Thursday, April 19, 2012

Myth of the Middle

Joe Gandelman's column on today's op-ed page bites deep into the standard narrative of Dems on the wacko left, GOPers on the wacko right, and heroic, nonplused  Independents sorting it from the the middle. Small miscalculation, though: we just don't woik like dat.

Ask any honest pollster or social scientist, and you'll learn that in hard fact Americans generally agree on 90% of the values and issues we deal with in real life, and many choose to exempt ourselves from party label for all sorts of reasons. Independents cover the whole spectrum and then some, and don't shift to left or right for a given election. Rather, more or fewer show up from different parts of the spectrum because they feel personally energized enough to exercise their franchise.
     Arizonans have more reason than most to register as Independent or Non-affiliated -- when the Republican primary is the only game in town, you still get to have a say. I register as Independent not because I identify with the mythical center, but rather as a strategic choice. Surprisingly few people can make a difference this way in local elections in particular. I recommend it highly.

Update, Tuesday: George Seaman argues for strategic registration in an LTE today.