What determined your choice to be a Democrat, Republican or Independent?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 2jaded2care, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Now, I'm really not trying to be divisive, but -- what was it that made you decide to support the Democrats, Republicans, or some independent group? I mean for life, not just as applies to this election.

    Some recent discussions with friends have made me wonder what it is that determines peoples' political views. As I have said before, I know lots of highly intelligent and educated Democrats, and just-as-intelligent and educated Republicans and, for example, Libertarians. I suppose it's not just one simple thing that makes the difference, but I am curious... Did you decide mainly because of your parents' views? Other life experiences? Did one issue decide it for you (abortion/choice, guns, sexual preference, the environment, etc.)? Can you even pinpoint it?

    I'd appreciate it if we could stay away from "loaded" responses ("Because Bush is an idiot", or "Because Hillary is the devil incarnate", or even "Being ______ is just the logical choice", which doesn't help at all)...

    As I said, I'm just curious, not trying to stir up trouble (I think)... My apologies if this topic has been posted before (don't see it) or just seems stupid.
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #2
    I'm a Democrat not because of a love of my party. I've been an independent before and I could end up in another party (I've voted for Green Party candidates before.) I'm where I'm at now because it seems to me that the Democratic Party is the best choice tactically to make a difference for the better in the lives of ordinary Americans. If I find a better option, then I will switch in a minute.

    Almost as important is that the other choice for so many people is a party who's policies I've fought against most of my life. Beginning with Nixon (the Vietnam War and Watergate), Ford (the Nixon pardon), Reagan (destruction of the safety net, Iran/Contra, support for Apartheid, Star Wars, etc.), and continuing through the two Bush presidencies, I've opposed most of the policies of the GOP. My choice of political parties has been shaped in large measure by what is the most effective vehicle to stop the agenda of the Republican Party and what I believe is its unrelenting attack on the social and economic gains of ordinary Americans.
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    takao

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    Location:
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    #3

    well since i'm not american i can only make my comment about the ones who i'm voting for :
    my choices are:
    ÖVP (perhaps a mixture of 40% republican, 40% democratic, 20% libertarian from the ideology but still very conservative/catholic)
    SPÖ (roughly the democratic party 90% but with a 10% touch of socialism)
    FPÖ ( 50% republican 20% libertarian,30% ultra right wing/xenophibic)
    Die Grünen ('green party' : 50% democratic, 30% "save mother earth", 10%socialistic)
    KPÖ (the communists who always try to get a seat in the parliament)

    ÖVP: too "catholic-conservative" for me, and they are screwing up the educational system at the moment
    SPÖ: concentrate too much on idealistic trench-fighting against their conservative arch-rivals at the moment but are still votable if they change conservatives screw it up even more
    FPÖ: the jörg haider party ..perhaps the most instable party which ever existed..they are exchanging their higher positions faster than you can say "let's get some work done"...and of course they are lacking aserious party programm and sympathic members....in one word: unvotable
    Die Grünen: perhaps the most votable at the moment ..msot of te tiem they concetrate on the isssues/facts and don't use rethoric to turn them around ...
    KPÖ:... the 'funny' freak party...
     
  4. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #4
    When I was first old enough to vote, I registered as a Democrat. It was what my family of New Deal Democrats did. It's a bit like growing up in a church. Then in 1976 I changed my registration to "no party," mainly because I was unhappy with the nomination of Jimmy Carter. Since that time I've been an independent, and I've never been seriously tempted me to register with any party. They all demand a kind of loyalty that I find myself unable to supply, especially given that no party reflects my ideals anyway.
     
  5. jsw
    Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #5
    I'm registered as a Democrat, mainly because I've tended to align myself more with the Democratic views of issues than those of Republicans. I'm probably going to go "no party" after this election, because I really am more of a moderate than a real Democrat.

    I am not particularly Green, but I am outraged by Republican environmental policies. And that says a lot, since I'm not that good at, oh, avoiding styrofoam, recycling, all of that. And still, their policies offend me.

    I am also more of a "let everyone believe what they want" than a "shove a Protestant God and Baptist morality down their throats" kind of person, so I'm more Democrat in that the Democrats seem to keep their religions more private.

