Tears of an Independent Centrist

By Rick Boettger

This is a great time to be a mainstream Democrat or Republican, as both sides feel they have good reason to back their sure-thing Presidential candidates. Great majorities support Biden and Trump with committed passion.

But it is hell for us in the middle of America, a record 49% on a recent Gallup poll, as many as the Reds and Blues combined. And we think both colors are nuts.

Somehow our two-party system has made it inevitable that maybe the two worst possible candidates for either party are set to run again, even though only FIVE PERCENT of American voters want this rematch. Around 65% in each party do not want their guy to run, even while they are overwhelmingly supporting both in the primaries.

How on earth is this happening? Simple: enthusiastic teamwork, featuring the ever-popular “Groupthink.” Fueled by cheerleading media, Reds and Blues see only the good in their guy and the evil in the other’s.

Many of the differences are standard—Reds want lower taxes, Blues want more spending. Reds want less government regulation, Blues want more. Reds want more oil drilling, Blues want electric cars. Blues favor Choice, Reds favor Life. These are the normal disagreements of a healthy democracy, resolved by sensible citizens making their choices. Nothing nuts about these differences.

But these are in the dim background of what dominates the passions behind our two candidates today. I understand one-quarter of you are going to hate my criticisms of both sides to follow, but please understand that the 49% of us who want neither are in our camp because we believe both of your political parties have gone just plain nuts.

Our biggest objection is the outright crimes: for Trump, overturning an election; for Biden, being involved in Hunter’s foreign businesses. Now, PLEASE, you party devotees, this is how it looks to the rest of us! From the parties’ points of view, their guy is being unjustly accused, and the other guy is guilty as hell, as faithfully parroted by both their own national news stations and their favorite blogs,

It has actually become hilarious, watching the opposing news media: most extreme are Fox and MSNBC, which have become essentially non-stop political ads for their guys. Fox will spend 80% of its air time attacking Hunter/Joe Biden, even more for MSNBC glorying in Trump’s cascade of indictments. Fox will at least discuss the indictments, even though mostly to vilify his prosecutors. MSNBC has almost completely avoided any mention of Hunter’s millions from foreign governments for no discernible work product whatsoever, and has never even mentioned the flood of shell corporations showering millions all over the family. The only discussion in the past was denying Hunter’s laptop, which was a just plain fraudulent coverup, admitted without apology now. The only coverage at all of Hunter’s problems was by interviewing HIS LAWYER, who, as a fine professional advocate, told an extremely slanted view of the facts, as though the shell companies do not exist.

Next most bizarre are both parties’ pushing a triumph into defeat. For the Reds, overturning Roe v. Wade with their majority on the Supreme Court allowed them to convert their Red states into abortion-free zones. But that was not enough. They want the same in Blue states, and a national version of an anti-Roe v. Wade law. Meanwhile, the Blue victory in the inclusion wars led to acceptance of all sexual orientations and races into deep portions of America, from the Presidency to the military. But this has gone from not just supporting transgender rights, but demanding that born-female athletes lose their athletic trophies to people raised on testosterone, something about bathrooms, and, this is truly hard to believe, that kids at school with transgender issues can keep it secret from their parents. Both positions fire up the opposition, while adding not a single vote from our plurality of centrists.

We don’t have to even have an opinion on or even care about these two issues to just drop our jaws at the nutsiness of the two parties doing this to themselves. Shooting themselves in the foot, scoring an own-goal, makes normal voters simply lose respect for them, kind of the old broken-windows effect.

Worst to me is the Ukraine war, as I’ve debated at length in Konk Life before. It keeps getting worse. This is less a castigation of one side against the other’s differing blind spot, since both are still all-in, though the war keeps getting more pointless. Again, the parties’ devotees get to feel all excited about this war, but you are losing an increasing majority of your voters.

As I said above, the main explanation for this madness is “team spirit,” as we called it in school. Only Americans get to do this through their college years and beyond for their sports teams. Right now I see Reds and Blues like those fans all painted up and wearing cheese-heads or the like, mad with love for THEIR TEAM. Love for our team demands of course a hatred of the other. Winning is all. This leads to Groupthink, a blindness to obvious errors in decision-making due to no one’s wanting to offend the group sensibility (google it if this is a new word for you—it explains about 95% of decision making catastrophes).

What I have no answer for is what we sad independent centrists can do about it, except cry. No third party will ever win in our lifetimes, just as we’ll never break up into separate Red and Blue States of America. Trying to keep my spirits up only makes these the Tears of a Clown . . .the team-spirit song of our hopeless Third Party.

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