Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Gareth Edmundson Headshot

Romney and Obama Are Making the Independent Voter Extinct

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

If you are a real true independent voter in the United States right now, I'd take a trip to the National Zoo and visit the giant pandas. Why? Well there are just about as many pandas left in the world as there are undecided voters like you left in America so you might as well stick together. Secondly, the panda might know how you feel, considering that their numbers have dwindled and yet everyone seems to have ignored their plight.

I know this all sounds a bit silly but there is a serious point here. Conventional election wisdom up until recently was focused on candidates courting the undecided or wavering voter. It was this middle ground that would be the crucial difference between becoming the leader of the free world and being the leader of the guest lecture circuit. You only have to look back to Clinton or Reagan and witness them debating policies to win undecideds as proof.

But these days, undecided voters only make up about 6 percent of the vote and this is likely to fall further. Why? Ladies and gentlemen I give you the relentless and shameful practices of campaign Romney vs. campaign Obama.

Both candidates seem to be entering into the worst kind of trench warfare. Just when we thought that negative campaigning couldn't get any worse, an Obama-supporting PAC runs an advertisement of a guy who explains his wife died of cancer because Romney, whilst working at Bain, had closed down his factory and in doing so closed down their health are too. There you are people: Obama says that a vote for Mitt Romney will give you cancer. Seriously, are you kidding me?

Likewise, every time Obama's team hits Romney's record, back comes equal hate about Obama being a tax-raising, deficit=loving socialist hell bent on bankrupting America.

Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his VP is yet another example of his election tactics. The conservative right wing of the Republican party has never really liked Romney. After all, Romney is the one who has had a liberal dalliance over abortion and health care. What does Romney do? Select a chap who thinks millionaires shouldn't pay tax just to get Mr. & Mrs. Dukes of Hazard from Republicansville excited enough to fire their assault rifles in the air.

Back and forth Obama and Biden and Romney and Ryan will go until November when election day will end this madness and we will have a winner.

Designing campaigns and picking running mates to do nothing more than make the people who support you anyway either angry enough or scared enough to make sure they vote for you is nothing more than appealing to the lowest common denominator. It's turning this year's election into some sort of weird political West Side Story with each side trying to make sure that more of their own gang shows up on election day.

And whilst our two prize fighters throw punch after punch below the belt, our poor giant panda befriending independents in the center ground are vanishing at an alarming rate, desperate for a real debate on the issues. They are shut out of the opportunity to see and engage in meaningful political discourse and are robbed of the opportunity to make a balanced and informed choice on who to vote for.

America's first president and official hero and chief George Washington wasn't a member of a political party. He thought party politics created conflict and stagnation of the system. He wanted America's politicians to follow his non-partisan independent lead. Oh how he must be looking down at Romney and Obama leading the America into a more polarized, negative and entrenched party political system with despair. I'm not saying that we should scrap party politics but maybe Romney and Obama should go to the bottom of the Washington Monument and apologize to big George. Who knows, maybe a little of his leadership will inspire them to raise the bar and talk to the undecideds again.

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results