This is an exciting time and a challenging time for independent voters and for the independent movement.
Independents are now 40% of the electorate. Polls show that 41% of college students consider themselves indies as do 35% of African Americans under the age of 30.
Independents have been participating in the presidential primary process in record numbers and have played an integral role in shaping the presidential season: On the Democratic side by fueling the candidacy of Barack Obama and making him competitive with the once presumed nominee Hillary Clinton. And on the Republican side by resurrecting the campaign of Senator John McCain, pushing him to the front of a large pack of conservative contenders.
When we founded CUIP 14 years ago, we had two main goals in mind. One, we wanted to create networks of independent voters all across the country who could participate in politics – as independents – and shape the political dialogue and the needed restructuring of the political process. We also believed that the independent movement had to grow from the-bottom-up and not through the fame and fortune of a single individual.
Our experience has taught us that independents can come together – with whatever ideological or issue differences of opinion we might have – based on the need to reform the political system and make people, not partisanship, the driving force in our democracy.