Potter Political Pickle

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potterpoliticalpickle

potterpoliticalpickle
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As a political observer and registered Independent, I enjoy discussing my opinion. It didn’t take long for my wife to name these occurrences “The Jeremy Potter Lecture Series.” But I’d prefer to take them public as an enthusiastic motivational “speaker” writing to challenge America’s assumptions and perceptions. A political science degree propelled my pragmatic growth as an analyst in the government-contracting industry. Now, I’m complementing, and perhaps complicating, my perspective in law school. Combining my writing experience and personal passion, I intend to accelerate political progress. Thank you for considering my qualified, yet independent voice.

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
MARCH 23, 2012 9:08AM

Republicans are secretly voting for President Obama

Rate: 14 Flag

All across this country in primaries like the one held this week in Illinois Republicans are voting for President Obama and some don't even know it! I know.  Hard to believe.  

"But PPP, I thought the Republicans hated President Obama?"

Ah, dear Reader (I can say Reader cause I only have 1...Hi Mom!), that's what they want you to think.  

It's like high school.  Everyone is trying to be tough, or cool, or hip, or artistic, or athletic, or stylish.  And if your identity is threatened, you argue and stress all the more how No, I really, really am cool. I hate anyone who isn't uncool.  I'll prove how cool I can be.  And then you tell a dirty joke or embarrass a younger or quieter student or do something stupid in front of a teacher, secretly feeling really bad about it but outwardly showing off how cool you are. 

And that clumsy analogy brings me to Republicans in Illinois and many other reasonable states who've yet to hold primaries.  Despite supposedly hating Barack Obama (outwardly), Republicans are not voting for Mitt Romney.  Not only are they not voting for Mitt Romney but they are actively not voting to beat Obama either.  They claim they are.  They claim they want nothing more than to unseat Obama in November.

But Republicans, I've got news for you - actions speak louder than words.

Your actions tell me that deep down you'd rather not vote than vote for Romney. If that's true and voter turnout continues to be incredibly low in large, swing states, then Obama can win easily.  These people are not going to vote for Obama in November; they just won't vote.  

And a Republican not voting for Romney might as well be a vote for Obama.

Is it possible that though not excited about the Romney-Santorum-Gingrich circus, these voters will suddenly rally and come together for Romney in mid-to-late October? I suppose.  Anything is possible.  But that isn't how politics and voting have work for the last 200 years.  

I'm not surprised that a Republican anywhere would want to stay home this time around.  I get it.  Two smart candidates who are vocal advocates of "conservative values" but whose names appear in the dictionary next to unelectable.  One reasonably smart candidate who is so bad at appearing natural as a politician that his own campaign thinks of him as the human Etch-A-Sketch.  The only problem with that characterization was that it is so ridiculously accurate regarding Romney's changes in tone, message and purpose over the past 10 years that you'd think the Gingrich campaign came up with it.  Anytime you confirm the thing voters' fear most about your ability as President, you've already lost.  (See Dean in '04 (out-of-control), Gore in '00 (out-of-touch), and Palin in '08 (out-of-answers)).  

Romney is the "I'll say whatever I have to say today" candidate and the Etch-A-Sketch remark confirmed in everyone's mind that Romney thinks of himself the way everyone else thinks of him too.  

The only problem is that leaves Republicans with nowhere to go.  Santorum and Gingrich lose dramatically in a general election and probably manage to embarrass the GOP along the way.  Romney loses with a bit more dignity but is so transparent in his false attempts to win loyalty and support that Republicans have decided to stay home.  At least, they've stayed home in places like Illinois and, I predict, more of the same to come.  

Republicans that loyally voted for George W. Bush twice and even found a way to support McCain/Palin will now stay home because it's not like they'd actually vote for Obama.  Come on.  But they won't vote for Romney either.

Instead, Republican voters have subconsciously decided to re-elect President Obama.  You just won't hear them admit it.

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@baltimore aureole Thanks for reading! As usual, great to hear from you and I appreciate your perspective. In response to your comments, I agree that primaries cause candidates to have to navigate the party extremists without selling out their "true" beliefs (if those exist in politics). But I think you're over-selling the amount a good candidate "moves". There is a way to speak to different parts of the party without coming across as spineless and ambivalent.

