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Who Are Independent Voters? Diverse Ideologies; Open Minds

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The most difficult part of maintaining a news platform that is open to all ideologies and opinions is that people often rush to judgment about the motivations of the entire operation based on the content and context of a single article. In short, IVN.us is biased … in many directions … by hundreds of authors who are given wide latitude to write about any topic that helps advance our political dialogue in a positive direction.

IVN exists to give our authors and our audience a forum where they can discuss important topics in U.S. politics and elections in a civil and productive manner — to go beyond the headlines and look at the biggest issues facing American voters that escape the two-sided dialogue prevalent in the mass media. We are an open, online platform for independent-minded authors from across the political spectrum.

The only litmus test for our writers is that they adhere to a simple 4-point etiquette: No partisan attacks, no personal attacks, substantiate sources, and no self-promotion. To the best of our knowledge, there is not another website like ours — and it is evident when we see positive feedback on what we are trying to accomplish:

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Yet almost everyday, we will get a comment or a message that accuses us of being “closet Republicans” or “Democrats who do not want to be called Democrats.” Think of any traditional political label — e.g. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, progressives, libertarians, etc. — and chances are we have been accused of being biased toward that party or ideology.

I know what you’re thinking: how can a news site be accused of both liberal and conservative bias, of being shills for the Republican Party in one post and then undercover operatives for the Democratic Party in the next — sometimes even in the same post? See for yourself:

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Being a truly open platform for independent-minded authors, the perspective you get depends on whose article you read, and we have published content from over 400 contributors and counting.

Being independent, to us, means that political ideology and opinion are not substitutes for substantive discussion. It also means that coming to a different conclusion on a particular issue should not prevent us from discussing other issues with a clean slate.

Being independent-minded, most simply, is a mindset … one that is open to persuasion, and recognizes that there is merit behind even conflicting opinions.

Being independent, to us, means that political ideology and opinion are not substitutes for substantive discussion.

When political commentators in the mass media run headlines like, “The Independent Voter is a Myth,” they argue that over 40 percent of the electorate cannot be independent because most Americans are not “neutral” or fall in the middle of a linear, left-right scale.

To us, being independent does not mean being “moderate” or “neutral”; it means that you don’t subscribe to a narrow set of conscripted positions and follow them faithfully to the group-think conclusion that “we are always right” and “they are always wrong.”

As a society, we have become accustomed to the simple red-versus-blue, liberal-versus-conservative goal posts that have been set up by the drivers of American politics — from the political consultants, to the mass media, and even the research institutions that do their bidding. At IVN, we are trying to move beyond the false two-sided narrative to a real discussion — where thought leaders understand the importance of nuance and the sophistication that good policy actually requires.

The authors and readers of IVN cannot and should not fit neatly into the red and blue boxes that color our political maps. America is more diverse than that. And our political discourse should be too.

Editor’s note: This article was written with the help of IVN intern Gabriel Saint Cyr. 

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479 comments
Warren Sizer
Warren Sizer

Independents make up the largest group of voters in the country.

Dmt Computersolutions
Dmt Computersolutions

Our system was originally designed to work without parties, and then the guy that wrote the constitution becomes the first ever party-first politician. I think we need to revoke the rules that protect the 2 major parties. I hate all parties. Our new media systems should allow cadidates to get the message out without having to stand on the support of a party.

Dorine Anzoategui
Dorine Anzoategui

that's whats hard to figure how an independent party could ever adopt a platform not all are progressive or liberal or conservative they are for candidates not party.

Oscar Mace
Oscar Mace

To have a forum as an independent voter has allowed me the ability to express my skeptical nature. As a skeptic, I can't adhere to any political party dogma relating to economic or social theory because there are valid pro and con arguments that undermine the truth value of a particular theory. Consequently, what becomes the essential part of being a skeptical independent voter is to participate in a discussion about how to interact within this political culture outside the affiliations of political parties. One aspect to my support for the candidate, Mr. Sanders, is the quality of moral character in contrast to the other candidates. It is in this direction I'm taking my independent thinking because it appears virtue is not a character trait valued in politics...and why is it not?

