Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Muse About Reasons Some Voters Might Remain Independent Instead Of Registering Republican

Bob Mercer reports that South Dakota's Republicans are beginning to look for the underlying reasons that more voters are registering as independents.
We’re told by some reliable sources that Republicans under new chairman Craig Lawrence are trying to figure out why new voters have been trending independent so heavily, especially in the Sioux Falls area. In rough numbers, since the 2006 general election, Republicans are up nearly 5,000, while Democrats are down 1,000-plus (and have seen the huge 2008 Obama-Clinton surge melt away). Meanwhile independents are up more than — and this is not a misprint — 25,000.
On a side note, the fact that Democrats are losing registrants in the only area of the state that can be remotely considered metropolitan should cause the party consternation. The party is either unconcerned, playing things extremely close to the vest, or too disorganized to openly discuss stopping the hemorrhaging. (I suppose Mercer could have conveniently failed to mention that they, like their Republican counterparts, are attempting to discern why they are losing voters, but there's little to be gained from withholding that bit of reporting.)

In college I was a proud non-fraternity GDI (God Damned Independent.) Politically, I remain displaced, so I'll offer Republican chairperson Lawrence a few observations.

First, the Republican coalition is more than a little weird. Libertarians want to legalize drugs and have minimal regulations on personal behavior. Christian conservatives who vote only on social issues are frequently at odds with the libertarian wing. The tea party folk want to shut down the government, but many of the corporate Republicans lobby for more corporate welfare. If these constituencies created Jesus from whole cloth, he would be smoking a joint, perpetually angry, and wearing a $5,000 suit.

Second, the party's RINO hunters are so loud and off-putting that I feel dirty every time I agree with them. I usually can console myself with the fact that I have far different reasons for coming to similar conclusions. I know of no one who agrees with another person 100% of the time, but RINO hunters seem to demand complete agreement. Most folks who can choose between being screamed at and registering as independent will choose being independent.

Third, having controlled Pierre for decades, some Republican leaders are smug and condescending. I know Republicans have been in charge and balanced the budget every year. I know they claim to have created a business climate that gets high ratings. I also know that the state gets back more federal tax dollars than it sends in. The good hasn't been accomplished only through in-state thrift.

In a similar vein, Mike Rounds's flying around the state and putting his entire extended family plus a few dead ancestors on the state payroll provides another reason to stay independent. (The extent of Rounds's nepotism depicted in the previous sentence constitutes hyperbole, an accepted literary device.) More recently, Jason Gant's follies provide another example the corrosive arrogance that accompanies unchallenged power.

Finally, I have seen no evidence that Republicans will favor policies that benefit a hard working plumber instead of  polices that benefit a spoiled trust fund brat whenever those two policies come into conflict.

I doubt Craig Lawrence will like this post, but if he didn't want to know why I register independent, he shouldn't have asked.

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