Gallup Poll: More Americans Identify As ‘Independent’ Than At Any Time In Over Sixty Years
A new Gallup poll helps to quantify the American electorate’s increasing disenchantment with the nation’s two-party electoral system.
Gallup has been polling Americans’ political identification for over 60 years, and for the first time a staggering 40% of all Americans now identify as Independent, versus 31% who identify as Democrat, and 27% who identify as Republican.
Fourteen percent of those who identify as independents reported leaning to the Left, whereas eighteen percent reported leaning to the right.
At a time of near-unprecedented economic turbulence, and when more Americans feel negative towards their government than at any other time in history, there appears to be a real opportunity for a Third Party to enter the fold and to offer the country real solutions that neither of the two major parties appear capable of delivering.
The Most Effective Way To Protest At The Ballot Box
Are you disgusted with the Democrats, and their cynical attempts at impeding the very ‘change’ they promised us in 2008? We ushered them in with a clear mandate to make good on their promises, and once given complete control of the government, they’ve taken every opportunity to legislate the status-quo — all under the guise of ‘bipartisanship’. As if voters are too dumb to understand that reconciliation has remained a tool available to them to actually legislate their promises into law. When Republicans previously held a smaller majority in both houses, they used reconciliation repeatedly to enact all three of Bush’s major tax cuts which added trillions of dollars to our national debt.
That’s the kind of conviction we believed we were getting in 2008, when we put Obama in the White House and gave Democrats majorities in both houses. Boy were we fools!
Ever since its passage, the Democratic Party has cited Health Care Reform as its greatest accomplishment. Back in May, Speaker Nancy Pelosi ecstatically claimed:
“Healthcare reform is my proudest achievement in Congress,” she said. “But it would not have been possible without the leadership of President Obama.”
However, with the President’s job approval ratings plummeting, Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton complained recently that they aren’t getting their due credit from their base (whom his boss had previously referred to as the ‘professional left’):
there is some “frustration” in the White House that activists on the left are criticizing President Barack Obama for not being liberal enough instead of giving credit for his accomplishments, including health care reform. Still, Burton said the administration will continue pushing its agenda even if liberals don’t give them credit.
It is a bit ironic that what the Democratic Party feels to be its greatest achievement, Health Care Reform, essentially sent its own base packing. And they feign feelings of ‘hurt’ and ‘frustration’ by it all. As if they don’t already know:
Candidate Obama promised his supporters a robust public option without a mandate. Once elected, he immediately embarked on cutting back door deals with hospital groups (where he secretly promised them there would be no public option in the final bill), and with Big Pharma (where he secretly promised to oppose Congressional efforts to use the government’s leverage to negotiate drug prices downwards. He also agreed to prohibit US citizen’s from re-importing drugs from Canada). He then lobbied the Senate to drop the public option and any expansion of Medicare.
As if this weren’t bad enough, he additionally imposed a mandate on all American citizens, who would now be forced — or suffer financial penalty — to purchase expensive and crappy insurance policies (often with unaffordable deductibles and premiums) from the ‘for profit’ health insurance industry. A HUGE gift to the very industry most Americans hold responsible for creating the worst and most expensive health care system in the world.
It’s clear that the Democratic Party is out-of-step with its own base. The party shrewdly believed they could promise us what we demanded, meaningful change, and then ignore us once elected. They used the straw men available to them, obstructionist Republicans and their Blue Dog cousins, to evade ‘Change’. And President Obama’s call for ‘Change’ suddenly transformed overnight to a call for ‘Bipartisanship’ (his excuse for not using reconciliation to fulfill his campaign promises). Obama supporters, they figured, would just blame the obstructionist Republicans for Obama’s abandonment of the platform he ran on. Well, now they’ve discovered that in this new internet era, the blogosphere has made triangulation and political shell games very difficult for politicians to pull off.
Morale is low on the left, and many have concluded that Democrats no longer represent their interests. So for those of you wondering what to do at election time this November, here are your options, along with my two cents on each:
1. Vote Democratic — reward them for screwing you over. Nothing reinforces bad behavior quite like an unjust reward. Result: Democrats get reelected and continue to screw us over, as clearly there are no repercussions for anything they do.
2. Stay home / don’t vote — Perfect! Then the main stream media can interpret all the Republican victories as an indicator that the electorate wants Obama to move even further to the right. Hypothetical headlines: “Americans Reject Obama’s Big Government Policies”. Result: Obama and Democrats in Congress move even further to the right.
3. Vote for a Green/Independent left candidate on the ticket — Even if (s)he has a slim chance for victory, this is by far the most ideal method of sending a message. Result: It’s a vote for the Left (the message can’t be misconstrued by the MSM), and it helps to strengthen (build momentum) for third party candidates. The defeated Democratic candidate will view that third party candidate as a ‘spoiler’ and the party will realize that for the next election in that state, they better move to the Left or lose even more detractors to independent parties.
