Self-identify, politically (part I)

A few weeks ago (I could find the link, I think, but no real purpose served) I suggested that various SDMB conservatives needed to be placed on some sort of chart for my own ease in figuring out who held which views, who was moderate on which views, who was a hard-liner, etc, and this got pretty well derided, though I still think it’s a good idea. An even better idea would be for folks to self-identify across the political spectrum.

Before I post a thread to do that, tho, I’d like to solicit some ideas for categories, descriptions, that would be acceptable to everyone. Two large categories would be “Social” and “Fiscal” for example, but I also need to know if there are other broader categories. I suppose “Political” would be useful, as in “What percentage of the time you’ve voted have you cast a ballot for a D, an R, a 3rd party (and if so, specify by name and by percentage of your votes)?” I’d begin with a general, open question about the description of your politics in general, though this wouldn’t necessarily affect your grouping much. I say this because I just got this idea from another thread in which John Mace resisted being grouped with the “conservatives,” and there were suggestions that he considers himself a “moderate” or “centrist,” which may not suit others’ definitions of “moderate” or “centrist”’. But no matter–you can call yourself whatever you like–what will matter, for the purposes of this thread are your self-descriptions on specific questions.

For this preliminary thread, I’d like some help in setting up the questions.

I’ll start the ball rolling:

  1. What would you call yourself politically, in a word or two: Liberal, Conservative, Independent, LIbertarian, Communist, unaffiliated, Dem, Republican, Centrist, etc.

  2. What percentage of the time you’ve voted have you cast a ballot for a D, an R, a 3rd party (and if so, specify by name and by percentage of your votes)?

  3. Are you an American citizen? If not, what country are you a citizen of?

  4. What Party are you registered with, if any? If your registration has changed, from what to what, and when?

  5. Are you concerned with local, state, national, and international politics equally? If not, indicate by percentages adding up to 100 which emphasis you place on each on these?

  6. Name three political issues that are very important to you and briefly summarize your position (i.e., “2nd amendment–strong supporter of gun-owners’ rights”)

  7. Name three political issues that are unimportant to you (i.e. “Death penalty–kill 'em or not, who cares”)

  8. Are there any issues that you consider as litmus tests when considering voting for a candidate?

  9. How important has the prospect of your tax bill going up or down been in considering voting for a candidate?

  10. Do you favor an activist judicial system?

This is all just top of my head stuff, to be revised at your suggestions. This may end up in IMHO, once I’ve collated your suggestions into a questionnaire, and if Mods think it appropriate to move this elsewhere now, that’s just peachy with me.

  1. Unaffiliated. Tend to vote Dem or 3rd party. Socially liberal. Fiscally a mix.
  2. D 85% 3rd 14% R 1%
  3. US Citizen
  4. Not sure if I registered - could be Dem, or Green, or none/indy
  5. National, International, Local, State in that order in terms of concern.
  6. Gay & minority rights supporter, for tax reform, for vice law reform (no consensual crimes), campaign finance reform, kids rights, college funds, UN reform, environment, pro-immigrant, pro-choice… all major issues are fairly important to me
  7. While banking scandals obviously are important, I don’t know enough about those issues to really stake a claim in the financial industry related issues
  8. I’d love to have a litmus test, but haven’t found any candidate yet that I completely agreed with and was electable
  9. Taxes are a consideration, but I’d rather this be dealt with as an overhaul/reform of the tax system and budget balancing/deficit reform than a simple payout come tax time.
  10. I don’t think that so called activist judges are actually activist. But in general, more leeway should be given on the local level, and more scrutiny at the higher levels.

So, we’re not answering the questions, we’re critiquing their usefulness, right?

Yes–and adding to them, suggesting different ways to categorize usefully, etc. Sorry I wasn’t clearer. If anyone wants to answer the questions, as **jackdavinci **has, that may be useful for troubleshooting purposes but that’s premature, since my questions may well not be the one on the questionnaire.

We probably need to establish a baseline definition for terms like liberal, conservative and the like. Whether any given responding poster agrees with said definition is irrelevant providing that we can come to a consensus on said terms.

Wow, by the time you all get this figured out and tabulated, the election will be over and what purpose would it serve then?

