Newsletter: Three myths about independent voters

Independent voters are misunderstood. By damn near everyone. This week, I'll share three myths you're going to hear about independent voters between now and election day. And I'll offer just a couple things you can do - right now - to change the story.

Get over yourself.

Just after I pressed send on last Monday's newsletter (available here if you missed it), Hilary Clinton demanded independent voters like you and me get over ourselves. The crowd roared in approval.

And so it begins: the election-year ritual of chastising independent voters for having minds of our own. For not just submitting to the will of DC insiders who condescend with "most important election of all time" rhetoric. Again.

Independent voters are misunderstood. By damn near everyone. This week, I'll share three myths about independent voters you're going to hear between now and election day. In many cases, they've already begun. And I'll offer just a couple things you can do - right now - to change the story.

LetUsVote Newsletter: how do we change the story?

Okay, let's kick it off with our three myths about independent voters.

1) Independents Don't Exist

First up is the doozy of denial: independents don't exist. Independent voters are actually Republicans and Democrats in sheep's clothing; we're just "leaners" with a holier-than-thou attitude, claiming to be above the partisan fray. Two prominent examples come from FiveThirtyEight and The New Republic.

Their points are slightly different, but the thrust is this: when it comes right down to it, independent voters inevitably "lean" one way or the other: either Republican or Democrat.

It's an absurd argument. Imagine claiming, at the advent of the television when the electronic world lived in black and white, that there's no such thing as blue, green, red or yellow. "They're all a bit more black or a bit more white." And we'd say, "Well, no. You're forcing us into this false world in which everything becomes black or white. But I'm a big fan of magenta." And they'd tell you magenta doesn't exist, you should get over yourself, and you're actually all about black so stop pretending to care about white.

There are more than two schools of thought, but there are rarely more than two choices. Square peg, round hole.

2) Independents Already Have Equal Voting Rights

I hear this one constantly, especially on social media: independents do have equal rights. Just like everyone else, they can choose to join a political party to vote in primaries. Don't want to join a party? Tough luck.

I'd give you my response, but I'll do you one better: I interviewed DC resident and independent voter Kris Furnish a few weeks ago, and she has the best response I've ever heard:

"I shouldn't have to join your party to participate in democracy, that's what I have to say. Because your party does not represent my values, and you prove that time and time again, so why should I have to join your party? I mean, I might still even vote for you, but I don't want to join your club."

3) Independent Voters Are Moderates

There's this line of thinking that all independent voters are milquetoast moderates, mumbling platitudes like why can't we all just get along?

The truth is this: I meet independents every day, and their reasons for political independence are all very different. Sure, some (like me!) left the Republican Party with the rise of Trump. But many left the Democratic Party because it isn't progressive enough, or the Republican Party because it doesn't align with their version of conservatism.

In the coming weeks, we'll release an interview series with independents from across the country. In those interviews, I've learned that independent voters share one key common principle: independents care about people and policy, not parties.

How do we bust these myths?

So that leads us to the big question: how do you and me, together, bust these myths? How do we change the narrative?

This is the reason we launched LetUsVote. This is the reason for everything we do. We must share the stories of independent voters - we must tell our OWN stories. The real, human stories of independents are the drum we must beat to counter these obnoxious, inside-the-beltway narratives that have become so dominant in our politics.

That means you.

We share videos every day of the week from independents, and I deeply believe this is what matters the most. If you want your story featured, share it with us, either in writing or by uploading a quick 1-minute video:

Click to Share: Why are you an independent?

Every day, we share these stories on our social media accounts. So follow us there, and help us spread the word about incredible independent voters all across the country:

Alright, that's it for myths on independent voters. On Wednesday, I'll continue sharing those real, human stories from independents just like you and me. When I do, please take a look. If you like what you see, share it with friends and family. It matters more than you know.

If you support what we're doing here at LetUsVote, please know that any contribution - big or small - helps us keep up the work of building a unique and totally new community for independent voters. It would mean the world if you can contribute.

Thank you for all you do.


Will Conway

Campaign Director - LetUsVote