How Reagan Attracted Independents
I don’t remember the media ever talking about independents until the Reagan elections, because in every election the independents numbered about 20 to 22%. Reagan got 34%. After one year of Reagan the independents supported him by 34%, and that’s when they started getting noticed because they went for Reagan in a big way. And you might also want to call ’em the Reagan Democrats. They might have referred to the independents as Reagan Democrats back then.
But that’s when they first started getting noticed. And it’s like everything else. It’s like somehow the Republicans stood in the way of the Civil Rights Act. No, no, no, no. It was the Democrats that stood in the way of the Civil Rights Act. Now, it was a Democrat president, LBJ, that proposed it, but it was Bill Clinton’s buddies in the Senate, J. William Fulbright and Herman Talmadge and a bunch of these guys down there that stood in the way of it. A greater percentage of Republicans in the Senate voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats. But today, conventional wisdom has it that the Republicans are the racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes. Just like conventional wisdom has it that the independents always vote Democrat. And when the majority of them goes for Republicans, “Uh oh, there’s an aberration.”