Author Topic: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity  (Read 3204 times)

nereo

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trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« on: April 18, 2018, 05:53:59 AM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.

Take this short clip I heard today on the radio about an uncertain political field:
woman: We'll vote straight down the line, whoever they are
reporter: all [the same] party?
woman: no other way. 

That exchange made me catch my breath. Top to bottom they will vote the same party, regardless of the merit or positions of all the individuals. Party is more important than everything else. It's occurred to me that this inflexibility actually hinders democracy and good candidates. Think of it like a restaurant; if the owners know you come every Friday withuot fail and will always pay your bill regardless of how crummy it is, what incentive do they have in providing better service or better food or updating the decor?  Thoughts?

sokoloff

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 06:36:06 AM »
I don’t fall into that camp,  but I understand it to a point.

The fact is that it’s rare that a voter would 100% agree with any politician and unlikely that they’d closely follow the detailed position of the 7th race on the ballot for animal control manager or whatever. Party is often used as a (n imperfect) shorthand for philosophy of candidate. Pro=union? Pro-life? Pro-small government? Pro-gun or pro-gun-control? Pro-whatever?

In races where it matters more (Senate), I might vote for a candidate that I don’t prefer as a person, if I believe that gives me a better likelihood of achieving the overall outcome I seek, by ensuring the party that I am sympathetic to has more control. (If you read from this that I voted Trump, you would be mistaken. I’m strongly Libertarian, which is a mathematically “wasted” vote.)

RetiredAt63

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 07:32:17 AM »
As someone who federally has voted Progressive Conservative (Flora MacDonald, how could I not?!?!?), Liberal, NDP and Green, my mind is boggling a bit at that.  OF course our elections don't have multiple events, they are for one position only, so the situation is a bit different.  But I do know people who vote a particular party because their family has always voted that way, even when things change.  Voting Progressive Conservative in the 50's is not the same as voting Conservative in the whatever we are calling this decade.

nereo

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 08:18:10 AM »
what ARE we calling this decade?  'the teens' doesnt' really work because it leaves out 2011-12. What did we call the last decade (2000-2010) - I've heard 'the 'oughts'
And to further derail (my) thread, I heard a news story about what to call the generation after the millennials.  Seems "Gen-Z" is a placeholder, and the leading contender is "Homeland Generation" or possible "post-911 generation" (how very US-centric).

Back on topic.  Yes, here it's common to have have quite a few positions on a single ballot - I remember there being almost a dozen positions on my last ballot. Seems its really common to just "vote the line," and I understand why at the higher levels party matters as much (e.g. control of a branch, sub-committees, party line, etc).  But its much harder for me to understand why people won't consider anyone outside their self-affiliated party for positions such as "town selectman" or similar. It seems at no point or level does the qualifications of the individual matter more than party affiliation for these people. As someone who prioritizes accomplishments and experience above most everything else this is hard to wrap my head around.



Dabnasty

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 09:54:50 AM »
what ARE we calling this decade?  'the teens' doesnt' really work because it leaves out 2011-12. What did we call the last decade (2000-2010) - I've heard 'the 'oughts'
And to further derail (my) thread, I heard a news story about what to call the generation after the millennials.  Seems "Gen-Z" is a placeholder, and the leading contender is "Homeland Generation" or possible "post-911 generation" (how very US-centric).

Back on topic.  Yes, here it's common to have have quite a few positions on a single ballot - I remember there being almost a dozen positions on my last ballot. Seems its really common to just "vote the line," and I understand why at the higher levels party matters as much (e.g. control of a branch, sub-committees, party line, etc).  But its much harder for me to understand why people won't consider anyone outside their self-affiliated party for positions such as "town selectman" or similar. It seems at no point or level does the qualifications of the individual matter more than party affiliation for these people. As someone who prioritizes accomplishments and experience above most everything else this is hard to wrap my head around.

And depressing. I hope that doesn't stick. Maybe the "late" generation or something that sounds better with a similar meaning since people are waiting longer to become parents? Wouldn't be very inclusive though as not everyone is born to older parents. The goldfish generation? The smartkid generation?

I think this is more a matter of laziness than loyalty for most people. It's easier to find out which party the candidate is in than lookup their history and voting records. You may be giving people too much credit thinking they've actually put this kind of thought into their choices. Even among people I know who I think are intelligent and hard workers in other aspects of life, I'd be surprised if many of them ever considered researching candidates beyond president and maybe governor. Some don't know who our governor is, but I bet they voted for or against him.

Travis

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 10:23:12 AM »
As someone who federally has voted Progressive Conservative (Flora MacDonald, how could I not?!?!?), Liberal, NDP and Green, my mind is boggling a bit at that.  OF course our elections don't have multiple events, they are for one position only, so the situation is a bit different.  But I do know people who vote a particular party because their family has always voted that way, even when things change.  Voting Progressive Conservative in the 50's is not the same as voting Conservative in the whatever we are calling this decade.

