General Question

DominicX's avatar

What political party should I join (and how did you choose yours)?

Asked by DominicX (28706 points ) November 12th, 2009

So, as you may know, I turned 18 in August, but I haven’t registered to vote yet. I have a California Voter Registration Form with me and I intend to fill it out soon. The parties available are: American Independent, Green, Peace and Freedom, Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and Other.

How did you choose which party to join? I know it may be easy to choose between Republican and Democrat, but did anyone here join a third party? Why?

If you know me and my beliefs, you’ll know that I’m pretty liberal socially and environmentally. I’m less liberal economically. Political tests always label me as a left-leaning moderate or centrist. I’ll probably end up joining the Democratic Party, but I’m just curious for any last-minute info. Thanks. :)

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51 Answers

nxknxk's avatar

I’m a registered Democrat simply because I’m socially, economically, environmentally liberal. I was also swept up in my first-ever chance to vote when Obama was running for president and I wanted to vote for him, ha, so it seemed appropriate.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

I am an Independent, which gives me the greatest options of voting for whomever seems the best candidate, no matter their party. Trust me, if you make the mistake of joining one of the two major parties, you will get tons of mail from them. I had to get rude with the Democratic party to get them to stop sending me tons of junk mail.

breedmitch's avatar

You’re a Liberal thinker, Dominic. Just register Democrat.

arnbev959's avatar

I’m currently registered as an independent, but I’ve only been registered for less than a year (I’m 18 also.)

As far as I’m concerned, the only benefit of affiliating yourself with a particular party is that you’ll be able to vote in primary elections. I believe you can change your party affiliation as often as you want. I will probably end up changing my affiliation to democrat the next time a primary election comes around.

Based on my actual beliefs, I probably gravitate toward the Libertarian Party’s ideology more than any other party’s. But I’d probably be more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat (more often Democrat, but there are some Republicans who I would vote for.) I’d recommend picking a party based on who you’d be more likely to vote for, rather than which party you agree most with.

I’d say, check Democratic for the time being, and change it if you ever feel the need to.

cyn's avatar

Independent. That way you don’t feel like if you’re under pressure.

nxknxk's avatar

@cyndihugs

+lurve for under pressure

evegrimm's avatar

I have lots of traditionally Democratic ideals, and the people who I agree with the most—my mom, my grandma, many teachers, etc.—have also had Democratic ideals (that is to say, highly liberal ones).

I can’t recall if I declared my political party or not, but like @nxknxk, I too started voting when Obama was on the roster. Hence, Democrat.

However, it seems to me that affiliating yourself with one party or the other doesn’t do anything for you, beyond voting in the primaries and being “targeted” by members of other parties. So…vote for the best candidate, whether that person is Democrat, Republican or good ol’ Red. :D

Thammuz's avatar

NEVER brand yourself with an idea. I’m an atheist, but i never will tattoo an “A” on my ass. Ideas should be free to change, if you enroll yourself you develop an emotional attachment to the idea that prevents you from being objective.

Now, seeing what the options are, i understand that it’s a leap to think that one day you might want to vote for a republican BUT you shouldn’t put barriers between you and that idea in the first place.

arnbev959's avatar

@Thammuz: No matter what you register as, you can vote for a candidate of any party during a general election. Registering as a member of a certain party actually opens the opportunity to vote in primary elections as well. And you can change parties whenever you want.

MacBean's avatar

When I turned 18, my Participation in Government/Economics teacher was the local registrar. The moment the bell rang, I took the stairs to his classroom three at a time and asked for the registration form, sat down at the nearest desk, and filled it out. I waffled a little for a few seconds when I had to choose a party affiliation. I—only half——jokingly complained to the teacher that there was no option that was simply “not Republican.” He laughed (even though he’s a registered Republican) and told me I ought to register as a Democrat because I could always vote for whoever I wanted, no matter their party, but by registering as a Democrat I’d be able to vote in their primaries, and since that’s the major party with which I associate more closely, he thought I would probably want to. Twas good advice.

