This midterm election has been pretty terrible measured by the metrics that independent/swing voters care about. Instead, there’s been a record $4 billionspent mostly on vacuous television attack ads, little substantive discussion about important issues or a clear argument for how Republicans or Democrats would lead the nation, and the feeling that nothing will really change in Washington no matter which party wins control of the Senate.
That’s why a lot of voters could stay home November 4th.
But in the closest races around the country—the 10 Senate races that are within five percentage points, including those in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Iowa, at least half a dozen gubernatorial contests, and a handful of House races—the swing voters who do show up could determine the outcomes.
Which raises a nagging question: Despite all evidence to the contrary, why do so many pundits and academics insist independent/swing voters are just low-information “partisan leaners” who really identify and vote with one party?
Unlike the Loch Ness monster, Sasquatch, and unicorns, truly independent voters—those who are centrist ticket-splitters unaffiliated with either party and who “swing” from election to election—are not a myth.
Liberals seem to be more adamant about the idea that true swing voters don’t really exist than conservatives, but partisans on both sides can’t seem to understand that most Americans have a complicated blend of views that don’t fit neatly into the stated positions of either party.
Most Americans aren’t crazy about Obamacare, but they also don’t think it should be repealed—just fixed.
They don’t think abortion should be outlawed, but they also don’t think it should be limitless.
They believe in background checks, some gun control, and sensible regulations—like outlawing assault weapons—that would still allow people to keep most of their guns.
They believe in tax and entitlement reform, but think it needs to be done fairly to address fiscal issues and the deficit and feel the rich need to pay more than they have been since the Bush tax cuts.
Over the past several decades, the number of well-informed independents who vote regularly has been steadily rising, even as their dissatisfaction with both parties has increased, resulting in volatile, whipsaw elections.
More articles from The Daily Beast:
- Ted Cruz, Accused of Being ‘Sidelined’ for the Midterms, Shows Off Schedule
- The Pentagon May Finally Have a Plan to Keep America on Top
- The Airbnb of Home-Cooked Meals
© 2014 Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC