It's a big mistake to look at events like Tuesday's's elections and see only a conservative faction at work, a group of automatons led by Dick Armey and Sarah Palin who all think alike and act in unison.
There are probably some broad divisions which can be made, like those who favor an interventionist government because of whatever benefit they're getting from government, and then those who don't really get any extra benefits (other than the normal government services that apply to everyone) from government who prefer that the state not interfere in our lives.
These divisions have existed for quite some time, and not all those who prefer less government intervention have been politically active -- they've simply cursed a little at times when the subject comes up, but mostly they go about their business and think very little about government - however, now that the progressives have power and they are intervening in major ways, and now that the Information Age is wide open, people are realizing just how nannyish and dangerous big government has become.
Yes, there is the radio talk-show group, although they are not monolithic, and, yes, there is a conservative base which has relatively similar ideas about politics, and, yes, there are white racists who blame minorities, although they are a fringe element, and the race element is manifested in different ways, not all a simple hatred of people of color, but rather a sense of reverse discrimination, plus there are independent people of color, and, yes, there are libertarians who, of course, want a limited government, but libertarians are varied and some lean left, and, yes, there are some who are rich businesspeople, but they don't think and act alike -- on and on. So, the independent movement is not so easy to buttonhole.
The independent movement, if you can really call it a movement at this stage, is beginning to coalesce around a few ideas -- out of control spending, too much government power, high taxation in many areas and fear of taxes going higher all over the country, unemployment, bailouts of big corporations and corruption.
I certainly wouldn't look at the increase in independents as just a conservative movement related to the Republican Party. There are political figures who would like to co-opt independents for their own purposes, but independents are too diverse to define as a political group, and it's best to see independents as representative of the private realm, not necessarily seeking power, but, rather, seeking to limit power by insisting on change in Washington D.C.
Many independents thought they were getting change with a new type of president in Barack Obama, but increased government power isn't what they had in mind. It speaks to the political naivette of many people that they thought Obama would clean up Washington and bring in a new style of responsible governance -- but people are quickly getting a lesson on politics and a refresher course on the Constitution. Many people don't like what America is becoming -- they had been asleep, and now they are waking up.
Those isolated in political intrigue in Washington D.C. don't understand the independent movement and see conspiracies behind every placard -- they are convinced that evil capitalist forces are at work putting forth an army of conservative soldiers to destroy Obama. The conservative movement makes up only a portion of the independents and they are not brain-dead foot-soldiers, just, for the most part, ordinary conservative Americans concerned about government over-reach, but it's a mistake to see this as a classical conservative/liberal, Republican/Democrat battle for political control. An apolitical movement is forming which transcends the old political divisions, and this movement makes up what used to be called the Silent Majority -- it's a diverse group with very few political demands, and very few special interests. This awakening has more to do with the private realm being left alone, a desire for a vibrant economy and the limitation of government power. Government is held responsible for unemployment and people are sick of big corporations being favored at the expense of small businesses and jobs.
It's also not traditional class warfare -- it's a war between the people and the government. Although the economy is the biggest concern, it's quickly becoming a moral issue of liberty vs domination.