4. Write-in ‘PUBLIC OPTION’. Assuming you ONLY have Republicans and Democrats on your ballot, and you’ve realized that option 2 (above) is not going to accomplish anything, what should you do? Cast your vote for a ‘public option’ as if you are treating this election as a referendum. Remind the party that is parading this HCR bill around like a trophy wife, that you are not voting for them BECAUSE of that very bill. Result: If the MSM sees that the Republican candidate won 200k votes, the Democrat won 185k votes, and ‘PUBLIC OPTION’ won 16k votes, that sends a clear message that the Left protested this election. It provides indisputable clarity that the Left abandoned the Democratic candidate, and instead wrote-in a HUGE Democratic betrayal in its place. Imagine if the press were to report that the Democrat would have won this race had he won all the votes cast for ‘PUBLIC OPTION’ .
5. Write in whatever you want. Some commenters made the suggestion on TheMalcontent’s FDL diary (which introduced this ‘write in’ idea) — that voters should just write in whatever they want. For example, if the wars are your main problem with the Democrats then write-in ‘Iraq’ or ‘Afghanistan’. If you are out of work, and pissed about it, then write in ‘job creation’. Or if you’d prefer ‘Medicare for all’ then just write that in, instead of ‘public option’. Result: You may potentially get more write-ins, but you will most certainly muddle the message, possibly to the detriment of the entire effort.
When the press gets ballot box results they aren’t going to report seemingly insignificant numbers. For instance, if the Republican won 200k, Democrat 185k, public option 25, Iraq 4, Ralph Nader 1, medicare for all 7, Guantanamo Bay 6, Bush war crimes accountability 1, … They’ll only report the bigger numbers. The more numbers any single write-in gets the more you ensure it gets reported, and brought to the media’s attention.
For those of you who have reservations about writing-in ‘PUBLIC OPTION’, I’ll just say this: whatever the write-in is, please pick something that the Left, and specifically the Left, is furious about so that the MSM will disseminate the message correctly. It’s crucial that if you decide to protest this election with a write-in, and get others to do the same, that you send a clear, simple, distinct message that can’t be spun into a victory for the Republicans or Glenn Beck. For instance, ‘Obama must resign’ may be a popular write-in for some on the Left, but I suspect Tea Partiers who might hate the Republican incumbent option on their ballot, will take full credit for it, if it were to be successful. Glenn Beck will be doing victory dances all week long.
We are striving for headlines the morning after which read something akin to, “The Left Abandons Democrats For Their Betrayal On The Public Option”, AND NOT, “Americans Reject Obama’s ‘Big Government’ policies”. Essentially, we want this message to be one that makes Democrats feel the wrath of their base; the same ones they routinely call names, like ‘fucking retards‘. We want Democrats to begin to govern to the Left, and fear the very ones who elected them.
We either control the message, or the media will happily create its own narrative for the Republican victories. And as always, it will be a call for the Obama administration to move further to the right. So if you were already planning on sitting out this election, please consider option #3 above, and if that’s not an option in your district/state then please consider option #4. These are the two best strategies for insuring that the main stream media disseminates correctly that the Left played a huge role in Democratic defeats.
With No Exit Polls, The “Why?” For Dem. Coakley’s Senate Defeat Gets Spun
One of the most vexing revelations to come from last night’s Senatorial contest in Massachusetts was the fact there were NO EXIT POLLS. NONE! Not a single news organization conducted exit polls to ascertain a “why?” for such a huge, significant upset.
Surely, the networks knew the significance of last night’s election before a single vote was cast, and they clearly saw Coakley’s sliding poll numbers since January 5, when Rasmussen released a survey showing Republican Scott Brown trailing Democrat Martha Coakley by only nine points.
Call me a cynic, but you just have to wonder if the absence of exit polls wasn’t somehow intentional. Perhaps the beltway media establishment didn’t want to quantify the populist voter outrage which would likely incite a legislative turn to the Left, against entrenched interests.
By not conducting exit polling, the establishment accorded itself the opportunity to reframe the impending Democratic upset in the usual way: Obama needs to move further to the right to placate enraged Independents (whom they routinely misportray as nothing more than disaffected Republicans).
Ryan Grimm of the Huffington Post addressed the establishment’s reaction to last night’s Republican victory in Massachusetts as being focused entirely on the Independent voters; while largely ignoring the base:
With all the talk about “angry independents” deciding the special election in Massachusetts Tuesday night, the inclination among establishment Washington Democrats is to chase after them. Progressives, meanwhile, want the party to deliver on promises made during the campaign.
