People who vote for their party but not individuals.

Lots of people around where I live have said something like this. “I’m voting republican because I’m a republican and republicans are always right”

Then when you ask them about the person their voting for they magically just forget everything they supposedly known about the person their voting to represent them. Or they’ll resort to some non-sense generic idea like “they’ll lower taxes” or “they’re chosen by god”.

When you push these people they can’t awnser your questions in detail, because they don’t know. All they see is the news saying “This republican and this democrat are running” then they vote for whoever is with their party. You could have a random hobo off the street get cleaned up, wear a suit with a big elephant sticker and say things like “we’re going to build roads and lower taxes” then everyone whos republican will vote for that guy. Even if he’s an absolute retard and doesn’t know what he’s talking about, since they don’t know either they just vote for him based on face value.

This is the realest threat to our democracy. Even more so than giant corporations paying politicians to do things that benefit them. People don’t care about economics, they don’t care about politics, all they care about is hearing things that they THINK will benefit them. If they hear “lower taxes” they think that must be right, but they don’t question who’s taxes will be lowered, what taxes are lowered. They just don’t care, it’s like a football team. Zealots will say “oh the giants are going to the super bowl” (I don’t watch football so forgive me if idk what im talking about) even if the giants lose every season. They don’t care, they’re too hyped up on brands, names, and images.

This is why I believe states like mine, are majority republican. It’s not because the people are republican, or peasants willing to let the rich step all over them. It’s because they’re fucking stupid, ignorant, and willingly so. It’s easier to vote for your party when you don’t know shit about the person you’re voting for. This is the problem with democracy, if people aren’t reasonable enough to know what or who they’re voting for then the whole system falls apart because those in power or with power can easily take control of the democracy. Portraying things that may sound good to the voter, but in reality only benefits the rich and powerful.
Vote suppression, destroying education, taking away family figures, subjecting people to propaganda, all these things play into the reason why there are so many republicans and why there are so many democrats who oppose the progressive left. IF people are too stupid or lazy to learn about who they’re voting for then they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I think everyone should agree that an educated felon should be allowed to vote before an ignorant standup citizen. The democratic man will destroy his democracy if he doesn’t take his head from out his ass and smell the roses.


More of a rant than a debate. Moved from Great Debates to the Pit.


I don’t see any problem with it. The majority party in each chamber of Congress sets the agenda, control which bills come up for a vote, etc. The members often vote along party lines, or very close to it. Especially on important, controversial bills. Which means in the general Congressional election, the candidate’s party is often more important than that individual’s positions.

Since I’m usually the insufferable prick who insists that such and such argument lacks nuance and that the devil’s in the details, why not do it here too?

While I share some of the OP’s frustration, the opposite side of the coin that he’s overlooked is that many people become enamored with individual politicians. While they’re probably more likely to pick someone from their party of choice, there are perils to that road too. Even the best leaders from history committed foolish or outright terrible acts. For this reason, I have never been a “fan” or follower of any particular politician for whom I’ve voted. You’ll never find me on the street waving a sign for someone. For a cause, yes. Never for a person.

I don’t expect any individual to agree with me completely. It’s impossible. Which means that as I do my research I find the best match. A more cynical way of putting that is I choose the lesser evil. And that lesser evil is most often someone from a particular party that is more likely to align with my beliefs. I’ve said for years I’m willing to vote for someone from another party, but in practice those candidates are rarely appealing. And / or that vote would go to a candidate with little chance of winning.

And about that research… I try my best to learn about the candidates. But I could spend all of my waking hours vetting every candidate in every down-ballot election. How much time would the OP feel is appropriate for this task? Or is proposing some sort of exam? Historically, that sort of thing has worked out poorly.