Actually, I don’t get what purpose it serves now, but that’s beside the point. :stuck_out_tongue:

1) What would you call yourself politically, in a word or two: Liberal, Conservative, Independent, LIbertarian, Communist, unaffiliated, Dem, Republican, Centrist, etc.
liberal

2) What percentage of the time you’ve voted have you cast a ballot for a D, an R, a 3rd party (and if so, specify by name and by percentage of your votes)?
100% dem, but I’ve only been eligible to vote in the 2004 and 2006 elections. I saw some Independent candidates for local elections this year I might vote for, and wanted to vote for Nader in 2004 but did not

3) Are you an American citizen? If not, what country are you a citizen of?
yes

4) What Party are you registered with, if any? If your registration has changed, from what to what, and when?
I don’t think I am registered with any party…just signed up with someone that had a clipboard when I was visiting college before freshman year

5) Are you concerned with local, state, national, and international politics equally? If not, indicate by percentages adding up to 100 which emphasis you place on each on these?
no, probably national 50%, state 25% and split local and international. local so low because they don’t seem to do a whole lot that effects me around here, and international so low because I am not really informed enough

6) Name three political issues that are very important to you and briefly summarize your position (i.e., “2nd amendment–strong supporter of gun-owners’ rights”)
rights for homosexuals
abortion rights - right to choose
more funding and emphasis on education and getting our nation to be more informed

7) Name three political issues that are unimportant to you (i.e. “Death penalty–kill 'em or not, who cares”)
death penalty - for a otherwise very liberal person, I just don’t care enough either way
I don’t totally understand all the economic stuff going on

8) Are there any issues that you consider as litmus tests when considering voting for a candidate?
pro-choice status - gotta be pro-choice
gotta be at least somewhat gay-friendly at least in comparison to opposing candidate
can’t be wanting to inject their religion into the government

9) How important has the prospect of your tax bill going up or down been in considering voting for a candidate?
none, I am in college and make minimum wage and get all my federal income taxes back.

10) Do you favor an activist judicial system?
someone clarify this more and I will answer

  1. Liberal, leaning socialist.

  2. I’d say about 90% D, but I’ll vote for Rs in local elections, mostly for judges. (since I know these people and practice in front of them, I know who is good and who is not, and will vote for a good Republican incumbent–a judge is something in which political alignment doesn’t matter very much anyway)

  3. Yes.

  4. I’m a registered Democrat. I registered Republican in 2000 to vote against Bush in the primaries, then switched in 2004 to vote for Howard Dean.

  5. National politics seems intrinsically linked with international (and to a lesser extent, local with state) so it’s hard to break it down. In certain arenas, I’m more concerned with local stuff–I’ll always vote for bond issues and school levies, for example–but I’m also very concerned with who represents me on a national level. I see the impact of the local stuff just as much, though.

  6. As a public defender, I almost have to list poverty issues first, and education second. Third is a tie between energy and health care, although I think energy will eke out a win as it’s tied into the economy. Everyone’s suffering due to the energy crisis.

  7. I don’t really care about gun control–nail people who commit crimes with guns, sure, but I think people have a right to bear arms responsibly. I don’t care if my taxes are raised to support my community. And I could really give two shits whether or not a candidate is religious, or what religion he or she is, as long as it isn’t forced onto me.

  8. Not really, although McCain never mentioning the middle class in his debates comes close.

  9. See above. I think McCain would actually give us a slightly (like .4%) higher tax cut than Obama would, but I’m voting for Obama anyway. I think his tax plan is better overall, and I think his policies align with mine in where that money should go.

  10. This is a tough question. As a lawyer, I know what judges are supposed to do. I also know that there are SO many issues that the framers never could have contemplated, and it’s incredibly difficult to extrapolate a 200-year-old document into today’s complicated world and have it maintain any sort of coherent meaning. I think “activist judges” is a loaded term, too–for as much as Scalia claims to strictly interpret the Constitution, he often tumbles into a series of semantic gymnastic exercises in order to craft the outcome the way he wants it to be. But hey, he’s not an activist at all.

Huh…I just scrolled down and realised we aren’t supposed to be answering these yet. Oh well, I’ll leave what I’ve written.

  1. Independent, unaffiliated, Centrist

  2. On all offices, state, local, and national? About 50/50 Dem/Rep I’d say. For the POTUS, 50/50 Rep/Dem also.

  3. Oui.

  4. None.

  5. local - 30%
    state - 30%
    national - 30%
    international - 10%

2nd amendment–strong supporter of gun-owners’ rights. Being able to defend yourself in your own home is an inalienable right that shouldn’t ever be compromised.
Legalizing marijuana. I don’t smoke it, but it’s costing our justice system too much money to enforce. Legalize it and regulate it.
Nuclear Power - We need it. It’s clean, safe, and efficient.

Can’t think of anything right off…

  1. As long as they are (relatively) honest and have common sense about issues, then I’m fine with most candidates. I suppose if someone was against nuclear power, then I’d be against them.

  2. Not very important. I know they are all going to take my money, it’s just a matter of what they use it on.

  3. I have no idea what that means.

  1. What would you call yourself politically, in a word or two:

Democrat, but basically socialist.
2) What percentage of the time you’ve voted have you cast a ballot for a D, an R, a 3rd party (and if so, specify by name and by percentage of your votes)?

Democrat, 99%
Ind/Write-in 1% (only an R on the ballot, and I knew AND disliked him)
Republican, 0%
3) Are you an American citizen? If not, what country are you a citizen of?

