Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Independent Majority

From an ABC News/Washington Post poll and a hat tip to the Poli-Tea blog where I first got this info:

"In making their case, both parties face a fundamental challenge: Democratic allegiance has slipped to a two-year low in this poll and Republican affiliation is back near its lowest ever; instead 43 percent of Americans now identify themselves as independents, the most since ABC/Post polls began 28 years ago. "

The actual post at ABC News was about health reform and the numbers above were just snuck in almost as an afterthought. I couldn't help but be amazed at what the statistics mean -- 43 percent of Americans now self-identify as Independent. 43 percent now have rejected labeling themselves along the lines of the two major parties. This is huge news. I can't understand why this fact only merited one paragraph when an entire article is begging to be written in the mainstream media on this phenomenon.

The article I'd like to see wouldn't be how these 43 percent of the electorate relate to the major parties' positions or ideologies. What I'd like to see is a serious treatment of Independent perspectives ON THEIR TERMS, not along the terms or in relation to the two major parties.

For example, how about a series of in-depth interviews with actual, living, breathing independents and trying to get to the root of what makes them choose to be Independent despite the overwhelming emphasis and monopoly of the two major parties on the institutions of American politics.

Are the two major parties THAT BAD? What makes them stink so much that 43 percent of the electorate are willing to reject their label? What types of choices would Independent voters like to see in the US political system? Would these include an expansion of the political arena to include third and minor parties and independent candidates? Would this include electoral reforms such as Instant runoff voting and other alternative voting methods? Would these include the inclusion of third parties and independents in televised debates and having representatives of these organizations be included in institutions that decide who gets to debate, funding for campaigns, voting technology to use in elections, etc.

Any MSM reporters out there reading this and willing to conduct a serious interview with an actual Independent? My hand is officially raised.

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