Mass. Election. Independents and Anti-Incumbents!

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For years, I have advocated for independent voters to unite around the ant-incumbent strategy. Pres. Obama won as the challenger to the Bush/Republican years, riding the wave of disapproving independent voters. He won with 53% of the vote, and his approval rating remains in that ball park, depending on what poll you look at. The off-year gubernatorial races in 2009 were dominated by anti-incumbent independent voters. And now, in an historically Democratic State, Democrats lost and a Republican shall take the late Ted Kennedy's seat. Are the Parties acknowledging this wake up call?

Sen. Elect Scott Brown's victory, however won't be applauded long by Republicans given his pro-choice stance. And Democrats will find Brown an obstacle on all their major initiatives going forward, from Cap and Trade and deficits to health care reform. Massachusetts voters won't remain happy with their choice either, as Brown said this morning, he intends to protect and fight for the interests of his State. Well, that is precisely what most other Senators do, put their State's interests above those of the nation's. So, when it comes to pork spending, or national challenges requiring his constituents to pony up a bit more in taxes to fight deficits and lower national debt, Sen. Elect Brown will be nothing new nor independent.

But, what choice did Mass. voters have? There were only 2 candidates running with any chance of winning, and the anti-incumbent mood and independent voters were courted with some expertise by Brown, and not at all by Martha Coakley. And Mass. independent voters are intent on demonstrating their non-partisan, bi-partisan capacity where incumbent parties, or incumbent candidates are concerned, as long as they have reason to disapprove of the results coming from our government. There were, of course, many other factors that played into this upset election, but, the polls show a dominant variable was the independent voters who can no longer tolerate the performance and results of Congress.

Brown did not run as a Republican. His party affiliation appeared almost nowhere on his campaign materials, and support from the RNC was paltry. He did not reference himself as a Republican on the campaign trail talking with voters. In hindsight, this may have helped him, because independent voters have no love for the GOP or RNC either. Some Democratic voters may have woke up yesterday feeling hoodwinked upon discovering that Brown is a Republican. But, that would be their own fault with no one to blame but themselves for not having become better informed. They know better than to expect full disclosure and honesty from politicians. Or, at least they should know better. The Supreme Court ruled in a case in recent years that politicians lying to the public is not a violation of Constitutional proscriptions.

Bragging Republicans don't seem to grasp what happened here, and are being drawn into false conclusions. Mitch McConnel views this race as evidence of a sea change in public opinion against Democrats and alluding to the potential of these same voters moving over to the Republican camp. He doesn't seem to grasp the concept of anti-incumbent voting, nor the concept that independent voters hold a disapproving attitude toward both parties. Republicans who believe their own incumbents will be safe in the 2010 elections, are missing the boat in understanding independent voters.

Democrats intent upon pushing through this Health Care reform regardless, are also failing to acknowledge the import of the ant-incumbent groundswell movement occurring amongst independent voters. Democrats will lose a number of seats in 2010 at the hands of independent voters by not courting their agenda for significant change in the way our federal government conducts its business. But, Republican gains may very likely also be offset by key Republican incumbent losses.

If Democrats or Republicans believe they can manipulate these voters into supporting their Party, they are chasing a fool's errand. By and large, this new breed of independent voter is a results oriented voter, and they are holding their own representatives responsible for those results, finally grasping the fact, the their vote cannot hold any other representatives responsible. Independents are discovering the true power and intent of their vote, to express their dissatisfaction by voting against their own representative or his/her party. We saw this in the 2006 and 2008 elections where independent voters rejected the Republican Party wholesale.

These voters are not for sale. They will vote for incumbents and for a Party again, when they can approve of the performance of the federal government, and not before. This understanding of this new breed of voters, appears to be lost upon the leadership in both the Democratic and Republican Parties, Obama excepted.

Pres. Obama knows keenly the importance of the Independent voter. He won the presidency seeking their vote and agenda for change in D.C. Obama did not draft health care reform plan details, which would have alienated so many independent voters as the Congressional drafts have. He outlined 3 basic principles and left the sausage making detail process to the Congress. In retrospect, given Obama's personal likability ratings, it was an insightful move.

Sen. Mitch McConnel hasn't got the wake up call. Neither has Gloria Trotten of the Progressive Majority, who in an email today said this election was a wake up call, but, then went on to explain that it is all about the strength of the enemy Republicans, and Progressives must give her PAC ever more money to fight this evil, or words to that effect.

The rancor and lack of constructive bi-partisan effort to make our federal government work for the American people in return for their hard earned taxes, and that of their children's already borrowed against, is central on the agenda of independent ant-incumbent voters. But, the party leaders in the Congress don't appear to get this at all. They have not yet heard the wake-up call these voters are sending. And that has to occur before they can begin to yield to these imminently reasonable demands of these voters.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on January 20, 2010 10:01 AM.

Political Decisions was the previous entry in this blog.

Supreme Court: Corporate Influence Over Elections is the next entry in this blog.

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