I think that even saying Romney and Reagan together is funny. Romney is exactly was old school Republicans hope for. GOP Governor of a swing or liberal state to show that you can cross the aisle. An entrepreneur. A free-market titan. Well-educated and classy. Unfortunately for Romney, Reagan was a real politician who cared deeply, believe his own message (his own consistent message), and could invoke excitement in voters. Similarly, I think we're remembering JFK more for what he stands for in our collective memory than comparing his actual governing to Obama. I'll agree that the Obama Presidency has been different than I, or even than Obama, thought. In 2012 we're not looking for Reagan or Kennedy, just a candidate that we believe can effectively and practically lead.

In that way, I'd say this is Obama's election to lose and Romney (at this point) will be lucky to even make it competitive. Though, it's a long time to November.
Agree with you, and disagree with BA.
Committed republicans should be turning out in droves to ensure Romney cruises easily to the nomination. Strong support of Romney would have provided massive damage control for the candidate who is obviously the only electable person left in the field. Due to the lack of support, he has been pressed too far to the right by Santorum and Gingrich, and his "reset" button has been pushed too many times.
r./
Romney is fine-Sant/Newt are trying to be relevant. Newt is brilliant but, his huge ego makes him see all they ways he might win and none of the ways he is a non-starter. Speaking of flip flops, both of these guys endorsed Romney in 2008 against McCain.
Romney would be attacked regardless by this poor excuse for MSM. He lacks warmth but, he is the most qualified guy in a very long time.
" But that isn't how politics and voting have work for the last 200 years. "

"Have work" is the least of your problems. In fact, family members uniting against a common enemy is precisely how politics and voting have worked, forever.

Dream on, if it makes you feel better.
We voted for Romney because even most of us can't stand Santorum's bullsh*t. Really? No birth control? What the f*ck is he thinking!
I think the real conservative activists turned out to vote in the Primaries. The main body of Republican/Conservative and Independent voters will vote for anyone nominated on the Republican ticket to rid the country of Obama.

I think the shock to the leftist media is just how strong a turnout is seen on election day. The mid-term was just the appetizer. The main event, changing the Presidency and control of the Senate is the prize that Republicans will be turning out to accomplish.

The second big surprise will be the margin between the Republican Party candidate, and Barack Obama. There is a decent chance that the results could mirror McGovern.
Clever, clever, clever. And so very true. Wonderful piece.
Great analysis. I gather you're basing this on some kind of historical knowledge that's beyond what I process in my head about electoral trends. Hope you're right. Honestly, I don't see how any of the Republican candidates can escape the aftermath of the primaries, but then I didn't understand how anyone could vote for Reagan and neither did the pundits until he became a serious candidate.
OK, a lot of Repubs will stay home -- or want us to think that. We can not assume that this strategy would put the Obama faithful in the comfort zone -- exactly what these people want. They have chunks of money to get their agenda home; part of this is to win key Congressional seats, even if they realize that there are not that many of needed voters. Already, they have 37-8 states that will contest voters without photo ID's and other tricks. We know what we're dealing with.
The majority will, hopefully, begin to appreciate what Obama has accomplished -- he allowed the stock market, the real estate and financial fall outs to bungee jump off the cliff -- as opposed to what Bush did & and did not do. It was actually a fairly smooth operation when one considers a real, flat out depression, like the thirties.
In time, people will get it, appreciate the fact that we were saved from a far worse fate. Let's please get off the notion that he is making gas prices go up. Hey, he took the calculated chance -- and it worked, in spite of the worst bunch of overpaid public trough feeders that I have seen in my life time.
Thank you!
PPP - I may stay home, well I am not home, for the primary. And even if I miss the general, I promise Texans won't stay home and let Obama take the state.
You're forgetting the essential factor. The Republican primaries are simply white men voting against other white men. (It was assumed from the start that Cain and Bachman were little jokes on the public. They're not white men; no way they could be Republican candidates. Cheerleaders on the sidelines, maybe.)

