Seismic shift in U.S. political party system: Independents now outnumber Democrats & Republicans

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Political parties serve important functions by aggregating or bringing together people of common interests, developing policies favorable to those interests, organizing their supporters and persuading voters to elect their candidates to political office.
The United States of America historically has been a two-party system, but there is a seismic shift going on, the implications of which are unclear and, therefore, troubling.
A recent Gallup Poll found that Americans who identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans are at all time lows: 29% Democrats; 26% Republicans. Both groups are now dwarfed by Americans who identify themselves as non-partisan Independents —  a whopping 42%.
The changing party identification is indicative of many Americans having become profoundly disaffected and alienated from the two parties, and for good reasons. (See “America’s Bipartisan Ruling Class vs. the People“)
But their disaffection is also being expressed in their political apathy — increasing numbers of Americans are not voting. All of which augurs that we have entered a period of political upheavals and uncertainties.
Below are excerpts from David Lightman’s “At start of campaign, the last gasp of political parties,” in McClatchyDC, Jan. 28, 2016. My criticism of Lightman is that he himself is an exemplar of dinosaur Democrats: He highlighted only the Koch brothers as “big-money interests,” but omitted the “big-money interests” on the Left, such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg.

As the nation begins the process of electing a new president, the roles of the Republican and Democratic parties are undergoing fundamental shifts that are threatening their impact on both elections and policy.
Built in the 19th century, grown dominant in the 20th, they are largely out of date in this new age.
They still control the ballot and machinery such as the primaries. But they do not hold the loyalty of the people. The largest party in America now is no party — with the ranks of people calling themselves independents at the highest level in more than 75 years of polling. The parties do not control the message. People learn about politics from social media instead of traditional means such as mailings or campaign rallies. And the parties are no longer the sole banker of politics. Big-money interests now effectively create shadow parties with extensive networks of donors of their own.
The result: People are tuning out and turning away.
In 2012, average voter turnout for statewide primaries for president, governor and U.S. Senate plunged to its lowest level since the modern primary system became popular in 1972.

It’s a historic change in voter behavior….

Most indifferent to parties: young Americans. Nearly half the millennials identified as independents in 2014, Pew found, more than the combined total of those willing to be called either Democrats or Republicans….
Historically, children adopted their parents’ political views, including identification with the two major parties. Not anymore.
Millennials get information from sources other than from family dinners, neighbors or campaign brochures. If something piques their interest, they turn to Twitter, text messaging, The Skimm and other modern forms of instant communication….
Political parties are seen as too narrowly focused, too interested in keeping incumbents in office.
They gerrymander congressional districts to maximize their chances so that election after election only a handful of House of Representatives races are true contests. Of the House’s 435 seats, 402 incumbents are considered safe bets for re-election this year, said the nonpartisan Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.
Those safely partisan seats help keep Washington gridlocked — and turn off more Americans….

While independents are gaining clout, so are the big-money groups that now operate as virtual political parties.
Take Freedom Partners, an organization sponsored by brothers Charles and David Koch of Wichita, Kan.
Last year, the group committed to spend $889 million on politics and policy in 2015 and 2016.
The total would surpass the $404 million spent by the Republican National Committee and the $319 million spent by the Democratic National Committee in the 2012 campaign, according to, which monitors political spending.
And that total would rival the $1 billion spent by all three major Democratic Party committees and the $1 billion spent by all three major Republican Party committees.
And the Koch network does more than just spend money. Twice each year it hosts about 400 executives, who pay dues of $100,000 each, for meetings on politics and policies. And its spending goes beyond the planned $250 million to help candidates, to include grants to organizations to help promote small-government policies as well as college scholarships and fellowships.
Other alternatives to the parties also are gearing up….
As Peter White, a cabin manager in Nottingham, New Hampshire, put it, “You feel the two parties both work for Wall Street and don’t care who wins.”


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0 responses to “Seismic shift in U.S. political party system: Independents now outnumber Democrats & Republicans

  1. In my state you have to be one or the other in order to vote in the primary

  2. Federal elections in the USSA [sic] are simply absurd & a sad joke:
    1. They are far too long & costly, and
    2. we need a return to voter-marked paper ballots, as electronic systems are all corrupt from the get-go; and
    3. do as we do in Canada: limit campaigns to 60 days.
    If the candidate or party doesn’t know what it’s about and cannot explain it simply to all in sixty days, they’re not worth voting for in any case.
    The two party system is a fraud: you have two parties defending one corporate crony capitalist system: you are screwed, blued, and tattooed. Get rid of it and go proportional representation if you REALLY want democracy. Hey: We need it here as well!
    Sorry if you feel I’m too honest.

    • Great comment Joe , you are dead on correct .

      • Thanks for your support, but I’m only one of many millions who have had it w/the blatant corruption and rigging that allows the wealthiest to more easily ‘manage’ us to death and taxes!

