On Putting Your Vote Where Your Mouth Is

In a commentary for Goergia's Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Randy Young argues that the discontent on display at town hall meetings across the country is evidence of frustration not only with the Obama administration in particular, but with the two-party system in general:

the GOP is convinced that because the American people are speaking out in disapproval and disgust, they are automatically lining up to support the Republican agenda that will insure a switch of power in the next round of elections . . . The hard fact of the matter is most Americans who are speaking out today have basically had it with both parties and the system they are bogged down in. Americans know that the current state of the nation wasn't created by an administration that has been in office less than a year. Like I've said before, it took way more than one man or party to create this mess . . . the discord we are hearing from the common folks of this nation is reflective of a basic frustration with the entire political situation they see festering around them . . . being so bogged down in what is best for their party have rendered the Democrats and Republicans ineffective in determining a course that is best for the nation . . . there has never been a better, more prime time for the strong and independent-minded third party to rear its head in this nation.

At Open Left, Chris Bowers supplies some numbers that lend credence to Mr. Young's suspicions:

Fewer Americans are self-identifying as Democrats . . . At the same time, Republicans are not showing an increase in support. Fewer Americans are also self-identifying as Republicans, and the GOP has made up no ground in partisan self-identification . . . Overall, what we are seeing so far is not a shift toward Republicans from Democrats, but rather an increase in the number of people who dislike both parties and have become "undecided" as a result.

Bowers goes on to argue that, despite these numbers, successful third party or independent challenges to entrenched duopoly powers in the Congressional midterm elections are unlikely based on past performance. However, for those of us who are interested in expanding the scope of political representation and breaking the duopoly lock on our political system, the question is: what makes the difference between a registered or self-described independent, an "undecided" as it were, and a person who votes independent or third party?

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