Not surprisingly, Democratic politicians are already indicating that they will likely shift rightward. Barney Frank seemed to suggest to Rachel Maddow, in reaction to the upset, “that without support from at least some Republican senators, health care reform, at least in this iteration, wouldn’t happen.” In other words, he interpreted this defeat as a need to appease the right — as if they haven’t been doing that all along. That move would certainly help him to water down even further his current banking reform initiative (as would also be necessary to gain Republican votes).
Anthony Weiner “suggest[ed] on MSNBC that maybe it’d really be better to drop health care reform–and pivot to jobs.”
Digby points out that Chris Matthews, in reaction to Coakley’s defeat, has now joined the deficit-hawk choir:
The predicted reverberations are already being felt. Chris Matthews is already going on about deficits being the most important problem in the whole wide world and how his daughter is really worried about government spending and taxes.
And the Democrats are subsequently making it much more difficult to fix the economy by playing into this deficit propaganda themselves.
The usual conservative voices, as one would expect, are all too happy to capitalize on the absence of exit polls.
Here’s Michael Gerson at the Washington Post, suggesting that Obama’s “liberalism” has infuriated Independent voters:
It means that Rahm Emanuel’s “big bang” theory of legislative liberalism is the most foolish political strategy in recent memory. It means that spending political capital on health reform instead of economic recovery and growth was a dreadful error. It means that a crisis that Obama didn’t want to waste has largely been wasted. […]
There is only one explanation for this remarkable turn of events. Americans thought Obama was a moderate. He certainly sounded like one. But now he is attempting to remake one seventh of the economy in a quick march of party-line votes. In the process, he has alienated independents in large numbers — even in Massachusetts.
Did you get that? According to Michael Gerson this isn’t about populist outrage from both the Left and Right; this is about Obama (who actually ran on a progressive populist platform) somehow misleading Independents into thinking he was more conservative than he really was. To Gerson, it would seem Independents have suddenly awakened to discover that Obama and his “liberal” cohort Rahm Emanuel are governing as some kind of commie-liberals.
David Broder never once mentions populist outrage in his column; no talk of Wall Street bailouts while turning a blind eye to the plight of Americans; no mention of Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry giveaways off the backs of hurting Americans.
First he mentions voter concerns about deficit spending, and then he describes just how Republican victor Scott Brown was able to capitalize on the current Health Care Reform bill before Congress:
This allowed Brown to argue that he would vote against the legislation pending in Washington, which by comparison looks more expensive and more bureaucratic and more partisan than the Massachusetts model.
Perhaps subtle to some, but the word “bureaucratic” is actually a lightening rod term within Conservative circles. It conjures up images of an inefficient government run entity (i.e. the Republican stigmatization of a would-be public option — something which isn’t even part of the bill under consideration). In reality, the Senate Bill is clearly a giveaway to the private “for profit” health insurance industry — a dream bill to a corporatist like Broder.
The only Democratic politicos Broder spoke to were the ones who seemed to parrot the White House talking points:
“They were critical of Coakley’s campaign, arguing that it was a serious miscalculation for her to break off campaigning and advertising after her easy victory in the primary.”
Like Gerson, Broder implies it is more about ideological differences; meaning the “liberal” Democratic Congress and President are imposing their will on a more “moderate” electorate, and it’s backfired. Broder gives his readers two false choices to explain the Democratic upset: 1. voter repudiation of liberal initiatives (i.e. runaway spending and government ‘bureaucratic’ health care), or 2. a poorly run Coakley campaign (i.e. the White House talking points). Yet he never mentions the visible outrage bubbling over from the left, as Obama continues to sell out the American people to serve his corporate masters.
The reality is President Obama has been governing from right of center since the moment he took office. Liberals feel betrayed. The Democratic base couldn’t be less energized — thanks to all of Obama’s broken promises, and his backdoor deals with entrenched interests.
Ryan Grimm contends that Independents and liberals have indicated they want essentially the same thing: CHANGE.
A review of surveys of independent and Democratic voters show that both want much the same thing: change. Both groups are deeply troubled by the state of the economy and angered that bailed-out Wall Street firms seem to be the only ones to have recovered from the crisis. […]
“If Scott Brown wins tonight, he’ll win because he became the change-oriented candidate,” Celinda Lake, pollster to losing Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, told HuffPost before the election results came in. “Voters are still voting for the change they voted for in 2008, but they want to see it. And right now they think they’ve got economic policies for Washington that are delivering more for banks than Main Street.”
