Independent Movement Gaining Traction Across the Northeast

Two recent articles out of Maine and Washington D.C. highlight the independent gubernatorial campaigns of Eliot Cutler in Maine, Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Tim Cahill in Massachusetts. At the Portland Press Herald, Matt Wickenheiser writes:
Disaffected with his longtime political party, the candidate decided to run for governor as an independent. It's a story line that applies this year to Maine. Or Massachusetts. Or Rhode Island. Three former party stalwarts are running for the top executive position in those states as unenrolled candidates . . .

All three could find real traction during this election cycle, marked by a high level of unhappiness with the status quo, suggested Mark Brewer, a University of Maine political scientist. "Any time you have voters that are angry, that really increases chances for an independent to be successful," he said. "Even though one party's in the minority, they still get some blame." The three candidates have each hired Tad Devine as a media consultant . . . Devine said that while the country seems polarized over some big issues, Americans seem to be moving in increasing numbers to the middle of the political spectrum . . .

Devine said the three candidates are motivated to run as independents for different reasons. Chafee "couldn't stand it in the Republican Party anymore," said Devine. Cahill felt that state government was spending money in a way that would hurt the middle class, he said. And Cutler wants to make a difference in his state but is "frustrated by the way politics work there."

Down in Washington D.C., Stuart Rothenberg considers the independent trend in a piece for CQPolitics. He writes:

Both the Republican and Democratic brands are damaged. Voters think the country is headed off on the wrong track and still clamor for change. Every primary and general election hopeful who can (and some who reasonably can’t) is running against Washington, D.C., and against professional politicians . . .

There are really three types of Independent hopefuls: contenders, spoilers and pretenders.

Independent candidates for governor in at least three states, all of them in New England, are running serious races, and the number of credible non-major-party candidates could grow if Minnesota’s Independence Party nominates someone with serious credentials or personal resources.

As I wrote in August 2009 on this very topic, it is long past time that the people of the United States dispel the myth of the "myth of the independent voter." The only wasted vote is a vote for a Democrat or a Republican.

2 comments:

derek said...

Some people in Maine were not happy with the article on Cutler. They felt the reporter should not make declarations about his chances at becoming governor. The fact of the matter is Cutler has the best shot (read only shot) for any independent becoming Maine's Governor this time around.

d.eris said...

Interesting, I didn't really get that feeling from the report, which clearly put those words in the mouths of "experts". Maybe Democrats and Republicans would feel that way about any indy candidate getting good press? I was actually just thinking about how viable indy or third party candidates could change political reporting, as the usual journalistic models and mad-libs forms of Dem/Rep political disputes would become insufficient.

Good to hear from you, btw, Derek. Any word/rumors on whether the Greens will come out in support of Cutler now that Williams is out?

 
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