    Related to that, I'm very much pro-choice. Not because I personally think abortion is a good thing, but because I know people will get abortions, and I'm not going to stick my head in the sand and ignore that just so I can feel good about "saving unborn children". If my daughter some day should end up pregnant and unwilling to have the child, then, although I can't predict my feelings on the matter at that time, I want her to be able to safely terminate the pregnancy, not end up in some back alley.

    Likewise, I'm in favor of drug legalization and control, which seems to have marginally more Democratic than Republican support. I don't do drugs, and, aside from very minor experimentation in college, never have. I think it's stupid. But, again, people are going to do it, and I'd rather control, tax, and make safe a practice that people are going to do anyway than flood prisons with people who aren't really criminals except in a technical sense - they haven't actually hurt anyone in any way.

    Basically, the Republicans seem to be controlled by the far right, and they seem to base every decision on one of two things: (1) what does the Bible say, and (2) what do the rich want. These aren't my criteria, so I can't go Republican.

    On the other hand, Democrats are, in my opinion, far too willing to help people than to let them help themselves. More of a "give a man a fish" than a "teach a man to fish" sort of party, and I do not like that. My wife is an RN in Lawrence, MA, a place with such liberal maternity programs that - and I mean this literally - women fly in from places like the Dominican Republic to have their children here just because the taxpayer will foot the bill. That disgusts me. Also, the whole paid-to-have-kids thing, the various ways to work the system (many women my wife cares for have many children with the same man and have lived with him for many years - in one case recently, twenty - but aren't married because that would cut back on their welfare), all these things are the result of overly liberal policies.

    I like the idea of a safety net. That's why, among other reasons, I've remained a Democrat until now. I want children to be safe, fed, medically cared for, and educated. However, I don't want them to grow up to leach off of the system. The welfare system has been improved, but, in my mind, is still far too bloated, far too lenient or favorable towards large families, and far too reactive and not proactive.

    So now I'm thinking of going Independent.

    What I really want is somehting like a Rationalist party - one that does things which are realistic, not idealistic. Things that help the general good. Legalize some drugs, use the resultant tax money to help schools. Require birth control for women on welfare until they can begin to work again - and fund research into male birth control - so that, if you can't support yourself, you don't bring even more children into the population that I need to pay for. Children are innocent, and the ones that are out there need to be provided for. But I personally don't think children should be a "right" if you're using state funds to have and raise them. I want a party that provides more equitable taxation of the super-wealthy. The way I see it, if you're worth a billion dollars, you could afford to pay substantially more in taxes without feeling any - any - pain. Stop red-light cameras. They don't help safety, they just raise local law enforcement revenue. For that matter, revise traffic laws so people are ticketed for actually being reckless, as opposed to being picked out from a crowd and ticketed for no real safety violation. Dramatically reduce the payouts for legal suits - the biggest two problems in medicine today are, I think, litigation-induced malpractice fees (which trickle down to higher medical bills for all) and relatively unregulated pharmaceutical prices. Fix those problems, and medical care will be more affordable for all. Legalize euthanasia; people who are terminally ill and of sound mind should have the right to dictate how they will die. Base decisions on ethics, not morals.

    Anyone know of such a party now?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    Jan 1, 2004
    #6
    I am a non affiliated. I don't care for labels as they never fit.
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #7
    I'm a progressive. My vote is up for grabs. I actually despise both the Republican and Democratic machinery, and would very happily support a good 3rd party candidate.

    I agree heartily with IJ here, no party supports what I believe completely. Therefore I must evaluate and compromise to decide which candidate to support. Hell, no one agrees with me on everything. Not even my wife sees things the same way politically that I do, and she's the one person I've found who's most like me politically.
     
  8. macrumors member

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    Madison
    #8
    This is a tough question, because I have very strong feelings about many issues, but I don't fit neatly into any one category (actually I kinda like that). Many of my beliefs stem from my strong religious beliefs. I dont support any form of abortion, I don't support gay marrriage (although I also don't think it is the governments place to decide the issue), so there I guess I fall conservative Republican.
    Now, conversely I feel we need to have a reformed health care system that truely includes everyone, I think we spend too much money on bombs and not enough on education, I dislike the Patriot act, don't support the NRA or the misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment (i.e. automatic weapons), I don't like the death penalty, I don't support this new fangled "preemptive-strike" nonsense, and certainly don't think that the war with Iraq or the war on terrorism is a war "God wants us to fight." Interestingly enough I feel that all of these latter positions are also a result of my stong Christian beliefs, but they wouldnt fall into a traditional role of conservative Christian. I guess I have a different reading of what Jesus teaches.

