First, Joe Lieberman was considered too conservative to be a Democrat in Connecticut. Now, Charlie Crist, amid signs that he could win as an independent in the 2010 Florida Senate race, has evidently been deemed too liberal to be a Republican in Florida.
Are plausible independent runs for statewide offices a trend for the future? My guess is that it is. Fewer people these days identify firmly with either party and greater numbers express impatience with the parroted orthodoxies evident in both Republican and Democratic pols. Independents, free to pursue votes among the whole electorate, not constrained by promising to be deep red or deep blue, might fare very well all across the country.
Florida is a test case for that hypothesis. If an independent wins in Connecticut, that’s one thing. It’s not exactly a bellwether state. But if an independent wins in Florida, especially a former Republican in a swing state in what will probably be a Republican year, watch for more folks to make independent runs in 2012 and 2014.