In the general election, it will be a white man (presumably Romney) voting against The Evil Black Man Inhabiting Our White, White House. Republicans will turn out in droves for that.

The events of the last week should have let you know, if somehow you were deluded into disbelieving it, that racism is strong and powerful in America. Not only was there the shooting of a black teen by a white, unauthorized vigilante...who is defended by nearly everyone on Fox News and conservative web sites...but when Santorum was frothing up the vote at a firing range, one of his beloved supporters yelled as he was preparing to shoot, "Pretend it's Obama!"

To paraphrase, no Republican ever lost money underestimating the decency of the American people.
Thanks all for reading, rating and the great comments. Much appreciated.
@Joe Zollo - I'm not convinced after this primary experience that Independent will move to Romney as quickly and easily as you think. Many were thinking about it months ago, but not so sure anymore. I don't think Romney will be able to totally reinvent himself in the general and get away with it. But again, in a 24/7 news cycle who knows? Also, the margin will be McGovern-like favoring who? The GOP? That would be shocking.
@Joseph Cole - No chance Obama wins Texas. I get that. But outside of approx. 6-8 Southern states, what else can Romney win?
@neutron - I understand your frustration but you're implying there are enough racists to tip the election scales. I don't believe that and I don't want to believe that. Very hard to win on the "even if you don't like me vote against the other guy" strategy.
I sure hope you're right. But don't forget the Vice Presidential factor. Governor Christie or Marco Rubio could give the fading sketch a big boost.
I just with all your hopes will come true, but... No, friends, it won't happen. I don't think that Republican will vote for Obama, as well as I don't believe that they will stay home on the Big Day! I also believe that most of the independent and a lot of Democrats will not show their support for Obama. Republicans and Independents (as myself) counted all the empty promises, all the lies, the horrible state of economy (if you don't see that it's not getting better, you're sleeping and seeing nice dreams); the gas prices skyrocketing and hurting us like hell; the food prices are skyrocketing and hurting us like hell; the honest, hard working Americans who did all the right things, paid their mortgages, put some money aside for retirement, now have only one thing to think about: what to do to keep as little as they have saved save; the horror of Obamacare - did you hear that now that Independent Office is saying that it would cost us much-much more then Obama predicted (lied) and even more people won't have a medical insurance; do you really believe that working class American doesn't understand that the class-war that this administration started and pushing forward is nothing more or less then what it is: to switch the attention of angry people to something else, but Obama's politics. To destroy the corporations means to destroy the economy even more.
So... it's not that Republican voters decided secretly to re-elect Obama, they just can't wait to send him packing.
From your lips to god's ear, PPP. But I worry about articles like this because they might encourage complacency and that could be disastrous. Good piece, though.
Even George Will wrote off Romney, suggesting Republicans focus on 2016. Peggy Noonan did a damning piece in the WSJ the other day, suggesting that the problem isn't that Romney is poll driven or flip-flops, but that he can be captured and the world is filled with one-issue groups which don't care about the greater implications for their policies and are pushing for their agenda. Norquist, for example.

The election will be decided by the center, which is decidedly unthrilled with Romney, but not too impressed with Obama, either. I think it will come down to the campaigns they run. My money's on Obama, but I'm not betting that much.

And never forget Harold MacMillan's beautifully patronizing and British words about what can change the course of an election, "Events, dear boy, events."
As a former Republican, I can tell you that Obama has fallen into perfect lockstep with Bush Jr. dismantling our country. Why switch?
Thanks again for all the great comments and reads.

@ingaz - If what you say is true, then why all the GOP in-fighting and lack of consensus at the polls? If Republicans and Independents cannot wait to unseat Obama, they are surely going about it the wrong way. As I write, actions speak louder than words. Right now, I don't see any voting patterns or unity that tells me the GOP are serious. Instead, their actions seem to be strengthening Obama's position; I recognize it might be unintended, but it's happening nonetheless.
The truth is neither hard core democrats or republicans win elections. It is the vast middle independent voter who decided. They do not care for Romney today. 4 years ago they elected Obama. But, they also elected Bush so there is no saying who they will vote for in the general election.

