Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dance of the Headless Independents, Pt. 2

As I drove to work this morning I began to doubt my original thesis.  After all, it certainly isn't true that independents are the only class of voters of which a large portion are superficial ignoramuses.  Plenty of Democrats and Republicans are blind sheep to propaganda and normative culture as well.

So while on the one hand you may have the Republicans, Democrats and Independents who have political principles they have tried to understand and think through, there are many who are in a sense "following orders".  Yet while Democrat and Republican simpletons look to an established party or clique for their ideas, the independents do it in an even less organized fashion.  In this sense - i.e. relative to those uninterested or sophisticated enough to pay attention to their civic duties - the uninformed independent voter can at least be admired for their courage in the face of complete confusion.

Adding a further twist to my original thesis, that independent voters are as a class maybe the crucial segment of any election, is the idea that voter turnout may be the greatest political factor.  Many Democratic strategists bemoan the likely failure of many Obama voters to turn up at the polls today, presaging a large boon to the Republicans.

I'm not sure where this elements fits, but the sort of nebulous "voter mood" handily brings it all together.  Of course, what that mood ends up being would seem to depend on many factors, not the least of which being who writes the narrative.  The Tea Party response to the Affordable Care Act, along with major support from unabashedly conservative media, was able to brilliantly craft a story of the act being part of a larger attack on our nations values.  Such an argument is vastly overblown, as even the most charitable reading finds the ACA perfectly in line with most other social spending the population overwhelmingly approves of.

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