It appears that not only are Americans becoming increasingly un-enthralled with the Republican Party but the Democratic Party is also losing much of the support it had. The result, for the first time I can remember we are becomming an Independent country.
A recent Rasmussen poll tells us that during the month of July, the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats fell for the fifth straight month, to 35.9%. The number of people identifying themselves as Republicans is also down, to 31.3%. So while the Democrats can claim that they are not as bad as the Republicans, the sad fact for them is that they are not maintaining their base either. The actions of the Democratic congress is not allowing them to make any gains on those who no longer claim to be Republicans, in fact they are losing numbers to the independent movement at a relatively quick pace themselves.
This means that as we become more and more independent as a country the tired old politics of the two parties may well be coming to an end. It will be harder and harder to use rhetoric based against party affiliation and candidates are going to have to start talking specifics and show results in order to get a following.
The unfortunate part is that there is no cohesiveness between independents now. No unifying force or even stance between the ideologies of the people who make up the ‘independent’ movement. Some are far-left progressive types no longer comfortable with the fact that the Democratic Party is just not ‘left’ enough for them. Some are conservatives who no longer see the Republican Party as a home for small government after the last several years of Republican mismanagement of the country. Hard-core conservatives who want Christian policies to rule the country are beating their heads against the Supreme Court that still will not alter the constitution to allow for their misguided policies to be enacted. Democrats who want to impeach President Bush are not seeing their party doing anything to accomplish this, nor are they working hard enough to get the war in Iraq to end.
All of these different ideologies, and many others that are not listed, are more often than not based on single issues. The ‘single-issue’ voters are the ones that more often than not going independent because they don’t have a basic political philosophy to tie themselves to how the government should be run or how minority views should be handled. The thought process that if the majority believes in something then it should be a law just isn’t what this country was founded upon, but getting that through the single-issue voter’s mind is about as easy as convincing a Muslim extremist not to hate America.
So the good news for the two parties is that while they are losing their bases, they are not going to see a unified ‘independent’ front move against them with the force they could muster. But the bad news is that these are the people that are going to have to be targeted for the next election cycle in order to gain power. And with the variety of views that are going to be out there for capture it is going to make some interesting policy statements by the people you least expect them to come from. The candidate who has the staff that can best position them to gain the most support while losing the least support from those same views is likely to win in 2008, and from what it looks like now it could be anyone’s game with a lot of time left to play.