Maybe the vast middle will not even vote for either and vote third party this election and that will totally throw a wrench into both political machines.
No secret about it. I left the republican party last fall, not a moment too soon. They7 have accomplished zilch in years, and they have been a damn embarrassment in sorts of matters. I have deep suspicions about the democrat party, but they win this round.
I don't agree, and since you don't offer any facts, only conjecture, that is what I feel free to do. From my perspective, if the last 40ty years in american politics has proven anything they have proven the GOP will rally for their candidate no matter what his faults, or in the case of Bush no matter how incompetent.

We look at this from entirely different perspectives. The GOP is already the minority party, but roughly a third, yet they have won more elections, and could very well in this one too. The problem is with perfidious Democrats and "independents" to good to participate in our political process as it is rather than they would wish it to be.

We live in an "anti-political" era in which ideology trumps reality. Since "politics" is a bad business and all politicians evil faux liberals feel self-righteous about defaulting from the political process, while conservatives know they are fighting a rear guard action and vote no matter what for whoever is closest to them.

For the most part, it has worked. It's called "loyalty." They got it, the commies don't. Who do we bomb next?
Ben independents participate as much as any political group, they just do not feel the need to support a candidate based on the selection process of the few. By the time most can participate in a primary the choice has already been made. The two party system is built to maintain control of the entire political process and in the hands of the few power brokers. Maybe the American people will wake up to this truth.

As for ideology, everyone votes their ideology. Because in reality everyone filtered information through their belief system and those become their facts. The responsibility of each person as a citizen is to gather the information and then from that information decide based on their good conscience which candidate they feel lines up with their core beliefs.
M Todd:

What you're giving me is the typical faux liberal approach. The problem is that our form of government is democracy, and until such time as it is a fascist state wherein only one party rules we are forced to vote for the candidates who most closely approximate our interests. In my case, at present, that is the Democratic party, but you may be a rich man and that is what allows you to be "independent."
Your supposition looks good on paper, but I'm not so certain it will play in Peoria -- or elsewhere. The Republican base will turn out regardless -- after all, they voted like a school of fish and returned the worst President in US history to office in 2004, and thisclose to 60 million yellow-dog Republicans pulled the lever for a doddering old coot and a bimbo in 2008.

If that isn't sufficient cause for concern, how about the 2010 midterm results? Absolutely frightening. For example, a vastly more qualified and experienced Harry Reid barely won over a complete fool in Nevada.

Those examples offer glaring evidence that it won't be the Republican base staying home in November, but the Democratic base may very well do so, their being so incensed because Obama hasn't undone thirty years of madness in his first term.

There is one ray of hope in this madness, though. And that is that the wretched over-reaching of Republican state legislatures, coupled with the growing fear of Christian Sharia as espoused by Rick the Righteous, may have at long last awakened the Left to the fact that we really are in a war for this nation's future -- and it's soul. Stay tuned.
Ben, I do not see the logic in your statements. I do not propose a one party system, but instead believe it should expand to three or even more which will give the majority who are neither democrat or republican a true alternative. We do not live in a democracy we live in a democratic republic. We elect officials in a democratic process, to represent us, but they are free to vote their own conscience or self interest which is becoming more and more the case.

I do not see how ones social economic position plays into the discussion. Myself I see very little difference between democrats or republicans, so called liberal or conservative views when it comes to actual operation of our government. For regardless of parties they gravitate towards power and wealth regardless of labels. Both parties support war, increasing restriction of liberty, and larger and larger government. The only major difference is republicans favor borrowing money and democrats raising taxes, but both parties create deficit spending which leads to lower and lower standards of living for the average person.

Actually most independents or moderates are considered liberals by the far right and conservatives by the far left. It is not that I see either side as wrong, but each have points that I consider right. As and independent I am free to work with anyone regardless of labels.
I like your analysis, but I must say in passing that I'm getting a little tired of hearing people tell me why Al Gore lost in 2000 -- he was out of touch, he was too smart, he was stiff, etc. The way I remember it, Gore won, then Florida went haywire, the votes never got counted and the Supreme Court through the election. Al Gore was not unelectable, he was robbed.
MT:

I get you as basically anti-political and against our system of government as it is rather than you wish it to be. It's an attitude left over from the 60's whose time has come in my estimation. Your perspective is entirely ideological, and I suspect you aren't aware of it. I have't read your blog so this is an intuition on my part and I'm more than willing to be wrong.