Living in a non-Parliamentary government we really only have two effective political parties.  About a third of the voting population sticks with one side or the other in every election with a middle third being "swing" voters who can't be counted on to vote a straight party ticket.  Our political system has evolved to do a great job of weeding out anybody who might stray from their designated party's playbook so a centrist candidate in the general election is increasingly rare. As such, if you want the winner to represent most of your political ideals your safest bet is to vote for that particular party every time. There isn't much of an alternative by the time you get through the primaries to the general election.  There's also a segment of the population who vote with their party completely sight unseen.  They seem to be the most vocal on social media about their views and talk more about how much the other party is dangerous rather than what their party is for or will do in office.

Tass

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 10:45:36 AM »
We're also doing a great job right now of convincing everyone The Other Party Is Not Just Wrong, But Evil, with the result that it doesn't really matter who My Party ends up putting forward and what they believe - we all have to vote down the ticket to keep the Bad Guys out of power.

(I have voted for people of multiple different parties, but I am absolutely criticizing my own mindset above.)

Anyway, yeah, I think party affiliation as personal identity is one of the huge problems driving increasing partisanship in this country. It makes it hard for people to change their minds about issues, because it's not just changing an opinion but changing who they are. In studies that demonstrate that presenting someone with evidence that they are factually wrong often makes them believe the untruth more strongly, I think the same force is causing that problem.

Additionally, I have a problem with the way these identities package together opinions about many different issues. If I buy the narrative about the Other Party, then I can assume my party has the right position on many unrealated issues instead of giving them each careful thought.

It would be nice if more people:
  • Avoided personally identifying with a party as a defining personal characteristic
  • Analyzed the basis of their beliefs, particularly about what would change their mind
  • Acknowledged when the other side has valid concerns

I'm a red panda

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2018, 10:49:07 AM »
If we had more than 2 political parties, I wouldn't vote straight ticket. But my life circumstances have essentially left me as a single issue voter, so I vote by party.  Note- that if the person in my party doesn't support that issue, I won't vote for them. That is the only case I'd go for a third party in a federal election.

In local elections, I consider candidates more closely on a variety of matters, and am much more likely to vote third party.

Travis

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2018, 11:12:34 AM »
We're also doing a great job right now of convincing everyone The Other Party Is Not Just Wrong, But Evil, with the result that it doesn't really matter who My Party ends up putting forward and what they believe - we all have to vote down the ticket to keep the Bad Guys out of power.

(I have voted for people of multiple different parties, but I am absolutely criticizing my own mindset above.)

Anyway, yeah, I think party affiliation as personal identity is one of the huge problems driving increasing partisanship in this country. It makes it hard for people to change their minds about issues, because it's not just changing an opinion but changing who they are. In studies that demonstrate that presenting someone with evidence that they are factually wrong often makes them believe the untruth more strongly, I think the same force is causing that problem.

Additionally, I have a problem with the way these identities package together opinions about many different issues. If I buy the narrative about the Other Party, then I can assume my party has the right position on many unrealated issues instead of giving them each careful thought.

It would be nice if more people:
  • Avoided personally identifying with a party as a defining personal characteristic
  • Analyzed the basis of their beliefs, particularly about what would change their mind
  • Acknowledged when the other side has valid concerns

When I read the OP, I thought it was a tangent on the "who your friends are" thread that's been going on the for the last few days.  What you have to say here is a factor in that.

acroy

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2018, 11:15:21 AM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

Tass

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2018, 11:53:45 AM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

I think, ultimately, that most people tying their identity to sports teams understand that it's a game. They play at hating the opposition, they joke around with the phrase "We can't be friends anymore," but generally there's not too much bad blood shed over it.

The concern is that when confronted with much more serious issues, people dig deeper into the "teams" mentality - they take their team more seriously - instead of recognizing that taking the issue more seriously requires nuance.

And I'm saying this as someone who feels I have been forced into picking a "team" in recent years.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 11:55:32 AM by Tass »

MonkeyJenga

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2018, 12:26:40 PM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

I think, ultimately, that most people tying their identity to sports teams understand that it's a game. They play at hating the opposition, they joke around with the phrase "We can't be friends anymore," but generally there's not too much bad blood shed over it.

The concern is that when confronted with much more serious issues, people dig deeper into the "teams" mentality - they take their team more seriously - instead of recognizing that taking the issue more seriously requires nuance.

And I'm saying this as someone who feels I have been forced into picking a "team" in recent years.

Hah. I registered with a party for the first time in 2016. I still have my qualms about identifying super-strongly with a party (funny to those who know my current career goals), but it is a different issue than sports fandom. Sports does not affect your personal life. I used to hope that my state's hockey team won, but was I injured in any way when they didn't? No. Politics has a huge impact on everything you do, whether you realize it or not. And if one party is mostly beneficial for you and your country, and another party is deeply damaging, well, I understand straight ticket voters. Especially if you are a member of a group that the other party persistently discriminates against. Or a person who relies on services that the other party wants to eliminate.

If politicians were actually willing to compromise and look at issues based on facts and logic, then voters would have more incentive to be reasonable and flexible in their votes.