    I also have no idea who to vote for as one area of my beliefs must be compromised, either my "social beliefs", or my "political beliefs"

    Paul
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Voltron

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    #9
    I don't like Democrats win at all cost strategy in trying to beat the Republicans.
    I don't like Democrats lies, deceit, and dishonor that seems to premeat through their ranks.
    I don't believe that those who earn money should have their money taken away at gun point and given to those who don't. Some of whom I know from first hand knowledge are no good lazy bums exploiting the system.
    I don't believe it is healthy to tax the rich to the point they take their money and leave our country.
    I don't believe it is healthy to set restrictions so tight on corporations or taxes so high that they move their operations to other countries.
    I don't believe everyone has a right to health or a doctors time.
    I believe that if Government made health care cheaper through over regulation, people would quit becoming doctors and health care would get more expensive or long lines would result.
    I don't believe in allowing international court, or the UN to be in charge of our court system or how we use our military as long as they have totilitatian dictators and retards in their leadership positions.
    So I can't be a Democrat.

    I don't like Republicans holier than though crapola trying to force everyone to live up to their moral standards.
    I think individuals should be free to be individuals.
    I think I own my own body and if someone else wants to ruin theirs with drugs they should be allowed to do so.
    I don't like Bush trying go out of his way to appease liberals by pretending to believe in liberal agendas.
    I don't like the Republicans in congress who are such wimps they won't force the democrats to turn their fillibuster into a real fillibuster.
    So I can't be a Republican.

    I don't like the libertarians isolationist philosophy they don't realize the dangers if we actually implemented 100% of them.
    I don't like folks stealing money from higher tax earners to give to wellfare mothers who continue to pop out more leaches, or other leaches who have no real intention of ever being a productive member of society. However, I see nothing wrong with giving those who really do want to become a productive member of society a helping hand, but only long enough to get them on their feet and kick them in the rear and let them propel themselves the rest of the way. After all everyone has to deal with bad luck from time to time, course the smart ones prepare for that stuff. If you are stupid enough to have more kids then you can afford maybe you should go to jail and work off the wellfare that will have to be paid to insure your children don't starve.

    I can't be 100% for any party. Don't bring up the lunatics in the green party.
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #10
    you mean those lunatics who have the majority of the votes in the city where i am stuying ? (at least according to the last EU election) ;)
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Voltron

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    #11
    The Green Party in the US is the same as the Green Party in the EU?
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #12
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Denver
    #13
    I don't consider myself a democrat, but I vote with them out of necessity. The last three Republican presidents, over twenty-five years, have been disasters for the nation. Each one has raised the deficit, and the debt, to new, historic heights. Reagan and W have built their base out of conservative chrisitians, whose morality and philosophy I am utterly at odds with. Each has raised military spending, two by starting wars in a highly unstable part of the world.

    Essentially, when the Republicans say they are for smaller government, they are not telling the truth, as the budget has ballooned under their leadership. When they say they are for more personal freedom, they mean as long as your freedom doesn't violate the two-thousand year old mystic teachings of their religion. I don't think I've *ever* heard a Republican say they are for world peace, they all seem to be of the thought that "If they didn't want an ass-kicking, they shoulda done what we said" mind-set.

    The Democrats are the only viable alternative party. Our election system is set up in a way to guarantee two-party dominance (though that wasn't on purpose in the beginning). I'm picking the lesser of the two evils, here.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2003
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    Atlanta
    #14
    Maybe I should have used the terms "progressive" and "conservative" instead of political party labels in the original question, but then that's a lot less specific, and where do the myriad independents fit into that?

