As the parties have polarized they have grown the divide between them and subtracted a large number of registered voters from their rolls. This polarization has increased the ranks of reported independents substantially.
The old Joni Mitchell line, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone" applies to public higher education these days. Most states have dramatically cut financial support of their research universities.
How do Independents manage to rise above party politics while the rest of the electorate is divided by ideology? Well, perhaps they don't. New evidence suggests that the label "Independent" may imply more objectivity and purity than these Independents deserve.
In the current situation, where the issue of the day is one of process, Americans understandably see minor parties as smaller versions of the major parties. They are declaring their independence from parties of all kinds.
Christians cannot join the ranks of the politically apathetic. Whatever following Jesus means, it cannot be merely a private matter. But we aren't forced to choose a human-formed party with a systemized divide-and-conquer agenda either.
After a lifetime of being a moderate Republican candidate, official, consultant and staffer, Dave has no trouble saying that he voted for Obama in 2008 and plans to again. But he's having a devil of a time saying that he's a Democrat now.
I was honored and humbled that syndicated columnist Tom Friedman this week suggested I consider running for president, putting me forward as a third choice to voters. But our need is bigger than for me -- or any other third-party candidate
If the remarkable pattern of monthly Republican frontrunner changes had structural reasons, then the pattern could be repeated in the general election campaign, with potentially several minor party candidates rising in polls.
The need for a new voice is evident. The major parties have proven themselves incapable of proposing, and implementing, intellectually honest solutions to the problems undermining the long-term health of our country.
We might not all agree on which politician is best for any given office, but we can all agree that every politician is made worse by the two-party system. So let's at least get rid of that before we do anything else.
Did independent voters make a mark in Iowa on Tuesday, as they did so conspicuously for the insurgent Barack Obama in 2008? And, do the Iowa results provide us with new insight into the aspirations of this mass of anti-partisan Americans?
Our two national political parties mirror their extreme "Orange County" and "San Francisco" counterparts, championing rigid ideology over common sense. Small wonder only 15 percent of Americans have confidence in the federal government.
We, the people, consistent with our nation's founding principles and in keeping with our sacred duties, in national association declare our independence from the politics of the two major political parties.
Independents are just plain disgruntled. They're looking for solutions to basic problems.
Independents are also fickle, and vote irregularly, but they have decided most elections, even in San Francisco.
The people trying to wake us up to the realities of global warming have taken to calling themselves "climate hawks." In the field of Republican presidential candidates, we are seeing a new breed emerge: climate chickens.