Independent voters—the 40–50 percent of Americans who reject identification with either of the two major parties or with any party—are increasing in number and impact. Independents are determining the outcome of major elections, upending the long-held categories of political science. Drawing on historical and contemporary data (including survey data, participant observation, interviews, and current writings and scholarship) and providing timely new analysis, the authors argue that independents are an engine for a transformation of US democracy, perhaps even its saviors. Rather than “leaning” to a party or an ideology, independents vary on issues but share a deep distrust of the partisan system. What are the consequences of this distrust? What about shifting trends among Black, Latino, and Asian communities regarding party loyalty? What of young voters who eschew party identification wanting a different kind of political culture? For a wide variety of audiences, this book gives students, scholars, campaign professionals, activists, and media analysts an insight into current voting dynamics and future possibilities.

chapter |3 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

Who Is the Independent Voter?

chapter 2|14 pages

Independents in American History

chapter 3|15 pages

Independent Voters or Shadow Partisans?

chapter 4|11 pages

Independents and Their Uses of Power

chapter 6|15 pages

Free the Voters

The Legal Barriers and Biases Against Independents

chapter 7|15 pages

Independents Speak

“We're Not a Party. We're a Mindset” 1

chapter 8|7 pages

What Binds Independents Together?

chapter 9|18 pages

Democracy's Dilemma

chapter 10|8 pages

Developing Democracy