I vote that way, and for a reason. If it comes down to a Republican vs. a Whoever (C’mon, it’s always a Democrat) I vote for the one that is not Republican. As a result, I’m pretty much a Democrat even if I don’t believe I am. Keeping Republicans out of office is the name of the game as far as I’m concerned, notwithstanding individual personalities. I say Republican policies should not be enabled even if the person pushing them seems nice.

I always vote “Not Democrat” just to offset **bobot’s **vote.

I hope you vote in Illinois! :slight_smile:
ETA: Let me rephrase that. I don’t hope you do, what I mean is… Oh nevermind.

That’s how I see it. And I think that happens on a pretty widespread scale. Look at New York City, which iis a reliably solid deep blue Democratic city in national races. But in citywide elections, where the candidates aren’t beholden to a national party platform of policy positions, it’s different. NYC had a Republican mayor for 4 consecutive terms – OK, Bloomberg was a Democrat before he ran as a Republican and switched to Independent before his 3rd term ( which is why I didn’t count it ). I remember during the last mayoral debate the Republican candidate actually got indignant at being called a Republican and kept saying “I am not a NATIONAL Republican”. And Massachusetts is another Blue state with a Republican governor ( and they had Republican governors from 1991-2007).

I think most people vote most of the time on a party line. A particularly likable candidate in the other party, or a particularly odious candidate in their usual party my change their minds occasionally, or keep them from voting, but most of the time they’ll vote the same party each time, so the whole election process is about changing the minds of a tiny percentage of the electorate, and affecting turnout. I don’t care how many times people say they vote for the candidate and not the party, the result is the same, it’s almost always the party.

(post shortened)

I’m surprised that more people aren’t buying the arguments of such a sweet talker such as yourself. You have certainly convinced me who I should vote for.

There are morons in all parties. There are good people in all parties.

I try to vote for the good people. If none are that good, I vote for least moronic.

I vote democrat if I do not know anything about the candidates.

There was a time when a controversial bill might be supported by a small majority of R’s and a small majority of D’s and get passed even though it lacked broad support in either party. But that time is not this time. The U.S. Congress is more polarized than ever before. The votes on most controversial issues follow party lines very closely.

OP speaks of vote suppression, voter ignorance, etc. as important problems. I agree. But voting for a candidate rather than a party is not the solution. To the contrary: In the present climate all rational good-thinking Americans should vote (D) for Congress regardless of how clownish the candidate might be.

I agree with this, except that in the last sentence I’d replace “often” with “almost always much.”

Yes. It’s good to see some state-level R’s pushing back against Trump — the National Republicans are mostly in awe of the Orange Fuehrer and his depraved policies.

NY politics are hopelessly corrupt. We had our de facto mayoral election yesterday, primary day. Except, unless one is a registered Democrat, one had absolutely no say in the outcome (and even then, 86% of the registered Democrats did not vote). The November election is simply for show. And it isn’t just for Mayor. Nearly every elected city official is chosen during the primaries, but only registered party members can vote in their party’s primary. And then they wonder why no one wants to vote November’s first Tuesday.

Bloomberg ran as a Republican because Democrats wouldn’t let him on the ticket. Instead he wrote a check to the Republican Party, who otherwise would have had no candidate capable of winning the election, and gave the party bragging rights to NYC. Didn’t matter that 99% of his policies (notably except policing) were more D than R.

NY is living proof corruption doesn’t recognize Ds and Rs.

That is one thing that I am proud of Massachusetts for as a transplant. It is as generally deep blue as it gets but the citizens consistently elect some of the best Republican governors in the country including Charlie Baker, the current one. People here seem to realize that a one party system leads to overspending and corruption and resist that idea by electing great Republican leaders to mitigate that threat. William Weld and Mitt Romney may not have succeeded on the national stage but they were excellent governors. Neighboring Connecticut and Rhode Island haven’t learned that lesson and pay the price for it by being mostly one-party states with no checks in place.

However, Massachusetts Republicans aren’t like the ones you see nationally today. They tend to be very fiscally responsible, business and project oriented and mostly stay out of social issues. That appeals to me personally but I also think it should appeal to a whole lot more people as well.

