Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where are the independents in The Big Sort???

I had an email this morning from The Back Forty [the blog of Rural Votes] asking me to take a look at their site. I'm recommending you do too -- and The Back Forty is now on The Hankster blogroll.

I found an interesting book review post by Al Cross called Who's Reading The Big Sort and Why?. "The book counters the conventional wisdom that Americans have become less partisan."

While the book, The Big Sort, is no doubt an interesting sociological study in human sociality and politicalness, from what I've read (I haven't read the book but have read several reviews), it ignores a big factor in today's political landscape: the rise of the independent voter. Sort this: while 99% of our elected officials are either Democrats or Republicans, 40% of the electorate they (supposedly) represent are independents.

We have a divide in the country all right -- between the corrupt partisan system and the voters. That's what this sea change election is about. That's the momentum behind Barack Obama's (and John McCain's for that matter) candidacy. We're in the midst of a pardigm change, but you won't see that unless you step out of the bifurcated world of major party spin. --NH

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I agree with you entirely! Look at both these presidential candidates. Personal preference aside, neither Senator John McCain nor Senator Barack Obama would have ascended as they did with the little "party machine" support that both candidates enjoyed early on, without the push of Independents. Republican party elders were furious with John McCain over his Maverick stances and couldn't stand him even as he won overwhelmingly in NH. He wasn't the "annointed one". John McCain has Independents to thank more so than his Republican base.

Same for Senator Obama in the start of the primary season (which now seems a decade ago :) Who would have guessed that a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois would have thrown a wrench in the seemingly invincible "Clinton Machine". Senator Clinton had the backing of the Democrat elite, at least in the beginning)until Senator Obama began picking up momentum after Iowa due largely to Independents.

I think the reality is, is that without Independents voting in the open primaries, we would be looking at two different major Party presidential nominees. That just drives the respective Party establishments insane (I've seen their angry, contorted faces). When we look back at the 2008 presidential election, I believe that political scientists will say that Independents were not only responsible for helping elect the next president of the U.S., but even more importantly, Independents were the strongest single force in electing the two Party's presidential nominees for the first time in U.S. electoral history. The gravity of that impact cannnot be understated. Independents directly impacted the party system; while not being a part of the party system. That development cracks the glass houses of both the Democrat and Republican Parties forever.