    • Joseph . . . true to form, you are right on the money. I particularly feel we have a need to return to the old paper ballots. We all know that the last election was not a true and honest representation of how people voted (I mean–no dogs allowed to vote, no one allowed to vote multiple times or in multiple states, etc.) These very things are a killer to our way of life.

    • Absolutely get rid of the machines, it was proven last election, they changed in front of the voter.
      We need to go back to the showing up and showing ID and signing the book. Then have cross checking on computers to make sure they are not voting in more than one area, like last time.
      Do away with the mail in, way too many duplicate voting there. One woman here received 8 ballots.

  3. Megyn is a poll dancer

    • Megyn looked like a phony at the debate last night. Her false eyelashes would give Tammy Baker a run for her money.

  4. l.m.a.o. , very good ……….You never know she might be a pole dancer ! We would have to ask Rupert or Roger about that .

  5. I currently hate both parties. They have betrayed us all.

  6. Was it just me, or did Jim Gilmore have some sort of psychotic catharsis during the debate?

  7. The Dems and Pepubs did this to themselves. With all that is going on, I can’t tell which is a Dem or a Repub…What has happened!!!?

    • upaces88 . . . you are absolutely correct. One party is just as likely to screw the whole country as the other.

  8. The parties did it to themselves, they made promises they had no intention in keeping. They ignored the people. They proved there were there to fatten their pockets, period.
    We were promised no lobbyist and DC is drowning in them. We were promised the ability to read the bills before voting on them, another lie. So many promises and no one is held accountable for the broken ones. Voting for a bill, regardless how bad it smells, for profit.
    I will cry for neither party and don’t wish to hear their excuses.

  9. Pingback: Pat Buchanan: Conservatives are in a civil war – Patriots Feed

  10. That was a very good article and I learned a lot reading it. I do know that from 1994-2002 the US electorate was more in the center. In 2005 the Republican party began moving more to the right. After 2011 the Republican party moved even more to the right and the Democratic party moved even more to the left. Today the political parties are so polarized that Independents have no where to go. The only hope is to find a trustworthy candidate who puts the USA first instead of the party, the lobbyists and the pacs.

  11. It’s about bloody time.

  12. yes

  13. As the demographics change, the politics is bound to change. But there is another factor to consider here, and that is Bill Clinton’s neutralizing of the Glass-Steagal Act, which allowed Wall Street to turn itself into the Great Big Casino that it is.
    Lyndon Larouche has had much to say on this, and it bears further study, because it looks as if implosion is all but a done deal by now. So what I’m wondering is this: To what extent did Bill Clinton’s policies aid and abet the demographic political implosion? And, following this, to what extent will the donors and the media be able to steer this to their advantage? This is of the utmost importance, because even revolutions and coups have to be financed.

  14. Steven, I’ve read a good deal of Lyndon Larouche’s writing & statements, as in time past he seemed a useful counter to the usual Beltway BS, but I had to conclude he’s an old-time FDR-hater, who wishes he could become the same kind of POTUS! Yes, he does have many good points, as did FDR, yet the end results in FDR’s case were counter-productive in terms of enhancing the stature and global respect for the nation, IMO, of course, as LLR will be also.

    • Good Lord! WE have some reallly smart people on here!

      • If this is meant for me, I thank you for it, but I see myself only as an old-school foot soldier in the wars against lies and the Satanic unrealities that abound. And no, I’m not delusional when I speak of Satan, for there is ALWAYS a personification of evil drawing near to us, as befits our perverse notions at the time.
        After a forty-five year withdrawal from my RC past, I returned to it because of Eo and her wonderful website, as well as her outstanding persona. She is –along w/Joan– truly one in a million. We are all the better for them, IMO.

        • Thank you, Joseph, for your very generous words. The sentiments are mutual, and FOTM is all the richer because of your insights and knowledge.

        • Thank you Joseph for your kind words and thoughts. You are such a brilliant man and I continue to learn from reading your spot-on commentaries. As for Dr. Eowyn, I thank God for her every day, as she is my sister of choice, – also brilliant and holy. May Our Lord continue to bless her and you, Joseph. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Larouche IS NOT “an FDR hater” as you state; To the contrary, he has said—on numerous occasions—that FDR was a good and effective President.
      That being said, although I believe FDR did more than enough to damage the governance of this Republic, he was, after the thinking of Eric Hoffer, a great President, in the sense, as Hoffer has written, that he was a “charlatan”: Not that he was a phony, but he was a sort of glad-handling magician who knew how to rally the masses. (Which he did superlatively well).
      The surprise for me came when I learned that Larouche, after all these years, remains a Democrat, albeit as honest a Democrat as we’re going to find these days. But Larouche has—correctly, I believe—given credit where it is due to FDR for the Glass-Steagle Act, which held the banks on a short leash until Bill Clinton ditched it.


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