President Trump proudly boasts of his 90% approval rating among Republicans. There is no question that he enjoys base support. And in 2016, he was able to attract some crossover support among those who had voted for President Obama in prior elections, especially in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

In 2020, according to Gallup Polls, the percentage of US voters self-identify as:

  • 26% Republican
  • 41% Independent
  • 31% Democratic

In November 2016, the percentages were these:

  • 27% Republican
  • 40% Independent
  • 30% Democratic

In 2008, the percentages were:

  • 26% Republican
  • 35% Independent
  • 37% Democratic

In 2004, these were the percentages:

  • 32% Republican
  • 40% Independent
  • 28% Democratic

It is no wonder that the candidates like to portray their opponents as extremists, not in the mainstream, so as to scoop up the wide swath of independent voters who reside in suburban America to a large extent. For it is the Independent vote that swings from cycle to cycle. In those four cycles, the Independent voter identified as:

             R         D

2020: 42%     48%

2016: 43%     48%

2008: 40%     51%

2004: 48%     48%

By now, at this late stage in the presidential election, we have heard the accusations from both sides that the other is socialist or fascist. These are fairly extreme political philosophies in a country that arguably is less extreme than the finger pointers would have us believe.

Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Fascism is a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized, autocratic, government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

My question is this: If the extremes of both sides equal little more than half the electorate or 57% combined, and the Independents represent over 40% consistently, why is it that each side governs in the extreme or to their base’s wishes instead of to the middle, where 40% philosophically reside.

The fight over Supreme Court nominations illustrates this point. Although there are no guarantees that a nominee will rule as a conservative or liberal justice, typically they do as their history reveals. Those who are anti-abortion remain so. Those who are pro-choice remain as well. The back and forth nature of the extremes are anathema to those independents in the middle who do not feel listened to or represented except around election time.

If this were a marketing decision to leave out the 41% Independent voter, the marketing department would need to be replaced. It is clearly unsustainable for our institutions to be reflective of the ping ponging nature of our Federal appointments. It is beyond high time for the middle to be heard, represented and elected. The extremism has done nothing but polarize this country. The polarization has resulted in demonizing each other with conscious and subconscious calls for violence. There is no question that we, as a country, are on the precipice of an abyss that we may not have the capacity to climb out of. Cooler heads must be allowed to prevail.