America’s future rests with independent and swing voters

It’s well known America’s first president warned citizens – on Sept. 17, 1796 – about the negative impact political parties could have on the country. In George Washington’s farewell address, he felt politicians and their party of preference could become “unprincipled.”

The divisiveness our political parties and their operative sons and daughters have purposely brought upon America is disheartening and shameful.

With 2022 mid-term national- and state elections about eight weeks away, the negative partisanship ads have already begun. It’s a sad state of affairs we have to endure disinformation, misinformation, and political shenanigans every two years.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll noted that 55% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans believe it is “likely” that the US will “cease to be a democracy in the future” (Salon, June 23). An Aug. 12-16 NBC News poll revealed that 21% of registered voters rank “threats to democracy” as the most important issue.

The democracy time bomb is ticking.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone who identifies as a proud American and values unity, individualism, equality, self-government, liberty, and diversity.

Therefore, it could be argued the Tue., Nov. 8 election outcome will let us know in advance of the 2024 presidential election whether we’ll continue to live in a “Will of the People” democracy or if America will fall to fascism.

According to Gallup, as of March, 40% of voters are independent, 30% are Democrat, and 28% say they are Republican.

Party diehards who view their party policies as the gospel will blindly vote for their candidate – just like lemmings who can’t think on their own accord — even if she or he is the devil.

Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, the founding editor of The Cycle and revered election forecaster and analyst, feels 6-7% of swing voters (people who vote for a candidate opposite their registered party) affect every election. Plus, she notes that 6% of independents “tend to vote for whoever promises a break with the status quo” (Politico, 2020).

Independent voters are independent for a reason. They know we have a deeply divided and antagonistic political system. According to the Pew Research Center survey, about two-thirds of independents are swing voters because “both parties care more about special interests than about average Americans” (www.center-forward.org).

Linda Killian, a senior scholar at the non-partisan Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, notes about half of the independents are closet Democrats/Republicans who vote regularly with one party. The remaining 50% are truly independent, with their allegiance swinging from election to election (ibid).

While Bitecofer, Gallup, Pew Research Center, and Killian can’t agree as to the precise number of swing and independent voters, the message is the same: somewhere between 38 and 65 million voters are sick and tired of our political party propaganda peddlers.

Recognizing that independents detest negative campaign ads, today’s negative partisanship ads by the GOP and Democrats may drive independents to be even more serious about voting than heretofore. And, we know a lot of card-carrying Democrats and Republicans aren’t too pleased with their party, former politicians’ bold-face lies and antics, and currently elected politicians’ actions, let alone their non-actions.

It would be wise for every registered voter to take the Nov. 8, 2022 election seriously as it may – just may — give us an advance warning as to whether America will remain as a democracy or fall to fascism in 2024.

What type of citizen will you be on Tue., Nov. 8: a sit-at-home-non-participating voter, a party lemming, swing voter, or independent voter? Your heirs and our country’s future are dependent upon your precious vote, whether you view voting as a fundamental right or a privilege with responsibilities.


Steve is a non-paid freelance opinion editor and guest columnist (circa 2013) contributor to 192 newspapers in 31 states who receive no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, not-for-profit organization, political action committee, or political party.

Steve is Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls (1975-2013); Marketing Department Head (17 years); State of Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service (2003)

Steve graduated from Nevada H.S. (Nevada, IA) in 1966; University of Northern Iowa (1970 bachelor’s degree); Colorado State University (1972 master’s degree); Virginia Tech (1975 doctoral degree)

Steve was elected to public office three times and served on the Denver Community School District Board of Education (Denver, IA) for 11 years, serves on the Advisory Board of Discerning Wealth (Ameriprise Financial Services affiliate, Cedar Falls, IA), and is a member of the Cedar Falls Lions Club, Lions Clubs of Iowa and Lions Clubs International.

Steve is married to Doris J. Kelley (Iowa House of Representatives, 2007-2011; Chair/Vice-Chair/Executive Director, Iowa Board of Parole, 2011-2014; Board Member, Iowa’s Bipartisan 50-50 in Iowa, 2010-present; Board Member, League of Women Voters of Iowa, 2017-present; Chair, Iowa’s 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration, 2017-2021; Chair, Iowa Committee on Equal Rights Amendment Ratification, 2020-present; Member, League of Women Voters-USA Treasurer Committee, 2020-present) Steve has three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.