Throwing Away A Vote

If you were to go tell someone at this moment that you were voting for a third-party candidate in the upcoming presidential election, most people would give you a dumb look which would be followed by a couple of different responses.  Some would say that you are throwing your vote away by doing that while others would say that you just shouldn’t vote since it wouldn’t count anyway.  The most audacious response is that you are taking away a vote from one of the main candidates… the democrat or republican and that’s why you are voting for that person and even why that third-party candidate is even running.

But let me ask it this way.  How is it throwing your vote away by voting for the candidate you want to win?  We will use our current election and candidates for examples.  So we have Obama (Democrat), Romney (Republican), Johnson (Libertarian), and Stein (Green).  According to a recent CNN poll that actually included the two main third-party candidates (most polls only give the two main choices), Johnson is getting 4% of the vote with Stein getting 2%.  When looking at the numbers with and without the third-party candidates listed, it would seem that Johnson is getting votes off Romney and Stein is getting them off Obama.  But that’s just going by the numbers and not the people behind them, and I’m not about to delve into that data on that.  So don’t worry.

For our example, we have a 1 in 4 chance of picking the winner.  So you have a better chance of picking the losing side.  So if you are basing the claim that voting for a third-party candidate is throwing away a vote because that person can’t win, then shouldn’t your vote be automatically switching to whoever is in the lead?  Otherwise, you are throwing away your vote for the candidate that is trailing.  There is a flaw in that overall thinking.  Besides, wouldn’t it be throwing away a vote if I was voting for Obama because I didn’t want Romney to win (or vice versa)?  Maybe the person voting for the third party doesn’t want either main party candidate to win.

Third-party candidates tend to be more toward the center.  I’m not saying all of them are, but the major ones tend to be.  While the two main parties (Democrats and Republicans) continue to move away from each other, it’s leaving a vast void in the center where many voters are.  In that void, we can plug in both the Libertarian Party and the Green Party.  Already, more than 1/3rd of Americans are wanting a major third party.  The Democrats and Republicans seem to be more polarized and more focused on making the other side lose the next election rather than coming up with sensible solutions to the major issues.  Why has this become even worse in that past few years?  Because the moderates of both parties are either being voted out or they are choosing to get out because of how bad it is. At a time when we need them even more than ever, they are jumping ship.  The moderates were usually the ones that kept the extremists in each party in check.  They usually worked across the aisle to get things done.

We, the voters, have been brainwashed from the beginning to think that there are only two political parties worth considering.  The only thing that the two main parties can agree on is that they don’t want a viable third-party to be included, and they go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Even now, the Romney campaign is attempting to keep Johnson off the ballot in several states.  The Johnson campaign is fighting these attempts, but it is costing them money that they can’t replace as easily as the Romney campaign can.  Political parties were never envisioned as part of our political sphere when our Founding Fathers set everything up, but they developed as a result of different ways of thinking (i.e. strong central government vs. states rights).  Over time, these would develop into the Democratic and Republican parties.  There have been others throughout our history… including the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party which ran Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.  And here’s your shocker.  That third-party candidate (Roosevelt), actually came in second place… beating out incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.  The Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, won the election.  The Progressive Party would eventually fold back into the Republican Party within a few years though.  In more recent times, Ross Perot in 1992 received 18.9% of the vote.  Some say he cost George H. W. Bush reelection, but that’s assuming that all the votes that Perot received would have gone to Bush had Perot not been running, and we can’t assume that.  Same as we can’t assume that Ralph Nader tipped the balance in 2000 for George W. Bush by taking away votes from Al Gore in Florida.  Our mentality is set to assume that since it makes up the difference, then those votes must have gone there.  How many times have you heard that a certain third-party candidate is running just so the Democrat or Republican loses?  These are usually partisan voters who can’t see beyond their own candidate to realize that this is someone running to oppose both main candidates with different ideas.

For the first time this year, the Green Party is receiving matching funds.  This means they are getting money from the government that the Democratic and Republican parties are already entitled to each election.  If the Democratic and Republican parties were only allowed to use their matching funds and nothing else, then this would put them on a level playing field, but the two main parties won’t be doing that.  To even be included in the debates, the parties must poll at least 5% in several polls.  Here’s the catch, most media outlets don’t even include them in the polls to begin with.  So the dumb question of the day is how are these parties supposed to achieve 5% in the polls if they aren’t even included.  The CNN Poll that I listed earlier was the first one I’ve seen that has actually done so.  The Democrats and Republicans have rigged the system so that you only think there are two candidates until you get into the voting booth, by which time you’ve usually made up your mind.

