Let me start out by noting that the conclusions here are the opinions of me. I was going to run them by Franz for real validation, but he’s napping and if he disagrees I’m sure he’ll chime in later and I’ll be typing with seven or eight fingers.
That said, the WaPo & ABC News(?) have published the results of a new poll on Obama’s effect on the Health-Reform Debate. It’s an interesting read and you can follow the link to read the whole story. This diary has nothing to do with health care, I’ve plucked out a comment on the growth of so-called “Independents” from the poll. I also need to note that I haven’t seen the poll internals, so I’m taking their word for the veracity of the numbers (I know, but it’s very early in Phoenix and I’ve too much to do today to research it).
OK. The statement that caught my eye is this:
The poll also carries a clear warning for both major political parties: Forty-three percent of respondents consider themselves independents, the most ever in a Post-ABC poll, and about a third of them say they do not trust either side to deal with the nation’s biggest problems in the years ahead.
We’ve seen several folks here are Redstate lately posturing that we really need to adopt a kinder-gentler tone and work with Democrats, recognizing that they too are people of good-faith, blah blah blah, and we should do this because we need to “appeal to Independents”.
My comments, when I’ve calmed down enough, work out to be “hogwash”.
The central question really is not “How do we appeal to Independents?”, but rather “Why would people choose to align themselves as Independents?” I view “Independent as a wholly transitory category that people choose when they don’t like the other choices. For instance, in racial surveys I self-identify as “Native American”. After all I was born here and if there’s no more specificity than the title, I qualify. I think “Independents” are doing the same bit of sleight-of-hand.
I haven’t had time to pull the charts, but I’m pretty sure that the number of folks identifying as “Independent” in 1994 was relatively low, and that would be at a time when the previous Presidential election was effectively decided by the “Independent” vote. In 1994 the majority of voters, the vast majority I would postulate, self-identified as center-right to conservative and the reason would be the Contract With America and the absolute fact that for the first time since Ronald Reagan was a candidate – and arguably even more so – the Republican Party really stood for small-government and Conservative principles. In the years since 1994 we’ve seen the Party move away from those principles, pulled by people like my US Senator John McCain, the RMSP, and to a great degree the two terms of George W. Bush. And we’ve seen a steady decline in self-identification as Republican.
On the other side of the ledger, Democrat self-identification as fallen off as well. I think that is due to the fact that the entrenched leadership and the voice of the party is the far left.
Hence the growth of “Independents”. Who are not really Independent, they are really not comfortable aligning themselves with either a party that is fundamentally Marxist at it’s core or with a party that fundamentally stands for absolutely freaking nothing (thank you John McCain).
So, keeping in mind that people who self-identify as Conservative is consistently higher than those who self-identify as liberal by a consistent wide margin I come to my premises and conclusions.
1. Voters are more conservative than the face of the Republican Party.
2. Voters are generally unwilling to identify with a national party that is fundamentally Marxist.
3. Voters are generally unwilling to identify with a national party that stands for nothing more than “We’re not them.”
4. Voters are not put off by attacks on the “other party” when based on fact (should be a separate diary).
1. If the Republican Party wants to win it needs to adopt a simple platform of Conservative principles vis-a-vis the Contract-With-America. It must be the platform that every candidate supports.
2. The Party leadership needs to pick several clear issues to fight right now. We need one program and one voice on each issue, and we need to be absolutely mean and nasty about making the point that the current Administration is running the country into the ground with it’s policies.
3. The Leadership needs to learn how to apply some discipline to key votes. And note, I don’t care how the ME Girls vote as long as we win. In their combined tenure, I could only find one vote that really hurt. It’s people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who need to lose committee seats.
Bottom line, stand for conservative values and the “Independents” will flock to the Party. They want “leadership” not fuzzies.