The Independent Movement and Political Paralysis

It seems like there's a ton of new and noteworthy commentary and analysis coming over the third party and independent news wires today. At Technorati, Benjamin Kerensa declares his political independence from the Democratic Party:
After months of painstaking research and consideration I made the leap and switched political parties today or better yet I opted-out of the two-party politics that so many voters in the United States are addicted to.

I actually feel quite relieved that I no longer have to subscribe to an almost molded political party that has no interest in representing the voters but instead only serves the special interest groups that donate the most money to their candidates election campaigns. So you must be asking yourself which party I left? I decided to leave the Democratic Party . . .

I had taken the politicians for their word like many millions of Americans and yet came to realize that I had not held the people I voted for accountable for keeping their promises and being solid in their issues.

A few people in the political blogging and journalism field have written some vibrant articles on why the two-party system has failed Americans and that inspired me to make a change by becoming an Independent . . .
Democrats aren't the only ones declaring their political independence from the major party machines.  At CAIVN, Chris Guzman reports on a new study which finds independent affiliation surging in the Republican stronghold of Orange County California.  Excerpt:
Based on a report by Claremont McKenna College's Rose Institute of State and Local Government, it appears that the rise in decline-to-state voters in the typically Republican-dominated Orange County spells trouble for the GOP's stronghold in the region. 
"Third party registration in Orange County has remained under four percent throughout the decade, but the number of decline to state voters has skyrocketed. In total, the number of decline to state and third party voters has gone from 18.6 percent to 24.5 percent of those registered. It is notable that all those losses are coming from the Republican share, while Democrats are able to hold their proportion constant," said the report.

The report also noted that while independent voters in Orange County have tended to favor Republicans by significant numbers in the past, there are indications that this may be changing as well. According to numerical stats provided by the Institute, independents are the most energized movement in the OC.

Get this: While the increase in decline-to-state/independent and third party voter registration increased by 6 percentage points between 2000 and 2010, from 19% to 25%, Republican Party registration in the County has dropped from 50% to 43% within the same time period. Also during this decade, Democratic registration has wavered between 30% and 32% . . . . 
And yet, even with their numbers steadily increasing across the country, many Independents still appear to be hostage to the ideology of the two-party state.  Their situation is, in fact, not very different from that of third party voters.  A new series of articles at Scholars and Rogues entitled "The American Parliament" looks into the highly un-representative character of government in the United States.  From the first article in the series:
In the US, a hypothetical third party or voter bloc that delivers 8% at the polls gets zero representatives and when Congress is sworn in they have no leverage. Their only hope for representation is to throw their support behind either the Dems or the GOP and hope that once those candidates are elected they will listen to the concerns of X Party leaders. Operative word: “hope.” In the US coalitions are loosely constructed at the campaign stage. You have 8%? Great, vote for us and here’s what we’ll do once we’re elected. Except that such promises aren’t binding and there’s no practical means of holding the Dems or Republicans, as the case may be, accountable to their promises. If you don’t like it, fine – go vote for the other guys, who, by the way, are as diametrically opposed to your platform as it is possible to be. Take it or leave, just shut up and go away.
This situation is all the more disturbing in the case of political independents, who constitute anywhere from 20% to 50% of registered voters depending on the state or district, and who consistently outnumber self-identified Democrats and Republicans in national polls.  Yet they have virtually no representation in government.  At Think 3, Sam Wilson reflects on "partisan gridlock and independent paralysis":
. . . . most of the Americans who call themselves independent seem incapable of acting independently. If they remain dismissive of the potential of existing independent parties, they have no clue about creating a movement of their own to contend for political power. Trapped in a party system, they seem intimidated by the institutional challenges of fielding their own candidates and building their own platforms. They apparently prefer to wait for someone like Trump to make them an offer. This passivity, the implicit concession that a political campaign is something best left to expert professionals, is the dependence that really belies the protests of so many self-proclaimed independents. We depend too much on institutions that generate candidates for us, while other institutions discourage us from generating our own candidates. Democracy has become a matter of choosing among the powerful rather than the electorate asserting its own power.  [Emphasis added.]
So long as independents refuse to exercise the power inherent to their numbers, they will continue to be dominated by the narrow, factionalist interests represented by the Republican and Democratic parties.

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