If we absolutely must choose between two parties, then why not pick the Libertarian or Green parties?  It’s never been said which two parties we have to choose between.  In most democracies, there are more than two parties.  We are the rare one that only has two.  Any less, we’d practically be a dictatorship.  It’s time Americans realize that there are more than two parties out there and that you might be voting for the wrong one.  We keep complaining about how things are done in Washington, but we keep switching back and forth between the two parties that are creating the problems.  The pendulum just swings back and forth.  Maybe it’s time we throw a kink into it and make it go a third way… or at least stop in the middle somewhere.  I encourage all voters to make sure that they are voting for the candidate that best matches where they stand on the issues.  Don’t assume that you do.  Do the research.  If you are just willing to continue to vote for the same two political parties (despite where you might stand on issues) because they are the only two serious contenders, then you have only yourself to blame for the continued problems and the slow pace at which we attempt to solve them.

Does it mean that a third-party candidate will win in November?  Probably not, though anything is possible in politics.  But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen down the road.  We must make a stand somewhere at some point, and with the way things are going, why not let it be now.  Major third-part candidates such as the Libertarian and Green parties should be included in any national election poll, and they should be included in the debates.  The American people have the right to hear what these candidates have to say.  The media outlets also need to step up and start including them in interviews and political segments.  It’s time the mentality regarding these third parties changes.  They should be serious contenders.  Throwing away a vote?  That only applies if you are voting by determining the lesser of two evils.  How do you know you aren’t voting for the better of two liars?  Third-party voting isn’t throwing a vote, it’s making a loud and clear statement that no longer will we be subject to the duocracy that has crippled our government and our politics.

NOTE:
For the sake of this entry, major third-parties were any third-party that has access to at leas 270-Electoral votes.

LINKS:
Election 2012 (Indeclaration)
CNN

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The Primary Problem

The primary season is more than half over, and with former-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney all but assured the nomination of the Republican Party (especially now that former-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign), all I eyes have now turned to the general election though that doesn’t officially start until September after both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions have been held.  But I wanted to look back at a few things that have been on my mind about this primary season… and it does pertain to the primary calendar in general, too.

Usually the media, and the parties themselves, want the race over as soon as possible.  Before Santorum’s upset in Iowa and Gingrich’s win in Georgia, it looked like Mitt Romney would steamroll over everyone in the first month, and it would have, theoretically, been over then.  But that’s not the way it worked out.  In fact, it went longer than anyone anticipated.  But the problem isn’t how many months, and how many contests had to play out before it was all but certain.  The problem is the method of how our primaries/caucuses are done.  There are generally three types of primaries/caucuses.  There are closed primaries/caucuses in which only people that have declared themselves members of that particular party are allowed to vote.  Keep in mind that each state can set its own rules on when people can declare such things.  There are semi-closed primaries/caucuses which is the same as a closed primary/caucus except that independents and those that are undeclared are allowed to participate, as well.  Then there is the open primary in which anyone from any party (and independents) can vote for a candidate in any party.

The problem with an open primary/caucus is that, when there is an incumbent running, members of that party can try to influence who the person will be running against by voting in the opposition’s election.  Democrats/liberals have done this in certain open elections in 2012 since they have an incumbent.  In 2008, there were some Republicans/conservatives who were doing it to the Democrats since the Republican Party wrapped up their nomination quickly and the Democrats drug theirs out through June.

A closed primary/caucus leaves something very important out of the nomination process… the independent (or non-partisan) voter whom that party needs in order to win the general election.  Any kind of moderate candidate is usually pushed out in contests like these.  If the candidate isn’t already tilted to the party extreme already, then they have to pander to the party voters that make up that extreme in order to win those primaries/caucuses.  The bad thing is that they might alienate the moderates and independents (and maybe even some moderates on the other side who might be thinking of switching votes) by doing such a thing.  And a candidate can have a real tough time trying to recenter himself/herself from such a drastic move.  Without the independent voter, a candidate cannot win the general election, so why leave them out of the process entirely?  It is imperative that those voters have a say in who the candidates are especially if they are going to be called upon to vote for that candidate in the general election.  Semi-closed primaries/caucuses solve that problem by allowing independents and non-partisan (undeclared) voters participate.

The next biggest problem with our primaries/caucuses is the calendar itself.  It’s usually spread from January – June… though the parties did try to start later this year, but Florida moved up it’s election so other states had to move up theirs.  Since 1972, Iowa has held the first caucus of the election year and New Hampshire has held the first primary since 1920 (state law requires it to be the first primary).  Other states soon follow, and the media begin to talk about momentum coming out of each state.  In this ordeal, the list of candidates for both parties usually starts to dwindle once the first set of votes start being counted.  Thus, in elections that are held later usually don’t have much of a choice in who the nominee is going to be.  They are usually stuck with who’s left.  So all the states try to congregate near the beginning  so that they can have an equal say in who each nominee is going to be.  This can be quite chaotic and a mess… and quite expensive for candidates that don’t have as much national notoriety or huge money chests as other candidates (who are usually termed front-runners even before votes are cast).

There have been several plans to revamp the primary/caucus calendar throughout recent years, but each of them have a flaw of one sort or another.  One of the biggest is money and travel.  (You can read those here.)  Our calendar should be competitive and allow for those without national notoriety to actually have a chance in getting the nomination.  As the process goes on, sometimes we find out that we like Candidate B (who wasn’t widely known when the elections started) more than Candidate A (who we’ve known as the front-runner even before voting began anywhere).  But usually by the time this is figured out, Candidate A has already run away with things, and the matchup for the general election is already known before even half of the states have voted.  Sounds like a problem to me.

So are the problems fixable?  Of course they are… though most, if not all, still have flaws.  The thing is to make the flaws spread out equally among all the candidates.  First thing that should be done is that all states should go to a form of a closed primary/caucus so that not only can party members select their candidate, but independents (and undeclared/non-partisan) voters can participate by voting for the candidate they want, too.  The second prong of this equation is the most complicated.  As I stated earlier, there have been many revision plans for the current primary/caucus calendar.  All of which have been defeated someway.  (You can read up on them here.)  My personal favorite is the Balanced Primary System, which is down near the bottom.  It’s cost effective and can work for the lesser-known candidates and more widely-known candidates.  Another option to put with this plan could be to have voting in states only once or twice a month… that way momentum gained in one set of elections might not carry to the next set.  And no primary/caucus should be winner take all in terms of delegates.  Delegates should be awarded on a representative scale as to the percentage of vote.  The one exception being if a candidate receives at least 51% of the vote in a given state (while there are more than two candidates running).  And each group of states must represent different parts of the country (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West) and have a wider-range of the voting populace from more liberal states to more conservative states to the more independent states.  Again, the objective is to make it fair and competitive within each party and for voters of all sorts to have a say in the candidate they wish to see vote for.

As a quick little note here at the end, Americans Elect is doing things a bit differently.  They are an organization working to get a third party candidate on the ballot in all 50-states.  There is no party affiliation with them.  They are working to nominate from the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and the various third-parties in the country.  As it gets closer to their June convention (which will be held online), their list grows longer instead of shorter as it works to give its delegates a complete voice in who they wish to see run.  There is no state-by-state primary or caucus.  All the voting is done on the day of it’s online convention.  It’s an idea that is definitely modern and might actually work for them… but I doubt it would work for the major political parties though I’m not saying it couldn’t.  Any thoughts on such a move that would allow voters across the country to determine their party candidates on one day… the day of that party’s national convention instead of the current state-by-state system?

SIDENOTE:
There is also something called the Nonpartisan Blanket Primary in which all the candidates appear on the same ballot and the two highest voted candidates proceed to a runoff regardless of party affiliation.  This is good for those voters that don’t just vote for one party or the other and spread out their votes. The state of Louisiana uses this method in some of its elections, though there is only a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

Americans Elect

It is no secret that the electorate here in United States is not happy with our government.  It’s not so much how are government is set up that is the problem, it’s the two political parties that dominate the landscape.  It has devolved into a duocracy.  One has to be a Democrat or a Republican to seek office within Congress or to run for President.  Every once in awhile, an Independent candidate can sneak into a seat in the House of Representatives.  But the two major parties cater to one set demographic each… their core constituents.  This leaves moderates in the parties and those that are independents left on the outside.  It is only during a general election that candidates will change their tone and move toward the center to pick up that demographic which is crucial for victory.

