David Broder On The “Independent”

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First, a few words:

The American people often have been equally ready to discard conventional wisdom by rewarding independence and those candidates who, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, show “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” […]

Instead, we had George W. Bush, a president who has governed on party-line votes and who, after taking the country to war in Iraq, repeatedly has used the war on terrorism as a partisan weapon against Democrats.

But what are Broder’s hopes for independents gaining a significant foothold in the halls of power?

Look at the powerful forces working against it. Congress is rigged to promote partisanship and extremism. Most congressional districts are drawn to favor one party or the other, and contests take place only in primaries, where low turnouts favor candidates who appeal to the motivated extremes. The flow of special-interest money into congressional races adds to this tilt, and now the bloggers are pummeling anyone who deviates from their definition of ideological purity.

Not here David. Do take note.

His conclusion?

All that may be true. But still the forces of the independent center are gaining. The public disgust with the breakdown of Congress as a functioning institution has liberated more House and Senate candidates to challenge the status quo. They may be the same people, but they’re not behaving the same way. […]

The tide is turning against dogmatism — and toward political independence.

Good lord let’s hope so.

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