You're Viewing the Archives
Return to IVN's Frontpage

Power of the Vote: How to Force Parties to Depolarize

by David Yee, published

It may seem like independents have an overwhelming deck stacked against them in the political arena, both in power and money.

Yet any group has a tool in their arsenal that ultimately forces parties to depolarize the election--the power to get out the vote.

In the Journal of Economics & Politics, researcher Justin Valasek took a novel approach to measuring the impact of get out the vote efforts on political figures.

Regardless of who was doing the get out the vote campaign, the result is critical--it forces both sides of the political spectrum to decrease political polarization.

There's a certain amount of common sense to this: the party faithful already intend to vote, so to bring more into the fold the politician has to become more 'palatable' to a greater audience.

But this also goes against conventional wisdom that the liberal side of the political spectrum always fares better in high voter turnout. While there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, both sides must respond by depolarizing their campaigning, and addressing real issues important to the valuable center.

The key for independents is that even a small group committed to a regional get out the vote drive could have a huge impact on the tone, debate, and outcome of a political election.

This means that independents can steer elections, before gaining enough momentum to launch viable campaigns.

The downside is that get out the vote campaigns are expensive and take quite a bit of organization, something that independents have never been really good at.

But when compared to the overall cost of launching a full-fledged independent candidacy, this is still a pretty cheap -- and yet still effective -- tactic.

While the outcome still has a 'party-member' winning the election, public engagement, forcing the candidate to make concessions, depolarization, and real public debate all improve the entire voting process.

Independents need to start someplace, and getting back to the very basics of civic duty might be the best place to start to sway the entire political process.

Photo Credit: Gts /

About the Author