#1 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -


#2 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

As a US citizen, and a mental health therapist, I personally hold free thinking and individual rights higher then almost any other belief one might have. So, to me, I worry that when asked to vote or think in some political-based way people tend to pick some party and run with it despite how well that party fits their personal, unique beliefs or how much they actually know about that party. So I think that not only is it not important to identify with a political party it could, but not necessarily, be very dangerous if it leads to a person staying ignorant and blindly picking the party he/she has decided to identify with.

#3 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

Nope. Political parties are massively stupid things, anyways. I've no desire to affiliate with any of them, and I don't see the importance in doing so.

#4 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

No, I don't think it's important. I believe that many people get so wrapped up with taking sides that they begin ignore some viable points that the opposing parties make. Many voters don't understand politics/economics, and/or don't even care enough to educate themselves in those aspects, so they associate themselves with a party and vote that way. Blindly voting and spiteful votes is what puts people in office, which has the potential to do more harm than good in this country. I myself couldn't decide on who I wanted to vote for and I think that I lacked the proper knowledge of both candidates to make that decision. I think the country is going to get worse because the people don't think they have power or are too lazy to make a change. Change starts at the community level; if communities aren't willing to band together and make things happen, then we're fucked.

#5 Posted by Subjugation (4734 posts) -

I used to identify with a party until I realized that also lead to blind opposition to everything the other party does. They have to be diametrically opposed for whatever reason, and I think it's silly. I've been unaffiliated for the last few years and will likely stay that way going forward because the political parties in the U.S. are too extreme in either direction. We need some good centrist politics. The current state of things is beyond awful.

But seriously, I don't think either party has every fully enveloped all that I believe. I'm fiscally conservative but more socially moderate/liberal, so there isn't a good spot for someone like me.

#6 Posted by _Chad (962 posts) -

No. Politics have become a team sport where your side winning is more important than doing what is right.

#7 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

You know, in hindsight, I probably didn't need to specify US citizens with this poll. For our non-US-duders and dude-ettes, sorry.

#8 Posted by jeffrud (415 posts) -

I'm at a point where I'm comfortable voting based on actually reading party platforms, talking with their representatives, and deciding which group is least likely to really fuck up big time. In this last election I voted for the Greens, the Republicans, the Democrats, and a bunch of non-partisan folk who lean libertarian. In the end, I don't know if I'd like to meet a person who was perfectly represented by any party. Blindly following any of them shows a weird unwillingness to think critically about things.

#9 Posted by Little_Socrates (5694 posts) -

I mean, it's absolutely important, in that I think you're probably a bit of a nutter to vote by party. But I think people should almost absolutely vote by individual representative. That said, if you know you don't like the individual representative in charge (for example, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker) then it makes sense to vote for in-state representatives more likely to oppose or slow down his policies.

#10 Posted by iFail (236 posts) -

I think it's important not to identify with one particular political party. Too many people get sucked into a weirdly antagonistic mindset that doesn't help anyone.

#11 Posted by JJOR64 (19051 posts) -

No. Don't give as shit about politics and I'm fine and dandy.

#12 Posted by Inkerman (1455 posts) -

I don't really know. I guess not, but the Labor party has been shit the entire time I've been alive in Australia, so I kind of have to identify with the Liberals/Nationals.

#13 Edited by TruthTellah (9428 posts) -

@JasonR86: I don't think it is necessarily important to identify with a political party, but I do think that being a part of one can be a reasonable decision. It's like being a part of any group. You are certainly impacted both positively and negatively by those you choose to be around and the groups you choose to be a part of.

As far as latching onto group identity to avoid the need for being well-informed, I do think groups can have a negative impact on people, but I wouldn't restrict it to just political parties. It's in the very nature of groups and how people interact with groups. People are very often willing to accept group narratives, and even when they don't realize it, the way a group is perceived impacts how people perceive themselves. Groups are important, but there are certainly pitfalls we must navigate. In the case of political parties or any general grouping of individuals with similar interests, people will often gravitate toward what they feel is most acceptable(the party line) over what is more difficult(personal choice).

To me, limiting the discussion to just political parties diverts from the bigger issue here. Whether there are distinct political parties or not, group dynamics will play some part in the way people make decisions, and how best to personally manage that is important in being an open-minded and self-aware individual.

#14 Posted by Vao (329 posts) -

not really mainly because i dont feel like fighting with 95% of the people that live around here, living in the midwest where and not really liking the republican way of though is pretty shitty.

#15 Posted by Meowshi (2911 posts) -

The truth is that if you're informed and opinionated, then you're going to align more closely with one political party over the others. "Independent voters" might as well be described as the "uninformed massed", in my opinion. They can largely be characterized by their superficial reasoning and lack of knowledge on important issues.

