The Swing Vote: Why Independents Will Decide the 2012 Election

"In the past four years, two and a half million people have left the Democratic and Republican parties," explains Linda Killian, author of the new book The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents. Not only are these voters sick of the two dominant parties, Killian believes they are increasingly determining electoral outcomes. "They voted for Barack Obama, they voted for the Democrats in 2006, [but] they swung 19 points in voting for the Republicans in 2010."

Killian sat down with Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie to examine what makes a swing voter, their growing importance, and if their socially tolerant and fiscally responsible viewpoints should buoy libertarians.

Runs about 6.40 minutes

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Josh Swain.

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  • Hyperion||

    Gary Johnson 2012!

  • Hyperion||

    And, FIRST!

  • DJF||

    Somebody should write a book about this.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If the independent voters of this country are just going to vacillate between Douchebag and Turd Sandwich how does that help libertarians?

    Especially considering that their voting record shows them to be fiscally irresponsible and socially intolerant. Unless you want to argue that the dems were voted in in '08 to restore fiscal sanity, and the republicans in '10 to progress social liberalization.

  • ||

    If the independent voters of this country are just going to vacillate between Douchebag and Turd Sandwich how does that help libertarians?

    It doesn't. That's why I tend to bristle by making such a fuss over so-called "independents": they are every bit as single-issue minded as any other voter, be it a TEAM hack or a principled libertarian type. Every voter is a single-issue voter, and usually revolves around "free" stuff. What Nick and others like him haven't quite figured out is cosmotarianism, while wonderful for the fun parts of personal liberty, fails to address the "but someone else must pay for it" aspect that tends rear it's head quickly a la your average Sandra (appropriately named) Flukester, eco-theological AGW, OWS'er "I want a guaranteed favourable outcome" type.

    And kudos to Nick for not shamelessly pimping the book Declaration of Independents. Take notes Brian Doherty.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yup, until a majority of people figure out that personal liberty cannot be separated from economic liberty we will have neither.

  • Robert||

    They can be separated -- unless you wind up agreeing with positions like the majority in Raich. There are plenty of human actions that aren't economic by any reasonable understanding of words.

  • Mensan||

    All human actions are economic to some extent. However, economic activity ≠ commerce. Commerce is one specific type of economic activity.

  • Robert||

    They're economic to some extent in the broad technical meaning of that term. However, that's not what people mean by "economic liberty".

  • Hugh Akston||

    I think it's encouraging that there are only two alternatives in American politics, and people are still abandoning them in droves.

    Are they all going to come over to libertarianism? No. But I think we can grow the movement significantly with the right sort of messaging. I'm thinking underboob.

  • General Butt Naked||

    But if they only abandon one team for the other and then do the converse two years later we're still only left with two (barely distinguishable) parties.

    Hell, the indistinguishability of the two parties is probably a consequence of the teams vying for the squishy independent voter.

  • ||

    I think it's encouraging that there are only two alternatives in American politics, and people are still abandoning them in droves.

    Agreed. I just fear they are moving towards full blown Freegan Commie circles, moreso than libertarianism.

    I'm thinking underboob.

    You wear leg warmers and midriffs, don't you Hugh? I bet you wear those scrunchie headbands too. Are you Micheal Flatley?

  • General Butt Naked||

    He's a maniac, maniac on the flooooor...

  • Hugh Akston||

    You're the one disparaging the glory and persuasiveness of underboob, Doc. So which one of us is the "world class dancer" here?

  • ||

    You're the one disparaging the glory and persuasiveness of underboob

    Sideboob is clearly superior to underboob, Hugh. No wonder we can't win anyone over.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You mean because we have people who are both blind and retarded weighing us down? I agree.

    I'm referring to you, by the way.

  • ||

    I'm referring to you, by the way.

    Don't hate me because I have great hair, Hugh. Underboob is terrible because it includes those gals (and guys) whose knockers knock their knees and they give themselves black eyes, leading to the retardation and blindness.

    Clearly you are the retard here, and I hope you get crabs, and not the Lobster Girl kind. You don't deserve such magnificent sideboob.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You know who gives sideboob? Everyone from tennis balls to the queen of the seacows. Even Warty sports sideboob when he's lifting.

    Underboob can only be achieved by certain specimens in certain conditions. That's what we call standards. But the sores on your lips demonstrate that you are wholly unfamiliar with that concept.

  • ||

    You see Hugh, this is why we can't have nice things. You're such an effete snob. You gave the perfect reason why sideboob is superior: it appeals to the greatest amount of people we need to sway to our POV.

    And leave my rings around my rosie out of this. They're inflamed ATM.