A lot of so-called "independents" hide behind this mask. You're own status has everything to do with it, since voting for the candidate who most closely approximates it is how the consensus is moved forward.

But I well realize, if the spectacle of the Republican primary still puts you on the fence, nothing anybody is going to say to you will make any difference. It is actually not open minded, but closed. You're the reason its taken this long to at least have a bill enacted for health care reform, for instance.

European countries have many parties, it solves nothing, whereby voting in your interests does if you are middle class and not a rich man who won't pay a fair share in taxes. You're the reason the right rules this country for the most part. It's how fascist regimes take over.
Ben,

I do not deny I have an ideology. Who doesn't? You are somewhat correct. I do have a problem with our political system as it is now, but not the idea of democratic republic. It needs major election reform to restore it to the place it should be. The idea that corporations are people, super PACs that operate in secret do not further the cause of the average american or a democratic process. I do not hide behind my independence as a voter, if anything I am forth right with my position.

Personally I do not think the presidential election is the most important election but rather congress. Human nature produces self interest, the longer one is in office the more self interest is created. Since most elected officials (some estimates is 70%) spend the majority of time staying in office not governing. The longer someone stays in office they start to become beholden to the special interest that put them there in the first place. We continue to elect the same people to power and they continue to advancing the agenda of those who paid for their elections. To me that seems insane.
MJ:

The "reforms" you are seeking ain't gonna happen. If you can't see that you aren't paying attention. What's insane to me is not voting for "political" reasons rather than ideological, which is really why we are in the "Pickle" we are in.

I think it's always true, but simply more obvious now that the country is so clearly divided culturally, and one party has aligned itself with the most backward and reactionary elements, and the other is at least run by a leader who has proven himself competent POLITICALLY when the president before him was not. The domination of ideology over reality is the problem. It's the simple, cheap, cowardly solution.

It was once "fashionable" in my generation to be against politics, but now it is evident after almost 50ty years where it leads, and the irresponsibility of remaining somehow morally superior to our political system AS IT EXISTS.

The old cynicism is not progressive, but regressive, and it needs to be seen as such, especially now that we are on the brink of an election where there really is no choice for those who have the long term interests of the country at heart.

Democracies have a history of declining in time for exactly this reason: see the discussion in Tony Judt's last book: THINKING THE 20TH CENTURY, the myth of the "objective" above it all phoney indepedent and faux liberal needs to be re-examined and if the time ain't now, you are the problem.

But again, I am well aware that if this primary didn't convince you nothing ever will except maybe the revolution, which is what you really seek.
Ben,

I wonder if we are having the same conversation. I am not against our form of government or political system. I am calling for reform not demolishing it. Most of the reform can happen just by changing the why campaigns are funded. If someone wants a Super PAC then why not full disclosure of who runs the PACs and who is funding them. Do your really believe corporations are people? They are made up of people, but they are organization that for now are free to funnel millions of dollars to shape the outcome of elections without any disclosure.

Maybe I am insane to think we can fix out political system when it comes to election reform, but better die trying than shrug my shoulders and say nothing changes. Things change all the time, but they do not change by themselves. And the certainly do not change from the top down. I like what Clinton said. The things that are wrong with this country can be fixed by the things that are right with this country.

The citizens of this country have the opportunity to work for peaceful change. Revolutions in thought and ideas happen all the time, why not in the spectrum of the political system? The thing both parties fear the most is a strong third party system because it creates options outside their control.
@M Todd: I've been following your lively discussion and really appreciate your thoughtful parrying. At the risk of changing the subject, I wanted to ask you a bit more about the Super PAC, election reform and voting issues you've mentioned. I, generally, feel the same way you do about elections. I'm especially frustrated by primaries because of how party extremists scare away certain candidates and shift power. But isn't there also a problem with the fact that Super PAC advertising works? Meaning, one reason we're frustrated with Super PACs is the unlimited spending in elections; but doesn't that inherently also imply that people must listen to political advertising? Otherwise, the spending would not be worth it. So, part of the problem must be that many voters simply react to TV ads without giving it much thought. And those that don't do that, don't vote either. In 2008, even with incredibly high turnout, we had approximately 35-40% of the population and just under 60% of registered voters. Seems to me that as a country, we're getting what we pay for, so to speak. I think Citizens United and the Super PAC explosion might bring enough attention to elections to change things, but I'm growing cynical. At least the Super PACs care enough to spend millions on change, haha.
Potter,