Ezra Klein from the Washington Post perfectly sums up the frustration from the Left:
A Democratic Party that would abandon their central initiative this quickly isn’t a Democratic Party that deserves to hold power. If they don’t believe in the importance of their policies, why should anyone who’s skeptical change their mind? If they’re not interested in actually passing their agenda, why should voters who agree with Democrats on the issues work to elect them? A commitment provisional on Ted Kennedy not dying and Martha Coakley not running a terrible campaign is not much of a commitment at all.
Joe Trippi, a longtime party strategist and high-ranking official on the Howard Dean and John Edwards campaigns told the Huffington Post:
“This needs to be a wake up call that people are still demanding change. I don’t think it is ideological, I don’t think it is left versus right. I think it is outsider versus insider. It is the new way versus people doing it the old way. That is still the carryover from 2008. And whether the Obama administration recognizes that is important. This is a wake up call that they can’t play the inside game.”
Glenn Greenwald weighs in on the establishment’s effort to reframe Coakley’s defeat as voter repudiation of the Left:
The very idea that an administration run by Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and staffed with centrists, Wall Street mavens, and former Bush officials — and a Congress beholden to Blue Dogs and Lieberdems — has been captive “to the Left” is so patently false that everyone should be too embarrassed to utter it. For better or worse, the Democratic strategy has long been and still is to steer clear of their leftist base and instead govern as “pragmatists” and centrists — which means keeping the permanent Washington factions pleased. That strategy may or not be politically shrewd, but it is just a fact that the dreaded “Left” has gotten very little of what it wanted the entire year.
Senator John Kerry — the quintessential Washington ‘insider’ — has wisely calculated the necessity in addressing populist angst, by attributing it to Coakley’s defeat:
I didn’t need any reminders, but this election encapsulated what was clear in 2006 and 2008 and remains clear today: Americans are angry. They’re mad at Washington and they’re mad at Wall Street. They’ve seen millions of jobs lost and been left no choice but to bail out those responsible. They’re tired of insurance companies that charge exorbitant premiums but don’t deliver decent coverage when they need it. They’re fed up with sending billions of dollars a day overseas for foreign oil. They hate knowing that they pay taxes while powerful interests evade taxes and hide money overseas in Cayman Island bank accounts. And they expect all of us, Democrat or Republican, to fight for them.
So what should those on the Left take away from these dueling-message efforts? In the future, if Progressives intend to send a ‘resounding’ message by abandoning Democratic candidates, they’d be well served to at least hire an independent polling company to conduct exit polls that accurately quantify the “why?” for voter behavior.
If exit polls aren’t there to capture the true underlying motivation of the voters, then the beltway establishment will gladly define it for them.
Thanks to cbsunglass at FireDogLake for pointing out a newly released Research 2000 Massachusetts Poll.
Though not an exit poll, it reveals exactly what we hoped to show. Fascinating how this has been largely overlooked by much of the press all day.
Here are some of the findings of that poll:
- 95% of voters said the economy was important or very important when it came to deciding their vote.
- 53% of Obama voters who voted for Brown and 56% of Obama voters who did not vote in the Massachusetts election said that Democrats enacting tighter restrictions on Wall Street would make them more likely to vote Democratic in the 2010 elections.
- 51% of voters who voted for Obama in 2008 but Brown in 2010 said that Democratic policies were doing more to help Wall Street than Main Street.
- Nearly half (49%) of Obama voters who voted for Brown support the Senate health care bill or think it does not go far enough. Only 11% think the legislation goes too far.
Ann Coulter’s Favorite Democrat, Harold Ford, For New York Senate?
I’ve been watching former Tennessee Congressman and bank executive Harold Ford Jr. as a contributor on MSNBC for some time, and this guy has always struck me as the typical finger-to-the-wind beltway insider. You know, the status-quo politician — always looking to spew the beltway establishment talking points, proud to be far to the right […]
Gubernatorial Election Result Spin And The Mythical Independent Voter
In virtually every election where the Republican Party under-performs, the beltway pundits always attribute their defeats to an unenergized base. In contrast, anytime Democrats under-perform, those same pundits tend to assert that Democrats have moved too far to the left to appease the middle — the Independents. Here’s neo-clown Michael Gerson’s spin on the Gubernatorial […]
How An Instant-Runoff Voting System Would Restore Democracy To America
One year ago — as Americans counted down the final months of the Bush Presidency — a progressive firestorm ushered the Democrats into power with a resolute mandate for CHANGE. The electorate had turned its back on nearly a decade of neo-con lies, the biggest warmongering con job in our nation’s history, war crimes, mismanaged […]
Forcing Democratic Politicians To Legislate Progressively
One thing has become crystal clear over these last nine months — the Democrats do not give a rat’s ass about the core concerns of the Progressive movement. On the campaign trail ‘candidate’ Obama said all the right things and with eloquence; with passion. He articulated a whole host of issues important to us, and […]