As it is, our elected officials do not do this. In my opinion, one side is much more extreme in "win at all costs, abandon your alleged principles, nothing matters but getting reelected," so I cannot see myself voting for anyone on that side.

Dabnasty

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2018, 12:29:14 PM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

I think, ultimately, that most people tying their identity to sports teams understand that it's a game. They play at hating the opposition, they joke around with the phrase "We can't be friends anymore," but generally there's not too much bad blood shed over it.

The concern is that when confronted with much more serious issues, people dig deeper into the "teams" mentality - they take their team more seriously - instead of recognizing that taking the issue more seriously requires nuance.

And I'm saying this as someone who feels I have been forced into picking a "team" in recent years.

I think I've seen a good example where this behavior actually transitioned from sports to "serious issue" with UNC and Duke fans. These teams have a very polarizing rivalry and I'll admit that plenty of Duke fans are friends with UNC fans but with the recent allegations of UNC players taking illegitimate courses to get better grades their fans adamantly deny that upper management was involved while Duke fans adamantly claim that they were. These people have access to the same sources of information but will make arguments with confidence and sometimes even talk behind each others backs about how dumb the other guy is to believe what they do.

I see that same mindset about politics in these same people. When accusations are made about politicians or scandals, they don't want to talk about what happened, they want to "talk smack" so to speak. The fact that a politician did a bad thing isn't a reason to withdraw their support, but rather reinforce it. I guess the thought process is, this incident is going to hurt my candidate's chance of winning, they need my support now more than ever.

nereo

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2018, 12:42:28 PM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

I think, ultimately, that most people tying their identity to sports teams understand that it's a game. They play at hating the opposition, they joke around with the phrase "We can't be friends anymore," but generally there's not too much bad blood shed over it.

The concern is that when confronted with much more serious issues, people dig deeper into the "teams" mentality - they take their team more seriously - instead of recognizing that taking the issue more seriously requires nuance.

And I'm saying this as someone who feels I have been forced into picking a "team" in recent years.

I think I've seen a good example where this behavior actually transitioned from sports to "serious issue" with UNC and Duke fans. These teams have a very polarizing rivalry and I'll admit that plenty of Duke fans are friends with UNC fans but with the recent allegations of UNC players taking illegitimate courses to get better grades their fans adamantly deny that upper management was involved while Duke fans adamantly claim that they were. These people have access to the same sources of information but will make arguments with confidence and sometimes even talk behind each others backs about how dumb the other guy is to believe what they do.

Funny you bring up the UNC/Duke rivalry.  When I was a young teenager I went to a summer swim camp at Duke, where the first question the coaches asked us was whether any of us had any tarheels stuff.  I knew very little about college sports at the time and didn't even know who the tarheels were.  We were warned against wearing any of 'their' stuff during camp.  A few days in a boy - maybe 13 or so - wore a UNC sweatshirt on the way to morning practice (which btw was at 6am and so you just threw on whatever you could to get to the pool on time).  The assistants (all varsity swimmers) cermonously shredding it in front of the whole group. Poor kid was so intimidated and shell-shocked he didn't say a word.  Looking back I'm positive this constituted bullying and very well could have traumatized the guy.  Like me he didn't understand there even was a rivalry - his parents (both UNC alum) had given him that sweatshirt.  Wondering if he ever told them... I kinda doubt it.

Tass

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2018, 12:56:20 PM »
I know that there's a large segment of our population who's personal identity is tied to a political party. I even have some of these in my extended family.  I know it's there, but I still struggle to understand it.
Same here. 'Go Sports Team!' The 2 parties spend a crap-ton on marketing themselves as a brand.
I consider tying personal identity to political (or sports) teams to be a mark of immaturity.

I think, ultimately, that most people tying their identity to sports teams understand that it's a game. They play at hating the opposition, they joke around with the phrase "We can't be friends anymore," but generally there's not too much bad blood shed over it.

The concern is that when confronted with much more serious issues, people dig deeper into the "teams" mentality - they take their team more seriously - instead of recognizing that taking the issue more seriously requires nuance.

And I'm saying this as someone who feels I have been forced into picking a "team" in recent years.

Hah. I registered with a party for the first time in 2016. I still have my qualms about identifying super-strongly with a party (funny to those who know my current career goals), but it is a different issue than sports fandom. Sports does not affect your personal life. I used to hope that my state's hockey team won, but was I injured in any way when they didn't? No. Politics has a huge impact on everything you do, whether you realize it or not. And if one party is mostly beneficial for you and your country, and another party is deeply damaging, well, I understand straight ticket voters. Especially if you are a member of a group that the other party persistently discriminates against. Or a person who relies on services that the other party wants to eliminate.

If politicians were actually willing to compromise and look at issues based on facts and logic, then voters would have more incentive to be reasonable and flexible in their votes.

As it is, our elected officials do not do this. In my opinion, one side is much more extreme in "win at all costs, abandon your alleged principles, nothing matters but getting reelected," so I cannot see myself voting for anyone on that side.

