Number of the Day

40%: The percentage of USians identifying as political independents in 2011.

Here are two myths about Independents: 1. They are centrists who fall somewhere in between the two major parties; and 2. They lean rightward.

Only slightly more Independents lean rightward than leftward, and many of those who identify as political independents are, in fact, either more conservative than the Republican Party (yiiiiiiiiikes) or more liberal than the Democratic Party. It is vanishingly rare that the media ever mentions progressive independents who find no representation in Washington (besides Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the single socialist Senator in the entirety of the US Senate), but, as Congress moves rightward, there are increasing numbers of progressive independents who no longer affiliate with the Democratic Party.

The right-leaning centrists meme, however, is very useful in making sure no one ever gets the foolish idea to try to appeal to the alienated left.

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