Seeing upon how little our government has been working as of late, and on how “compromise” has become a dirty word, no one seems to be listening to the voice of the people and what we say.  (see previous blog)  Is this a new thing?  Not really.  But we have grown weary of the inaction by our government to step up and take control over the big issues of the day… regulations that make sense, fair taxes, term limits for Congress, cuts in government spending and bringing down the debt, and entitlement reforms… among many other things.  To each of us, each of these things means something different and the solutions are just as diverse as the population.  However which way you look at them, the elected officials usually dig their heals into their party platforms and refuse to budge on anything (except maybe a crumb here and there).  It gets nothing accomplished because no one wants to work together and get these issues taken care of.  They are afraid of appearing weak in front of their voting base, though in the end, they look week to a larger portion of Americans.

Back in May 2010, a new poll showed that 31% of Americans favored a third political party.  This may in part explain the rise of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party during that year’s election cycle.  However, favor for the Tea Party has fallen since then.  My guess to that is because they are seen as the primary obstacle for getting anything done because they refuse to work with anyone.  They are basically the children within Congress.  You either have to play by their rules or they aren’t playing.  My overall point, though, is that Americans are growing more and more eager to support a third-party candidate… someone to shake up the system.

Third-party candidates usually don’t fare well on the national scene.  Ross Perot got 19% of the popular vote in 1992 as an Independent, and Theodore Roosevelt came in 2nd place (in front of current President William Howard Taft) in 1912 as Progressive.  Other candidates have just become spoilers to the main two candidates, and that is seen as one of the biggest drawbacks to supporting a third-party candidate.  If a candidate doesn’t come from the Democratic or Republican parties, they are seen us unelectable, so rather than support the candidate that they really want, a voter will go vote for the candidate of the major party that they want so the other guy doesn’t win.  And to me, that is no way to be voting at all.  With the call for a third-party the highest its been in years and maybe decades, the time is now for voters to actually vote for a different party other than a Democrat or Republican.  The other hard part is that Democrats and Republicans are usually guaranteed spots on every state ballot (and DC) automatically.  A third-party candidate has to file in each state and go through each state’s rules for filing.  This is something that gears the process toward the two main parties.

Even the primary process for determining who the nominee will be to run for President for each party disenfranchises people.  Some are closed to only those that are within the party.  And the process is aimed at front runners, narrowing the field, and choosing from those that only wish to seek the office.  Independents are left out… and it should be us that determines who we want to run our country.  Back in the founding days of our nation, men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, etc., didn’t actively run for President.  In fact, most said they didn’t want to be; however, if the people chose them, they would do as they were asked in service of their country.  To run for President as we do now was seen an un-gentleman-like and the first sign that someone shouldn’t be President.  (They usually had surrogates do the campaigning for them so they could keep their hands clean.)

There is something new for next year though.  It’s called Americans Elect (website), and it’s determined to give the people more of a say in an actual third-party candidate.  They are listening to the people over the importance of issues and where we stand on them.  And they are already hard at work to get their candidate on the ballot in every state and DC.  There are only certain states that will allow a candidate to file to get on a ballot this early, but Americans Elect are already on  in 11 states and almost done in California.  The rest are ready to filed next year once they are able to.  This would clear the way for a third-party candidate to get on the ballot in each state and remove a major obstacle.  The other hitch is this… whoever runs for President and Vice President on this ticket, must come from different sides of the aisle (Democrat and Republican or vice versa, Democrat and Independent or vice versa, Republican and Independent or vice versa.)  It’s an interesting concept… and one that is trying to listen to the populace and rise above political ideology.  Third party candidates are considered as well (i.e. Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc.).  For the moderates, independents, and those wanting a real third political party, this might just be the option.  The nominating process is done by all the people online… and even the nominating convention is done online rather than wasting tons of money at a four-day event.  Even the two major political parties that make up our duocracy are taking notice of this new movement and are already addressing it.