You can find disasters caused by long-term one-party rule on both sides from Chicago and Detroit to Mississippi. It isn’t a good idea in general. You get the echo chamber effect in politics combined with widespread corruption.

D Odds:. It’s true, I didn’t bother to vote yesterday, and I am an incorrigible voter. My choice for Mayor, Bill de Blasio, was a shoo-in, and all the other choices were little people for districts of the Greater NYC I don’t live in, so they wouldn’t be on my ballot.

I always try to do my research before I vote, but I can’t remember the last time I would have chosen a Republican over a Democrat. Anyone who read What it Takes, Richard Ben Cramer’s great book about the 1988 Presidential race, must have a soft spot in his heart for Bob Dole…but I sure as hell voted for Clinton in 1996.

Knowing the details of the policies, delving deeply into politics, following the elections closely - takes effort and time. And the payoff (that is, your vote) is minuscule. Infinitesimally minuscule. Your one vote has about the the same effect as going out and blowing against a hurricane.

So, unless it’s a hobby of theirs (like for most SDMB junkies) people do not do that. Thus party voting. “My grandpa and dad voted D (or R), so I’ll do the same”. That’s if they vote at all.

Not surprising at all.

We vote for every position except dog catcher (& maybe even that in some towns). Seriously, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, & Coroner are all elected positions. Is there really a R vs. D way of doing those jobs??? Does the R Coroner start his cuts to the cadaver on the right vs. the D Coroner starting on the left?

It’s tough finding out anything meaningful about the row officer candidates besides what they put out, which is, of course, going to be positive. Therefore, I’m voting for some low-level candidate that I know Jack Schitt about.

We also have, at the top of the voting machine, straight party vote. I think those choices should be banned.
I have never used them, & never will. When I get to the low level row offices, I first vote for the ones that I have been able to make some intelligent decision on, next is whomever is not an incumbent. It’s not supposed to be a career!. Finally, I split my vote between parites amongst the remaining candidates.

Historically, I have usually voted Republican. But I’ve never been a straight ticket voter because, back when I lived in New York City, Republicans were often more liberal than Democrats (those were the days of John Lindsay and Jacob Javits).

In Texas, I tend to WANT to vote Republican, but regularly don’t, just because there really IS a lunatic, ignorant, racist wing of the Republican Party here, and I can’t/won’t vote for them.

If I know a Texas Democrat is generally honest and intelligent and that his Republican opponent is a fruticake, I’ll vote for the Democrat. If there’s no good option, I will throw away my vote on the best available 3rd party candidate (last Fall, I voted for Evan McMullin, because Trump and Hillary were equally intolerable to me).

Wow! I think the opposite of the OP: I vote for the party that I agree with most of the time; people who vote for individual candidates are mostly swayed by the last 30-second sound-bite commercial they watched.

As I was growing up in my teens & early twenties, I considered my own feelings & opinions on issues, and then evaluated the political parties to see which one I agreed with most. So based on my personal principles, I almost always vote for Democrats.

As I got older, I found some Democratic candidates I didn’t agree with. So I vote in Primaries, and I got active in Democratic Party caucuses & Conventions, to have a voice in choosing good Democrats.

But people who claim they are ‘Independents’ and vote for a candidate I can’t understand – don’t you have any principles you believe in?
And except for a few, the ones I have talked to at length are influenced by very trivial reasons. They seem to have minimal understanding of issues, or even facts. Their political knowledge seems to be as deep as a 30-second commercial or a 140-character tweet.

It’s less frustrating to talk die-hard Republicans. I disagree with most of their issues, but at least they have serious issues & positions they can talk about.

I have to presume that a candidate running as a Republican favors the continued existence of the Republican Party as a going concern. Sorry, but no matter what a candidate’s qualifications and policy positions are, that one’s a deal-breaker.