than at any point in the last 75 years,
according to a new poll.
"The survey also shows that those who
do align themselves with a party
are more ideological
and have become more polarized
than at any point in the last 25 years."
(Jennifer Agiesta, "Poll: Political Independents Outnumber Partisans," Associated Press, June 5 2012)
Tradition party loyalty only goes so far, especially when neither Republicans nor Democrats say their own party is doing a good job standing up for its traditional positions.
The new Pew Research Center poll sheds light on how the electorate feels about the nation’s two major political parties. The results indicate a collective thumbs down to both the Democratic and Republican Party, showing that an unprecedented 38 percent of adults reject both parties and call themselves independents. Only 32 percent now say they are Democrats and 24 percent now call themselves Republicans.
Independent voters are a critical constituency that candidates must win over to prevail in competitive general elections.
Let's bring this down to the local level for further insight.
Randy Basham said statistics from the last (2004)
Presidential election year show there are about twice
as many Democrats in Scioto County as there are Republicans,
"There are nearly three times as many
Independent voters as there
are Democrats in Scioto.
"The key to winning an election
is to sway those independents to one side or the other."
(Ryan Scott Ottney, quote by Randy Basham, Chair of Scioto County Democratic Party, "Candidates For President Wait as 22 States Cast Votes," Portsmouth Daily Times, 2008)
What if a person runs for office as an Independent? Then, a third choice is available for the voters, and those who like an Independent candidate's views do not have to vote for someone in the traditional parties.
Sometimes, an Independent runs as such because he or she truly believes in a platform not offered by the Democrats or the Republicans. Sometimes a person runs as an Independent because he or she is confident his or her service will benefit the area much more than that offered by the Democrat or Republican candidate.This Independent, through a personal commitment, believes in offering all voters something the Democrat and Republican candidates do not "bring to the table."
This November Scioto County has an Independent choice. Charles Horner is running for County Sheriff. I believe he is the person with the strongest qualifications and the best platform for the office. How do I know this? His outstanding service and record will attest to his intense commitment to law enforcement and his personal involvement while fostering needed change. His team spirit has already proved invaluable to the area as he continues to contribute a strong voice and tenacious leadership -- a voice that is city, county, and statewide.
Does it surprise you to know that independent voters hold so much power in elections? These people refuse to blindly mark a straight ballot of Democrat or Republican candidates. They seek the best person for the job instead of kowtowing to images of power and money.
Long-time Independent voter Rob Lafferty decries the overwhelming influence of Big Money on our political system. Political ads as a whole are far, far more intentionally misleading than any other type of advertising. Lafferty on the outcomes of our current moneyed political process:
"Having the best elections money can buy
may be a timeless tradition in America,
but it’s one that has served us poorly.
Regardless of who wins, odds are that once again,
the majority of citizens will receive second-class representation."
But, Independent voters must think and know how to read between the lines in order to find the truth in major media spin and two-party double talk. Independents pride themselves on creating content that gets to the heart of the issues and challenges facing the country, and individually determine what is best for the majority, not what is best for the two major parties.
Two Specific Examples of the Need for Independents
But, guess where women haven't progressed very far at all. The two major parties often use and manipulate gender -- as a result, women lose.
The Democratic Party is often called the “mommy” party in that it is viewed more progressive than the Republican Party in terms of women's issues. Women voters, in fact, make up an exceedingly important constituency for any Democratic candidate.
Yet, the Democratic Party takes women’s votes for granted. Where else are they going to go if they don’t vote Democratic?
On the other hand, the Republican Party is known as the “daddy” party. This male view carries over in the way the party views women voters. How much power do Republican women hold in party strategy and key women's rights issues? Among Republicans, the prevailing notion is that many women vote the way their husbands, or their fathers, or their boyfriends do.
Republicans lean on the view that women can be told what to do rather than be persuaded. This smacks of judgment that females should not hold a power base.
(b) Senior Independents
When it comes to elections, most senior citizens are not just older, they’re wiser. They’ve seen all the tricks, they’ve been lied to for most of their adult lives. Still, senior citizens, more than any other age group, turn out to vote in percentages far exceeding any other age group.
Yet, how do the two major parties talk to you if you are a senior? It’s seldom in terms of making things better; it’s usually always in terms of how much WORSE things will be if those other guys get elected. They play into seniors' fears, not into what might make a better America for their grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Let's say you are a senior Democrat. The Democrats keep you voting for the party by telling you how bad life will be when the Republicans cut your Social Security and your Medicare.
If you’re a senior citizen Republican, the Republicans keep you in line by talking about lower taxes on your fixed income, divisive social issues, and by promising a return to the America of your youth (an America none of us will ever see again).
Seniors should be independent voters. They have an accumulated wisdom about our politics that the rest don’t. They should make the two parties come to them and earn their vote, with better ideas and better results.
Questions For All of Us
1. Do you believe that the Republican and Democratic parties fail to focus on the issues you consider most important?
2. Have you simply lost faith in the two-party system and do not want to be affiliated with either party?
3. Do you believe, in its current state, the American political system is alarmingly bipolar: Those elected are primarily at the ends of the political spectrum and beholden to their party leaders and supporters but not to the independent voters in the ideological center?
4. Do you feel disconnected and disillusioned with a government you do not feel truly represents you?
5. Are you tired of partisan wrangling, which all too often results in either gridlock and a lack of action on the most important issues the nation faces or unsatisfactory legislative outcomes, pushed through by one political party with little input from the other?
In the next few months, you will have an opportunity to meet and talk with (Chief) Charles Horner. I implore you to take advantage of the opportunity to know the man. Charles Horner has already done much to improve the future of Scioto County, and he feels he can best continue his good work as the Sheriff of Scioto County. Mr. Horner is going to make himself available throughout the county to hear your concerns and to explain his plan of action.
I hope those of you who know the man we all call "Chief" help with the election campaign. It is time for a change in the office, and many of you have expressed that to me. Now is the time to rise for an Independent candidate with many years of law enforcement experience.
We know there is much work to be done in our county, and Chief will positively impact problems while taking responsibility for doing everything he can to improve public safety. He is committed, honest, and realistic. He knows he must depend upon you to help him better the lines of communications and to respond with answers.
For those of you who have felt ignored or slighted in any way by the sheriff's office, this is an opportunity to "find out what you will get" before you vote. You have an alternative in this Independent candidate. For those of you who have lost hope in law enforcement, please consider what this intelligent, diligent former Portsmouth Police Chief has done because he truly cares. Charles Horner's motto for his campaign is "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work."
Calling on other Independents and old line Republicans and Democrats -- Please vote for a person who can build new alliances and mend broken fences. It's time for a change.
Chief Horner speaking with Gil Kerlikowske, United States Drug Czar