Sunday Hot Takes, July 11th, 2021

The median voter?

The Trouble with Independents — Elias Khoury, University of Michigan

There is a certain allure that comes with being an independent. Republicans and Democrats are lame, defined by their opposition to one another, stuck playing the losing game and perpetual see-saw of partisan politics. Independents, however, are different. They are unaffiliated and thus untainted by the misdeeds and flat-out incompetence of both major parties. They stand apart from the duopoly, making them the group most likely to change the system.

Or, at least, that’s the story many people tell themselves. Jimmy Dore probably believes it. But is the story true? Of course not. American independents — save for Bernie Sanders — are not nearly that cool. Rather, they are a conservative block that sits somewhere between Republicans and Democrats on the issues. Hardly revolutionary.

But at least, by not pledging allegiance to either of its major players, independents are challenging the two-party system. Again, no. Independents aren’t challenging a thing. In fact, they are the most co-opted because they believe the duopoly presents two worthy choices. Depending on the circumstances, independents are open to voting for both Republicans and Democrats.

Now, this analysis obviously does not apply to every individual independent. But it is an accurate depiction of independents as a group. So, if us socialists want to radicalize normies, we better focus our efforts on Democrats. Like it or not, they are considerably more based than their independent counterparts on average. Efficiency is key. We have a world to win, and time is of the essence.

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