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5 Ways America May Change Now That Most Identify as Independent

5 Ways America May Change Now That Most Identify as Independent

Move over, Democrats and Republicans, a record number of Americans have abandoned the idea of having to choose one side or the other and are now self-identifying as “independent.” An annual Gallup poll shows that 42% of Americans declined to align with either of the major parties in 2013.

How will the fact that the plurality of U.S. citizens are independent change the political landscape? Here are five significant changes to look for in the future:

1. Shift Away from Conservatism

For those keeping score, it’s Republicans who have taken the biggest hit as people drop their allegiance to a political party. Just 25% of Americans now identify as Republicans, down from 34% a decade ago. The current rate is the lowest for Republicans in 30 years.

The plunge doesn’t come as a surprise considering the Republican Party’s tarnished reputation. Seen by many as uncompromising and uncompassionate, the party’s move further to the right may appease the conservative fringe groups, but it is coming at the expense of its moderate members. If Republicans want to win back their numbers at large, they’ll have to abandon these rigid, clearly off-putting stances.

2. Lower Voter Turn-Out

Still, it’d be incorrect to assume that a drop in Republicans means the Democratic platform will prevail. Though not as drastically as their counterparts, Democrats have also lost support, dropping 5% in just 5 years to 31%. People aren’t necessarily becoming much more liberal, just more disenchanted.

With or without overwhelming support, the two-party system maintains a stranglehold on democracy. Left off the ballot and out of national debates, it’s likely that a good portion of the independents will step away from politics altogether and vote in lower numbers. “The lesser of two evils” isn’t a convincing enough argument for people who have grown tired of both parties’ nonsense, and they may continue to stay away until a viable alternative is offered.

3. The Fall Dip of the Two Party System

As nice as it may be to dream of a different future – the two-party system is so institutionalized at this point that it’s perhaps unrealistic to think it will disappear even without the support of nearly half of Americans. However, the more disillusioned the plurality of voters become with both parties, the more likely we’ll see this dominance ebb.

Importantly, that ebb will leave some wiggle room. As a result, we could see more independent candidates have a legitimate chance at being elected. Only once more non-Republican or Democratic candidates take office and complicate the “one side or the other” narrative will the very foundation begin to crumble.

4. Politicians Breaking Ranks with Their Parties

With so many unaffiliated voters up for grabs, politicians will need to pay attention to the wants and needs of their constituents more than they did previously. Though tradition dictates that politicians side with their party’s prescribed philosophy for most decisions, strategically, they’re likely to win more support by breaking ranks.

It might not always be about their stances on a particular issue, but the fact that they’re differentiating themselves from the pack in general. Independents tend to have more respect for independent-minded people, so by proving they aren’t party puppets, lawmakers can earn favor with those who aren’t committed to a political party.

5. Regulations on Corporations and the Wealthy

While Americans overwhelmingly want Wall Street reform, an end to tax breaks for the wealthy and a general stop to economic injustice, Republicans and Democrats are still the two biggest supporters of the 1%. Because money talks in politics, both main parties are beholden to the wealthy and work to maintain the massive inequality that is now a signature of American culture.

With no party to support, look for politically active citizens to take up specific issues instead. The powers-that-be may want to shut down the conversation on inequality, but that’s unrealistic as long as the ensuing problems persist. In the end, parties will either have to listen to the will of the people on this matter or citizens will learn to circumvent them altogether in order to make real, meaningful change.

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154 comments

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5:48AM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Not sure how I missed this but I sooo hope it comes to pass.
We desperately need a multi-party system instead of this two party joke we currently have.

8:21PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

THe Sha was a horribly evil man in his own right…… WE only installed him because he dealt with our oil companies as we wished him to.

8:19PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

WE are getting far askew from the originall topic which is why people are fed up and not alligning with any party for the time being………and of course Obama hate. Sadam was doing what ALL leaders in the middle east was doing. Killing the people he hated. The Sunni and Shia have been at war with each other for way longer that we were a country…..hell even before Europe was formed. They have been at war with each other longer than white people have been a major force on this planet. We SOLD Sadam the weapons. WE LOVED him while he was at war with Iran. The people that want these wars do a great con job pulling at our heartstrings and lying to us about whats REALLY happening. Talk About your mediavictims……David is a perfect example of it.

