Does the Independent Vote Matter?

Based upon McCain's choice (admittedly, not his preference) of running mate, it seems like the independent vote has been cast aside, at least by the Republican Party. I find this particularly interesting because, following Hillary's campaign, it became apparent that there were 18 million independent voters out there who were looking for the most middle-of-the-line candidate. Interestingly, pre-running McCain has followed a relatively liberal trend; he was not pro-life, was anti-offshore drilling, etc. So when he was choosing a VP, he had two options: pick a conservative candidate to mollify the more extreme members of the Republican Party; or he could have gone with someone to appeal to the independents (such as Lieberman; however, it's really hard to imagine Lieberman agreeing to stand with the Republican Party, even considering his estrangement from the Democrats).

Anyway, to myself and other liberals who actually held McCain in some regard--especially when it seemed like Hillary might still have a chance--it seems shockingly, fuckingly stupid for McCain to have gone with strongly right-wing, inexperienced (ha!), previously unexposed to the insane scrutiny of the media, Palin. I won't go into all the ways that that by itself was a colossal fuckup; anyone who's read the news in the past two days can see how well she's applied her conservative policies to her own family, and her interest in--as my coworker described it--environmentally raping her state makes one wonder how able she is to consider the minority opinion; I highly doubt the natives of Alaska appreciate her oil hunger.

But here's the thing: McCain is now guaranteed the vote of the social conservatives (especially if they're able to spin this pregnancy thing; but that's a toss-up, considering how much worse the Republicans are at lying). He's gained this at the loss of the independent vote.

Is this such a bad trade-off?

Independent voters are notoriously flaky. Considering that the majority of Americans claim to be independents, and then looking at how low the voter turnout is--the truth is, independents have other things on their mind, nor are they as fired up about issues as members of a party. Social conservatives, on the other hand, have great voter turnout; and I'm sure they will do what they can to prevent liberal abortion supporters from being elected.

So here's what I'm wondering: has McCain really lost so much by choosing the social conservative vote over the independent one?


Thought: if conservatives wish to bring morality into the judgment of whether or not abortion* should be allowed, then liberals should be allowed to force gay marriage. Church and state, state and church.

*I'm against abortion, actually. I don't think it should be banned, but I don't think that minors should simply be able to get them--if you aren't willing to use birth control and you can't keep your pants zipped, that is incredibly irresponsible. But under no circumstances should partial birth abortions be allowed because those are SICK. First trimester, people. If you're that worried, risk amniocentesis.

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