"Independents are everywhere, and they're becoming the largest single voting bloc in the country," Reason magazine Editor Matt Welch says. " (T)hey can determine every national election and every ... election for state office. So independent voters -- people who refuse to say, 'I'm a Republican or I'm a Democrat' -- that's where all the action is."
Welch and Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie just published a book on what to expect from this change: "Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America."
The big change they see stems from independents' refusal to be absorbed by any party. "Compare the tea party to the ... Howard Dean antiwar movement," Welch said. "Howard Dean became the chairman (of the) Democratic National Committee. But the tea party has kept an arm's length and said, 'No, we're not going to be Republicans. ... (W)e're going to focus on ... government spending, deficit, and debt, and that's it.' ... And by maintaining that independence they have retained power."
"Independence in politics means that you can actually dictate some of the terms to our overlords," Welch and Gillespie write, adding that we need independence not just in politics but from politics. Welch said, "When we look at the places where government either directly controls or heavily regulates things, like K-12 education, health care, retirement, things are going poorly."
It's very different outside of government where -- from culture to retail stores to the Internet -- there's been an explosion of choice. "(Y)ou were lucky ... 20 years ago (if) you would see one eggplant in an exotic store," Welch continued. "Now in the crappiest supermarket in America you'll see four or five or six varieties of eggplant, plus all types of different things. ... (W)hen you get independent from politics, things are going great because people can experiment, they can innovate. ... We should squeeze down the (number of) places where we need a consensus to the smallest area possible, because all the interesting stuff happens outside of that."