#16 Posted by dungbootle (2458 posts) -

No, you can do whatever you want. I choose to, personally.

#17 Posted by forkboy (1174 posts) -

In my time of being eligible to vote (so since 2002) I have voted Scottish Socialist, Solidarity, No To Eu - Yes To Democracy, Liberal Democrat (in what seems like a dark & distant path before their current betrayal, when they were just harmless), Scottish Nationalist & in local elections even voted Labour once. I'm not tied to any one party. There are parties I sympathise with more than others of course, I'd self-identify as a libertarian socialist on the basis of political things I believe in, so it's unlikely I'll waste my vote on a party who are broadly capitalist. The exceptions being the Lib Dems, which was more voting for the only guy who had a chance to kick out the incumbent Labour MP, who was entirely free of thought, just a silly Blairite out of his depth. And the SNP, who are at least social democratic in nature, but that's mainly out of support for Scottish independence.

But I'm a member of no party, & really tend to think that party politics is probably unhelpful in the long-run, turning people away from what they believe & into cheerleaders for "their team". Which is bloody stupid.

#18 Edited by Seastalk (123 posts) -

@Inkerman said:

I don't really know. I guess not, but the Labor party has been shit the entire time I've been alive in Australia, so I kind of have to identify with the Liberals/Nationals.

Lol, the LNP in Australia are just as bad as Labor (if you want to go down the whole my party is better than your party route).

#19 Edited by A_Talking_Donkey (262 posts) -

No, it isn't that affiliation with a party means anything, but identifying what each party's platform is and voting accordingly.

#20 Posted by believer258 (12105 posts) -

@Meowshi said:

The truth is that if you're informed and opinionated, then you're going to align more closely with one political party over the others. "Independent voters" might as well be described as the "uninformed massed", in my opinion. They can largely be characterized by their superficial reasoning and lack of knowledge on important issues.

So just because I don't choose to be affiliated with one party's ideas and beliefs means that I'm uninformed.

...I can't say that I agree with that but I myself am not particularly informed on political matters. Maybe it's a bad thing that I don't give a fuck, but I don't give a fuck. It's always rich people bickering over bullshit and seemingly never getting anything done.

#21 Posted by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

Affiliation seems ridiculous, especially in the states where a vast number vote based on religious beliefs.

Middle income earners would have been fucked under Romney, but they voted for him in droves, regardless.

Boggles the mind.

Surely voting based on the current candidate/party's policies is the only practical way to vote?

#22 Posted by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

Problem with this system is that it tries to force you into a box. I may lean toward one side of the aisle but that doesn't mean that the other side doesn't make good points. I wish all the current politicians would just disappear so we can start fresh without the loud mouths on both sides.

#23 Posted by skrutop (3615 posts) -

I see a difference between identifying with a party and blindly voting for said party. Personally, I lean towards values espoused by the Democratic Party, but I voted for candidates in other parties when I felt they would better represent me. The major advantage to identifying with a party is that I can steer those elections by voting in the primaries. If the candidate that I want to run doesn't make the ballot, I'm then free to choose whoever I want, party affiliation be damned.

#24 Posted by ajamafalous (12129 posts) -

I think it's harmful to identify with a political party; my facebook feed from yesterday is enough evidence of that.

#25 Posted by Nightriff (5257 posts) -

No I wish people didn't. I think it is disgusting that people associate themselves with a party and not a candidate. For instance my mom was crazed about Romney but only because he is a Republican, she doesn't look at his policies or what he says he will do, but because he is a Republican he is automatically the best. Democrats do exactly the same thing too. I wish they didn't ask you to affiliate to a party because that basically makes you inclined to vote for that party and that party alone. I think if people didn't associate with a party they would be more inclined to vote for the other side or (how it should be) a third party. But we live in an imperfect world and I expect too much from people. A two party system hurts the US more and more with each election because people refuse to be open minded. Be loyal to a candidate, not to a party. There is a quote from one of the founding fathers to support this, don't remember who it was but it really opened up my mind.

#26 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@ChadMasterFlash said:

No. Politics have become a team sport where your side winning is more important than doing what is right.

This. Infinity of this.

The two-party system combined with the rise of "infotainment" networks like Fox and CNN have literally turned politics into a sport. I think what's important is that people stop identifying with political parties and start voting based on issues that effect their lives. And for fuck sake stop watching cable news.

#27 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

America needs to change it's outdated voting system, shit never gets done apart from wars. Adopt the Parliment system of the UK.

