Are Independents “a confused and clueless horde,” who are “more myopic than moderate” and characterized above all else by their “thoughtlessness”? These are just a few of the claims put forward in an anti-Independent hit piece published this week in The New Republic.
In “The Trouble with Independents,” Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin argues that Independent voters are “a clueless horde” on the basis of an “impression” gleaned from a single survey and report by the liberal research group Democracy Corps, which sought to gauge public opinion on Republican and Democratic arguments in the ongoing budget debate. In his analysis of the survey, Kazim focuses in on an apparently puzzling result: a majority of respondents agree with both Republican and Democratic talking points. He emphasizes that “by a margin of over 20 points, voters agree,” with the Republican party’s statements concerning Paul Ryan’s budget plan, but that “by slightly higher percentages, they also agree with the Democrats” in their criticism of Ryan’s plan. Yet, things are not as clear cut as this simplistic and deceptive juxtaposition would make them appear . . .
It is extremely revealing that, for Kazin, being persuaded by a specific line of argumentation in a lengthy survey is an indication of thoughtlessness, while reactively lining up behind whatever statements are put forward by one’s own “side” is a sign of deliberative political engagement . . .
Reconsidering Kazin’s initial point, however, is it really so surprising that a majority of likely voters might agree with Republican and Democratic talking points? When Republicans state that Democrats are dishonest and out of control, and Democrats say that Republicans are reckless and hypocritical, who could disagree? Fortunately, many of us in the “independent horde” need not rely on an impression gleaned from a single survey by a partisan research outlet to draw conclusions regarding the thoughtlessness and myopia of the Democratic and Republican parties. Republicans and Democrats like the "professor" provide us with new evidence to support our considered judgment in that regard on a daily basis.
This week's column at CAIVN takes a close look at an anti-Independent hit piece in The New Republic. Excerpt: