Proving yet again that they are a potent force, Independents will be a significant factor in contributing to the likely Republican takeover of the House, and possibly the Senate.
According to the latest POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll, the electorate will likely vote next week in a manner that entails greater ideological alignment with the Tea Party, effectively challenging the Obama administration’s agenda of change. In potentially cleaning out both chambers of Congress, Independents are declaring that the government expansion seen under President Obama has overextended it’s reach too much and too rapidly, according to the Politico report. Republicans have now gained a 14 point advantage in the Independent voter category, a category that once voted out Republicans in the '06 and '08 elections.
It’s not difficult to see why Independents lost trust in President Obama. Being the most significant demographic that pulled him through to victory in 2008, Independents thought that they would have a voice in Washington that would heed their concerns on various issues. Instead, what Independents got was a President who seemed to use them for his own political gain and to pander to his left of center base. With the aid of a Democratic-controlled Congress, the sky was the limit in terms of what Democrats could accomplish with their overtly partisan agenda. Clearly, Congress had misread the Independent electorate as a whole, thinking that the 2008 election was their absolute embrace of liberal policies.
The opposite was actually true. According to the poll, a strong majority of Independents disagreed with Democrats on solutions to healthcare reform and the economy. Losing the support of Independents in these upcoming midterms also has to do with an elitist mindset in DC that needs to be weeded out, the kind that ridicules anyone who doesn’t embrace the agenda of the Establishment. One of the biggest mistakes that the Democratic party has committed in this election is exclusively targeting the Tea Party through a media strategy that’s portrayed them as fringe and ignorant of the issues. The Democratic Party may as well have included “Independents” in all that was drawn up to make the Tea Party out to be unintelligent and irrelevant.
Why is this so?
While not all Independents are of the limited government mindset, there are some Independents, like the Tea Party, that agree on the policy stances of restraining government from intruding upon certain areas of individuals’ lives. In rejecting this, President Obama lost the trust factor with Independents. With more Independents now favoring limited government and pragmatic public policy, the incoming Republicans had better heed constituent calls and avoid living up to the stereotype of being no different from the other party. Because, if Republicans even think about pulling a fast one, Independents won’t be afraid to throw them out yet again.