Turning Out The Lights On Party Switchers In 2010

In 2009, the long-ago-Democrat-turned-Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter decided to switch parties one more time, seeking to protect himself from a strong GOP primary challenger. Specter made the switch back to Democrat, only to be defeated in last month’s primary by Rep. Joe Sestak, who will now represent the Democratic Party on the ballot in November.

Earlier this week, deep in the heart of Dixie, Alabama GOP voters showed the Democrat–turned-Republican Congressman Parker Griffith the door – again, for party switching. Like Specter, he was unable to convince enough rank-and-file primary voters that he truly was one of them.

With anti-incumbent sentiment running high this year, it’s safe to say that no amount of spin could cover the naked opportunism of these two candidates. Whatever you call the trend – populism, party purity, anti-establishment, or just an aching desire for an honest politician – it’s clear that voters are tired of those politicians who are more concerned about their future than OUR future.

So where does this leave the Sunshine State’s Charlie Christ, recently a life-long Republican, now an “independent,” no-party candidate running for the U.S. Senate? His poll numbers look good now, but chances are good that his lengthening record of flip-flopping to appease interest groups from both sides will leave him in a squeeze play among both voters and donors as this election goes to the final innings this fall.

Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are the co-founders of ProjectVirginia and CivicForumPAC.