Here is what you ought to know about how the American government functions. Roughly seventy percent of the nation is comprised of Republicans and Democrats. The remaining thirty percent....are independents. It's been that way for a fairly long time. Independents determine the outcome of every single election, in every single state.
We've gotten to a point where we even know that there are some sections of various states where independents are in larger population segments than thirty percent. In some counties....they might even go up to fifty percent of the local population. Why? Maybe because of military retirees, strong church membership, or just plain dumb luck.
Who are they?
Karl. Karl will tell you that he's for gun-control, open abortions for ladies, and voted twice for Clinton. Karl will also admit that he hates illegals and is against immigration reform. Karl also hates unions. Karl doesn't have any credit cards and doesn't approve of the US government bailing out any bank, for any reason. Karl will even admit that he voted twice for Bush....mostly because he thought Kerry and Gore were 'losers'.
Bill. Bill admits that he's very much anti-gay, against gay marriage, and is totally against gun-control. Bill also will tell you that wealthy people are part of the business success of America and shouldn't be taxed more than the regular guy. But Bill also tell you that global warming is real and we need to tax people on use of SUVs. Bill votes all over the map. Bill would dump government sponsorship of NPR, except he likes those Car-Talk guys.
Wanda. Wanda says she's for gay marriage, but against the government providing easy university loans that get kids into $50k of debt by age 22. Wanda also thinks Bill Clinton was the greatest president of the past fifty years. Wanda thinks the seven hundred billion spent on the stimulus package was all wasted. And Wanda watched the Today Show faithfully, for the past twenty-two years....although recently dumped them when they fired Ann Curry, and now watches Fox and Friends every morning.
Gus. Gus lives mostly around NCAA football, pro wrestling, episodes of Gunsmoke, and votes for anyone who utters "Freedom of speech is freedom of speech is freedom of speech. There is no 'but' (from a Danish politician). Gus thinks gay marriage is ok in Hawaii but it just won't work in Iowa. Gus owns a SUV and gets uncomfortable when gas prices edge upward. Gus would like to believe in global warming, but usually asks too many questions and is discouraged about the answers that the NPR guest gives each time when the topic comes up. Gus also believes the government keeps a bunch of UFOs out in the middle of Nevada.
This group of people....run American politics and determine who is Senator and Representative for their state. They ensure the winner of the governor's election. And they pick the President of the United States.
The rhyme and reason of independent voters? Generally, a scandal will quickly shape their thoughts to go against a guy, unless they feel sorry for him (like Bill Clinton's case). They generally feel sorry for folks without health care, but they don't want to share in the cost of covering that guy's health care situation. They would prefer the government be smaller, rather than bigger. They'd prefer taxes decrease, not increase. They'd prefer that no foreigner anywhere....get any US dollars....for anything. And they'd prefer that interstate speeds stay up around 75 mph or better.
This Tuesday....this group of independent voters will go and determine the next President of the United States. They will also determine casino growth in several states. They will vote on gay marriage in some cases. And they will decide who the local county commissioner will be....although they can't remember any of the names of anyone running for the office.
Our lives are greatly shaped by the voting block of independent voters. In fact....if we knew that they were so varied on their logic, their priorities, or their gut reason for voting on something....we'd probably deny them the right the vote.
The truth is....there are probably three hundred American independent voters going into Tuesday's election....who are voting mostly because they believe that President Obama is the second-coming of Jesus, or that Mitt Romney is an actual illegal alien without documentation to show his American birth. Maybe it's best that we not ask too many questions from this bloc of voters....it might discourage us from believing in democracy or the republic.