In theory I do not have a problem with people voicing their views through PACs. I think there should be full disclosure so that people know where these messages are coming from.

Truth is to many people take their political responsibility for granted and just continue to vote without even questioning who is saying what and more important how they are voting on issues. Political truth has been replaced with slogans and branding instead of real ideas and solutions. We are just as much to blame as the ones crafting the message that seems to work because we keep electing the same people to office.
MJ:

No, we're having the same conversation, we just come from entirely different perspectives. I've been having the same conversation with ideologues like yourself for the past five years, and they rarely are able to understand what I am saying to them, since they are so entrenched in their assumptions. (Actually, I've been arguing the same thing since the 60's. See: What It Means to Be A Subversive among my essays. I have better credentials than most.)

If more folks voted their interests rather than their ideology, there would be no superpacs. If more folks understood third parties are not the "promise land," and that there will never be a perfect candidate in a perfect world I venture to say we would be a lot further along in having a government that represents the interests of the middle class than we do.

I know this may be shocking to you since you know how evil the system is, (unlike the rest of us poor misguided miscreants) but the logic is there if you get off your cloud covered soapbox to look at it.

Are you still on the fence in the next presidential? I'm sure if you don't vote because there are superpacs and no third party you will teach those Republicans and Democrats a lesson!
Sorry, that's MT not MJ:

Your lead in here is:

Ben Sen: I didn't say I wasn't going to vote in Nov., or that I wasn't going to vote for the candidate who most closely approximates my interests and values...who is...X... but let's see if you are willing to take a political stand...

I'm glad to know you are following this Potter and haven't taken a Powder...
Ben: It seems you make a lot of assumptions about me based on your preset ideology.For the most part you know nothing about me or what I am about, yet you seem to think you know me or my beliefs.

A person with beliefs, core values, and ideologies does not make them an ideologue. It is when those ideologies create a skewed view of the world to fit their presupposition of how they think things are instead of investigating where they are true makes them an ideologue. Despite my presuppositions (if we are honest we all have them) I endeavor to make informed decisions based on both sides of the argument.

When it comes to politics I am an independent. I am neither liberal or conservative and share views with both groups. I do not participate in PACs nor listen to their ads because my experience has found they are partisan and are nothing more than political attacks directed by candidates towards their apposition. Despite your claim that I am anti politics, I'm active in quite a few political organizations, write my elected officials on issues before them, have met with elected officials on behalf of political groups and even at times have worked on campaigns. I am not against the political process, but want to see reform in the political process.

With that said, continuing any further discussion with you seems fruitless. So therefore this will be my last response to you on the subject.
Mr. M Todd:

Then why are you afraid to acknowledge who your candidate is for the presidency? Or even for that matter to discuss politics and to remain hidden behind your smug superiority?

I've looked at your blog. You seem like a nice guy, but clearly prefer to be ignominious. The lesson here is for Potter and those who are reading who I suspect might come to some conclusions of their own regarding so called "independents."

If anyone wants to argue for the position, I think they're going to have to do a much better job than you have to make it credible--especially in the current political environment.

Best of luck to you. It's nothing personal, but I think you've helped a lot to make my point: (dare I repeat it) it isn't a time to sit on the fence and if the Republican primary didn't prove it to you, nothing will. I am, by the way, for the incumbent in case you are still confused.
Potter:

My bet: he's a fundie. Thus it doesn't matter what party is leading the country as long as they abide by their agenda. He has none of his own; he is in the service of his cult. The poor man doesn't exist. Is that what you call an independent?
@Ben So, at the risk of re-opening the can o' worms that you had going with M Todd, what you're saying is that anyone who still claims to be "independent" is either lying to themselves or not paying any attention to reality? Because one party (the GOP) has gone so far away from mainstream ideas that to say you "might" vote for a Republican candidate, particularly in the Presidential election, is basically laughable. Instead, well-intentioned and reasonable people who call themselves "Independents" should just get real and join the Democrats because those are the only reasonable candidates left. Am I on the right track?

