Awkward Wallflower Feelings at Political Functions

Was having a discussion about this recently…

as a result of geography, culture, interests, and so on, I have been registered as a Republican in primary elections for all of my voting life. Actual voting record leans Republican/moderate-conservative Democrats.

The other day, I was going to commit to participate in some local party activity (a meet-the-candidates/fundraiser type event) when I had this weird moment of “Why? Do I belong here?”

I’m in this weird situation where I am either at peace with or hold positions that are repugnant to popular positions in the Republican party - and as a result, I’m avoiding awkward conversations :confused:

for example - I accept the scientific conclusions on climate change, agreeing that the issue requires action. I am fine with the goals and means of the Affordable Care Act, though I recognize (as someone who works with employee benefits and sees the costs) that something more will have to be done. I think, considering the percentage of the federal & state budgets that welfare-type programs use up, I have minimal issues with the scope and use of our economic safety nets. Any problems are not high on the “list of things that need to be addressed rightdamnnow”. Social Security is affordable for our country with some minor tweaks.

However, I am generally in favor of free market economics and free trade as the most effective and most easily implementable means of increasing opportunity and prosperity for all people, and I am pro-life (call it “anti-choice” if you like), and strongly so. Business regulations should be subject to rigorous cost-benefit analyses, and regulatory barriers should be lifted whenever possible - any time they are not necessary or effective to the end of protecting public health & safety to a reasonable degree or managing externalities.

As a result of all that, I had that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to participate in the political party process - there is this whole sector of my convictions that I have to shut up about. I know, on a theoretical level, that this will happen anytime you try to shoehorn the whole damn country into two big, awkward tents, and the people milling about by the flaps of the tents filter in and out all the time.

I just had this odd moment of “what am I doing here? A significant majority of people here would find my views objectionable - but they wouldn’t care for me much over there either”. I know this is normal, and 10 years from now the winds may shift and Trump-type voters will be muttering about political homelessness.

how do you guys deal with staying active politically when you find yourself on the “outside” of the direction things are moving? I was wondering how to adapt, in practical terms.

(to be safe, I put this in “Elections”, but i’m not sure if that’s where it belongs)

I’m in a very similar place as you. I’m actually rather liberal on abortion, gay rights, guns, and SOME economics, but I’m not into this “transgender” thing, oppose government getting involved with things like the Washington Redskins, and unlike most progressives, I don’t make excuses for Islam or radical Islamic terror.

While most Democrats support Israel, much of the progressive wing is vehemently oppossed to Israel or sides with the Palestinians, and I’m extremely pro-Israel and see the Palestinians for the radical Islamic terrorists they are.

I’m also an American exceptionalist, which doesn’t fit with progressives. Most political events seem to bring few moderates.

I feel you. Being a moderate is no longer in fashion, or even acceptable.

It sounds like adeste fideles is a business-Democrat - except on abortion. The GOP used to be a big tent party. Now they are more ideologically pure.

Or to put it another way, with the positions adeste fideles stated, he could run for office as a Democrat. He could not run for office as a Republican.

Try speaking up. You may find that more people agree with you than them.

I am simpatico with adeste fideles and DerekMichaels00 also.

Although I suspect many here would not agree to that.

During the 1950’s, 60’s or 70’s OP could have been comfortable in either Party, and could have engaged in amicable debate in either Party to try push it in a preferred direction.

But now a GOP debate starts with an admonition, from the moderator no less (:eek:), that no one belongs on the stage if they don’t want to repeal Obamacare. On other issues, the GOP policy seems to be simply whatever Obama’s policy isn’t.

The Democrats also suffer from pressured group-think. Sanders, who gets a D- grade from the NRA but is willing to reach out to rural gun users is condemned for getting only D- from the NRA instead of F. Pro-life or traditional-marriage people or people afraid of jihadists are not made to feel welcome in the Democratic Party.

It’s a crazy environment, worthy of a 3rd-grade playground rather than an intelligent democracy.

All these positions in the first two posts (except for anti-choice or anti-transgender) sound pretty close to mainstream Democratic politics.

Not terribly close to Bernie politics (though a lot closer than to any of the republicans), but pretty close to Obama and Hillary politics.

For myself, I cannot understand why people support the Republicans with their professed ideological purity and the my way or the highway negotiating strategy. Back in late eighties and early nineties I would support Republicans as much or maybe even a bit more than Democrats. I agreed with them on most fiscal matters, was agnostic on guns and national defense, and (as a civil libertarian) felt that the civil rights of the populace were in relatively good shape and moving in the right direction.

These days I cannot envision ever voting for a Republican candidate again. I disagree with septimus about the group-think of democrats as I can argue with my Democratic friends about trade and tax policies, business and environmental regulations, and even gun control. I agree that the pro-life/anti choice crowd and the traditional marriage crowd might not feel welcome, but for most other topics, including national security, terrorism, and discussions of Islamic extremism, I find that my liberal and Democratic friends will accept and agree with a range of positions. Sure, a few of them are evangelicals on one topic or another and will not budge and inch or listen to reason, but most of them can see my side even if they are not sure if they agree with it.

