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DancingMind's avatar

How do you determine your political affiliations?

Asked by DancingMind (5814 points ) November 9th, 2012

It seems, this latest US election has made the faces of a certain party—at least, the loudest ones, the most prominent in pop media—look rather pathetic (and frighteningly believed/supported.) Sure, politicians pander…but how can anyone seemingly think they can go spend about two years (I think it was two, it felt like two,) of campaigning whatever slogan they think is convenient for whatever week, whatever ears, and not have what they said the previous week still be bouncing between neurons, or captured in bytes? That comes off to me as horribly arrogant. It also bothers me how easy it seems for someone to call themself, be called, a certain political mindset, and have that mean they can disregard the right of others to enjoy rights the one already has or doesn’t have to consider. Watching people acting as idiots, and/or being incredibly insulting and insensitive—then watching them have support and votes because of that behavior—I don’t understand. But while I feel I see it most in a specific party, my question is more general.

I’ve heard, particularly of late, how many people are frustrated with the faces of their party; how those faces are disfiguring the party’s higher ideals, misrepresenting, smearing, harming. But, identifying still with the party, the person votes for the politician they feel is (mis)representing it anyway. Why?

Regardless of the ideals a party attempts to, claims, they carry (or a person believes they carry)—it seems to me, that it’s the people that represent the party who matter the most. Those are the people who will be trying for election, trying to guide the country toward their way of thinking. Those are the people who are positioned to get the funding and the support and the positions. And so that’s the thinking I use to approach the ballot box, and to pick up the pen, and to choose which arrow to connect. It’s also why I’m registered an independent. I am unable to attach myself to a specific party, adhere their label to my chest, and find myself moral in doing so. I like to know what groups a politician thinks they’re representing, what cluster of people are backing them monetarily, but I don’t ever want the abstract to be the reason I vote for the actual.

Conversely, a party associating itself with people openly discriminating and denying rights, or blatanly lying, I have difficulty trusting. And I also don’t want a face, to be the reason I vote for the same arrogant group of individuals backing them; that seems to be the same ‘actual,’ merely repackaged: new look, same great taste!) So I think I understand the conflict, to an extent.

What I’m really trying to understand, is how much of a party’s to-do list or belief set do you personally need to agree with before you affiliate with them? What are you okay with compromising? What is absolutely necessary? What, who, is your loyalty preserved for, and presented against? How far can you feel the leaders of your party stray before you abandon the party, or at least protest and boycott the leaders? How do you decide who to trust your country with?

Where in the political obscurity is the actual disagreement(s), the junction dividing, people into parties?

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13 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

I’m sure there are a billion reasons (genetics, maybe, in part), but here is one overlooked one: perceived choice. The only options are Democrats and Republikans, so most people assume you’re on or the other. The only one with a coherent ideology is the Republikan Party, so many people who don’t fit there automatically go to the Other Guy.

marinelife's avatar

I vote for the specific politician and their platform. I am registered as a member of a party, because otherwise I would not be able to vote in the primary election in the state I am in.

rojo's avatar

I don’t think I have a particular political affiliation. There are things that I know and things I believe and on any given topic I will find myself closer to one party than the others but that can, and does, change when we move to a different topic.
It’s kind of like being spiritual without belonging to a particular faith.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I tend to vote Dem but thats not because I align myself with them, their cannidates generally match my views much better than Repubs do. If a Repub comes along that seems better fit than a Dem, they’ll get my vote for sure. though part of me doubts something like this ever happening lol

Seek's avatar

I vote Democrat.

I do this not because I agree with Democrat ideology (whatever that is these days) but because I happen to possess a uterus, and I happen to like having sovereign control over what occurs within that uterus.

wundayatta's avatar

First, I look to see whose platform is closer to mine. I look to see what party people are who are my representatives. Whoever I feel most aligned with, is the party I seek to work with. I’ll get involved. Communicate my opinions on the issues. If the people in that party tend to agree with me, I’ll feel comfortable. If not, I’ll go elsewhere.

It’s the same as deciding who are your friends. You want to be comfortable with people. You go and hang out with those you feel closest to. It’s really pretty simple and organic. You do it instinctively. No great thought is necessary.

jerv's avatar

I am a mercenary. I go for whoever comes closest to my ideals, regardless of their affiliation. Of course, Republicans (at least at the highest levels) continue to stray further from my ideals, and as we lack viable third parties, that makes me a Democrat by default… for now.

There are times where a Republican candidate is a better fit for me and earns my vote, but that rarely happens above the county level.

amujinx's avatar

I’m with @marinelife, I vote according to who I think will do a better job and follows my ideals. I’m only affiliated with a party to vote in primaries and have some influence there too.

DrBill's avatar

I look at the person, and not the party. I always vote a split ticket.

ETpro's avatar

@DancingMind That’s a BIG question. Since nobody else has taken it up, I’ll tackle the last part of it, about what each of us is looking for in a candidate. I will not vote for a candidate unless they support individual freedom, tolerance, progress, education, fiscal responsibility, and protection of the environment. Because I feel this way, many here think I am a Democrat. Not so. I often vote for Democrats and defend their agenda because it comes closer to the policies I support than anything Republicans at the state or national level have offered recently.

Back in the early 1980s, Republicans were solving problems that we faced, and they had my support. I was a card-carrying Republican. Sadly, it’s 2012 now and they are still laboring to solve the problems we overcame in the 80s. They ignore the completely different set of problems we face today. And they have, to build a base, adopted new positions opposing the very policies I support; such as tolerance, individual freedom, progress, education and the environment. Even on fiscal responsibility, they claim to care but what they have actually done made things much worse. So I rarely have any choice these days but to vote for Democrats.

Does that get me candidates that do everything I want? Not even close. I’ve written Obama several times excoriating him for stones I felt he left unturned; such as prosecutions for Bush’s torture crimes, and for the “banksters” who destroyed our economy for their own profit.

Like @marinelife & @amujinx I am registered in my state as a Democrat because they win nearly every election in Massachusetts anyway, and I want to have a say in the build-up to primaries. I want to help shape the ticket. But in actual elections, I vote for the person I consider to be the best candidate for each office.

downtide's avatar

I vote for whichever party discriminates the least against people like me.

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bolwerk's avatar

@jerv: the problem with voting for “sane Republicans” is that it hurts things even more. The party gets to parade them as a reason why they have a big tent for propaganda, even though they’re still caucusing with the other 90–99% that are still insane; consequently, sanity gets voted down in committee. It’s always a better strategy (for the country/state at least) to vote the party, never the person, no matter how awful and repugnant the person is.

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