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Posts published in “Day: April 10, 2015”

Going Independent

rainey BARRETT


‘Tis silly season once again. Well, we used to call it that. Now, given the burgeoning crop of intellectually vacant, politically unknowing and governmentally deficient rabbits wanting to be Commander-In-Chief - without knowing what the job entails - it probably should be renamed “Threat To The Republic” season.

The first two “out-there-hares” to escape the hutch probably won’t finish near the top about 15 months from now when Republicans convene. One wants to bomb Iran back to parking lot status while denying global warming; the other is a serial plagiarizer who wants to eliminate half the federal government and deny foreign aid to any country for any reason.

A lady “hare” about to take the plunge blames liberals for California’s massive water problems. And global warming. Her various “positions” make it abundantly clear why - while seeking to promote women to upper management several years ago - a major company tossed her out of that upper level for continued incompetence. A fellow traveler - a former brain surgeon, no less - believes prison makes you gay - sees no difference between gay Americans and people practicing bestiality and being a pedophile - believes “the Affordable Care Act is the worst social idea in this country since slavery.”

Others of equally detached “thought” are whizzing around looking for a pet billionaire or two to pick up the tab for their assuredly abortive presidential candidacies. It’s an uncommonly unqualified field of some 18 or so seeking nothing more than to raise their profiles for subsequent speech, book and video sales post 2016, ala Newt and Santorum.

Looking to reality beyond these characters, Pew Research Center has been sampling again. Overall result is that more than 39% of us are moving away from the two parties and into “Independent” status. Highest level in more than 79 years of research. Asked which party they might “tilt” to a bit, a third said “Democrat” and about 20% said Republican.”

But here’s the meaty part. In the last year, negative impressions of government have displaced the economy atop Gallup’s continuing monthly polling of what we believe the most important national problem to be. For the first time in it’s lengthy history, Gallup found positive feelings for the two major parties has dropped below 40%. “Independent” continues to rise.

The single most important factor feeding the growing voter independency is young people. Under age 34, 48% consider themselves independents. At the same time, trend lines for older, white Americans have flattened. Bad news for the GOP. Other survey data shows more young folks are moving away from Republican leanings. Democrats get a bit of a bump but “Independent” twice as much. Republicans flat.

When pushed by Gallup questioners to pick one of the two established parties, those under age 34 go Democrat 51% - Republican 35%.

More bad GOP news. Those parts of the population growing most quickly - Hispanics, Asian-Americans, the non-religious and those with college degrees - vote far more Democrat than others. For Republicans, the core group of white, silent generation and white evangelical Protestants is in numerical decline.

While we have a couple of independent U.S. Senators, most most states don’t recognize Independent as a legitimate group - able to field candidates and register voters. So the “tilt” factor is still important for the two parties we do have. But that’s changing. Oregon has recognized Independent with party status. Other states are moving in that direction. It may take a decade or two but it looks like momentum is there for a national third party in all respects. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Still struggling with gas tax at legislature (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Little progress in VA wait times (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Community outcry airses over NNU prof's dismissal (Nampa Press Tribune)
Contractor picked for Canyon jail expansion (Nampa Press Tribune)

New Hilton groundbreaking set for June (Eugene Register Guard)
Property owners battle Lane Transit on purchase (Eugene Register Guard)
State will decide on tuition hike at OIT (KF Herald & News)
Medford wants accounting from Travel Medford (Medford Tribune)
Shortfall found at state Fish & Wildlife (Medford Tribune)
Bill would make district vaccine rates public (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hayes role in housing plan disputed (Portland Oregonian)
Snowpack in state remains light (Portland Oregonian)
Chief Joseph's Oregon role discussed (Salem Statesman Journal)

Large grant allows Puget Sound acidification study (Bremerton Sun)
Legislative transportation negotiations continue (Bremerton Sun)
Crime rate in Longview fell last year (Longview News)
Legislators split over competing budget plans (Seattle Times)
Many more town houses crop up in Seattle (Seattle Times)
House approves funds for new Columbia bridge (Vancouver Columbian)
Legislators consider more mental health beds (Vancouver Columbian)