If so, I think you touch on a good point. The good point being is there really any reasonable people left who are either centrists or moderates and wouldn't mind being associated with the modern Republican Party? Losing the Olympia Snowes of the world was a sign that the GOP does not have a reasonable center remaining. Further, even the hint that Mitt Romney is not "conservative enough" should be evidence enough to those that currently think of themselves as "Independents." There's no where else to go but identify with the Democrats and get it over with.

The practical over the ideal.
Potter: You forget that what is emerging within the moderate camp is the push for a third party. As crazy it seems now, America Elect will be on every state ballot in the presidential election. They did not exist two years ago. It will hold its national primary in August. I am waiting to see who emerges from this process of openly choosing a president who will pledge to work across party lines. Although not a fan of the tea party, in a matter of months they won several congressional seats. Although they ran as republicans, it seems that republicans are loosing control of the group and they could very well form a separate party. Just because we have had a two party system, it is not written in stone that is the way it has to be. My point is those dissatisfied with the Republican party do not have to choose the democratic party and like wish for dissatisfied democrats.

One factor for this rapid change is in the last 10 years the internet has given voice to those who have been frozen out of the political system via network TV (cable news included) which continues to loose its monopoly on information.

It is a brave new world where even a nobody like me can have access and a voice on a national level through these new social medias. More importantly as more and more individuals of like mind group together using twitter, blogs and other social media the formation of new political parties are not out of reach for even small groups with moderate means. Obama proved the power of the internet by funding most of his early campaign 5 to 10 dollars at a time.

Consider Egypt within a matter of days users of social media in effect organized and changed their government. Not that the United States needs something that radical, but the more moderate approach of electing non partisan candidates is becoming more and more appealing to even long time republicans and democrats.
M Todd: I appreciate your enthusiasm and as someone who has always hoped for a vibrant political culture, I hope you're right. I'm currently a registered Independent (despite Ben Sen's best efforts) and have watched Americans Elect and No Labels closely. I do think there's a large unrepresented voting population looking for a voice and a candidate. On the other hand, I've become disillusioned with the possibility that our elected officials will actually change the primary/electoral college system. Even if someone like David M. Walker were to win the Americans Elect nomination and create such a following that not 1 candidate reached the necessary # of delegates in November (highly unlikely I might add). But I digress. Even if that were to happen, the vote would go to the House of Representatives and they'd elect, presumably, Mitt Romney because the 12th Amd. only requires a majority. Is that enough of a shock to the electoral system to demand change? Is that what it would take to get everyone's attention?

Democrats thought they were robbed in 2000 when the Supreme Court ended the recount in Florida and effectively gave the state to Bush. Can you imagine the reaction if the House elects Romney after Obama had the most votes but not enough to pass the finish line?

It just seems like incremental changes are too unlikely to sustain the momentum needed and that it would take that type of dramatic event however unrealistic that is. I say unrealistic not because people aren't frustrated, they are. But to have a 3rd party candidate like Walker actually win a few states would be more than remarkably in the current climate where turnout is still pretty low.
"... the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice." - 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

While it does look like a majority, I think it means that each state gets 1 vote, not each representative. So, perhaps that would not be a victory for Romney. But still, it would require a 3rd party candidate to win several states and have the elected House members from those states settle on a single candidate. Yikes!
No question. A massive bailout of moderates from the GOP is currently underway. In many cases, they are among the most competent members of the party. Ted Frier, who now contributes to OS is an example and I think does a great job in articulating this position for a variety of reasons.

The best thing that could happen is a smashing defeat of the party to bring it back to a more centrist position. It may be the only thing that works. I think it would benefit the country as a whole and argues for a Democratic vote in the next presidential.