My Republican friends and acquaintances are accepting of gay marriage and civil rights, so I can’t fault them for that though I find the national dialog of the Republican leaders and pundits to be disgusting. However, if I try to engage them on almost anything else I find they are mocking and not open to any conversation. I have tried to engage them on civil asset forfeiture, the perverse incentives of private prisons, the inequity of our justice system, the imbalance of power with our prosecuting attorneys, and the militarization of our police forces, they tend to resort to calling BLM a bunch of thugs. When I try to talk about globalization and automation and its effects on the working class, the rise of people on disability, and the rise in poverty rates and economic inequality, they just call them (the majority of their countrymen) a bunch of losers without being able to see any of the underlying social and economic changes in the world today.

The worst is when I try to talk about Climate Change. I try to discuss increasing insurance losses to storms and floods, melting ice caps and glaciers, changes in growing season and zones, human migration in the third world due to extended droughts, or changes in animal populations. You know, some serious problems facing the world today. They switch the subject to Algore’s mansions and the last ice age. They might even throw in the word libtard or talk about a conspiracy among scientists.

I get extremely uncomfortable when I hang out with these people, a group of friends and acquaintances I have known for over 20 years. I don’t feel this way with my democratic friends. Regardless, I try to persevere. Maybe I, and the OP, need to seek out a different group of conservatives to interact with. I don’t know if they exist.

For what it’s worth, I consider myself not only a Democrat but a liberal Democrat, and I don’t much disagree with the OP’s positions. Oh, there are some details where we differ, but certainly not enough that I would feel it necessary to ostracize him.

I vent here.

I spend more time arguing about issues I disagree with my fellow liberals/Democrats on than with right wingers. Those issues are rare, but frustrating. For instance, I not only support the Citizens United decision, I very very strongly support it. And I’m very skeptical of racial preferences, etc.

This is a good place to anonymously tell off people on the other side of those issues without damaging any real relationships with people I actually know.

It is unfortunate that the only way to get one’s voice heard in society today is to be ideologically extreme. Moderates cannot get their voice heard by the media because they are not “interesting enough” (so to speak.)

Seems like Obama does a pretty good job of being heard…

I think that’s always been true.

But the phenomenon is offset by the fact that extremists whose voices get heard are often viewed negatively and would have been better of not being heard.

Well, the President of the United States, by virtue of his/her position, is going to get an immense amount of media attention regardless of his/her political views.
Bush Sr., Bush. Jr., Clinton, Reagan, Carter, etc. all got “heard” too.

on today’s hot button issues, Obama’s not a moderate. On transvestites, the discourse (because yes, words matter) on Islamic terrorism, and race relations, he takes a hard left turn. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, took moderate stances on his day’s hot button issues, welfare and crime.

If you mean on transgender issues (why do you call them transvestites?), then he’s pretty liberal. But bullshit on race relations or Islamic terrorism. He’s the most effective anti-Islamic-terrorist President in American history.

Obama does too on most issues. Maybe he’s slightly to the left of Bill Clinton overall. Your characterization is mostly bullshit and reeks of right-wing-conspiracist sources.

There are a lot of people who support gay rights (hence how the majority of Americans support gay marriage) but who aren’t into this transgender thing. There’s even a drop-the-T campaign that got a response.

I support gay rights because I see that sexuality is a description of whether a man’s penis gets hard to female or male stimuli and whether a woman’s vaj gets wet to male or female stimuli. One cannot control those things as they do walking, or moving limbs, hence why I don’t feel its right to punish people for something they can’t control, thus I support gay rights. But since one cannot change his sexuality (no matter how many shock treatments, conversion scams, etc.), one cannot change his gender.

Also, a lot of men’s worst fear is going to a bar, picking up someone they thought was a “cis” woman, and turning out to be wrong!

Obama doesn’t even acknowledge this sentiment. He just goes with the hard left. The guy gave Bruce Jenner (who has a Y-chromosome) an award. WTF!

And once again, I was talking about the discourse about Islamic terrorism. Words matter for the reasons this non-conservative non-Bill Maher person said:

Obama also invoked the crusades, with the implication that they were some one sided conflict that occurred in a vacuum, as a reason for radical Islam! That’s the standard far-left academic interpretation instead of the truth.

By coincidence I just clicked in Google News.

The “both sides do it” ignoranti might call this an exaggeration. Not so GOP leaders themselves:

The article goes on

I’m pretty much in agreement with adeste fideles on all the topics he/she mentioned. Neither party fully represents me and my opinions.

The irony is that in order to have an effect, you have to choose a side, and there are really only two.

Luckily for me I tend toward one in particular, even if we don’t agree all the time.