Yeah, if my language makes it sound like voters are at fault in this rather than parties as a whole, then I'm being unfair. Politicians encourage this outlook because it gets them reelected. Social media encourages it because it gets people riled up. And as I've said, I'm making these criticisms as a person they absolutely apply to - I think one team is more messed up than the other, just as you describe, and I'm mostly prepared to vote for whoever is going to mitigate that damage. ("Nuance" does not mean middle ground.) Breaking down the "good guys vs bad guys" strategy of thinking about politics includes dismantling the parts of it that are true.

But we all think the other side is the unreasonable one. We have to find common ground to start from. I just don't know how to advocate "civility and cooperation" and "no tolerance for horrors" at the same time.

saijoe

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2018, 01:37:47 PM »
I feel pretty strongly that we have more of an allegiance to party than we ever have.  It's not good.  I've been tinkering with writing a blog myself.  Below is one of my posts on this topic. 

https://gettinclosetothefire.com/blog/allegiance

Let me know what you think. 

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2018, 02:15:38 PM »
I'm absolutely a one party voter these  days.  I'm a progressive Democrat, older than most people here, so there's my personal identity.  It used to be that I would vote for the occasional Republican.  There are a small handful of Republican senators or representatives that 30 years ago, I might have voted for if they were in my state/district. 

The problem for me is that these days they pretty much all knuckle under and vote along party lines, even if they aren't personally that committed to it, so I don't feel I can trust them on any issues.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2018, 02:32:22 PM »
Just to throw this into the mix (and I agree with basically all single-party voting sentiments above, that it is a problem), Texas passed a law by GOP that eliminated straight ticket voting on all Texas ballots and it is being challenged in court by Dems on grounds of voter suppression.....

Its a weird political age we live in.  The team mentality is strong in America.

As a libertarian, (<- here we go with the 'team' thing) I really wish people would wake up to the crap options we have given ourselves.

I want equal treatment of trade nation to nation (IE- trade agreements that equalize lower wages or non-existent environmental regulation factors between 'competing' nations), but I also don't want our government spying on us.  I believe we need to have some social net but not enable people to rely on a lifestyle of dependence.  The forced extremes of our team mentality pushing the parties farther apart has left me with pretty shit options across the board.

I really wish we could split into 4 parties instead of 2, but those in power would never let that happen.  Also if it split into 3 parties first, the split ticket will likely result in one of the two current 'teams' 'losing', and nobody wants to risk it...

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2018, 02:57:41 PM »
As someone who federally has voted Progressive Conservative (Flora MacDonald, how could I not?!?!?), Liberal, NDP and Green, my mind is boggling a bit at that.  OF course our elections don't have multiple events, they are for one position only, so the situation is a bit different.  But I do know people who vote a particular party because their family has always voted that way, even when things change.  Voting Progressive Conservative in the 50's is not the same as voting Conservative in the whatever we are calling this decade.

Living in a non-Parliamentary government we really only have two effective political parties.  About a third of the voting population sticks with one side or the other in every election with a middle third being "swing" voters who can't be counted on to vote a straight party ticket.  Our political system has evolved to do a great job of weeding out anybody who might stray from their designated party's playbook so a centrist candidate in the general election is increasingly rare. As such, if you want the winner to represent most of your political ideals your safest bet is to vote for that particular party every time. There isn't much of an alternative by the time you get through the primaries to the general election.  There's also a segment of the population who vote with their party completely sight unseen.  They seem to be the most vocal on social media about their views and talk more about how much the other party is dangerous rather than what their party is for or will do in office.

This is the smartest comment of the thread. We can sit around and bitch and moan about polarization, but the reality is that the political  place we find ourselves at currently is a logical end result of the way our legislature is structured. To move away from polarization, we’d need to have viable third parties, and to have viable third parties, we’d need to move to a parliamentarian system. Not going to happen.

 In reality, most people don’t identify very strongly with either party, they identify with a much smaller sub-group within each party. Democratic Socialists and Technocrat Centrists will both usually line up to vote for a Democratic candidate, but neither of those groups particularly likes or identifies with the Democratic Party as it exists today. They engage in a great deal of intraparty warring which they are very vocal about. They are certainly not sitting around singing Kumbaya with each other and giggling about shared identity  as Democrats.

nereo

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 03:01:13 PM »
Just to throw this into the mix (and I agree with basically all single-party voting sentiments above, that it is a problem), Texas passed a law by GOP that eliminated straight ticket voting on all Texas ballots and it is being challenged in court by Dems on grounds of voter suppression.....

Follow up - how can you eliminate straight-ticket voting?  Are voters prohibited from selecting candidates all from a single party?

tyort1

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2018, 03:24:51 PM »
I used to vote republican, back when they were all about fiscally conservative policies.  Now that they are all about socially conservative policy, I vote straight Dem.  I'll keep voting Dem until/unless the Republicans ever gain their sanity back (seems unlikely). 

So I don't have my identity tied up to a political party, but I do vote straight-down-the-line Dem every election nowadays.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2018, 03:32:35 PM »
Just to throw this out to the folks who think the sports analogy doesn't quite fit in - have you seen the aftermath of an Oakland Raiders game or a South American soccer match?  Murders have been known to happen over sports team loyalty.

