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How Will the Parties Respond as the Number of Independent Voters Continues to Grow?

Voting Box (Credits:

Independent voters are poised to break the duopoly that has dominated American politics for centuries. With a record 43% of Americans declaring their independence from political parties, and nearly two-thirds viewing both parties equally negatively, the major parties’ decisions to nominate unpopular candidates has only added fuel to the fire.

Independent voters are not simply “closet Republicans and Democrats,” but rather a distinct demographic dissatisfied with the current state of politics and seeking alternative solutions.

Voting in Progress (Credits: Human Rights Watch)

Enticing these voters back into the binary choice will not be achieved through negative ads, intimidation, or fearmongering, but rather by acknowledging the underlying issues that have driven them to seek alternatives. These issues include political dysfunction, exhaustion, a fringe-focused political culture, and disincentives to find real solutions.

The recent denial of over six million independent voters’ opportunity to participate in the primary between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley has only exacerbated the enthusiasm gap among the electorate.

To remedy this, adopting ranked-choice voting, expanding independent voter access through open primaries, and enacting legislation to end dark money influence peddling would likely surge support from disaffected voters.

A Voter Voting (Credits: NPR)

Proposing new rules to punish egregious partisan theatrics, disinformation, and abuse of free speech would also be well received. The goal is not just to win elections but to govern effectively.

Failing to provide independent voters a seat at the table will have fatal consequences for the future of liberal democracy. It’s time for a change.

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