Regardless of which candidate any of us choose to support, I think it’s important to remember that we should have more choices than just the two party system.  No, I don’t think we should have a ballot that has so many names that it becomes a pamphlet, but still more than two.  And it is not right not to vote for a third-party candidate just because you don’t want a different candidate to win of a major party.  It’s time we wake up and start voting for candidates that we actually want to vote for and give them a chance at victory instead of just throwing our vote away to a major political party/ideology that has shut out most of the voices in this country.  As I have watched the Republican primary unfold, I have seen and heard nothing that has given me any confidence that any of them are up to the task that would be set upon them should they win.  And as for the Democratic primary, there isn’t even a choice since no one is challenging the current President… which again leaves even parts of its own party without a voice.  This is not the way we should be electing our leaders here in the 21st century, and it is time to shake up the system.  I will be watching the Americans Elect process next year as it unfolds… as I will be doing with the other parties as well.  This could be a major opportunity to jump start a real third-party onto the national scene and bring about candidates that we want rather than ones that are just out their seeking it on their own and begging us for a vote that means nothing to them in the end.

LINK:
Americans Elect 

ARTICLE:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/group-clears-path-for-a-third-party-ticket/

SITE NOTE:
Have you checked out the new 2012 Election pages here on In Declaration…?  We have the overview page which will list the candidates and other information, and we have two sets of Primary/Caucus pages that list each primary/caucus by date.  So check them out today if you haven’t already.  All pages will be kept up to date as the 2012 election unfolds.

Death Knell

In 2008, most pundits (and most Americans) thought and believed that the Republican Party was on it’s last legs… that it was dying a slow death.  This was because of Obama’s (and the Democrats) huge win over the GOP in the general election.  And thinking upon old terms, all the first time voters (young and old) that voted for the Democrats would have stayed with the party from then on out.  I scoffed when I was hearing this knowing that the Republican Party was going to be around for years to come… that reports of its death were greatly exaggerated (if I might borrow that phrase).  And here we are in 2010, just after a huge Republican victory in the midterm elections, so it got my mind in to thinking about things.

When the pundits started talking about the death of the Republican Party in 2008, did they know anything about political history before they started speaking?  Apparently not.  This actually works both ways.  One could have said that after the Civil War, the Democratic Party was on the way out… since there were only three Democratic Presidents elected between the Civil War (1865) and the election on FDR in 1932.  They were Grover Cleveland (22) and Grover Cleveland (24) — yes, it was the same man…the only man to be elected to two non-consecutive terms — and Woodrow Wilson.  I did not count President Andrew Johnson in this since he was not elected to the Presidency but merely succeeded to it upon the assassination of President Lincoln.  There were 14 Presidents between 1869 and 1933… and only 3 were Democrats.  Those aren’t very good odds and one would think the Democratic Party could not rebound from this.  And there was one overall thing fueling this Republican trend… the votes of the freed African-Americans (and even their descendants) who were voting for the Party that had freed them from their shackles.

But in the 1932 election, something happened.  The nation was in the middle of the Great Depression and trying to find new answers in order to get help pulling themselves back up.  Who was the party in power?  The Republicans.  So thus, who got the blame for not doing enough?  The Republicans.  So they went in a new direction by electing then-New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide.  Even the African-Americans had switched their votes…some for the very first time…in order to achieve this new change.  President Roosevelt had a majority in both houses of Congress and began work on getting people back to work and giving them hope for a better tomorrow.  Did people consider the Republican Party dead then?  It is a possibility that they could have by the numbers the Democrats had in Congress.  But it was nothing compared to what would happen four years later.  In 1936, Roosevelt won in a landslide again…and the Democratic majority in Congress grew even bigger.  In the Senate of the 75th Congress there were 76 Democrats, 17 Republicans, 2 Farmer-Labor, and 1 Wisconsin Progressive.  The House of Representatives of the 75th Congress had 334 Democrats, 88 Republicans, 7 Wisconsin Progressive, 1 Progressive, and 5 Farmer-Labor.  The 2008 numbers don’t even compare to the thumping the Republicans had received in the 1936 general election.  They had been silenced to a whisper within the halls.  And the trend of Democratic control in Washington would last from 1933-1953 when Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in.  Again…this was a trend.  For those who voted for the Democrats for the first time in 1932, they stuck with the party through the hardships of the Great Depression and the hope and promise of The New Deal and the trials that would come about because of World War II.  It only changed again because the situation had finally called for it… and again for some, it would be their first time voting for the other party in 1952.

