You don’t have to be partisan to vote for the party and not the person

I’ve about had it with American voters who will vote on emotion instead of reason. The final unlikely straw for me wasn’t a statement by a Clinton supporter now voting for McCain. It came when I saw the head of a Muslim group describe a two hour meeting that began with 50 people leaning towards Obama and ending with all but five saying they’d vote for McCain. Why? Because they felt Obama wasn’t paying enough attention to them.

Among a large segment of voters American politics isn’t as partisan as many seem to think it is, it’s personality driven. We’d be better off if it was party driven. Then we’d be assured that voters elected the party that most closely represented their views and values.

Instead Americans vote for personalities. They vote for a superficially perceived self-interest. There’s no critical thinking ability test voters have to pass before they register to vote and officially join the body politic.

The typical American is a propagandist’s delight, gullible and easily persuaded by mass marketing techniques.

If these Muslims were politically savvy and thought rationally about which party would respect their religion, would they vote for McCain and Palin, who may or may not believe that when the end of time comes Muslims will be left behind?

If these Muslims thought with their heads instead of their wounded hearts they would realize that anything Obama says about them will be fodder for the right wing zealots eager to emphasize his middle name, and drive a few more on the lunatic bigotry fringe to make time on election day to vote. Read related article: “Why Are Muslims Alienated from America’s Political Parties?”

Somehow it has become a badge honor to wear a big “Non-partisan” pin. instead of one that says you’re a proud Republican or Democrat. It’s supposed to show how objective you are. It’s a sign of rugged individualism. It shows how you think for yourself.

You don’t have to identify yourself as a Democrat or Republican, and even if you do, you don’t have to be 100% proud of your party. You don’t have to be dogmatic and support your party right or wrong.

Sensible voters ought to endeavor to see the big picture and support the party which best represents them.

For those who don’t want to analyze party positions, a reasonably good measure would be to look at the delegates at the Republican convention or the Democrat convention and decide which group most closely fits who they are.

This country has come a long way since George Washington became our first president with no party, John Adams was elected as a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Democratic-Republican (history lesson, this was before the two split into separate parties).

Many historians say that it wasn’t until 1840 that there was a significant difference between the major parties:

The election of 1840 heralded the birth of the first true political parties in the United States. Both parties under the existing two-party system operated under slightly different constitutional interpretations; in this case, the Whigs were the liberals while the Democrats were the conservatives. Both parties were also gaining the fixtures of a true national political party:

    * they appealed to voters from all sections of the country
    * they began holding primary elections to decide on one candidate to represent their party in the presidential election
    * they began using party platforms as a succinct way to express their philosophies and stances on a variety of issues
    * they made use of the spoils system (created by Jefferson and made permanent by Jackson) as a way of rewarding party loyalty
    * they attempted to appeal to the widest section of the electorate possible and therefore avoided radical stances on most issues.

Gone were the days of disorganized factions that were only loosely allied with one another. Party bosses began keeping an iron hold on their politicians. Most importantly of all, however: in the age of Jacksonian Democracy, political parties lost the anti-democratic taint associated with them in the past and were consequently accepted as a necessary part of the burgeoning American political experiment. (Reference)

In the good old days before radio, television and the Internet most Americans learned about the candidates and their party positions from reading newspapers and no doubt discussed their leanings with friends. Very few ever had a chance to see the candidates in person. A good argument can be made that the voters who read the papers, political cartoons not withstanding, decided which candidate to support were less swayed by emotion than they are today.

If you want to work for a campaign today, instead of political science, your best choice of college major would be advertising or marketing because that’s what politics has become all about. Just ask Karl Rove.1.

Comments

  1. Hal Brown

    More – not absolutes but all of these in first list and this list are most likely or most qualified or whose views you most agree with. I should have stated that clearly. Also this is a forced choice questionnaire, “neither” is not allowed. However, it is optional to add whether the questions matter to you and how much.

    Here’s the full questionnaire with the first part revised slightly:

  2. Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come?
  3. Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)?
  4. Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills?
  5. Which will be be more likely to to be more serious about our image overseas (where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other)?
  6. Which will be be more likely to be a statesman on the world stage
  7. Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders?
  8. Which has the most native intelligence to understand complex situations?
  9. Which will be more likely to assure that all Americans have the health care they need?
  10. Which will be more likely to maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies?
  11. Which will be more likely to remove politics from the Justice Department?
  12. Which will be more likely to get us out of Iraq?
  13. Which will be more likely to keep us from engaging in preemptive wars?
  14. Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with the most (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)?
  15. …. I’m sure there are more but these come to mind…
  16. Whose vice president will be most qualified to be president?
  17. >
    ..added>

  18. Which president will work best with Congress?
  19. Which president is less likely to use religious or party affiliation in appointing people, for example to head agencies like FEMA or be U.S. attorneys, but will appoint the most competent?
  20. Who will be more likely to be calmer under stress?
  21. Which is most likely to either die in office of natural causes or suffer mental deterioration?
  22. Which candidate will be more likely to appoint highly qualified people from the other party to responsible positions, including of course National Security Direcotr, Attorney General, Secretaries of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Treasury, and directors of the FBI, NSA and CIA?
  23. Which candidate respects women more?
  24. Which candidate has more empathy for people less fortunate than he is?
  25. Which is more accepting of alternative life styles including sexual preference?
  26. Which candidate’s public personal is more consistent with his private self?
  27. Which candidate understands the value of scientific research and education to both our society in general and to our economy?
  28. Which is most likely to pander to the religious right?
  29. Which is most likely to make decisions favoring special interest groups like mega-corporations, including big pharmacy and oil, and the NRA?
  30. Excluding terrorism, who has the best overall grasp of how the world – including the United States – has changed in the past 10 – 20 years?
  31. Who best understands the underlying causes of terrorism?
  32. Who is most likely to protect the United States from acts of terrorism?
  33. Who would you rather have at your house for an informal visit?
  34. ekaton

    Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come? OBAMA

    Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)? NEITHER

    Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills? BOTH

    Which will be more serious about our image overseas where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other – and is this important to you? OBAMA – and NO

    Which will be a statesman – and is this important to you?
    OBAMA – and NO

    Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders? OBAMA

    Which has the native intelligence to understand complex situations? OBAMA

    Which will assure that all Americans have the health care they need? NEITHER

    Which will maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies? OBAMA

    Which will remove politics from the Justice Department? NEITHER

    Which will get us out of Iraq? NEITHER

    Which will keep us from engaging in preemptive wars? NEITHER

    Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)? NEITHER

    Whose vice president is most qualified to be president? NEITHER

    MC CAIN – O
    BOTH – 1
    OBAMA – 6
    NEITHER – 7

    Looks like I’ll be voting for NEITHER OBAMA NOR MC CAIN.

    — Kent Shaw

  35. Hal Brown

    What this column is about is looking at what each party stands for and deciding to vote on which candidate will bring the policies and values you believe in to the White House.

  36. Which candidate do you want to shape the Supreme Court for years to come?
  37. Which candidate will be more likely to reverse the Bush efforts to create an imperial presidency (the unitary executive)?
  38. Which is more likely to use signing statements to subvert the intention of Congress in passing bills?
  39. Which will be more serious about our image overseas where the polls released today show that one has four times higher approval ratings than the other – and is this important to you?
  40. Which will be a statesman – and is this important to you?
  41. Which is most capable to working effectively with world leaders?
  42. Which has the native intelligence to understand complex situations?
  43. Which will assure that all Americans have the health care they need?
  44. Which will maintain the separation of church and state in everything from political appointments to family planning grants to education policies?
  45. Which will remove politics from the Justice Department?
  46. Which will get us out of Iraq?
  47. Which will keep us from engaging in preemptive wars?
  48. Whose theory of taxation and the economy do you agree with (tax cuts for the wealthy leads to jobs for the rest of us or more money in our pockets stimulates the economy)?
  49. …. I’m sure there are more but these come to mind…
  50. Whose vice president is most qualified to be president?