TexasRunner

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2018, 03:49:23 PM »
Just to throw this into the mix (and I agree with basically all single-party voting sentiments above, that it is a problem), Texas passed a law by GOP that eliminated straight ticket voting on all Texas ballots and it is being challenged in court by Dems on grounds of voter suppression.....

Follow up - how can you eliminate straight-ticket voting?  Are voters prohibited from selecting candidates all from a single party?

Pulling it out of the voting machine's capability.

As in, I can't walk up to a machine and hit "All Republican" or "All Democrat". 

I also always disliked it because there were never "All Libertarian" or other 3rd parties.

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-politics/2017/05/06/texas-house-passes-bill-end-one-punch-straight-ticket-voting

TexasRunner

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2018, 03:50:20 PM »
Just to throw this out to the folks who think the sports analogy doesn't quite fit in - have you seen the aftermath of an Oakland Raiders game or a South American soccer match?  Murders have been known to happen over sports team loyalty.

This...is a scarily accurate comparison...

Any ideas whats is actually causing it / how to change things going forwards?

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2018, 04:07:28 PM »
Just to throw this out to the folks who think the sports analogy doesn't quite fit in - have you seen the aftermath of an Oakland Raiders game or a South American soccer match?  Murders have been known to happen over sports team loyalty.

This...is a scarily accurate comparison...

Any ideas whats is actually causing it / how to change things going forwards?

Not the slightest. As I mentioned earlier, the system itself is designed (intentionally or not) to produce maximum polarization.  Candidates know they don't have to be nuanced to carry their party (it's actually against their interests) and voters are rabbled-roused to not care.  Each victory using this model reduces the odds of it changing the next time around.  There would have to be some significant event that would have to force both parties at the same time to reevaluate their campaign methods.  Any change to just one party would be presented by the other side as "see, our way works just fine. Double down."

adambrensen

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2018, 05:45:23 PM »
Dan Cahan has studied this tribal psychology extensively. I find it very interesting! I recommend looking at these behaviors from that perspective and seeing what comes up for you.

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adambrensen

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2018, 05:47:47 PM »
Dan Cahan has studied this tribal psychology extensively. I find it very interesting! I recommend looking at these behaviors from that perspective and seeing what comes up for you.

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Should be Kahan. Here's a link to great explanation of his work:

https://youarenotsosmart.com/2018/02/26/yanss-122-how-our-unchecked-tribal-psychology-pollutes-politics-science-and-just-about-everything-else/

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Abe

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2018, 11:43:18 PM »
I don't consider party affiliation as part of my personal identity anymore, and have become more centrist than when I was younger. A lot of this is because I think politics is the grit thrown into the wheels of society. I do vote straight one party for two reasons:

Most of the higher-up positions (president, senator, representative, etc) end up voting along party lines, even if they claimed they wouldn't on the campaign trail. I don't trust politicians to tell the truth and/or stand up to peer pressure, and I really don't like certain aspects of the other party's overall platform. This is despite agreeing with 40% of their planks.

People running for the lower-down position are probably unimportant enough to be semi-independent, but these positions (at least in my area) tend to attract hyper-partisan nutjobs. I'd rather them be a hyper-partisan nutjob who votes along party lines for the party I like more.

I used to live somewhere else and did occasionally vote for people in the other party. Most of them became party-liners the minute they got sworn in (see the liars comment above). Some tried to be principled and eventually got drowned out by their party (see lack of spine comment above).

That's my anecdata!

Just Joe

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2018, 12:34:30 PM »
I used to vote republican, back when they were all about fiscally conservative policies.  Now that they are all about socially conservative policy, I vote straight Dem.  I'll keep voting Dem until/unless the Republicans ever gain their sanity back (seems unlikely). 

So I don't have my identity tied up to a political party, but I do vote straight-down-the-line Dem every election nowadays.

What they said. I live in a very red state. Our state lawmakers waste a bunch of time worrying about bathrooms and the bible. Only a few of the conservative candidates here are worth more than a nickel. We need intelligent, educated people making careful choices about our state future not just espousing their social conservatism.

So DW and I vote straight ticket opposition to the GOP. Doesn't matter except in three metro counties across the state where the Dems have a chance. We don't live in those areas. Still, I hope the stats show the GOP influence weakening here even if a minuscule bit.

Once things are more balanced in 50 years or so, I might consider the campaign nuance of the different candidates. ;)

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2018, 02:53:33 PM »
I don't really get the whole "party as identity" thing either. Like, people would vote Conservative or Labour for their whole lives? Really? They never consider the fact that both parties have changed significantly since, say, the 70s? To me that kind of voting is the hallmark of an unexamined political mindset. People often tend to demonise the other main party's voters, too - "the left are all stupid and spend too much money" vs "the right are all evil and want poor people to die of austerity" or whatever the current refrain is. Don't people realise that their opponents are still people, with as diverse range of motivations as anyone?

Someone who properly examines their political beliefs, through self-reflection and research, will probably end up with quite a diverse patchwork of beliefs, that aren't necessarily all put forward by the same party all the time. And at each election, they will likely vote for whichever candidate they feel will currently represent them best, which won't necessarily be the same as at the previous election.

