Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: Why Independents Are Abandoning The Democratic Party

One of the great lousy things about politics is that everything, no matter how obvious it may appear, can be twisted, spun, and finagled to serve one side or the other.

If you want to see this in action, take a look at an article in the Politico called “Dems alarmed as independents bolt.”

You see, independents are abandoning the Democratic Party in droves, all across the country, and the article quotes Democrat after Democrat trying to spin it all away.

Pat Waak, the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said the party had so far failed to convince independent voters of the steps it had taken to improve the economy.

“I think the economy is at the base of the tension,” she said. “Quite frankly, we’ve got to do a better job of messaging. There’s a lot of work to be done to get independents more comfortable with what we’re doing.”

Oh yeah, the problem isn’t all the unpopular policies the Democrats are pursuing, it’s just messaging.

“Listen, it hasn’t been an easy time,” said T.J. Rooney, a former state legislator and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “It’s almost like we’re a victim of our own success. When you’re governing, that changes the political dynamic.”

Is that another way of saying that it’s easy to promise “hope” and “change” on the campaign trail, but when you get into office, people actually get to see what you meant by that in practice instead of just imagining whatever their heart desires?

Michael Dimock, a pollster for the Pew Research Center – which reported in a new survey that only 45 percent of independents want their own representative to return to Congress – also believes Democrats have suffered for their inability to move the ball on key agenda items such as health care.

“I think it’s about action and not about words right now. The public wants to see action,” said Dimock. “I’m not sure words are going to help Democrats at this point. They’ve got to achieve some successes.”

In all fairness to the Democrats, I heard this same dumb spin when Republicans were in — you know, right before the country kicked them out of power? “Oh, no, it couldn’t be that we’re pushing policies people don’t like despite the fact that they’re doing everything humanly possible to wave us off, it’s that we haven’t gotten anything done.” This is perhaps the dumbest belief of the Beltway crowd: That it’s better politically to “get something done,” even if it’s bad policy and the American people don’t want it.

“What we saw are more independents who are like Republicans and fewer independents who are like Democrats,” said Brad Lawrence, a veteran Democratic media consultant in New Jersey who worked for Corzine. “I think there was an enthusiasm gap.”

“This was not the same group of independents who showed up in 2008,” noted Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist. “For Obama’s election, the participating independents were more moderate; for Christie and McDonnell, the composition of the independents that came to the polls was more conservative. It’s this self-selection among the independent voter pool that helped the Democrats in 2008 and hurt them in 2009.”

This spin allows the Democrats to say: Gee, if only we were slamming our unpopular agenda through, all the liberal leaning independents would like us, and they’d turn out to vote. Of course, when you look at the raw numbers, you find that Independents are against the Democratic agenda, so passing their agenda would cost them votes, not gain them votes.

“It looks a lot worse than it really is,” said John Anzalone, a veteran Democratic pollster. “Independents aren’t just falling away from Democrats.”

That’s true to an extent. Some Republicans are changing their registration to Independent as well. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t change the fact that the number of Independents leaning towards the Republicans plus the number of Republicans appears to be greater than the number of Independents leaning toward the Democrats and Democrats.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, acknowledged that the recent polls constituted “red flags” for Democrats. But he said voters remained unsatisfied with a Republican Party that, he said, had yet to demonstrate an ability to prove it has answers to the problems facing the country.

“I take this data with a grain of salt,” Menendez told POLITICO. “At this moment in time, we may not be doing as well with independents as I’d like, but Republicans aren’t doing well, either.”

It’s true that Republicans aren’t doing well, but they’re doing a lot better than you, buddy.

Here’s the bottom line: Democrats are pushing an unpopular agenda that Americans don’t want and believe is bad for the country. In addition, they’re not living up to their campaign promises. They’re allowing corruption to go unchecked. They’re lying constantly. They promised bipartisanship and gave us the most partisan Congress and presidency in history. They’re hurting the country domestically and doing a ruinous job on foreign policy. Even with most of the mainstream media flacking for the Democratic Party, people can see what’s going on and they don’t like it. When that’s going on, it shouldn’t take a spin doctor or a political analyst to figure out why Independents are falling away from the Democratic Party.

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