A Farewell to Elephants and Asses

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An interesting statistic from Ballot Access News:

For the first time in at least 75 years, less than three-fourths of the nation's registered voters are registered "Democratic" or "Republican."

New registration data…shows that the percentage of voters registered "independent" or as members of minor parties now exceeds 25%. Of course, this data is solely from the 30 jurisdictions in which people register into parties on registration forms. The other 21 states are excluded because they don't have partisan registration.

Declining major party membership is surprising, since the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has motivated some voters to switch to the Democratic party, so as to be able to vote in Democratic primaries.

The third party with the most registered voters is the conservative Constitution Party, but that's probably because "that party's affiliates in California and Nevada have names that include the word 'Independent' (the California party is the American Independent Party, and the Nevada one is the Independent American Party). Virtually all neutral observers believe that many voters who intend to register 'independent' wind up in those parties by accident."

[Via Sam Smith.]

NEXT: Load up on Guns

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  1. I have volunteered at the polls on election day here in California. My polling place is near a university. I have noticed a significant number of college students registered “American Independent” when voting in primary elections. As a poll worker I never, ever say anything other than “Please give this voter a ballot for the American Independent Party”. Anything else would be in appropriate, but privately I’ve always suspected that many of them don’t know the party’s platform.

    I also recall an elderly lady who came into the polling place. On the form she was listed as American Independent, so I said “Ma’am, you’ll be receiving a ballot to vote in the primary of the American Independent Party.” She said “Is that the one where I can vote for [insert name of a liberal Democrat member of Congress here]?” We wound up having to do a provisional ballot, where she voted in the Democrat primary and placed it in an envelope with her information and a statement that the wrong party registration was listed for her. That went to the people downtown, who used whatever procedure to determine whether her vote in the Democrat primary would be counted.

    Just some interesting observations on an interesting party.

  2. Interesting link. After looking at this, it makes me wonder though why the LP insists that it is the largest third party in America (http://www.lp.org/organization/).

  3. Html is goofy. By “this,” I mean this: http://www.ballot-access.org/2004/0201.html#13.

    Sorry.

  4. “A Farewell to Elephants and Asses”

    I would suggest that we don’t have two parties, but only one: a big elephant’s ass

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day: “I’m a Democrat, not a fat cat”. The ignorance is truly astounding.

  5. Just this past january, I changed from Republican to Independent. I can’t speak for anyone else but as for myself, I was disgusted by the sense of betrayal I felt.

    I was always a moderate Republican, interested in smaller government, lower taxes and less intrusion by the feds. I believe in sound fiscal policy, free markets and personal responsibility.

    Since the Republican party no longer stands for any of that…I said “screw ’em.”

    What sucks is that I’m probably gonna have to vote for that jerk again because the Dems weren’t smart enough to come up with anything better.

  6. I, too, was once a registered Republican who has switched to “unaffiliated” because of growing dissatisfaction with the GOP. My other options upon changing my registration were “independent” and “libertarian”. Independents remind me too much of Ross Perot (no thanks) and I’m not quite ready to identify myself as a card-carrying libertarian just yet (although that’s where I lean). Unaffiliated seemed to just about sum it up for me, which is a shame in some respects. Like one of your other respondents, I believe I’ll have no choice other than to vote for the lesser of two evils in November.

  7. Why don’t they change the name of the Libertarian party to “Check This Box If You Are Not A Child Molester” or some such.

  8. Why doesn’t the LP change it’s name to “Check This Box If You Are Not A Child Molester” or some such?

  9. Why don’t you Reasonoids change the name of the Cancel button to “Post Later?”

  10. Woohoo! Way to go LP! You still suck!
    Beat by the Constitution AND Green party, which have been around, what?, half as long?
    Awesome job, losers!

  11. >Virtually all neutral observers believe that many voters who intend to register ‘independent’ wind up in those parties by accident.

    Are these Florida voters?

  12. The LP is populated by crazies, and it drives folks away. In marketing terms, the brand is tainted goods now. Scrap it, and come up with something like the Small Government Party, and try to give the libertarian Republicans (like me) somewhere to go.

  13. I’m not sure why anyone in a state with open primaries declares their affiliation. In Georgia, it’s open primaries (not that I’ve ever voted in one) and you simply ask for a ballot for whatever party. Of course, it’s one to a customer. Should parties even be recognized by the state? They ain’t in the Constitution, State or Federal. Lately, I identify as Republican simply because at a Xmas party last year some shrill drunk was trotting out the lame Florida gripes backed by patently incorrect facts. I called her on it and her husband chimed in “So you’re a Republican!” From that moment to this I was… can’t say about manana.

  14. Like Jason said, I think the LP needs a fashion make-over. I bet most Joe Voters can’t even spell “Libertarian”, let alone define it. I thought “Freedom Party” was a good alternative, but now I like Jason’s suggestion for the “Small Government Party”.

    Another alternative is to have NO parties. What would the media do if they can no longer color every story/issue as Democrat vs. Republican? 🙂

  15. “Another alternative is to have NO parties.”

    Because, while it may sound good in theory, it does not work very well out here in reality. People are going to form political alliances out of ideological similiarities or patronage. The simple fact is, with a democratic form of government, there is strength in numbers. Standing as an independent may be intellectually and morally satisfying, but in the long run, you lose.

  16. What is truly sad is that, in a nation of 300 million individuals, it has come to a choice between Bush and Kerry.

    Americans, weep for your country.

  17. Lady Liberty-

    That’s the best comment I’ve heard so far on this election. Whether you’re liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, or whatever, surely there must be somebody that we can all agree is better than those 2 clowns. Surely there must be somebody who could get a resounding majority in a head-to-head contest with either of them.

  18. Because of the many closed primaries these numbers are actually slightly elevated. I’ve seen studies that figured the number of folks who considered themselves truly a Democrat or a Republican down to 1/2 of registered voters (with about 1/4 for each).

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