#28 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I think it's stupid. Yes, you are most likely to find one of the parties the one you closely align with. And most people, and as a result parties, are moderates, so you'll probably agree with just about everything that party does. But the party doesn't matter. It's the behavior of the individuals within the parties that matter. Anyone who votes "Republican" or "Democrat" is a fucking stupid thing to do.

#29 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

America needs to change it's outdated voting system, shit never gets done apart from wars. Adopt the Parliment system of the UK.

Anyone have any idea how likely something like this is? As much as I'd love to see it happen, my optimism for it, remains at around 0%.

#30 Edited by Hungry (166 posts) -

So this question is kind of fun. Identifying with a party can be interpreted in a lot of ways. "I am a Democrat" could mean that someone agrees with most of the Democratic party's current platforms, or it could mean that they are those kind of adorable voters who just blindly vote for their team. The latter are the kind of people who are one of the many things that make the electoral process broken.

While political parties are nice, because humans like categorizing things so we can understand them easily and quickly, the problem is that these parties end up competing against each other. I don't mean as in their views sometimes not align, I mean they participate in competitions against each other in elections. Normally this would be perfectly fine, but there are people out there who like to win as much as possible (like myself) who care more about winning than making a better nation (not like me). These people will do anything they can to try and bring down their opposition and raise themselves. Whether it is because they think they are right or that their ideas will heal the country isn't important to them. Winning is what is important, because fuck the other team. It is one of the few great traits of humans, the fierce spirit of competition, that ends up back firing on us in a huge way.

That being said, I think parties are okay, the problem is when people start seeing them less as an easy way to categorize values (though personally I think it is pretty hard to accurately categorize your views into one word, unless we made like a million political parties, which kind of defeats the purpose of the categorization), but the problem comes in when they become teams in the political game.

#31 Posted by laserbolts (5353 posts) -

I'm Canadian but I still think I can answer the base question here. I have my own set of beliefs and morals. I don't pay too much attention to politics but I'm sure both sides share some of the same views I do. Come election time if I do any research I'll vote for the side which shares more of the same views as me. Will I wear a flag on my car or say I am on one side or the other? Nope.

#32 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

nope. i hate the party system, we should do away with it entirely.

then people would actually have to learn the candidates politics and know their agenda rather than just sticking with their party and letting the party think for them.

#33 Posted by Bane (439 posts) -

From George Washington's Farewell Address:

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

He wrote that over 200 years ago and he was right.

#34 Posted by MikkaQ (10336 posts) -

No, it's actively harmful because people just vote for parties, or political philosophies instead of good leaders, which is stupid because as left-leaning or right-leaning as some parties are none of them espouse a pure form of their political stances. I've seen liberal parties support right-winged policies and vice versa.

It's more important to vote for competent leaders.

#35 Posted by Breadfan (6590 posts) -
@Bourbon_Warrior

America needs to change it's outdated voting system, shit never gets done apart from wars. Adopt the Parliment system of the UK.

Congressional cage fights!
#36 Edited by GalacticGravy (550 posts) -

No, I don't. It is all a disgusting, statist charade.

#37 Posted by Meowshi (2911 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@Meowshi said:

The truth is that if you're informed and opinionated, then you're going to align more closely with one political party over the others. "Independent voters" might as well be described as the "uninformed massed", in my opinion. They can largely be characterized by their superficial reasoning and lack of knowledge on important issues.

So just because I don't choose to be affiliated with one party's ideas and beliefs means that I'm uninformed.

...I can't say that I agree with that but I myself am not particularly informed on political matters. Maybe it's a bad thing that I don't give a fuck, but I don't give a fuck. It's always rich people bickering over bullshit and seemingly never getting anything done.

That's not quite what I'm saying. I'm suggesting that the more you inform yourself, the more you realize that your ideas and beliefs align more with one party's platform, than that of the others; regardless of whether you wanted to be affiliated with them or not. Most people claim to be independent simply because they haven't taken the time to actually inform themselves as to what the parties actually believe in, and don't want to take the step towards learning.

Apathy towards politics is another issue entirely, and isn't really the same thing as being an independent voter.

#38 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Ballots should not list what party the candidates are a part of so that you actually have to know who the fuck you're voting for when you enter the both, no straight ticket voting.

#39 Posted by Inkerman (1455 posts) -

@Seastalk said:

@Inkerman said:

I don't really know. I guess not, but the Labor party has been shit the entire time I've been alive in Australia, so I kind of have to identify with the Liberals/Nationals.

Lol, the LNP in Australia are just as bad as Labor (if you want to go down the whole my party is better than your party route).

Howard was probably our greatest PM ever, so...