We’ve been hearing for years that the Republican party is becoming a regional party, giving up huge swaths of the country as it becomes more and more conservative. They barely have any congresspersons or senators heading to D.C. from New England or the West Coast, and the ones that are are the few that buck the national trend, sticking to a more moderate tack.
But a lesser noticed aspect of that dynamic is the other side of the coin – Democrats are playing catch up to also become a regional party, by giving up on huge portions of the South and Midwest (and rural areas in general). As both major parties pull farther and farther from the center, more each election cycle are finding that the parties have left them. They declare their independence… creating a situation where there are a growing number of states where independents are the ones who are in the majority of registered voters.
Earlier this year, John Avlon, the leading centrist independent pundit, reported that we now have fully eleven states where independents outnumber either Democrats or Republicans… and if trends continue, we can expect more in coming years.
It’s time we began focusing our efforts on states and races where we can have the most impact. Had we been more organized, independents across the country could have sent money, and even traveled to volunteer, for Eliot Cutler’s race in Maine. His campaign was rallying at the end, only to lose by a few thousand votes – with more money and organizational support, he likely would have done better.
If we’re lucky enough to have Olympia Snowe drop the Republican party and run as an independent, this could be our chance to start building that foundation for bigger and better things. Assuredly other lesser known candidates will spring up that can be rallying points for the groundswell of independent energy in states and localities as well.
Regardless of where you live, whether you think we need a centrist party or not, or what issues you think are most important… just get out there and do something. We’ve got a lot of work to get where we need to be – where we have as much representation in government as our numbers suggest we should have in a relatively fair representative democracy, but there has never been a better time than now to start building an opposition.