Overwhelmingly more Americans are defining themselves as independents. In polls record numbers refuse to associate with any specific party and even in the parties, the splits are dramatic. With the Tea Party, basically a party within a party has emerged and the term libertarian, Republican, Independent and Democrat are all blurring. What is a true Independent? It certainly sounds the best, like the kind of thing a truly self-aware, thoughtful individual would say, but upon a closer look one could question if independent just means uninformed.
Realistically the parties are set as quite strong opposing forces. Conservative views and liberal views are diametrically opposed in every way. Culturally, fiscally, spiritually. So, really how could someone switch back and fourth year to year? This is not to say one would always have to vote down a party line, but realistically the cases of splitting from it would be quite rare, especially if you are one to vote for the opposition. A voting public for instance that put Obama in office to only a short after place a Republican congress in power kind of makes no sense.
Somewhere in there, you've got people rather than thinking independently, simply not thinking. Barack Obama delivered what he promised. Healthcare, a drawing down of troops in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, efforts to increase taxes on the wealthy but maintain middle-class tax cuts. A new approach to global politics, showing a renewed respect and shared sense of sacrifice with fellow nations, instead of the Bush-style bullying we'd all come accustomed to.
The switch is arguably what causes the worst problems of all. Gridlock government prevents any kind of progress. It polarizes people beyond reason as we watch government incapable of making changes, yet seem oblivious to the fact that we created the gridlock. In a parliament, one party takes complete control. The people watch, decide if the approach works and if they don't like what they see they vote the lowlifes out. Here, we can never distinguish who is or is isn't making progress, because we can never decide on who to run our government. The added necessity of there to be a super majority in the Senate to override a filibuster means even the majority isn't truly represented in our so-called Democracy. A small group of bandits with enough determination can hold an entire nation to its knees until it gets its way. The system is simply outdated, and it has created fanatics who know nothing about the government but simply vote on emotions.
There is no way you can support Obama and liberal policy one year, and the next year support wealthy tax cuts, overriding Roe v. Wade, and then the next year go back to Democrats. While each politician has a spin of their own, and yes we may not agree with each and every thing the party does, it's rare to see any given candidate dramatically sway away from core party values. Any thinking individual would for the most part know which candidate to pick before the election even begins, just based on the core values of the party those candidates came from. Perhaps the one instance where the regular rules don't apply could be local politics. Electing Rudy Giuliani as mayor or Michael Bloomberg is quite a local thing. Cities like New York by nature are super liberal, so the Republican in a city like NYC is far more reflective of a Democrat, just as a Democrat in the deep south might be more reflective of a Republican, The Blue Dogs as we call them.
The point is, next time you go to the polls, don't vote on hairdo or whether or not the country is going through times of difficulty. Figure out your political mantra, your deep beliefs and let those guide you. If you're unsure, then at least be consistent. We did just get to try an all Republican system for a while under Bush, so we know now what that type of governing does. We got a brief taste of Democratic control so we know what that type of governing does, but with the patience of a fly we can't seem to give any one political doctrine the time to be full realized and so continues the endless election season, the frustration, and the future of this nation resting on the arrogance of the supposedly big-minded people with no minds at all. It's pathetic in a nation dealing with national policy of epic proportions, domestic issues and debts in the trillions that the candidate that wins is the one that convinces folks in Iowa that they love their corn the most.