Now, if somebody has examined their beliefs and decides that in this case, "straight ticket" or voting for the same party a bunch of times will actually get the best outcome, that's fair enough. The point is that they have actually thought about the issues at the time of the election and the particular people involved, rather than just voting for some default option...

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2018, 03:18:26 PM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2018, 06:28:29 AM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

I've found libertarians4321 in particular are very proud to identify with their politics and want to let everyone know. Maybe that's common for anyone who makes decisions outside of the mainstream but still has enough of a "group" to identify with. Although, since straight ticket voting isn't an option, maybe that forces them to get to know at least a few of the candidates.

Kris

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2018, 07:32:00 AM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

I've found libertarians4321 in particular are very proud to identify with their politics and want to let everyone know. Maybe that's common for anyone who makes decisions outside of the mainstream but still has enough of a "group" to identify with. Although, since straight ticket voting isn't an option, maybe that forces them to get to know at least a few of the candidates.

Yeah, they seem to be the vegans of the political sphere.

I think re Trumpists, insofar as there's a real white fear/anxiety that leads many of them to be attracted to the tribalist/nationalist rhetoric he uses, it's not surprising. But it's not good, either.

tyort1

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2018, 10:09:29 AM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

I've found libertarians4321 in particular are very proud to identify with their politics and want to let everyone know. Maybe that's common for anyone who makes decisions outside of the mainstream but still has enough of a "group" to identify with. Although, since straight ticket voting isn't an option, maybe that forces them to get to know at least a few of the candidates.

Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2018, 10:13:26 AM »
Libertarians on the whole also tend to be one of the most homogeneous groups I've ever run into.  They're invariably straight white men, typically between the ages of 18 - 50.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2018, 10:26:28 AM »
Libertarians on the whole also tend to be one of the most homogeneous groups I've ever run into.  They're invariably straight white men, typically between the ages of 18 - 50.

I would love to see a graphic showcasing the various political parties' demography based on self-identified members. I've seen it broken down by group, but nit's always from the opposite perspective (i.e. 67% of white evangelicals consider themselves republican).  I'd like to see it the other way (out of a representitive group of 100 republicans, X# will be white, ...)


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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2018, 10:35:34 AM »
IMO each party, and majority of americans are stuck in group think. Here are the 8 symptoms of group think:

1. An illusion of invulnerability. This creates excessive optimism that
encourages taking extreme risks.

2. Collective rationalization. Members of the group discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

3. Belief in inherent morality. Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

4. Stereotyped views of out-groups. Negative views of ‘enemy’ make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary. Remember how those who wouldn’t go along with the dot.com bubble were dismissed as simply not getting it?

5. Direct pressure on dissenters. Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

6. Self-censorship. Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

7. Illusion of unanimity. The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

8. “Mind guards” are appointed. Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group ’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. This is confirmatory bias writ large.

How many of those symptoms can you check off? I bet you think YOUR party is not stuck in group think, it is always the other.

Kris

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2018, 10:35:47 AM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

I've found libertarians4321 in particular are very proud to identify with their politics and want to let everyone know. Maybe that's common for anyone who makes decisions outside of the mainstream but still has enough of a "group" to identify with. Although, since straight ticket voting isn't an option, maybe that forces them to get to know at least a few of the candidates.

Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

Point taken. In that respect, definitely true. I was referring more to the "make sure to insert that you're a libertarian into every conversation" aspect.

tyort1

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2018, 10:39:52 AM »
I had an Uber driver last week that had the news on the radio as I got in at 8am.  Fine, lots of them do that.  He heard one particular thing he didn't like and just started ranting about politics.  Before we had even left my neighborhood (this was a 25 minute drive) he had proudly self-identified without prompting as a "right-leaning libertarian" and it was extremely clear that it wasn't just his political opinions, it's who he is.  It was exhausting.  Unless I'm clearly into the conversation, keep it in your pants, bro.

I've found libertarians4321 in particular are very proud to identify with their politics and want to let everyone know. Maybe that's common for anyone who makes decisions outside of the mainstream but still has enough of a "group" to identify with. Although, since straight ticket voting isn't an option, maybe that forces them to get to know at least a few of the candidates.

Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

Point taken. In that respect, definitely true. I was referring more to the "make sure to insert that you're a libertarian into every conversation" aspect.

Ohhhh yes.  And overuse the word "principle".  I think my new standard response to Libertarians is now going to be "I'm sorry, I don't listen to Libertarians, on principle" and watch to see if their heads explode.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2018, 10:43:13 AM »
Libertarians on the whole also tend to be one of the most homogeneous groups I've ever run into.  They're invariably straight white men, typically between the ages of 18 - 50.

I would love to see a graphic showcasing the various political parties' demography based on self-identified members. I've seen it broken down by group, but nit's always from the opposite perspective (i.e. 67% of white evangelicals consider themselves republican).  I'd like to see it the other way (out of a representitive group of 100 republicans, X# will be white, ...)