    I guess I am trying to figure out why two people can theoretically watch pretty much the same news, read the same papers, and politically reach two opposing conclusions. Not that people exist only on some Pavlovian plane, I know everyone's complex in their thinking, and of course the influences and information we experience are different (by our choice as well as circumstance), but still it puzzles me.

    Is it simply that "progressives" are unhappy with the status quo, want to help the underdogs and think government should make things fair (and change is good)? Is it simply that "conservatives" are happy with the status quo and think that self-reliance is the key (and why "buy a new car when all you need is a new tire")? If so, do we reach those conclusions based mostly on whether we personally are happy or not? Are "progressives" more "A-types"? More "right-brained"? And vice-versa?

    Or maybe it's simply a silly question without a real answer. Still, I'd like to hear what people think.
     
  15. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    I'm going to confuse you and call myself a communitarian. Government isn't there to make things right for everyone, it's there to do what government does best, or can do only, to promote the common welfare.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Dec 3, 2002
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    Denver
    #16
    If you want a technical explanation, I can sketch one for you.

    90% or so of the time, people choose the political party of their parents. Children start becoming aware of their affiliation before they know what it means. Later, their peers influence their decisions, as well as their teachers.

    The political party a person chooses at 18 will 90% of the time be the party they vote with for the rest of their life.

    Studies done on the subject have shown that the household you are raised in essentially determines your party affiliation. People may have reasons behind their decisions when they're older, but I'd question those as a chicken/egg problem. If you're raised in the household of two staunch democrats, you are naturally going to grow up suspicious of Republicans. And the same goes for the other side. If you grow up listening to Rush on the radio, of course you're going to develop an instinctual hatred for Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. It's environment first, reason second.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
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    Location:
    PDX
    #17
    enlightening thread...My position is a mixture of jsw's and thanatoasts...I have pretty big problems with both major parties right now, but morally left-leaning politics seem to fit better.

    As noted, both parties seem to not adequately represent me, however, the ways in which the Democrats do not seem a lot less destructive to myself and society at large then the Republicans...

    I think the real problem, however, is the change in the political system...with the costs of Modern Politics, and the resultant need of candidates to raise larger and larger campaign chests, you end up with political candidates based on their abilities to raise money, not necessarily on their leadership abilities...there also seems to be a system in which you must pay your dues to the Party you are affiliated with to have a shot at a big office. There is also the tendency to spout such moderate, centrist positions as to make yourself nearly indistinguishable from your opponent, only so not to alienate any voters. All the fund-raising involved also seems to leave the candidates beholden to special-interests, on both sides, although genrally those special interests are a little more benign on the Democratic side, but real and wrong nontheless.

    These things (and others), I feel have stripped Politics of any Integrity, and reduced what was once probably a noble profession, to the status of lawyers - necessary, but often despicable. Political Parties and individual candidates rarely seem about big ideas anymore, lest the risk alienating the power structure in their Party, the "system" seemingly agreed upon by both parties, or their donors. I find this sad.

    All of this also has something to do with the populace. In the face of TV, and other modern conveniences, it seems as the voting population has gotten lazier and more self-centered as time has gone on...I do mean self-centered as in selfish, but unable to look at the larger picture outside of their frame of reference...myopic, if you like. Forced to deal with a public that wants things explained to them in neat little soundbites, and grand platitudes, Politicians must become even more rhetorical and shallow with their messages, providing the opposite party with ample opportunity to attack the obvious distortions inherent in such a delivery. People seem to think that it is the politicians' job to deal with the intricacies of policy, but that does not mean that people won't voice strong opinions about them, usually in the negative, without actually knowing what they are talking about. The irony is, that this ill-informed surge of domestic opinion can derail a good policy for no good reason. The Populace still has a lot of power, but we do not seem to take enough time to educate ourselves about the issues, and the intricacies of various proposals, nor do we engage in local-level Civics, to attempt to understand the real situation and context of the larger community...

    I could make some partisan comments, but I believe some can be inferred. Until the issues I have ranted on about are addressed, we will continue to have a shallow, ineffective system where the people are involved, which is where it probably should be the deepest. We will have lackluster candidates, and lackluster ideas...I would love to vote for a third-party candidate, but everyone is convinced that it is a waste of a vote, and as long as people believe this in large numbers, it will be.