Thammuz's avatar

@petethepothead i know that since the vote is secret you don’t have that kind of problem, what i’m saying is that choosing an affiliation can lead to an emotional attachment to the party. Much like a sports team.

arnbev959's avatar

Ah, I see. That makes sense. I don’t think Dominic would have that problem though. :)

nzigler's avatar

@Psychedelic Zebra- I work in politics- in many races, e.g. The 2008 General, we focused a lot on independents. If avoiding canvasing, political slate mailers and phone calls is the goal he might want to reg d/s. Probably not worth losing the ability to weigh in on certain primaries- though in CA this is unlikely to be a problem.

augustlan's avatar

I wanted to register as an Independent but, like others up there ^^, I didn’t like the idea that I wouldn’t be able to vote in the primaries. Therefore, I am a registered Democrat.

Cupcake's avatar

I believe in voting for the best candidate regardless of political party, thus I registered “no party”.

But since you can change your political affiliation, I’m sure there’s no “wrong” answer for you, @DominicX!

Enjoy – participating in the election of our public officials is exciting!

janbb's avatar

I’m a registered Democrat because their stated ideals are more in line with my own values and because I want to be able to vote in their primaries. In an ideal world, I would probably be a socialist. I have a love/hate relationship with the Democratic Party, but total unambivalence about the Republicans. However, I would certainly cross party lines in an election if I felt one candidate was the best.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’m registered as an independent, but my views are quite liberal. And frankly, the Dems as they stand today are no longer the liberals they were when I was kid in the ‘70s. I believe that Clinton, damn him, brought the party towards the center in the ‘90s so he could be re-elected.

I just took a political spectrum quiz, and I’m even more left and libertarian than most people of my age, racial group, state and gender. No wonder the Democrats irritate me, but the Greens seem too pie in the sky hippie.

filmfann's avatar

Think Independent, but register Democrat.
If you have a 3rd party registration, you throw out most of your chances to vote in primarys.

DrBill's avatar

Attend a few meetings of each party (they are open to the public by law) and see which one aligns with your opinions,

I am a registered Republican, because I don’t like the Democrats thinking that any problem can be solved by throwing taxpayer money at it.

fireside's avatar

I first chose “Independent” since I didn’t want either side counting on my vote and thus making them work harder to clarify their positions, but now I am registered as “no party” which is even more appropriate for my intended goal.

ragingloli's avatar

the communist party

(and not, i don’t mean the democrats by this)

JLeslie's avatar

I have not read above, so I might be repeating something that has already been said. I think you are a Democrat, but you obviously are willing to discuss topics and are not going to just follow what a party says. My father was a Republican for years and defected 2 years ago. Initially he wanted to reguster independent, but in his state in the primaries you can only vote within the party you are registered for, and he wanted to be able to have more influence to he signed up as a Democrat. If your state allows you to vote for a Dem in the primaries even if you are independent, then maybe you might consider independent.

CMaz's avatar

I am registered Democrat. But I go where the wind blows be.

When the party says jump. I say why.

ubersiren's avatar

I would recommend leaving yourself unaffiliated until you find your place in politics. It could be years, or never. If you’re registered Dem or Rep, then you have a label and that label will be misinterpreted, judged, generalized, abused and sneered at. Wait until you feel truly dedicated to a party. And don’t forget that you can change your registration whenever you want. Don’t remain with a party if you don’t feel they’re representing your ideas.

I’ve been registered Democrat, I’ve been registered Republican, and I’m currently Independent. Maybe one day I’ll join a party, but I can’t really see that happening. Both major parties have disappointed me greatly.

Good luck!

Edit: @JLeslie brings up a good point that perhaps you have to be either D or R in your state to vote in primaries (which I think is complete bull crap). Check that out before deciding!

CMaz's avatar

“then you have a label and that label will be misinterpreted, judged, generalized, abused and sneered at”

LOL Bring it on!!!

:-)

J0E's avatar

I will never “join” a political party. Each election I vote for whoever shares the most views with me, regardless of Party.

I don’t remember having to choose a party on mine.

ubersiren's avatar

@ChazMaz : I should’ve mentioned that those things will be done from outsiders of your party and insiders. I can’t get behind any party that can’t get its own shit straight.

Sarcasm's avatar

Don’t register for one, regardless of your political leanings.
They do nothing but send to junk.

mowens's avatar

I’m a gay conservative.

I hate both parties.

But this is the closest to what I stand for.
http://online.logcabin.org/

tinyfaery's avatar

Go Green. I started a dem, changed to Green, went to dem to vote for Obama in the primaries, then went back to Green.

Green is most in line with my ideas, and probably yours.