This is from 2013 and does not break out libertarians, but it does have this breakdown for Republicans, Democrats, and all others: http://news.gallup.com/poll/160373/democrats-racially-diverse-republicans-mostly-white.aspx

This is from 2013 and talks about the demographic makeup of libertarians - mostly confirms the "white men" stereotype: https://www.prri.org/spotlight/libertariangotw/



Differing info from Cato in 2016, which shows more racial diversity, although still dispropotionately male: https://www.cato.org/blog/libertarians-are-more-racially-diverse-people-realize



« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 10:45:28 AM by MonkeyJenga »

nereo

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2018, 11:22:25 AM »
Libertarians on the whole also tend to be one of the most homogeneous groups I've ever run into.  They're invariably straight white men, typically between the ages of 18 - 50.

I would love to see a graphic showcasing the various political parties' demography based on self-identified members. I've seen it broken down by group, but nit's always from the opposite perspective (i.e. 67% of white evangelicals consider themselves republican).  I'd like to see it the other way (out of a representitive group of 100 republicans, X# will be white, ...)

This is from 2013 and does not break out libertarians, but it does have this breakdown for Republicans, Democrats, and all others: http://news.gallup.com/poll/160373/democrats-racially-diverse-republicans-mostly-white.aspx

This is from 2013 and talks about the demographic makeup of libertarians - mostly confirms the "white men" stereotype:

Yeah, that's close.  I'd love to see them combined.  Have something in my head that (if I get really bored) I may try to articulate in graphical form... mostly I want to see three factors together (age, ethnicity & religion).  Would require some extensive data-mining, but...hey! that's what I do for a living!!

appreciate the graphs and links though.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2018, 01:29:14 PM »
As someone who identifies as a Democrat, and who sees that as part of my identity, I'll see if I can make it make sense to you.

It started with one-issue voting: abortion.  As a Catholic, I never considered abortion an option for myself.  My parents even told me at a young age that if I ever got pregnant, they would take care of the child until I was old enough to do so myself.  But I also realized that not everyone is Catholic.  And the thought that a young woman or girl, as I used to be, who did not have a family like mine could be forced to carry a child that she did not want, that may even have been a result of rape or incest, filled me with dread.  The idea that a politician, most likely a man, who could never understand the double sense of violation involved in that scenario, could preclude that woman - or girl - from obtaining an abortion due to his own beliefs, made me decide that I would never knowingly vote for any candidate who was not pro-choice.  And that left out most Republicans.  That the Democratic party routinely includes the right of reproductive freedom on its ticket aligns with my identity.

scottish

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2018, 04:16:40 PM »
It sounds more like you identify as a pro-choice person than as a Democrat.    If the Democrats reversed their stance on pro-choice would you still identify as a Democrat?


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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2018, 04:39:44 PM »
The 2013 Gallup poll linked above shows that whites are politically diverse 26%-38% each between democrats/republicans/independents.  However, blacks are only 5% Republican with 64% Democrat.  I think this leads to poor outcomes as Democrats and Republicans can both basically ignore (or give only lip service) to black voters as one party thinks 'they will always vote for us' and the other party thinks 'they will never vote for us'.   

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2018, 05:03:38 PM »
The 2013 Gallup poll linked above shows that whites are politically diverse 26%-38% each between democrats/republicans/independents.  However, blacks are only 5% Republican with 64% Democrat.  I think this leads to poor outcomes as Democrats and Republicans can both basically ignore (or give only lip service) to black voters as one party thinks 'they will always vote for us' and the other party thinks 'they will never vote for us'.

Or actively try to limit/stop them from voting.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2018, 05:04:17 PM »
Both parties are crap. On the one hand they try to make it seem like they're miles apart on everything, except all of the stuff that's never talked about because they're in lockstep agreement.

In most places it's almost meaningless to vote because the winner is already a foregone conclusion. If you live in any urban area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Democrat will win the race and if you live in a rural area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Republican will win the race. Wyoming will probably not elect a Democratic representative and Vermont will probably not elect a Republican one.

In the end, the best I can hope for is gridlock.



P.S. I'm one of those white male Libertarians, though with the twist that I'm Catholic and therefore disagree with many Libertarians on abortion. Mostly it's a moot point because there's no Libertarian in the race. I've met a few politicians personally and the only one's I really agreed with almost across the board had zero chance of ever winning and were at the local or state level where political party is not a constrictive as at the national level. There's a pretty conservative Democrat state senator here in NM that would probably be a Republican in most places. The state has pretty much been under single-party control for most of the last 100 years though so even conservatives have had to run as Democrats to have any chance of winning outside of some more rural areas.

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2018, 05:34:15 PM »
Both parties are crap. On the one hand they try to make it seem like they're miles apart on everything, except all of the stuff that's never talked about because they're in lockstep agreement.