The "Rove Coalition's" time may be up, and I think this is something "independents" who are moderate themselves would agree.

I'm a moderate. I think Obama is a moderate. The failure of his attempts to appease the GOP as it is currently configured proves the point, and says a lot of other things as well. After all, he even let Bush's bandits off the hook. (Tell me race doesn't have something to do with it as well and I'll contend it.) He may not seek retribution, but I think voters can at the polls.

And as I said, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I think the primary and Obama's first term said it all. My contention, knowing what we do now, is that his winning in Nov. by a plurality is the best opportunity in my lifetime for the middle class to be represented, rather than the interests of big money and the fundies.

I'm getting your position as an "independent" forbids agreement, but that's "real politic" in my view--change from the bottom up, not pie in the sky ideological claptrap whatever you call it that only obfuscates the issue at this time.
Potter, I think it is possible. The founders of this country although believed in democracy, but at the same time did not trust the common man to always do the right thing, under the cloak of protecting the smaller states from the larger they instituted the electoral college. In reality they not the popular vote decides the winner. I remember how Gore railed against the electoral college and Hilly void to disband if elected, but when push comes to shove they are for it when it works in their favor and against it when it doesn't. I do not know the percentage of states that bind their electoral college to vote for the popular vote, but I remember it is more than half. Most follow the popular vote and in that case even if the third party candidate received 34% in theory they could be the winner if all votes were spread evenly across the board. Most likely that would not happen, but on a long game positive note, if a third party candidate received even 25% of the vote it would signal change. It would put the fear of God in both the republican and democratic party and would encourage and increase the number of viable candidates who would run with a chance of winning. I cannot remember if it was Wisconsin or Minn. that ran a Tea Party candidate in the congressional election. They lost, but only by a few points. There are two independents serving in the Senate now and I seen no reason why that number should not grow considering the growing dissatisfaction with the current parties from their members. Many ultra conservative member of the republican party consider themselves more Tea Party than republican and could actually form a separate political party that is not beholden to the republicans and many progressive democrats have over the years gravitated to Nader and the Green Party. Maybe in the end we will end up with 3 or 4 major parties, which means they all have to work together to form a working government because the control would not ping pong back and forth from democrat and republican.
Looks like MT didn't run away after all, though remains an enigma above the fray of those who make our committments known.

Did you know which country in Europe has the most parties and the highest voting percentile?

Let me give you a hint: It's the country that can't manage to have the garbage removed from its streets.

To them, the two party system looks very appealing.

Do you know which country considers itself a shining light of democracy when in fact it is in the hands of religious fanatics who are fronted by supposedly sectarian leaders and could very well spark the next major war?

Democracy takes many forms.

Do you know how women's sufferage was introduced to England and consequently to the rest of the world? That's a lesson for all those who love Democracy, but is entirely at odds with those who believe the duty of a politican is based on popular appeal.

I have no problem from my perspective with the T-Party breaking off. None. I don't see anybody taking on reform of the electoral system either, until such a time as a party comes to dominate with a leader of real merit, and they generally are only given authority in times of war or sever depression when national survival is at stake.

I find it hard to believe the T-Party will break off, however, since it doesn't mesh with the "core values" of conservatives to be disloyal, but I will believe it when I see it, and will take an abiding pleasure in it. Let them be the ones who eat their own.
Potter:

If you don't know or trust "incremental" change, you need only look with open eyes. Try: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Try same-sex marriage, Try Health Care Reform, Try social security, Civil Rights, Woman's liberation... but maybe I shouldn't be the one to go on, maybe M. Todd can take over. I'm sure he favored them all and rests more assured every night because of them that we live in the land of the free and home of the brave.

I suspect the reason fundies are favoring third parties at this time is their latest strategy. Independent my left cheek. I think they know the jig may soon be up, not that I'm recommending taking it for granted. They were done in by their own success, and the country club set never did bring them home for dinner.
a none vote for romney does not mean a vote for obama. many of these people may decide to stay home and not vote at all. considering all of the voter suppression going n by the gop, i have no problem with it. by having such unqualified candidates running for the presidency this year (huntsman being the lone exception), the gop are suppressing their own voter turn out without realizing it.