The headline read ‘Independents Pass Republicans’ meaning there are now, for the first time, more Independents than Republicans in North Carolina – which sounded dismal. But there’s a missing piece.
When Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980 voter registration in North Carolina was Democratic 71%, Republican 25%, Independent 4%.
In the last 37 years Democratic registration has dropped 32 points, Republican registration has risen 5 points, and Independent registration has risen 26 points. That sounds simple but it’s a tad misleading too: Because in the last decade Democrats and Republicans both have been dropping while Independents have been going up and up and up.
In the mean streets of the political world the math is inescapable: Democrats have been falling faster than Republicans for almost forty years but since they started at 71% they’re still ahead.
But that’s not the important question – this is: Why have voters turned their backs on both parties? The straightest road to an answer may be to ask: Who is to blame for the broken politics in Washington?
A hyper-partisan Republican will say, The Democrats, and a hyper-partisan Democrat will say, Trump and the Republicans, but more than half the Republicans, half the Democrats and most of the Independents say, Both are to blame.
How did we land in that mess?
Here’s a suggestion: Sixteen years ago, back in 2001, Osama bin Laden landed us in two wars and we’re still fighting both – we’ve failed to win either war through a Republican President, a Democratic President, and through both Republican and Democratic Congresses. America’s been at war all my children’s – and probably all your children’s – adult lives.
Is it any wonder people blame both parties?