Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Are Independent Voters The Future Of The American Political System?


Preet and Tim, better than garden variety Democrats

In 2016 Gallup reported that 42% of Americans identify as independens compared with 29% who say they are Democrats and 26% who say they are Republicans. That's pretty overblown but, no one doubts that the two major parties have called into a bad odor and the number of independents has grown. I've seen countless congressional campaigns that claim between 30-35% of voters in their districts are independents, even if there's a distinct lean among many of them none direction or another. At best, an independent is a voter who votes for candidates on issues rather than on the basis of partisanship. At worst, it's someone too lazy to understand what each party stands for. Right after the Gallup survey came out, Philip Bump at the Washington Post took it apart.

He does acknowledge, though, that "Since 2004, the number of what we'll call 'pure' independents-- which is to say, those who aren't leaning in one direction or the other-- has increased slightly."

Bernie has been an independent for his whole political career-- as a congressional candidate (and for several cycles as a congressional incumbent) running against not just Republicans, but Democrats as well. After he was an Independent Vermont congressman, establishment Democrats would run their crappy conservatives against him until Governor Howard Dean finally put a stop to it.

I'd love to see more independents-- plausible independents-- running for office. Down in south Florida (FL-23) progressive Democrat Tim Canova is running as an independent against one of the worst and most crooked Democrats in the country, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who connived with the political machine top steal the 2016 Democratic primary from Tim last time. Yes, yes, I know plenty of total morons have bought into Wasserman Schultz's propaganda that this is just a conspiracy theory and denigrate Tim for it. But, fact is, this week Tim won his law suit against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes for violating state and federal laws by destroying all of the original paper ballots cast in the primary against machine boss Wasserman Schultz.

The independent movement in New York may get a big boost in New York State if Preet Bharara decides to run for Attorney General as an independent, to replace Eric Schneiderman. Sheldon Silver, a machine boss as venal as Wasserman Schultz was just convicted on bribery charges Bharara originally brought against him and if he decides to run, he'd like to do so free of ties to the two grotesquely corrupt New York political parties.
“Running as an independent, that would be the first defining message of his campaign,” said William Cunningham, an aide to three former New York governors and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Being attorney general is an easy fit for a former U.S. attorney.”

Bharara’s name was floated as possible attorney general almost instantly after Eric Schneiderman quit as New York state’s top cop on May 7, following allegations of abuse by four women. Bharara, 49, served almost eight years as U.S. attorney in New York, where he spearheaded an historic crackdown on insider trading and targeted corruption in state government, before he was summarily fired by President Donald Trump on March 11, 2017.

...Schneiderman’s replacement will play a big role in challenges to Trump’s policies ranging from protection of the environment to safeguarding rights of undocumented immigrants. The office also enforces state laws regulating Wall Street, non-profits and charities. Barbara Underwood, a Democrat who served as state solicitor general, is temporarily heading the office pending an appointment to be made by the Democratic-controlled state legislature.

Bharara has prosecuted both Democrats and Republicans and been criticized by leaders in both political parties. He’s also made it a bit of a habit to troll Trump on Twitter, telling the president Oct. 31, 2017: “Keep up the tweeting. Seriously, keep it up,” in response to a series of Trump tweets that followed the indictment of his former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.

Bharara, who appears regularly on CNN as a commentator, has the resume to campaign successfully as an independent, said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant who helped pull off the last upset in an election for state attorney general when Eliot Spitzer won the office in 1998.

“He has a great argument to make as a candidate: ‘I’m the only one who’s taken on corruption and sent politicians to jail.”’ Sheinkopf said.

The election calendar would work to Bharara’s advantage. Major party candidates seeking a statewide nomination must collect petition signatures from June 5 to July 24. Independents have from July 10 to August 21, which would give Bharara time to know the competition and test how much voter-support he could attract.

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At 10:32 AM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Ahh, Howie, perpetuating the myth that Bernie isn't a real Dem. How long ago was Dean the gov of Vermont? 15 years ago when his time ended, and more than 25 since it started. And it wasn't just Dean, it was the Vermont Democratic Party that collectively started "clearing the field" for Bernie. The most recent of several posts I've written on this, with links to previous ones.


Beyond that, most "independents" lean fairly clearly R or D. Except those of us who vote outside the duopoly box when we have that option.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I would say so they have a voice in the electoral system & they're a true third party so i trust them.

At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad that with 42% not affiliated with either of the duopoly parties we still don't have a viable third party. Even with the two most unpopular candidates in recent history, Jill Stein and the Greens could only get on the ballot in 45 states for the last election. That is a testament to how the duopoly parties have denied Americans a true democratic election. I'm pulling for Tim Canova--he may be the start of a trend.

Regarding New York Attorney General, I am hoping Zephyr Teachout jumps into the race. She is a true progressive and literally wrote the book on corruption.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The vast cloud of stench from both major parties is why the Independents have blossomed. But it's still not a replacement for the odious 'craps. As the pie charts indicate, some of the unafiliateds lean toward Nazi.

There still needs to exist a truly left party that can represent all the voters who are currently democraps plus the portion of the Is who lean left plus the majority of those in the "truly I" category who cannot lean democrap due to the utter corruption and uselessness of that shit party. I'm in that last demo. And until there exists a truly left party, only about half of that 55% total of the electorate will continue to bother to show up, sadly to the continued degradation of left politics.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As the pie charts indicate, some of the unafiliateds lean toward Nazi."

I hope Debbie Washerwoman-Schitz is proud of herself. Taking the Bernie option away from such people only left them free to gravitate toward Trump. Somehow they didn't see that they had nowhere else to go except to HER!.


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