The Independent Voter: Chapter 2-Independents in American History
By Al Bell, Arizona Independent Voter’s Network
It is clear that Independent Voters have been making a difference in election outcomes for some time at national and states levels. Yet, mainstream political commentators don’t understand who these pivotal voters really are. That is not surprising; a lack of information and a surplus of disinformation, combined with a large dose of elitist arrogance, conceal this important sector of Americana from accurate appraisal.
Fortunately, that is changing. The Independent Voter sheds a fresh light of clarity on these citizens. I have been asked to comment on Chapter 2: Independents in American History.
If you are going to remember but once sentence from Chapter 2, make it this one:
Insofar as the United States of America has been an invention, independents have been its revolutionary driving force, reimagining it over and again through their political action.
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
We learn early on that President Washington was not a fan of parties. He was a master of understatement. Throughout reconstruction, independent movements, including rarely visited collaboration between Black and White poor American farmers, emerged, faded, and reemerged again. This early history reflects the first of two important threads throughout the book: an emphasis on the seldom-told story of Black Independents who sought electoral parity and scored significant achievements.
Later, with a different cast of characters, a similar grasp of the interdependence underpinning our society took hold. “Independent” remains a supreme irony of terms, given that the label we have accepted for ourselves is anchored in reference to those wily parties. Beyond ironic, actually.
Chapter 2 reveals a rocky path toward the 21st Century that did not anticipate the recent exhilarating leap in visibility of Americans who choose to continue that troublesome habit of thinking for themselves. They own a proud, though painful, heritage. Attention, analysis, and invention are now on steroids regarding these Americans. I think the major reason, as revealed in the ahistorical 2022 elections, is the tragically incompetent governance delivered by the duopoly. They behave like two scorpions in a bottle. And the people finally noticed. Mostly, but not only, Independents.
The book’s second pathway, set up by Chapter 2, tracks a major component of the independent movement centered on independentvoting.org and its earlier incarnations.
There are many other important players in the drama, but none with such an unbroken record in modern times.
Which leads to my final observation. Our Great American Experiment is a worthwhile experiment. This book and the chapter reviewed here offer dynamic evidence that thoughtful, dedicated patriots, acting without high-powered allies, have made a powerful difference. As I said before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Al Bell lives in Peoria, AZ and is a co-founder, with Richard Sinclair, of the recently initiated Arizona Independent Voter’s Network, designed to link the Independent Voting community for greater effectiveness. Al served on Independent Voting’s Eyes on 2020 National Cabinet, working to get the 2020 presidential primaries open to independents across the country.