Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Angry Electorate Turns Independent

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Angry Electorate Turns Independent

Article excerpt

We have heard all the talk about America's disenchantment with government and politicians. At first blush, it plays out politically for the anti-government Republicans, Newt Gingrich, et al. Blush again. It plays out even more for Gen. Colin Powell as the Ross Perot-backed independent candidate for president.

Despite the massive Republican win in 1994, 57 percent of the people recently polled by Times-Mirror state there ought to be a third party to compete with the Republicans and the Democrats.

People claim to be "fed up" - with both major parties. Now all of the 57 percent don't promise to vote for the independent, but they certainly want to look him or her over.

The anger that crushed the Democrats last November was not exclusively pro-Republican anger. It was "I dislike 'em all" anger.

Powell polls well in pre-Oklahoma City trial runs: President Bill Clinton 34 percent, Sen. Bob Dole 32 percent and Powell 23 percent.

If one assumes that Perot is burned out and was polished off in his NAFTA debate with Vice President Al Gore, then Powell becomes the rightful heir to the Perot organization and its money.

Third-party devotees are uncomfortable with both political parties: Democrats are liberal and big-government types. The Republicans are being swallowed up by the religious right. Independents don't want to be dictated to either by Big Brother or Pat Robertson.

New voters. The conventional wisdom was that the more voters you registered the better it was for Democrats. One of Clinton's first legislative wins in 1993 was the Motor-Voter Law that required motor vehicle bureaus, welfare offices and other public agencies of offer voter registration services.

In January and February 1994, 630,000 new voters were put on the books, with millions more yet to come. Big win for Democrats? Big defeat for Republicans? No to both. About one in three registered as independent. In Kentucky, 30 percent registered as "no party" even though that eliminated them for participating in primary elections. …

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