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Voting to the beat of their own drum




Ross Perot, third-party candidate for president in 1996.
Ross Perot, third-party candidate for president in 1996.
JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP/Getty Images

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In a recent analysis of state voter registration administered by USA TODAY, the data shows Americans are abandoning the traditional political parties. And this is isn’t a miniscule amount; over 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican folds since 2008. The number of independents is on the rise, not just thanks to these disaffected voters, but due to new voters choosing to opt out of the two-party system from the get-go.

Democrats lost numbers in 25 states and Republicans decreased in 21, while independents gained in 18. The trend is most apparent in swing states; of the eight which register voters by party, Democrats lost 800,000 voters and Republicans 350,000. Independents gained nearly as many as Republicans lost: 325,000.

These numbers point to the decades-long erosion of the Democratic and Republican parties consolidation of power. As Washington has grown ever more partisan since the 1990s, third-party candidates like Ross Perot then, Ralph Nader in 2000 and today’s libertarian Republican Ron Paul have proven attractive to the public.

WEIGH IN:

How will the candidates running for president tap into this growing block of voters? Can the two parties do anything to bring people back? Have you registered as an independent after being a lifelong Democrat or Republican? Why?

Guests:

Mark Barabak, national political reporter for the Los Angeles Times

Jonathan Miller, Co-Founder of No Labels; former Kentucky State Treasurer

Bob Stern, Former President of the Center For Governmental Studies