Service of Independents

September 4th, 2012

Categories: Independents, Perspective, Vote


I see irony in the fact that independents and undecided voters may determine who wins the presidential election because we have become a country focused so much on teams.

College and grad school work is largely accomplished in teams; people refer to their associates at work as teammates and then of course millions root for their favorites, which is nothing new.

In addition, many belong to clubs, organizations, churches and political parties.

sheep1One of the things my father repeated most often when, as a child, I’d whine that “all the girls were doing” whatever it was that he forbade was “that’s precisely why you won’t be doing it.” He was active in a range of sports from soccer to tennis and belonged to a range of teams, yet at the same time, he was obsessed about not being a sheep i.e. a follower. His outlook, a strict one, was annoying-to-painful but as a result, while a happy team player when appropriate, I’m comfortable speaking up and acting independently.

My bet is that wavering, crucial independents are driving President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s handlers crazy because they are trying to hug mercury. What advice do you have for these handlers? What do you suggest they do to get independents to vote for their candidate or to vote at all? Do the independents feel comfortable in their skin and do they recognize their power?


6 Responses to “Service of Independents”

  1. Mervyn Kaufman Said:

    I have a curious regard for so-called independents. These are people who, I believe, vote on impulse…because they lack either the knowledge or conviction to vote their best interests. Mrs. Romney’s red dress…Mr. Ryan’s blue eyes…these are two of the extraneous factors that could ultimately influence such unreliable voters. Yes, I’m sure there are some dedicated voters who really are independent, who weigh all the issues at every election, thus swing back and forth between the party slates. But I suspect their number is pretty small and, frankly, not worth fighting over.

  2. Lucrezia Said:

    The term “handler” suggests herding and/or training of animals, and is insulting. One would like to think that both candidates have been endowed with sufficient intellect to be capable of making decisions without help. It’s fun to imagine any attempt to “handle” Harry Truman.

    Independents serve a healthy purpose, since they often bring refreshing ideas into the arena. Existence of independents may well hurt one or both main candidacies, but it grants choices to those who don’t support the main act. The allegation that voting other than mainstream is a waste of a vote is illogical. The one who throws out his vote is the slob who for whatever reason (rarely an intelligent one) refuses to show up at the polls, and it’s towards that slob that negative attention should be directed.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think you can be a registered Democrat or Republican but nevertheless approach every election afresh, weighing the pros and cons of a candidate, your party or not. Take the last election. I knew many lifelong Republicans who could not overlook Sarah Palin and would say to themselves, “I can’t vote for Obama, but I can’t vote for McCain in the event he becomes ill and we’d have that dingbat in office, but I can’t vote for Obama,” and in the end, they did vote for Obama.

    Take these Republicans now. The economy hasn’t improved and we’re still at war so they are not tickled with the President, and they may not like Ryan’s politics and worry about a wavering Romney and the specter of someone who totally favors the super rich.

    All these voters are thoughtful….yet they don’t know what to think!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    How right you are….and handler is what they are called, I didn’t invent the word. They tried to reinvent Al Gore by changing his clothes; the first President Bush by making him one of the folks which he never was nor would ever be and now they are working on Gov. Romney to loosen him up and make him appear more human and less Leave it to Beaver.

    I imagine that FDR or Eisenhower wouldn’t have reacted kindly to their suggestions either and I posit that most do not improve. When the person being handled isn’t comfortable with the physical or verbal tweak, it ends up as poorly as it would for anybody else who follows advice that doesn’t fit them. If you can’t tell a joke well, a coach may tell you to start your speech with a joke, but you play with fire. Trying to act who you aren’t, unless you’re an actor, doesn’t work in the long run.

  5. Hester Craddock Said:

    It’s funny the point you make about independents in American politics.

    When the boys set up the whole scheme of checks and balances, they hadn’t even invented party politics, hence there was nothing there to be independent of. However, notwithstanding that, the chief architects of the scheme, Madison and Hamilton, perhaps without thinking through what they were doing, were already hard at work setting up what eventually became the Democratic and Federalist Parties. The argument as to whether party politics is a good or bad thing has been going on ever since.

    Even as late as 1820, though, we had an uncontested election for President. President Monroe ran for, and was reelected as President without opposition.

    For my money, the present setup could be worse, but could be improved should we seek to limit all three: the franchise to the educated, the time and money spent on elections, and power that “big” everything exerts over all government. I regret to write that I’m not particularly concerned about what happens to the independents.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Wonderful perspective and history lesson.

    I’m thinking that now’s the time to add a third party and to limit the time in which any politician can run for office at any level and remove the ability of corporations to donate unlimited funds. If politicians are spending so much money, time and energy on running for office, they aren’t doing their jobs and we all suffer.

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