CLEARWATER, FLA. -- The incessant gridlock in Washington and elsewhere in the political arena may be having an effect neither the Democrat nor the Republican leadership was expecting.
It may be responsible for the acceleration of losses to both parties.
By some estimates, such as those provided by independentvoting.org, roughly 40 percent of the registered voters now call themselves independent or some party other than the "big two."
And that number continues to climb.
Adrian Wyllie, head of the Libertarian Party of Florida, says it's because more voters are realizing that, with the exception of rhetoric and fringe social issues, people can't tell the two parties apart any more.
"On issues of civil liberties, on issues of foreign intervention and being the global policeman, and on issues of the economy, their actions are virtually identical," he said. "And they're the wrong actions to restore our republic and to restore us to a sound economy."
Wyllie is frank about the way his party feels about the two-party exodus. He says the Libertarian party welcomes it, since that party has become a beneficiary of this.
He says some of the best and the brightest, including some of the former state leaders of the GOP, coming their way.
He notes that the same holds true with disaffected democrats.
He says Americans in general appear to be waking up from "battered voter syndrome," where they keep voting in the same two parties and getting the same "horrendous results."
"I think they're really starting to figure that out," he said.
Wyllie says he doubts the leadership of either of the big parties is seeing what's going on here. If that leadership does see what's happening, he says it may either be unwilling or unable to change course.
"I think at this point, the establishment of both parties has chosen their direction," he said. "And, basically, it's at odds with the direction most people want to take this country."
It is acknowledged politically that no candidate can win without the support of those who vote independent.
As those numbers climb, the playing field in American politics will change.
Wyllie says more voters are realizing that, and so are the brightest and best among the politicians. That's all to the benefit of the Libertarians and other independents.