Keith Basham
Keith Basham

Without looking, I'll bet 45% of independent voters are nudists. but i'm not looking, so i don't know, and also in case you actually are naked right now.

Ken Clutter
Ken Clutter

I can think for myself. I will not subscribe or submit to party politics. I look very closely at the platform and the person.....Independents will decide this and most all future elections. We should have a greater voice.

Nancy Burkus
Nancy Burkus

I am begging to believe that the independent party is the way to go. If we are stuck between voting for Holley vs trump I'm afraid we're screwed

David Isakson
David Isakson

Not all independent voters are open minded, some can still be slaves to the two party ideology.

Melissa Malley
Melissa Malley

I see a few who are like, "but only a party can win!" Uh...kind of the point is that we are HALF of voters, and therefore, we really don't HAVE to let them win. But it disheartens me to see that even independents can still be partially brainwashed.

David Isakson
David Isakson

Well the two parties in power have made it all but impossible for anyone but the establishment candidates to win or gain ballot access. Pennsylvania and Alabama are absolutely atrocious for ballot access for independent and third parties. But both parties in power were once third parties. The Republicans first president was Lincoln.

Bill Atnip
Bill Atnip

Not defending the two party system they are both corrupt. I support Sanders.I like Stein and Green party is making inroads. Getting to my point all the other party platforms I have looked at have a very narrow focus or are pretty far out there Foil hat kind of out there how can anyone take them seriously or think they can even run a local election let alone a national one?

Alice Martinez
Alice Martinez

Independents vote for the person, not the party.

Mario Ferreira
Mario Ferreira

Time to go Independent with Bernie, 3d party!! USMC Vet4Bernie

Mickey Bauer
Mickey Bauer

Not always totally open minded, but more likely to look at both positions.

Anna Bishop
Anna Bishop

that IS moderate.... on the average. you shouldn't be so afraid of the term. moderates are the majority of this country. moderates elect the presidents. the most successful presidents are moderates. fringe candidates and voters are irrelevant in the end.

Myk Halibut
Myk Halibut

But by voting you still believe in narrow minded ideas..

Gari Neal
Gari Neal

I am an independent and very glad!!!\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f495\U0001f64f\U0001f3fb\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f495\U0001f495\U0001f603 I think outside the box and others do not influence me but I do listen and I enjoy others viewpoint! Stay strong in your conviction but listen and evaluate the information! God Bless\U0001f495\U0001f495\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f603\U0001f64f\U0001f3fb

L Ray England
L Ray England

There are rats on both sides of the aisle, and since rats are rats, I vote for the nonrats if they fit the Bill.

Rod Taylor
Rod Taylor

The United States is caught up in a two party tyranny. We no longer have a choice of people who will represent our interests over rich power brokers. Our democracy is fading.

Paul Larsen
Paul Larsen

Unfortunately, there seems to be an assumption that if you don't support Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, you must not be an independent. Regardless, I'm voting for the candidates who best represent me on issues, regardless of their party - or maybe in spite of it.

Chris Goosen
Chris Goosen

i,m a voter who votes people and not parties and i have never voted for an incumbent so don't blame me for this fine mess you;ve gotten us in

Mark Whitaker
Mark Whitaker

Independents are growing by the day, and they are in most cases the most educated when it comes to the political system. That's exactly why they have chose to be independents. I will drop from the Democratic Party and be an independent once this primary cycle is over

Linda Gonnelli
Linda Gonnelli

I've been an independent all of my life (60 years) and only joined the Democratic Party this year so I could vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary - how's that for irony??

James Hinkson
James Hinkson

People are greater than parties.good pictorial.

