Newsletter: Independent voters exist

The New York Times says independent voters don't exist. This week in the newsletter: why that makes absolutely no sense. We exist, we're here, and we're speaking up.

Do you exist? 

Are you sure?

Okay, good. I'm pretty sure I do too. But I read this article in the New York Times, which claims based on a recent Pew survey that 49% of voters identify as Democrats and 48% identify as Republicans. That leaves just 3% of voters to identify as independents.

The real number is actually between 43%-50%. But that's the worst part! The article quietly handwaves away independent voters altogether. In a throwaway line after asserting that 97% of Americans identify as partisans, they write:

"The report groups independents, who tend to behave like partisans even if they eschew the label, with the party they lean toward."

In what ways do we "behave like partisans?"

In today's newsletter, we'll cover why that makes absolutely no sense.

LetUsVote Newsletter: independent voters exist.

Articles like the one I quoted above are nothing new. Mainstream talking heads haven't known what to do with the growing community of independent voters for decades. Google independent voters don't exist, and you'll see a multidecade pattern of mainstream news sources claiming independents don't exist, don't matter, or both.

This is silly. Do independent voters tend to vote for Democrats or Republicans on election day? Sure! They're the only viable candidates with ballot lines and serious political backing.

But independent voters might vote for a Republican one year and a Democrat the next - or the opposite. We switch. We switch all the time, according to the data.

I'm one of these people. Not only did I vote for Republicans, I worked in Republican politics until 2014. I had dedicated my career and most of my waking hours to advancing a specific party.

But I saw the Republican Party going down a track I didn't like, and I left. I've since voted for Democrats, independents and a handful of local Republicans. I vote for candidates I like.

I have no doubt you have a similar story. At LetUsVote, we've now heard stories from over 150 different independent voters.

The specifics differ each time. Some of us are lifelong independents. Some, like me, left the Republican Party. Some left the Democratic Party. Two people might leave the same party for very different reasons.

But the similarities are striking: independent voters vote for people, not parties.

Don't believe me? Here's a sampling of very different independent voters telling LetUsVote the same thing in their own unique way:

That's just a sampling of six recent stories. We've heard hundreds. If you'd like to explore more, click here to watch all of our Citizen Spotlights on YouTube.

That's why this work is so important. These stories need to be told to counter this incredibly unproductive narrative from the media.

As of today, LetUsVote is a community of exactly 4,542 independent voters. We've collected about 150 stories.

My personal goal is to grow this community to over 10,000 independent voters, and to hear 500 stories by Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is right around the corner. So I have two asks of you.

The first: share LetUsVote with 2 friends today. Click here to get your personal tracking link. Next week, we'll send an email celebrating the person who brought the most friends and family to LetUsVote.

The second? Your story! It needs to be told. Smash the button below and drop us a note, either via video or text. It's up to you:

Share Your Story

Okay, that's what we've got for now. On Wednesday, I'll share a few of the stories you shared with us today. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

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