But if that is what’s happening, it doesn’t necessarily follow that voters’ underlying political views are shifting—meaning, again, that these “unaffiliateds” are not a discrete block to court. Even more importantly, it doesn’t mean that the available choices are changing. If “frustrated voters” are “cut[ting] ties” with the parties, as the story’s headline has it, that might matter if the frustration is not evenly distributed—if, for example, one party loses more of its connection with its donors, organizers, and the volunteers. But come Election Day, when voters head to the polls, those whose views align with the Democrats’ will pull that lever, and the same goes for the GOP. And as for the “none of the above” party? It won’t be on the ballot.

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.