Log Cabin. Yikes! It’s like an oxymoron.

noelasun's avatar

@aprilsimnel that was a very interesting quiz, I just spent too much time comparing myself with… everyone else

SpatzieLover's avatar

I vote in every election @DominicX and I am not registered to any party. I’ve thought about it from time to time, especially during the last administration. I prefer to not affiliate myself with any one political party since I’m a free-thinker.

MacBean's avatar

If you’re registered Dem or Rep, then you have a label and that label will be misinterpreted, judged, generalized, abused and sneered at.

Well, it’s not like you’re forced to get a tattoo on your forehead…

drdoombot's avatar

It really doesn’t matter which party you register with because when elections come around, you can vote for whoever you want.

The more important question is where your ideologies lie. If you find that you tend to agree with Democrats, you should definitely register with them, because you want to be able to choose the best candidate out of the Democrats: the one who represents your values, the one who stands a chance against the Republican opponent, etc.

To be honest, I think people who refuse to register with the big two are being silly. You are actually giving up power by not registering and using your vote to put the best candidate in place for the general elections. If your views don’t match up exactly with Republicans, for example, that perfectly fine: vote for the left-leaning Republican who represents your interests best. When the general elections come around, you want to have the best choices available to you, and without being registered with one of the big two, you’re squandering your ability to influence those choices.

And to avoid signing up for a party because of a few extra pieces of mail is ridiculous.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@drdoombot To be honest, I think people who refuse to register with the big two are being silly. You are actually giving up power by not registering and using your vote to put the best candidate in place for the general elections.

How exactly? In my state there is absolutely no need to register for a party.

J0E's avatar

@drdoombot It means nothing to register with a party. Just vote for the best candidate, who cares about Party.

drdoombot's avatar

@SpatzieLover What I meant with that statement is that if you are excluded from voting in primary elections if you are unregistered, then you are being silly. Why give up another chance at selecting a better candidate and limit your political power as a citizen?

@J0E I agree; parties are mostly arbitrary. But having the power to influence which candidates are chosen by a party is important. If you don’t participate in primary elections, you have to choose from candidates other people selected for you. Why remove yourself from the process when you can influence it?

SpatzieLover's avatar

I can choose my Party when I vote in every primary election. We do not choose Parties when we register to vote in my state.

b's avatar

Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@SpatzieLover – That’s a Wisconsin Socialist legacy, right? Remember Bob LaFollette? Good ol’ Bob. He’s probably turning over in his grave at the state of American politics today.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@aprilsimnel ;) wink wink…yes it is!!! So glad to live in Wis…even the Republicans aren’t THAT bad here.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@b friends also don’t let friends vote Democrat.

rottenit's avatar

The way things are going form your own.

Garebo's avatar

None of them, I am starting to believe in the (never thought I would) thinking of vote whoever is in office out of office. The longer they are in there, the more corrupted they get. I don’t care if they are republicans, democrats, socialists, communists it doesn’t matter-vote them out. Until there is a genuine clean up of the money pedaling and influence, we will only get rare glimpses of servitude and representation only after capitulation to the power brokers in the Senate.
Even my past state senator Welstone got sucked into this Maelstrom, wasn’t my guy, but he damn well believed in his cause, till he got nabbed.
Make them all nervous, and vote the challenger in even if he is a fascist. I think the Senate has the lowest favor ability rating in history and for good reason- they are all pissing down our backs and telling us its raining.

justme1's avatar

I say if you are going to go with either party, go with the democrats. I am closer to democrat, only a couple things the republicans say I agree with than the democrats.

Ron_C's avatar

If your state has open primaries, I suggest that you register as an independent. That way you can vote for the candidate that seems best to you and not be locked into a particular party. If you live in district that has a preponderance of one party, I suggest that you join that party.

In truth, there is not much difference between parties at the grass root level. The real problem is when a party dominates. In that case I would join the Democratic party because they don’t have a particular agenda.

If you want to be told what to say what to think, and how to vote, join the republican party. You should also watch Fox news for your daily talking points.

DominicX's avatar

I can’t believe I never updated this. :P

I went home for winter break and finally registered. I took in what all of you said, but I decided to register as a Democrat. Keep in mind I am not the type of person who would just vote based on “party loyalty”. I couldn’t care less about that.

I may change some time or another, but this is what it is for now. Thanks for all the advice! :)

Ron_C's avatar

Good answer!

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