Dropping the Party Line: More Black Voters Identify as Independents

February 18, 2011  |  

(Florida Courier) — Like almost everyone in her family, when North Carolina native Thyrsa Gravely turned 18, she registered to vote – Democrat. But living and working in New York gave her a new perspective on politics. She saw how partisan alliances and cliques too often beat out policy and outcomes that could benefit her neighbors.  That led the Howard University alum to see something else – a voter registration card declaring her an independent. That move put her in ample company. With more than one third of the country self-identifying as independent, the balance of political power is falling increasingly to whichever way this group swings.

Since the presidential run of Ross Perot, the use of “independent” has often been shorthand for “disaffected White voter.” Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find more people like Gravely a part of this paradigm shift.  “As an African-American, people just assume you’re a Democrat,” Gravely told BlackAmericaWeb.com. The 30-something works in business operations at Deloitte and now lives in Atlanta.  “When I talk to people, I sort of preface it by saying I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I choose who I vote for based on the merit of their platform and what they can do for us, rather than what party they’re with.”

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