Though there was still party loyalty, things did go back and forth.  Despite a major landslide for President Lyndon Johnson (D) in the 1964 election, the Democrats took a major hit in the 1968 election.  And Republicans were riding a new high after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 thus making people wonder if the Democrats were possibly on their way out.  But the Democrats bounced back.   In the 1994 midterm elections (Democrat President Bill Clinton was in office) the Republicans took back control of Congress…which it stayed that way until 2006.  So in the last couple of decades, the pendulum has been swinging fairly largely back and forth.  So what does that mean?

If there is one thing we can see with this midterm election in 2010… only 2 years after Obama and the Democrats were swept into office… is that party loyalty is mostly gone.  Today, only 36.3% of the population consider themselves Democrats… while only 33.4% consider themselves Republicans.  (poll numbers come from Rasmussen)  So where is the rest of the population?  They consider themselves Independents…and it’s an ever-growing number…now standing at 30.3% according to the same poll report.  So does this mean that elections of old are gone?  Yes.  Party loyalty is becoming a thing of the past as some people are starting to see both parties working against each other rather than finding common ground in which to work.  And it’s those Independent voters that are going to be switching back and forth in each election…depending if they see a need for it or not.  It’s not going to matter as much whether a “D” or an “R” is next to a candidates name, it’s going to depend on the candidates themselves and their message to the people.

And could we see the rise of a third major political party during these times?  It is a possibility as there is an opening for one to take shape and to grab a foothold.  It’s just a matter of will one step in to do it.  The voters of Rhode Island just elected an Independent as their Governor.  And as I have said in an earlier entry (The Know-Nothings), I still doubt the Tea Party will become anything more than the far-right wing extension of the Republican Party… and it will be up to the GOP on how they deal with that wing and the future course that that faction will take.  I see the major contenders as being the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, the Green Party, and the Reform Party.  And quite frankly, I’m all for a major third political party in this country to get things shook up and more non-partisanship to be found.

So in 2008, when everyone thought that it was the death-knell to the Republican Party, I figured that they would make a comeback at some point.  That rather than going away and dying off, the GOP would just use that moment as a chance to reorganize and reinvent itself… which seems to have happened successfully in the 2010 election with the help of the Tea Party movement of their own party.  And this was probably quicker than I or anyone else possibly thought that it would happen.  So does this spell doom and gloom for the Democrats in 2012?  Not necessarily.  The Democratic Party would be wise to be very careful.  They only lost control of one of the houses of Congress… so they should use this time to reorganize and reinvent itself before an even bigger thumping comes along.

So what was the major problem for Democrats in 2010?  Bad PR.  It comes down to basically that.  When it came to getting the message out about any major piece of legislation, the Republicans took the reigns early on and never let go. (The Democrats did the same in 2006 when the Republicans opened up that PR window and they stepped through.)  And that has a lot to do with overall perceptions.    When the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord, the colonists knew that they had to get their side of the story to England first… and they did (though not by much).  It helped solidify them a base of people (though still a minority) that would be wanting to reconcile with the colonies first and then later grant them their independence.  And it was the minority that would win out the day in the end as their voices got louder until they took control away from the other side.

With a larger percentage of the voting public becoming more independent, voting trends in this country are going to go back and forth.  We’ve seen the government fairly divided after recent elections (only after the 2008 election was there a big-enough gap in Congress) and more than likely, that will be here to stay as well.  So the American people are looking to have their voices heard but they are also looking for the parties to work together to come up with solutions.  No one party is ever right completely.  And that tends to be overlooked after an election.  The party that wins (like the Democrats in 2008) tend to get a little slap-happy and overreach and tend to over-think that the American people have given them a mandate.  The Republicans have been just as guilty of this before and they will be again, too.  Both parties need to realize there really is no mandate when they switch from one side to the other.  It’s more along the lines of we don’t think the current party is doing what needs to be done anymore so we’re voting for you to have someone new… and that will stay until we feel the same thing again and switch back.  So while both parties are trying to reorganize and restructure themselves, maybe they also need to take a good hard look at the politics of today.  They simply aren’t the same anymore… the voting public has changed and it’s an entirely new ballgame out there.  With technology and information at our fingertips, anyone can find out the true facts on anything if we do our own research instead of believing all the BS that is put out there.   Only time will tell how both of these parties will react to this new wave of Independent voters, and the only death-knell that will come to either of these parties will be if they cannot adapt.

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