  • WWNGD?||

    The same people that told me not to vote for a wealthy arrogant gun-grabbing flip-flopping Massachusetts liberal in 2004 are telling me to vote for a wealthy arrogant gun-grabbing flip-flopping Massachusetts liberal in 2012. I am also suppose to vote for a candidate I don't like to get rid of a candidate I don't like. It is too confusing for me, but it makes sense to conservatives.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Here's what I do:

    On election day I leave work early so that I can "go vote", but instead I head to a bar so that I can drink and mourn the death of the American Dream. You've got to really wallow in it to; trust me you'll wake up Wednesday feeling much better than if you had wasted your time pulling a lever for another smooth talking, power hungry asshole.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    On election day I leave work early so that I can "go vote", but instead I head to a bar so that I can drink and mourn the death of the American Dream.

    You have no one to blame but yourself. All of you non-voters have no one to blame but yourselves. If all you non-voters, instead of bitching and moaning, would man up and get together and vote for me, it would be so fucking awesome. I would totally kick ass at whatever office we're talking about.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Okay okay, I'll vote for you, I guess.

    But it ain't gonna come cheap, whattaya got?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Seriously, what's the official Libertarian stance on the legality of outright vote buying?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, yeah, I would totally buy everyone's love, don't you worry your pretty little head about anything. Everyone except those wet blankets who think they can take their money with them when they die and don't want to spend a dime.

  • ||

    I would totally kick ass at whatever office we're talking about.

    I agree, FoE. The Office of Animal Husbandry has been lacking a good candidate for a while. You would be a perfect fit.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No, I'm not the marrying kind. Ball and chain, no. thank. you.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The Office of Animal Bachelory sounds bad for some reason.

  • Chupacabra||

    I'll gladly vote for you.

    Is your real name Fist of Etiquette?

  • Brian from Texas||

    I just got home from early-voting in the Republican Primary here in Texas. I only voted for Ron Paul and a couple of Tea Party-endorsed candidates and left the other offices blank. Even in the offices I voted for I'll still most likely vote for the Libertarian candidate in November.

  • Rich||

    Not only are these voters sick of the two dominant parties, Killian believes they are increasingly determining electoral outcomes. "They voted for Barack Obama"

    Alrighty then.

  • ||

    Swing vote is just code for people who have no ideological principles, don't really give a shit, and base their decision on some life changing tv ad that brought up the great point that the Republican candidate hates children and black people.

  • LarryA||

    There was recently an article http://blog.chron.com/txpotoma.....-marriage/ that started, 'Guns and gays frequently play a role in American politics. Before the 2012 presidential election, a survey shows that public opinion has become increasingly polarized on these two topics. In opposite directions.'

    These are NOT "opposite directions." The ideological principle neither Rs or Ds understand is individual liberty.

    Core Democrats are anti-gun. Core Republicans are anti-gay. Each side supports the war on drugs.

    Each side has its philosophy of how the world should work and is promoting an agenda of laws and rules and regulations and taxes and fees and fines and subsidies and supports to force society into the "correct" mold. A pox on both their houses!

  • Randy||

    Nick you are so wrong - why was your purpose on MHP mainly to annoy interupt and not listen to the other guests? I've never seen anyone so rude - you won't have to worry about many engagements. I fully hope and expect you and any members of your family to completely refute and refuse to accept any SSA payments whatsoever. for someone so opposed we should't pollute you with that kind of money - leave if for the rest of us please. I didn't enjoy your performance and I have libertarion leanings.

  • AlgerHiss||

    The “independent” voter….the “moderate”…..the “middle of the road-er”….these freak’n douchebags make me puke.

    They’re so delicate….so supple….so…..so….very fragile. You never know which way they’ll go.

    Which is precisely what these assholes want, because they have no core. They thrive on considering themselves to be “thoughtful” and “reasonable”.

    The truth is, they’re breathtakingly ignorant, weak and malleable……and dangerous.

  • Ed Zeppelin||

    I don't care for independents. Take a stand, ferchrissake.

    The only things in the middle of the road are a yellow streak and roadkill.

  • squarooticus||

    "Decide" is such a strong word. The implication is that there's a choice, yet I would argue there isn't much of one most years.

    When your choices are Team Red and Team Blue, the rational person would avoid the polling place and devote that time to self-improvement or charity, things that actually have a chance in hell of doing some actual good.

  • Grant||

    This conversation keeps running in my mind:
    Libertarian: Does Romney need the Libertarian vote to beat Obama?
    Republican: Yes.
    Libertarian: So, the GOP vote plus the Libertarian vote can defeat Obama?
    Republican: Yes. In fact, a vote for Gary Johnson will give Obama a second term because every vote for Johnson will take a vote away from Romney.
    Libertarian: Who would you rather have in the White House: Obama or Johnson?
    Republican: Anyone but Obama.
    Libertarian: Then why don't we all vote for Gary Johnson?

  • sweeterjan||

    Killian sat down http://www.ceinturesfr.com/cei.....-c-12.html with Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie to examine what makes a swing voter, their growing importance, and if their socially tolerant and fiscally responsible viewpoints should buoy libertarians.

  • HardyMacia||

    A single vote for Gary Johnson can wipe out votes for both Obama and Romney. Make your vote as powerful as it can be - vote Johnson.

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