    So I am fed-up and cynical. That is my party affiliation. Perhaps Canada, or another multi-party system is for me, I don't know.

    Sorry for the rant, I think there are some points in there somewhere...
     
  18. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #18
    I guess I was lucky. In my family Party affiliation was never a priority. It was the character and substance of a candidate's position. So in '72 I supported Nixon as a youth volunteer (too young to vote).

    Since then I have supported Democratic candidates for President. For I feel they have a stronger interest in the well being and rights of all, compared to the GOP who now seems bent to limit rights with any chance they have. My hot button issues are affordable healthcare, smart tax and spending policies, and civil/equal rights issues.

    In local elections, I am more mixed. I generally look at moderates of both parties. For at the local level I have them to be less divisive than National candidates.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #19
    Registered...?
    So, when you US guys register to vote, you have to give them your preferred party line?* That so crazy.
    The southeast UK has a Green Euro-MP... has had for a couple of elections, too... She has some mad "blanket-NO!" policies, but is quite reasonable to local issues. Give the manifesto a read sometime.

    Personally, I look at the party who shares my ideals (currently none), and the local candidate who has taken the time to produce their own local agenda. I figure it's better to vote for the local candidate with the best policies for me, and take a hit on the ideals. After all, every party currently has a Euro-sceptic/neo-BNP line. It's the new in-thing.

    *Caveat: Please excuse my ignorance. I'm a moron, who knows nothing about American politics. This is just what I inferred...
     
  20. jsw
    Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #20
    Don't be hard on yourself. The true morons are in American politics.

    You don't need to declare a party (I don't think - it's been a while...perhaps I'm the moron), but you can't vote in the primaries unless you do.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    PDX
    #21
    Brap, your ignorance is more excuseable than mine, as I live in the US...in answer to the registration question, as far as I know, you do not have to be registered to vote on general (final) elections, but in party primaries (choosing final candidate for party), you do...to some, this makes a difference, to others not as much. If anyone would care to point out the incompleteness/inaccuracies of my explanation, please do...
     
  22. macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #22
    yeah i wondered about that too...


    heck i don't even know what my parents are voting...i guess my mother is voting for social democrats...but i'm not sure perhaps she is voting for the greens too....she got very "anti-globalization" in the last 3-4 years... i don't remember her beeing very political interested...
    for my father...i have no idea...perhaps social-democrats..perhaps the conservatives...perhaps even the greens(but i doubt it).....definatly not the FPÖ
    but on the other side my grandmother who is living in the same house with us is definatly voting for the conservatives...(but she isn't so sure about it anymore)
    for us 'kids' (sister being 23 an myself 20) it's pretty much clear.. at the moment only the greens are adressing youth problems the other party seem to focus on the 50+ years or older groups...
    but in the last presidental election i voted for the social democratic candidate (the upcoming president Fischer) because there wasn't a green candidate and i didn't wan't the conservative party to have both government _and_ president.. (the position of the president is rather limited but he can take away the power of the government if it goes too far...)
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #23
    The answer is, get ready our European friends .... it depends! It depends on where you live. Some states have open primaries in which people from other parties can vote in the primary election of opposing parties. Others, have closed primaries where only Democrats vote in Democratic primaries and only Republicans vote in Republican primaries, etc. It takes a full time interpreter to sort out the crazy, patch-work quilt of US election laws. Sorry guys, but that's the truth.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Nottingham
    #24
    Woah.

    Sorry about the thread hijack, but that just sounded too insane to be true. I can honestly say, if that was the way things were organised here, I'd probably not vote at all.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #25
    well get ready too...there are local differences here too...
    for example in austria:
    5-7 years ago there was a law in vorarlberg ( the austrian 'Bundesland' west of tyrol on theb order to switzerland) that you _have_ to vote ....and with law it meant "have a good excuse" or go voting.... the law was enforced.. (not very strict but still)
    with the result of election turnouts around >95% ...
    but they changed it that you don't have to go to 'federal' elections(voting parliament and president) but you still have to go to the elections concering the local government.. (i guess there is still the same law for tyrol)

    the last parliament election had only a 80% turnout (for whole austria)...and some were already talking about "disaster"...
     

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