10/28/2010 12:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When Independents Turn Stupid (and Vote for Republican Extremists)

There are a number of reasons why Republicans will win next Tuesday, likely taking back the House (if not the Senate) and doing very well at the state level. The so-called "enthusiasm gap" is a big reason, with anti-government yet also theocratic Tea Party-led Republicans frothing at the mouth, as is the general and thoroughly irrational anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the country. But it seems that "independents," that ever-so-important group, are also pushing this election to the GOP.

As Time is reporting, new polls show independents helping Republicans to the lead in four key Senate races:

-- In Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey is leading Joe Sestak 49-45.

-- In Kentucky, Rand Paul is leading Jack Conway 50-43.

-- In Colorado, Ken Buck is leading Michael Bennet 47-46.

-- In Nevada, Sharron Angle is leading Harry Reid 49-45.

Of course, independents are not the only group, or demographic, pushing these Republicans over the top. In Nevada, for example, Angle maintains "sizable margins among males, white voters and voters over 50." And, of course, these are four somewhat purple states where state-wide Republican wins aren't at all surprising. It makes some sense, even if their specific policies/views do not, that Paul's libertarianism is popular, that Angle is ahead of a deeply unpopular incumbent (and Democratic leader), and that Buck may pull out a victory in a flip-flopping state that can usually go either way. Even Toomey's lead is understandable. Pennsylvania can be described as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between. It's a purple state that is Democratic only because of its two metropolises. When the urban vote isn't there, Republicans can win.

I say that it "makes some sense," but at least three of these four are ideological extremists who shouldn't win, ever. I'll leave Toomey off that list, though he too has embraced the far right, such as on climate change. And, poor economy and anti-incumbent sentiment aside, it makes absolutely no sense that these three are leading, solidly, among independents -- most of whom, presumably, are more or less in the wishy-washy center, and who should be swayed against such Republican extremism even if they don't much care for what Democrats have to offer either.

Take Buck, for example, who is an anti-gay bigot and a theocrat who objects to the separation of church and state. Or Angle, whose sheer craziness, as she has proven throughout this campaign, is enormous. In this year of collective voter ignorance and insanity, of fear, anger, and bitterness dominating the political landscape and motivating voters to make terrible choices, it's almost surprising that independents aren't putting the supremely unqualified Christine O'Donnell over the top in Delaware. In some states, like Delaware and New York, where the anti-gay bigot and wealthy teabagger Carl Paladino will get crushed in the gubernatorial race, I suppose not even delusional independents are enough.

This, of course, would not be the first time that voters turned stupid. But while we can expect Republicans to embrace the most partisan and most ideologically extreme of their kind, independents are supposed to know better, are they not? Well, no. Some may suppose that they do, but they don't. The David Broder-influenced media drool all over independents, giving them a place of prominence they don't deserve, as if they are by far the most important voters in America, but, really, they often don't much of a clue and are easily manipulated, this year by Republican propaganda.

Call me a cynic, but I think this Family Guy clip about undecided (and hence more or less independent) voters (which I found here), with Lois running for mayor against incumbent Adam West and, on Brian's advice, resorting to GOP-style appeals to idiocy ("Jesus," "9/11" -- you might as well put "tax cuts" in there, too), says it all:

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)