|Good news: The parties are losing you|
|Written by News Desk|
|Friday, 17 January 2014 10:20|
How many people have had enough? Enough of the status quo, enough of the same old thing. Last week I read a very interesting just released Gallop Poll that showed 42% of Americans have now adopted the political status of independent. The definition of that word, for political purposes, simply means they do not claim or consider themselves beholden to either Republicans or Democrats. The poll holds water in my opinion since it was conducted throughout the previous year from 13 separate multiple day polls.
Wow, 42%. I have more friends than I thought. I don't know how much the 42% dislikes both parties. I dislike them so much I would rather have the flu, get a root canal and drink spoiled milk all in one day than claim either the Republicans or Democrats.
Gallop says that the whopping 42% is a new, all-time record high for independents. Both parties have lost faithful in terms of numbers. The numbers declaring themselves Republicans dropped from 34% down to 25%. The Democrats have dropped from 36% to 31%.
So, what does this mean? Gallop's summary of the implications is as follows: Americans are increasingly declaring independence from the political parties. It is not uncommon for the percentage of independents to rise in a non-election year, as 2013 was. Still, the general trend in recent years, including the 2012 election year, has been toward greater percentages of Americans identifying with neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party, although most still admit to leaning toward one of the parties.
The increased independence adds a greater level of unpredictability to this year's congressional midterm elections. Because U.S. voters are less anchored to the parties than ever before, it's not clear what kind of appeals may be most effective to winning votes. But with Americans increasingly eschewing party labels for themselves, candidates who are less closely aligned to their party or its prevailing doctrine may benefit.
I really like that last part where Gallop says candidates may benefit if less closely aligned to their party's prevailing doctrine. There was not an implication that a candidate was better off by being more closely aligned to a party's doctrine. That idea seems to be off the radar and I believe that is true. Why? Because the parties cannot get anything right. If the parties could get it right they wouldn't be faced with so many independents.
Both parties continue to do the same things they always have done. They try to have a model of the way America ought to be and tolerate no alternative. The parties' primary strength is to emotionally charge people into believing that one banner is the best for all and that the other party is all bad and no good for anyone. The more people that buy into the idea of "our way or the wrong way" the more people become dependent on the logic of another person, hence, they defer to the party instead of thinking for themselves. And that is where America has been damaged. Too many of us believed the parties were right, they would do the right thing, and we shouldn't question our party, etc., as long as I don't have to think for myself then everything is just fine. Wrong.
It is bad enough that we trust politicians who are self-serving, but we trust the parties they represent who require the politicians to serve the party instead of serving the people. It is a never ending cycle of political, governmental, economic and societal self-inflicted injury.
I think the Gallop numbers are encouraging. It may mean that more people are truly distrusting of the parties. It may mean that more people are escalating their dissent, which is the backbone of Democracy. And all of that means that America can become even better than what it is. Let's try distrust and dissent. Let's let the parties and politicians know we don't trust them. Let's think for ourselves. Believe me, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing so.
|Last Updated on Friday, 24 January 2014 11:22|
Special to The Indy
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