I think this is an interesting dialogue in the Huffington Post on the Democratic Party's inability to win elections and the independent vote. Comedian/blogger Davis Sweet makes this serious statement:
McCurry, I'm sure, wants Democrats to win elections. And anger in the political arena, conventional wisdom tells us, drives down voter turnout, which helps Republicans. (I'm not sure that's more than a justification, but it's the standard calculus we hear about.) You know what else drives down voter turnout, though, aside from (racist) insufficient polling stations and (racist) rampant Secretaries-of-State corruption? Not standing for anything. Perhaps puzzlingly to those with the inside track on losing elections, voters choose candidates whose views align with theirs. If you have no views, or are too pissing-pants trembling to share any views you've accidentally absorbed, there's nobody left (ahem) with whom voters can identify.
Ignoring partisans, left and right, what about the "middle" that pols claim to be fighting over, and to whom McCurry seems to be drawing our attention? The folks who don't read The Huffington Post or the bazillion commentary sites on the Right (but are, mysteriously, affected by what people write and read on those sites)? People who are, through apathy or living real lives, just not tuned in? What makes them vote? (And, really, if you're in the few percent that makes up your mind the day of the election, just stay home. You're not doing your patriotic duty, honestly, no matter how many stickers they give you.) I'm going out on a limb here, but I'll posit that what makes independent voters pull your lever or pop your chad is NOT hiding in the corner hoping nobody asks you to dance.....
I agree - independent voters tend to vote for the person they feel is best for the position regardless of party affiliation. The fact that more and more Americans self-identify as independent is testament, however, not to any centrist or "middle of the road" politic, but to a strong "anti-partisanship" that is developing throughout the country in response to the extreme partisan (or bi-partisan) in-fighting that takes place during every election. The current political culture that keeps two "not-a-dime's-worth-of-difference" parties in office needs to be changed. I believe that independents must lead the way in the effort to have a substantive dialogue on real issues. -NH