Charles Samek
Charles Samek

Partys can become like gangs with gang mentality. Independents are not mob rule. Each one stands separate

Jon Lee
Jon Lee

When I wanna party with others, I won't be satisfied by only two

Joan Lohnes
Joan Lohnes

I am an independent voter. The only down side in that I cannot vote in the primary. I vote the best person in accord to my values No party line.

Mark Halegua
Mark Halegua

unfortunately, most independents cannot vote in closed primaries. In the general, yes. So, in many ways, they don't get to choose the candndates of the two main parties. Not the best system. I'm all for having all states doing open primaries.

SuSu Howard
SuSu Howard

Reality is more like: Political Parties > People

Matt Cocalas
Matt Cocalas

No, I am always right and they are always wrong. lol

Mary Kruse
Mary Kruse

Independents can vote for the person not the party.

Jill K. Harper
Jill K. Harper

I for one am GRATEFUL for this open forum to promote civil discussion and exchange of information that isn't a one sided echo chamber. I like hearing everyone else's viewpoint - I have found IVN to be a valuable resource in understanding the underlying causes of our dysfunctional system. Keep up the good work!

Bobby Clem
Bobby Clem

You can't have a conversation when your point is immediately dismissed as being liberal or conservative, politicians run solely on the narrow platform of the current pulse of thier core constituents, and no one finds it odd that that these positions have nothing to do with running the country. But we are preaching to the choir , the extremists in this country don't recognize themselves as such

Bud Martin
Bud Martin

People like your great grandfather who voted for the best person running for office he was an independent Sam kent Sr.

Mark Collins
Mark Collins

Issue by issue consideration is just too much consideration for some citizens. They aren't yet capable of participation in a democracy but a mob will do fine.

Lonnie Hill
Lonnie Hill

I don't even consider myself an Independent. Why ? Because that name comes with its own set of in the box thinking categories. Used by the two parties, and pundits. I subscribe to only one category. I'm an AMERICAN.!! I make decisions, look at issues, and Vote, based upon what I feel is best for my country. Not what is best for only my opinion, but best solely for my country. There are times I realize a decision may not be totally great for me personally, but as long as it is fair, not intended to purposely hurt me to give undeservingly to another group, that's OK. Everything comes back into balance eventually, except in our country now, at the position the self seekers have put us in. Its why we are totally out of balance. They are taking and taking, enough is never enough. And this is what we have come to. BTW,,,, folks, use your God given reasoning skills. One of the most successful ways we have/are being manipulated, is THEY keep us divided. A tactic used for some time. This election is not about Dem Or Repub, it is about restoring our balance as a unified country. You see it, I know you do. If we do not take this opportunity to do what we all know is best for everyone, and our country, God knows when we will have another chance, if ever, because if THEY dodge this bullet, be assured they will adjust, change the rules and processes so there will never be another "2016" So,for all our sakes, and our country,,, BE AN AMERICAN.!!!!

Melissa Malley
Melissa Malley

There is no "box" for independents. We have decided neither party is worthy, only some of the candidates running. We now make up half of voters. It's time for the two-party system to go. And yes, we should all be "independent" Americans!

Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas

Nailed it! I am very independent, but I am anything but moderate!

Shirley Buckland
Shirley Buckland

Unfortunately I switched to vote in primaries , now there will be senate primary this August, I never cared about the primaries before I will switch back after that Hope in the future this will changev

Colleen Hall
Colleen Hall

I agree. I see so many people who chant whatever their party tells them. I have always agreed/disagreed based on the topic not what someone is telling me I should be supporting. When we fail to protect Americans and American interests, we all lose. Freedom is not free.

Robyn Hill
Robyn Hill

Amen, critical thinking does not embrace "choosing sides"- too narrow thinking without consideration of all independent and contributing factors of equation.

Peter G Fitzpatrick
Peter G Fitzpatrick

Independents simply feel neither party fully (or adequately) meets their expectations in leadership and policy. They should be courted and respected.