With rise of independent and unaffiliated voters, Republican and Democrat parties are anachronisms:
Above, 1/26/16, Trump rally in Iowa City, Iowa: "Audience
members wait for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to pass
during a campaign event at the University of Iowa Field House, in Iowa
City, Iowa, on Jan. 26, 2016." Photo from 1/28/16 McClatchy article.
1/28/16, "At start of campaign, the last gasp of political parties?" McClatchy, David Lightman
"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.
“No one likes political parties anymore,” said Jan Leighley, who studies voter behavior at American University, where she is a professor of government. “They no longer have to work through the political process,” added Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute.
a historic change in voter behavior. The Democratic and Republican
parties have dominated American politics since the mid-1850s. They grew
and prospered as inclusive coalitions that tolerated diverse views for
the sake of winning elections and then consolidating power....
“Americans’ attachment to the two major political
parties in recent years is arguably the weakest Gallup has recorded
since the advent of its polls,” Gallup reported in January.
29 percent called themselves Democrats last year, it found, “making it
safe to conclude that the current (number) is also the low point in
Gallup polling history.” Republican loyalty was only 1 percentage point
above its recent low of 25 percent three years ago. The bloc of independents reached 40 percent in 2011, and it has stayed at or above that level ever since.
The parties’ challenge is clear in states of all sizes. In New
Hampshire, site of the first primary election, at least 40 percent register as “undeclared,” meaning they have no formal affiliation with a political party.
In 2014, California had twice as many voters without a party affiliation as it did 20 years earlier. The same year, Florida had 47 percent more independent voters than a decade earlier.
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.
never want to write down that I’m a Republican,” said Rebecca Sorensen,
a sophomore at Penn State. She leans Republican but is reluctant to
openly identify with the party because she supports abortion rights.
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.
“If I want to know more, I Google it,” said Jayla Akers, a sophomore at Penn State University.
Political parties are seen as too narrowly focused, too interested in keeping incumbents in office.
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 and Gonzales Political Report....
It’s a far cry from freedom from party or faction that the Founding Fathers envisioned.
two-party system quashes independent thought and the courage to take a
stance on positions and kills the free market of ideas our country was
supposed to be founded on,” said Ellen Read, a political activist in New
Parties for generations did welcome differing views and broader membership.
“The Republican Party, both in this state and nationally, is a broad party. There is room in our tent for many views,” Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, said in 1967....
Republicans once had a strong bloc of abortion rights supporters, for example, but in 1976 the party formally included in its platform support for a constitutional amendment “to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.” It’s now unmistakably the anti-abortion party....
Democrats also were critical
of their own tactics....“It’s true that today’s multifaceted political landscape
changes the footprint of national parties,” said Democratic Chairwoman
Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
But she noted that “in the primaries, we
set the rules for the nomination and nothing can replace the unique
ability of the national parties to effectively organize and mobilize
voters,” and their role in the general election is so detailed it
“cannot be replicated externally.”
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 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....
Other alternatives to the parties also are gearing up. In
that world, everyday voters ask, how can they ever be heard? Not
through the Republican or Democrats parties, say increasing numbers of
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.”"
"This version changes the reference to the rise in independents in California to say voters without a party affiliation."
Among comments to McClatchy article: There's only one party. Media does its part to keep alive the multi-trillion dollar illusion that there are two:
"Rip Torn" Parties,
seriously I don't see any parties. I just see the Democrats and the
Republicans feigning they are two different parties but in reality they
are one in the same. The media keeps up the lie as they dupe the
"Walter Ziobro It's
about time. The Democratic and Republican Parties have essentially
been philosophically irrelevant since WW2. Prior to that, the Dems were
the party of states rights, free trade, and Southern agrarian interests.
The Reps were the party of federalism, protectionism, and Northern
industrial interests. Since then, both have morphed so much that each
has basically been turned inside out, and upside down. Good riddance to