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The New Independent Party Blog


This Blog is maintained by Mike Barron, Executive Director and Founder of the New Independent Party. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Party, its Board of Governors or its Members.


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"The Swing Vote" by Linda Killian

I just finished reading "The Swing Vote" by Linda Killian. While I enjoyed the book because I agree with a lot of what she has to say, I have to say that many of the criticisms of it in a review from the New Republic also seem valid to me. 


Here is the gist of the debate. Killian notes that something like 40% of the public identifies as Independent and that this percentage is growing. Ruy Teixeria, who wrote the review in TNR, notes that many of these folks lean Republican or Democratic. He notes that a greater percentage of Democratic leaning independents voted for Obama than did self-identifying Democrats. 

I did not find this all that surprising because candidate Obama said all the right things to appeal to independents and some of this may have alienated some true blue Democrats. I think it will be interesting to compare these numbers during the next election. 

That said the TNR review has a point. Many independents are IINO's "independents in name only."  But what he fails to note is that many Republicans and Democrats are RINO"S and DINO's. I was was that myself for most of my life. There is certainly no point in being an independent in a state that disenfranchises them by refusing to to allow them to participate in primaries. I have seen it estimated that only half of the 40% of voters who identify as independent voters are true swing voters, although the TNR review cites a lower estimate. 

The TNR reviewer also notes that this group tends to vote less and be less engaged. This is also not terribly surprising given what they have to choose between.

I will research this issue and report back here but my prior frequency distribution on this issue is divided into fifths. I think about 20% of the voting age population is Democrat and happy with their party, about 20% is the same for Republicans, about 20% generally leans toward the Democrats and 20% toward the Republicans but not enthusiastically, even if consistently, and about 20% are true swing voters. 

Having said that some of those who are less than fully affiliated with the major parties are anything but centrists. This crowd includes Green Party sympathizers, Occupy Wall Street types, and right-wing fringe groups and individuals.

In terms of my aspirations for the New Independent Party and its Platform, I think that about 20% of the voting age population would pick out our Platform if it were laid out next to that of the major parties. I think this would be about the same that the platforms of the major parties would attract.

I tend to agree with George Will, who I believe said that all politics is partisanship (or something like that). For that reason I believe that movements whose core purpose is bipartisanship or nonpartisanship or centrism are unlikely to achieve great success. What I am hoping to see is partisanship in support of a specific agenda (as outlined in our Party's Platform) that happens to be more centrist.

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