There seems to be a general dislike of independent voters who vote party lines, based on ideas that those who vote party lines are uninformed, follow the crowd or are lazy.
Perhaps that reasoning is based on more than just their party labels, however.
Independent voters are generally not associated with a party of their own, though “independent voters” is slowly growing into its own party.
However, these voters, also known as swing voters, can change the outcome of an election. We see it as opening up the traditional democratic process of either-or elections and affiliations, and putting a new ideological perspective on parties’ policies.
According to the Washington Post, since 1992, true independents make up only about 7 to 10 percent of the electorate, but about 40 percent of voters associate themselves with the independent party. In response to this, I say independents are allowed to change and agree with a party if that is their viewpoint at the time of the election.
If so, let them associate themselves with that party at the time, because they will most likely change their opinions in the future.
Every human does, within and outside of politics. I like using stories to explain myself and the way I think.
I grew up in a very conservative household where if I disagreed with the authoritative views, arguments would follow, and the only news source available to watch in the living room at night was Fox News.
Now, while I believe that conservative views helped shape my moral values and convictions and have contributed positively to my character, I have come to understand that my views are truly different from the conformative conservative because there are some liberal viewpoints support.
Yet I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. I believe independent voters are more than what people label us.
For me, and I believe a good percentage of independents would agree, our world is constantly changing, so nothing is written concretely. People change political parties all the time. And one of the reasons they continue to do so is because, like me, these people are still learning. When I say learning, I mean absolutely anything, from learning patterns of behavior in politics to a philosophy about what is true versus what is just.
If you put yourself in a position to only see one perspective in life, you are not allowing yourself to learn and grow.
Human morals, convictions and values do change. In order for me to uphold any set word I give people, I want to be able to present my views in a way that shows others that I am open to listening and respecting their views rather than proceeding with my own agenda and projecting disregard for their claims. Experience leads humans to better understand the world around them, and this can be applied to politics, too.
Once I understand how a specific policy affects others, how a certain party’s view shapes an idea, or how a leader goes about matters in his or her position, I am better able to understand the politics that surround those situations. By being an independent, I am able to look critically at all viewpoints that are presented and form my own opinions based on the evidence provided and my own personal experiences.
Independents can be undecided voters, but our ideological views leads us to better understand the politics behind the politics and make informed decisions based on those findings.
It means taking our view of the world around us and applying those views to what we as independents may potentially believe in politics.
As said by Reason Magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch, “It’s not necessarily who you register with, but how do you feel (on those issues).”
Kate McGuire is a freshman journalism major from Waterloo, Iowa. She is a staff writer for the Lariat.