Technically, “unenrolled” is the designation for voters not enrolled in a political party, but Mainers love the word “independent.” We love that we elected two “independent” governors: James B. Longley (1975-1979) and Angus King (1995-2003).

Both “independents” were longstanding Democrats prior to their gubernatorial campaigns, which they framed around distrust of the two-party system – as though that system had not defined their careers and political aspirations up to that point.

Longley’s slogan – “Think about it.” – suggested that voting for the “unaffiliated” candidate was for “thinking” voters, and subsequent “independents” cashed in on the political re-branding of the word.

Maine’s “independent” gubernatorial candidates have been millionaire businessmen able to fund their campaigns “independently” without a major political party’s financial support. Regrettably, “independent” seems to be a euphemism for “independently wealthy.” They do love to use that word, but I don’t think it means what they want us to think it means.

Kelley McDaniel