Until 2007ish, I used to say I was an independent, but I was young an naive. I've voted for Tom Petri for Congress, and voted against him, but being a generally moderate Republican with far out usually non-Democratic party supported challengers, I didn't think he deserved a dissenting vote.
Then I got wise. I've come to realize an independent voter isn't someone who is willing to vote both Democrats and Republicans into office, it's someone who has absolutely no flipping clue what in the hell they are doing in choosing candidates. They are the ones who pick based on "he looks nice" or "I like his tie selection". While I may disagree with Republicans on most issues, and Neo-Stalwarts on almost everything, I at least give them some credit for holding to an ideology. "Indies" don't know what they are for and against.
So, when I saw this report from WISN.com about President Obama and Mitt Romney getting low marks on their economic plans from independents, I had to get on the soap box. Walker won 18% of Obama supporters in the exit polls on June 5th. WHO IN THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE? I mean honestly! Okay, if you don't support the recall, are you really going to vote for someone who is absolutely 180 degrees politically opposite from someone you support in President Obama?! Or, we can take the inverse, and say that how in the hell does 18% of this state in exit polls support such a Neo-Stalwart in Governor Walker, and someone more Woodrow Wilson-esque in President Obama?!?!?!?!
The rise of the independent voter is the reason why our politics has become more polarized. It's people who are so easily swayed by what the stoopiedest of TV commercials say. It's not just Republican or Neo-Stalwart commercials either, as Democrats and their allies have had their fair share of poorly produced and utterly empty commercials as well.
They don't understand what the word "Socialism" really means, but they know they are scared by it. They are the people who hate Obamacare, but love the filled doughnut hole, 20-something kid protection, preexisting condition coverage, and so many more of the popular provisions of the bill. They tell Senators and Congressmen "keep your Government hands off my Medicare", complain up a storm about the lines at the DMV and yet want to keep cutting how much money they are allocated in a budget. They are also the same people who seem to not understand what Laissez-Faire economics are, and think that the "roaring 20's" had absolutely no ramifications.
Independent voters are people with no guiding principals. If you have Candidate (A) and Candidate (B) running against each other, and you're someone whose personal ideology and beliefs align with Candidate (A), then it would seem that you would likely vote for candidates in state, local, and other federal elections who agree with those general ideas right? It would also seem that your whole-sale ideology wouldn't change in a massive fashion in only 2 or 4 years would it? Now, if Candidate (A) has some pretty major flaws you disagree with (let's say has been accused of drinking on the job and having a 25 year old mistress who causes him to abandon his family), I can somewhat understand voting for the other candidate, but not if they are a polar opposite of your views. What I CAN understand though... is staying home from the polls or having a protest vote.
Want to know why we don't have any serious 3rd party challenges in this country? Well, first off, 1912 is a glaring example of why it doesn't work well for whatever party is fractured, but it's also because as we have become more "independent", we have lost our sense of what a 3rd party would actually represent. How do you conveniently mix Republican (or now Neo-Stalwart) ideology with that of Democrats or (gasp) Progressives? In the USA in 2012, the Democrats ARE the moderate party. We have no progressive party, and the Republicans are now so conservative they share more in common with an 1890's legislator than a 1980's one.
Independent voters... figure it out. Sit down, lay out how you TRULY think society should be laid out in your mind. What do you like, what don't you like. Then, make a tick mark every time you see something the Democrats (in theory) agree with, and a tick mark every time you see something Republicans (in theory) agree with. Then, go down your slate of candidates and see who agrees with what. I mean honestly, do we really have to make this like fantasy football? Is that how lazy, apathetic and insane our electorate has become????
I'm stepping off the Soap Box now...