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    Policy & Law

    Independent voter myths, super PACs and more

    By Christopher Palmer
    Published: Feb. 15, 2012

    In this video, Government Professor Daron Shaw talks about the trouble with super PACs, Independent swing voters and predictions on the 2012 presidential and Senate elections.

    An experienced survey research analyst and political strategist, Shaw serves on the editorial board for American Politics Research. He co-authored the book “Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths about American Voters” and teaches classes in the College of Liberal Arts on Campaigns and Elections, Political Parties, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior and more.

    Shaw is one of dozens of experts at the university who can speak to issues regarding the 2012 elections.

    What to watch next:

    • Quote 2
      Robert B. Winn said on Feb. 20, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.
      Professor Shaw, like most political party spokesmen, tries to claim that independent voters are not really a part of American politics. The fact is that the writing and adoption of the Constitution of the United States did not create political parties. It created independent voters. The proof of this is the fact that organized political parties did not exist in American government until the election of 1800, when a political party started by Thomas Jefferson took over the American government. But just previous to this, the first two Presidents of the United States were advising Americans not to start political parties. Professor Shaw dismisses independent voters as an irrelevant portion of the electorate because they are forced to vote for party candidates. The fact is that independent voters are prevented from becoming candidates for office by un-Constitutional state election laws in all states where independent voters might be elected because the recent increase in independent voters was also accompanied by legislation and court decisions calculated to prevent independent voters from being candidates for public office. For example, in Arizona an independent voter is required to obtain 23,000 nomination petition signatures to appear on the ballot for an office for which a Republican or Democrat is required to obtain 4,000 signatures. Until independent voters are given the rights they were guaranteed under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there will be but few independent candidates for office. This cannot be remedied by an appeal to the courts at the present time because federal courts habitually uphold these un-Constitutional requirements, and the Supreme Court has refused to hear a case brought by a minor party or independent voter for more than twenty years. Where political parties have failed in their assault on independent voters is in their attempts to stop independent voter registration. The most recent attempt in Arizona was in 2005 when Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law a bill to remove the option to register independent from the Arizona voter registration form. This resulted in the following change in independent voter registration: 2000-2002 107,715 2002-2004 165,771 2004-2006 26,384 As soon as Arizonans learned they could still register independent with a voter registration form that tells them they must register as members of political parties, independent voter registration returned to its former level, and both major parties started to decrease in numbers. 43% if American voters are independent, a couple of percentage points more than the largest political party. As long as both major parties together outnumber independent voters, they can still be successful in keeping independents from participating in the government, but seven percentage points are not many, and as soon as independent voters are a majority, there will be changes in state election laws.
    • Quote 2
      Lladro@Lladro Figurines said on Feb. 16, 2012 at 12:33 p.m.
      Dr. Shaw makes a number of political points. Let me add that PAC money is usually offset by the other sides PAC spending. He states that Republican will need to run a strong candidate. Is that Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich? The Republican will have a lot to talk about as the American people will want to know about health care, budgets, jobs, government excess, deficits, and moving america forward. Obama will have a lot of baggage on his side. My perception is that the TEA party is absent from the political agenda at this point. It was so important in the 2010 election and just disappeared. If there is no replacement it allows a moderate like Romney to be the Republican nominee. Romney might be "the" strong candidate simply as an alternative to Obama. If other Republican senator and house races are strong then Romney could take it all. Money for organization is important. Money for advertising will balance out between both parties. Lladro
    • Quote 2
      adam said on Feb. 16, 2012 at 7:17 a.m.
      he is a genuine person and he is talking true. very much agree with him
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