The 2 Types of Independents

This is Part 4 of my Political Typology series. Part 1 is The 4 Types of Democrats. Part 2 is The 4 Types of Republicans. Part 3 is The 8 Lanes in US Politics.

There are two possible lanes for Independents to win statewide and national elections:

  • Moderate Independent:
    • Unify the two moderate Democratic + two moderate Republican lanes.
  • Populist Independent:
    • Unify the two populist Democratic + two populist Republican lanes.
  • (There is no All-Establishment Lane.)
    • Populists outnumber the Establishment.
      • The only lanes for the Establishment go through the two parties.

This is based on my prior analyses of The 4 Types of Democrats and The 4 Types of Republicans, which is summarized in The 8 Lanes In US Politics:

Most modern US politicians assume that they have to run with one of the two Parties.

  • Even Independents like Bernie Sanders first run in their Party primary before caucusing as an Independent.
  • This post will analyze alternate lanes to winning elections as an Independent.

1. The Moderate Independent Lane:

  • Conventional wisdom assumes that this would be the best lane for an Independent.
    • But, Moderates (especially Democrats) are more pragmatic and are thus usually party loyalists.
      • B Democrats are the traditional base of the Democratic party.
      • But, E Republicans have been underserved by Trump-era Republicans.
        • Es could form the new base of this Moderate Independent Lane.
          • Es tend to be economically conservative + socially liberal.
  • 2024 Candidates:
    • Dwayne Johnson:
      • The Rock could win the Moderate AND Democratic lanes.
        • He can play in all 8 quadrants and seriously complete in the left 6.
        • But 2024 is probably the wrong race for him.
          • Biden/Harris dominate the B lane, which is part of his future base.
      • Lane #1 (Moderate): C → N → E → B
        • The Rock is my favorite long-term candidate for the Moderate Lane.
          • He could win the four middle quadrants in a polarized 2028.
      • Lane #2 (Democrat): C → D → B → A
    • Andrew Yang:
      • Lane #1: C → B → E → N
        • Yang got blocked by Biden from going C → B in 2020.
          • Success as NYC Mayor could help Yang win over B Democrats.
      • Lane #2: C → N → E → B
        • Yang could go All-Populist first and then crossover into the Moderate Establishment.
    • Mark Cuban:
      • Lane #1: N → E → C → B
        • Cuban’s biggest challenge with this lane would be winning over B Democrats.
          • Cuban could go D instead of B for his 4th quadrant in this Lane.
      • Lane #2: N → C → E → B
        • Cuban could go Independent from the start by first consolidating the Moderate Populists.
          • Trump’s ability to crossover to C Democrats was why he won in 2016.
            • Cuban would have a similar appeal to Cs.
      • Lane #3: N → E → S → W
        • Cuban also has the potential to consolidate the 4 Types of Republicans.
          • This is Cuban’s clearest path to the Presidency through the Electoral College.
            • This Lane would work best against an Establishment Conservative.
              • Watch out Ted Cruz.
          • This is the classic lane for an outsider businessman.
            • Donald Trump still holds power over this Lane.
              • Ivanka would also have a strong shot at this Lane.
              • Cuban would need a zero-Trump election to go national with this Lane.

2. The Populist Independent Lane:

  • This is the lane Donald Trump should have dominated in 2020.
    • Trump’s grift was promising to be a Populist and then being a classic Republican as President.
  • A true Populist would fight the leadership of both parties and form their own Independent base.
  • 2024 Candidates:
    • Tucker Carlson:
      • Tucker already has the inside lane on S → N if no Trumps run in 2024.
        • Option 1: Crossover to the Populist Left (S → N → C → D).
        • Option 2: Go S  → N  → W  → E and consolidate the 4 Types of Republicans.
    • Kanye West:
      • Kanye’s 2020 looked like Trump’s 2000.
        • Both tested the waters but couldn’t find a lane so they quit early.
      • Kanye’s path in 2024 and beyond would need to start with consolidating the Populist Left.
        • His national range would depend on his ability to crossover to the Populist Right.
          • Lane: C → D → N → S
    • Dave Portnoy:
      • Portnoy is used to playing Counter against the media Establishment.
        • His fundraising for the Barstool Fund and Emergency Press Conferences in defense of small business owners during COVID show he could be a political force if he wants to run.
          • Lane: N → C → S → D


These lanes work best when running against two extreme Establishment candidates.

  • It may take decades (and/or the repeal of the Electoral College) for an Independent to win nationally.
    • These lanes will work now in key polarized local and state elections.

Calling All Independents:

  • If you or anyone you know is considering running for office as an Independent, please let me know.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He is the founder & CEO of Air to All, a nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Labdoor, a consumer watchdog that independently tests and ranks supplements and other health products for its 20M+ users. He was previously co-founder and President of Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor and State Representative in Michigan. He received his BBA (Entrepreneurship) and BS (Cellular & Molecular Biology) from the University of Michigan in 2010. Neil lives in Michigan with his wife Shoua, sons Kai (3) and Ajay (1), and dogs Zeus (12) and Pluto (11). He is also a (very) amateur hockey player and drummer.