithesis of democracy and as others have pointed out, would leave those concerned without a voice or representation. Very bad idea, doesn’t address the fundamental problem, the people assuming responsibility for the government they don’t like, and changing it by changing those in it.

That’s is why VOID is a preeminently rational and intelligent choice, it rests on voters assuming responsibility for changing out those in government who fail to solve problems either from corruption, ineptitude, or simply the wrong set of priorities. It addresses the fundamental problem in the manner in which our founding fathers intended - it validates our Constitution, democracy, and role of the voter, rather than trying to invalidate it as a boycott of voting would.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 7, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #228668


If Void is slightly effective and begins to gain momentum, it will only force the corporations to offer more incentive. Perhaps, a retirement package for one term congressmen. I think it is going to take more than Void to force the corporations to give up their ownership of our government. The problem that Void faces is that everyone knows that Congress sucxx except for their own Congressperson. She did help uncle Joe get his pension and she got us that new art center that is named for her.

The sad fact of the matter is that nearly every politician in Washington is being elected by less than 30% of the voting age population. The less people vote, the worse the government gets and the worse the government gets, the less people vote. If the number of people voting falls below 40%, it will be obvious and undeniable that we government of the few, by the few, for the few.

Posted by: jlw at August 7, 2007 7:39 PM
Comment #228693

jlw said: “I think it is going to take more than Void to force the corporations to give up their ownership of our government.”

Not at all. Wealthy special interests wield power in government by consent of the politicians. VOI, voting out incumbents en masse, changes the entire dynamic for politicians who are forced back into accepting the original position that their tenure in government is MORE dependent upon the voters than upon the wealthy special interest’s money. Which in turn permits them to reject wealthy special interest influence as a poison upon their reelection bid, where that influence would be regarded by the voters as against their interests (pork spending, deficits, debt, affordable accessible health care, war instead of peace).

The whole point is to make wealthy special interest’s incentives, poison to reelection, and the bigger the incentives they offer, the more toxic to a politician’s reelection bid. It will work, if the VOID movement continues to grow.

The VOID arguments are already becoming mainstream in the Democratic Presidential Debates as evidenced this evening when a couple of them addressed this very issue. If the VOID reasoning continues to be adopted by growing numbers of Independent voters, the positive and healthy changes VOID sets as goals will become reality.

To the extent that folks find rationalizations for abstaining from VOID, its goal of making politicians responsive to the nation’s and people’s needs instead of wealthy special interests will not be realized.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 7, 2007 11:22 PM
Comment #228694

You may be on to something, Rhinehold.

The latest Rasmussen polls also show this:

Lesser-known Congressperson favorability ratings:
Democrats:
J. Webb 24%
E. Bayh 22%
C. Rangel 20%
H. Waxman 19%
S. Hoyer 15%
J. Dingel 14%
J. Clyburn 13%

for a whopping average favorability rating of 18%

Republicans:
M. Martinez 25%
D. Lugar 24%
C. Hagel 22%
J. Cornyn 15%
J. Demint 15%
R. Blunt 14%
J. Kyl 14%

for another whopping average favorability rating of 18%

Name Recognized Political Leaders’ favorability:
Democrats:
Nancy Pelosi 40%
Harry Reid 27%
Ted Kennedy 43%
John Kerry 42%
J. Murtha 23%
Russ Feingold 18%
Dick Durbin 16%

for an average favorability of 29%

Republicans:
G.W. Bush 37%
D. Cheney 39%
J. Boehner 14%
M. McConnel 19%
T. Lott 31%
C. Rice 57%
A. Gonzales 28%

for an average favorability of 32%

So, it may indeed be a good time for the third parties out there to start making their moves, especially toward Congress.
I purposefully left out the Presidential candidates because their favorability ratings change almost daily!

JD

Posted by: JD at August 7, 2007 11:24 PM
Comment #228734

THE SOLUTION TO OUR NATIONS POLITICAL DOWNWARD SPIRAL MAY VERY WELL BE MUCH SIMPLER THAN MIGHT BE APPARENT. PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU——THE AMERICAN VOTING PUBLIC ARE MORE FED-UP WITH OUR POLITICAL CLIMATE THAN THEY HAVE BEEN IN YEARS. THESE VOTERS NEED A PLACE TO GATHER—-A PLACE TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED—-A PLACE WHERE THEIR VOTING STRENGTH CAN TRULY BE USED AS A TOOL, EVEN A WEAPON, TO FORCE OUR PRESENT POLITICAL LEADERS TO DO THE JOB THAT THEY WERE ELECTED TO DO—-REPRESENT OUR NATION—AND ALL OF ITS CITIZENS. JUST THINK FOR A MOMENT. IF ALL THE DISSATISFIED VOTERS WERE TO JOIN TOGETHER AT A SINGLE WEBSITE TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR VOTING POWER, AND THEIR RESOLVE TO USE THAT POWER TO GET WHAT WE WANT, WE WOULD IMMEDIATELY BECOME THE NATIONS MOST POWERFUL AND INFLUENTIAL “SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP”. OUR NATIONS POLITICIANS WILL NOT POLICE THEMSELVES. IT IS UP TO US OURSELVES, THE VOTERS, TO MAKE THE POLITICIANS FEAR THE VOTING PUBLIC. IF THEY KNOW THAT THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE A PRICE TO PAY FOR FAILING TO PROPERLY REPRESENT OUR NATION AND THEIR CONSTITUENTS, THE POLITICAL NONSENSE WILL STOP. IT’S OBVIOUS AT THIS PRESENT TIME THAT OUR POLITICAL LEADERS ARE NOT THE LEAST BIT EMBARRASSED OR ASHAMED TO BE CAUGHT FAILING TO LIVE UP TO THEIR DUTIES AS ELECTED OFFICIALS. THIS PROCESS CAN BE MUCH EASIER TO ACHIEVE THAN YOU MIGHT IMAGINE. SEE THIS WEBSITE: www.codiv.org
IF THIS WEBSITE IS NOT THE ANSWER FOR YOU, BUILD A DIFFERENT ONE WITH THE SAME IDEA—-A GATHERING PLACE FOR THE INDEPENDENT-MINDED VOTERS. WE TRULY ARE THE ONLY GROUP THAT WILL BE ABLE TO SAVE THIS NATION FROM THE SPECIAL-INTEREST GROUPS AND THE POLITICIANS.

Posted by: the angry voter at August 8, 2007 9:09 AM
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