8:11PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

We are not talking about why the war was fought anymlore. What we are talking about was the COST and how it was never pad for. It is OBVIOUS to anyone with a functioning Brain that there werre no WMDs The Bush administation went out of its mind trying to prove there was to justify staying there I read the ENTIRE PNAC David every word. WELL beforeBush was even in Office they wrote this platform. It was Bush's job to seel it to America. He didnt do it alone. No oen said he did. PNAC was all about taking over Iraq and putting in numerous bases to control the rest of the middle east from. ALL paid for by Iraqui oil. Well that feell completely on its ass becase Iraq refused to play ball. I ddont care who pretneded to have what intel or who beleived it. At this point it is meaningless. The only thing WE Have left is the COST of the war. The Massive debt caused by the war that was never even funded because Bush knew if they showed the cost people would scream bloody murder. The whole thing was a MASSIVE FAILURE and a BLIGHT on our country. Everyone was sold a bill of goods…….including any Democrats who swallowed the bullshit.

6:08PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

President Clinton signed the Iraqi liberation act in 1998 calling for a regime change.
The medias victims memory on Care 2 is so short, 911 could have killed 40,000 Americans. The country’s mood was pre-emptive. Saddam killed 350,000 of his own people, 20,000 tribal political opponents, gassed entire villages, attacked all his neighbors except his friend in Syria, (where he shipped his nerve gas). The senate intelligence committee, 1/2 Republican/ Democrat, that by LAW, had the same intillegence the President had, was unanimous in their opinion of the WMD, only one voted against use of force.
Don’t forget Democratic Pres Carter kicked the Shaw out of Iran, replacing him with the Ayatollah Khomeini, thus establishing the Islamic Republic that has spread terrorism throughout the middle east.

5:02PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

David F , I think you forget what took place leading up to the vote to go to war. Republicans were branding anyone opposed as unpatriotic, to the American people. It seems the American people tend to believe them when they make those kind of accusations The only Democrat opposed that they did not attack was Senator Byrd from W.Va.. They knew they could never get away with calling him unpatriotic.

3:58PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Thanks for the article.

3:47PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

David F The democrats voted for the war, because the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence in order to claim Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and close ties with Al Qaeda when he in fact did not, essentially lying to all the Democrats in Congress. The world believed Colin Powell, who got his evidence from Bush. Bush's evidence turned out to be wrong. Saddam Hussein had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, and no connection to 9/11. So the USA lost over 4,400 soldiers, had 30,000 injured wounded warriors with traumatic brain injury, or missing limbs, and Iraq lost 100,000 soldiers, all because of the ignorance of George Bush. In addition, the war was never paid for, Bush cut taxes for the rich, and created a massive 10.7 trillion dollar debt for Obama to inherit. Yes, the USA has a high 35% corporate tax rate, but U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens. The effective corporate tax rates that corporations actually pay is 12.1% because of corporate welfare, that your republican party allows corporations to get away with, by buying your loyalty. So, your republican party is mendacious, and only serves their corporate masters, including the billionaire Koch brothers, and corporate America.

11:43AM PST on Jan 12, 2014

OF COURSE we have the highest Corporate Taxes,…….it costs money to keep America from being a 3rd world country. WE actually HAVE an infrastructure. If you love Chinas business model so damned much take a plane and live there. We have lower taxes than we have had in a LONG time. It isnt helping Davie. because that isn't the problem David!!!!

Yes it WAS an AMERICAN war that BUSH never paid FOR!!!!!! He didnt even LIST the cost let alone pay for it. At least Obama finally added the cost to the books and you people have been crucifying him for that debt since he entered the white house.. Your Obama hate is making you look pathetic David.

9:21AM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Robert, once again you spew lies and nonsense This was an American war, Not one party or another. The Senate lead by Democrat Tom Daschle voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions. Clinton Kerry Edwards all had the same intelligence by law that Bush had including Hussein’s statement that he had WMD.

Then you again show unlimited ignorance when you say we have low taxes, even though we have the highest corporate tax in the industrialized world. Tell us all Robert, what you think the maximum % of one's income the US government is entitled to?

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