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 501(c)3 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 previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.