She follows with a brief review of the two-party system’s rise after the Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party and the electoral careers of independent candidates such as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, praising each as an antidote to party orthodoxy.
It should be noted that the one thing Roosevelt, Perot and Nader have in common is that they lost.
There’s a lesson there.
For all the teeth-gnashing among the chattering classes about NPR Republicans, soccer moms and NASCAR dads, most people vote with their party most of the time.
Killian’s thesis that a narrow sliver of the electorate can be decisive when voters are closely divided over big questions is valid, even self-evident.
In her previous book, “The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution?” published in 1999, Killian effectively dissected the rise and fall of the dominant members of the 1994 Republican revolution.
In “The Swing Vote,” she takes a stab at a broader thesis, but she seems to forget one of the signal lessons taught by the class of 1994 — that politicians abandon their principles and rhetoric to occupy the squishy center at their own risk.