In most places it's almost meaningless to vote because the winner is already a foregone conclusion. If you live in any urban area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Democrat will win the race and if you live in a rural area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Republican will win the race. Wyoming will probably not elect a Democratic representative and Vermont will probably not elect a Republican one.


whhhhaaaaahhhh????
your point may remain valid that many seats are extremely 'safe' for one party or another.
But Vermont not electing a Republican?? They've had exactly one Democratic senator, ever: current Senator Patrick Leahy (Sanders, who caucuses with the Dems, is an independent). Every other senator for the last 150 years has been from the GOP. Ditto for House members from VT.  Hell, their CURRENT Gov is a Republican. Wyoming's last state Gov was a dem.

tyort1

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2018, 06:24:54 PM »
Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

Both parties are crap. On the one hand they try to make it seem like they're miles apart on everything, except all of the stuff that's never talked about because they're in lockstep agreement.

In most places it's almost meaningless to vote because the winner is already a foregone conclusion. If you live in any urban area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Democrat will win the race and if you live in a rural area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Republican will win the race. Wyoming will probably not elect a Democratic representative and Vermont will probably not elect a Republican one.

In the end, the best I can hope for is gridlock.

P.S. I'm one of those white male Libertarians, though with the twist that I'm Catholic and therefore disagree with many Libertarians on abortion. Mostly it's a moot point because there's no Libertarian in the race. I've met a few politicians personally and the only one's I really agreed with almost across the board had zero chance of ever winning and were at the local or state level where political party is not a constrictive as at the national level. There's a pretty conservative Democrat state senator here in NM that would probably be a Republican in most places. The state has pretty much been under single-party control for most of the last 100 years though so even conservatives have had to run as Democrats to have any chance of winning outside of some more rural areas.

Wow, I didn't think a Libertarian would come along so soon and demonstrate every point I was mocking above!

zoltani

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2018, 06:33:14 PM »
Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

Both parties are crap. On the one hand they try to make it seem like they're miles apart on everything, except all of the stuff that's never talked about because they're in lockstep agreement.

In most places it's almost meaningless to vote because the winner is already a foregone conclusion. If you live in any urban area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Democrat will win the race and if you live in a rural area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Republican will win the race. Wyoming will probably not elect a Democratic representative and Vermont will probably not elect a Republican one.

In the end, the best I can hope for is gridlock.

P.S. I'm one of those white male Libertarians, though with the twist that I'm Catholic and therefore disagree with many Libertarians on abortion. Mostly it's a moot point because there's no Libertarian in the race. I've met a few politicians personally and the only one's I really agreed with almost across the board had zero chance of ever winning and were at the local or state level where political party is not a constrictive as at the national level. There's a pretty conservative Democrat state senator here in NM that would probably be a Republican in most places. The state has pretty much been under single-party control for most of the last 100 years though so even conservatives have had to run as Democrats to have any chance of winning outside of some more rural areas.

Wow, I didn't think a Libertarian would come along so soon and demonstrate every point I was mocking above!

You should buy yourself a cookie on the way home, you deserve it!

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Re: trying to understand party affiliation as personal identity
« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2018, 06:43:00 PM »
Libertarians like to brag about how they have it ALL figured out, but then whine that they can't get anything done because no party represents them.  Then they either sullenly vote republican or simply refuse to play by not voting at all.  I love how people who refuse to vote always seem to feel so entitled to b!tch about how their voices are not heard. 

They aren't like vegans, because vegans are actually trying to change things.  Libertarians in generally are usually a bunch of complainypants that whine when the world simply doesn't snap into line after one of their "brilliant" diatribes.  I will say this though - vegans and libertarians are very similar in regard to how tedious it is to listen to them.  They seem to think they have "unique" ideas that you haven't already heard a thousand times before.  Yes I get it.  And no I just don't agree with you.  Deal.

Both parties are crap. On the one hand they try to make it seem like they're miles apart on everything, except all of the stuff that's never talked about because they're in lockstep agreement.

In most places it's almost meaningless to vote because the winner is already a foregone conclusion. If you live in any urban area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Democrat will win the race and if you live in a rural area it's pretty much guaranteed that a Republican will win the race. Wyoming will probably not elect a Democratic representative and Vermont will probably not elect a Republican one.

In the end, the best I can hope for is gridlock.

P.S. I'm one of those white male Libertarians, though with the twist that I'm Catholic and therefore disagree with many Libertarians on abortion. Mostly it's a moot point because there's no Libertarian in the race. I've met a few politicians personally and the only one's I really agreed with almost across the board had zero chance of ever winning and were at the local or state level where political party is not a constrictive as at the national level. There's a pretty conservative Democrat state senator here in NM that would probably be a Republican in most places. The state has pretty much been under single-party control for most of the last 100 years though so even conservatives have had to run as Democrats to have any chance of winning outside of some more rural areas.

Wow, I didn't think a Libertarian would come along so soon and demonstrate every point I was mocking above!

I don't really understand Michael's claim that New Mexico has been under Democratic control for the last 100 years, either.  I mean, Steve Pearce (current congressman) is GOP, as is their current governor (Martinez). They even had a 6-term senator until recently.... and let's not forget that former Libertarian presidential nominee Johnson from NM started out in the GOP.
Granted I've never lived there, but from the outside NM has never seemed like solidly democratic territory.  As I recall in presidential ellections it went for Nixon, Ford, Reagan and both Bushes.