The Independent Voter

It’s been a political truism in America for a long time: the independent voter is the key to winning elections. There are always segments of the population who are committed in principle to either the Democrat or Republican parties, but those segments cannot carry elections by themselves. The independent voter must be wooed—and will be—one way or the other.

In the last election, again it was the independents who made the difference, both in the presidential and congressional races. For president, they went with Obama, primarily because they were reacting against Bush. A new poll suggests the political winds are shifting. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

For the first time, independent voters—who delivered Mr. Obama the White House and Democrats control of the Congress—disapprove of the job he is doing, 46% to the 41% who approve. In July, 49% of independents approved of the president, against 38% who disapproved.

New doubts about the president have coincided with new hopes for Republicans, who appeared flattened by the election nearly a year ago.

The White House, of course, might be able to offer this plausible explanation:

Since that’s the purported reason for all his other woes, why not repeat the mantra to cover for what’s really happening: a loss of confidence in this president’s ideology and competence.

As a Christian, I value independent thinking. I don’t want anyone to follow a party line without examining critically the arguments being forwarded. Yet when I look at what we are told are the independent voters, my concern is that they classify themselves as independent simply because they have no principles.

If you can sway this way and that in your political opinions based on what happened yesterday or what you see happening today, where is your foundation? What do you really believe? It reminds me of a passage of Scripture found in the book of James. It speaks of perseverance and maturity, and says a Christian who lacks these qualities “is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

That description also applies, I think, to people who are always shifting back and forth between the political parties. Know what you believe and know why you believe it. Make all decisions based upon principles. And if those principles themselves are based upon Biblical truth, they will steer this country in the right direction.