Yes, I am an American citizen.

  1. What Party are you registered with, if any? If your registration has changed, from what to what, and when?

I did not have a party affiliation when I lived in IL. In NY I am registered Democrat.

  1. Are you concerned with local, state, national, and international politics equally? If not, indicate by percentages adding up to 100 which emphasis you place on each on these?

Pretty much, maybe slightly more national than international.

  1. Name three political issues that are very important to you and briefly summarize your position (i.e., “2nd amendment–strong supporter of gun-owners’ rights”)

Abortion rights: 100% pro-choice
Poverty: hunger, homelessness, medical access for uninsured.
Education: accessible and affordable education for all.

  1. Name three political issues that are unimportant to you (i.e. “Death penalty–kill 'em or not, who cares”)

Gun control: I am pretty well anti-gun, especially handguns and assault weapons.
Tax cuts: we will be close to 6 figures this year and are pretty frugal. Tax cuts are unimportant to me as I would rather pay more for society to benefit.
Religion of candidates. While I support people’s rights to practice w/e religion they want, a candidate’s religion or lack thereof does not impact my likelihood to vote for them (with the exception of scary people).

  1. Are there any issues that you consider as litmus tests when considering voting for a candidate?

I won’t vote for someone who is anti-choice.

  1. How important has the prospect of your tax bill going up or down been in considering voting for a candidate?

Unimportant.

  1. Do you favor an activist judicial system?

As much as is practical.

If you’re looking for international responses, as is suggested by question #3, I’d suggest that you somewhat de-Americanize your other questions. See, for example, question 2, asking whether voted Democrat or Republican, or question 4, what party are you registered with. You’re not going to get useful international answers to these questions.

I am a Mugwump!
I sit on the fence with my mug on one side and my wump on the other.
For those too young to recognize the old terminology, I am independantly middle-of-the-road.
I do lean to the Conservative side usually though.

I’d move #3 to the top and alter it to ask about which countries a person has citizenship in and also which they currently live in. Remove the references to Democrat and Republican and use more generic terms.

#10 also skews towards the US - it really isn’t something on the radar for most countries.

Maybe reword #2 a little? It might be of particular import for people who use voting systems other than FPP (STV, MMP etc).

#4 Party registration. I’m only basing this off my own experience but in most countries you don’t register with a party as such. If you wish you can join a party (and pay appropriate dues) but you don’t register as a member of one.

All of this could be wrong! You may be aiming for a US centric questionnaire, although I think it might have more use on a broader scale.

An additional question might be along the lines of: If you were in the US would you lean Republican or Democrat or Other? In the UK - Tory, Labour or Lib-Dem? And probably add a couple more there. It’s worth noting that because of the differences in what constitutes the left and right a Tory voter in the UK (or Lib in Australia etc) may find the Republicans to be extreme right-wingers when faced with a US choice.

Use of the expression “self-identify” marks you as being left of centre, in my experience.

No immediate purpose, beyond making a chart of where people go on some sort of meaningful political spectrum, beyond simply being labelled “liberal” or “conservative” or the like. As I said, those labels are more for a poster’s self-identification, and the further categories (and I’m taking nominations) will flesh out specific areas.

With the judicial activism, I’d appreciate it if someone with more legal training than I have would phrase the question in a more meaningful way. I know that judicial activism is viewed by lefties as generally good and by righties as worse than the devil’s own spunk, but if I can add specifics that would add meaning, suggest away.

And yes this is mostly US-centric–I don’t understand politics elsewhere well enough to know your political spectra. Sorry for my ignorance. Maybe someone more knowledgable could do a “World Politics spectrum” thread, but this is ambitious enough for me.

  1. Uf, I’d need definitions for about all of those! I’m foralista but that doesn’t mean shit outside of my region, so shrug. You have to realize that where I’m from, Communists define themselves as Liberals; those definitions definitely need some refining.

  2. N/A

  3. No, see 2. Spain.

  4. No such thing as registration by party in Spain.

  5. … depends on how intent our neighbors are on being a pain in the ass…

  6. 4th transitory disposition, I’d like to get rid of it (it’s the addendum to the Spanish Constitution that says Navarra may at some point become a part of Euskadi). Anything related to migration (the easier the better, in any direction). Cultural policies (from what to teach in first grade to integration of “foreign” students or temporary migrant students or linguistic policies or monument preservation).

  7. I don’t know about unimportant, there’s lots of things which don’t affect me directly but I still have an opinion about them. In my family debate is considered a bonding experience, can’t bond if you don’t have an opinion, so we have opinions on everything.

  8. Navarra, Navarra, Navarra… oh, and Navarra. There were some dudes in the last Spanish elections who claimed that “some folks would rather be Navarrese than be democrats” like it somehow was a failure of character, but I’m afraid I, as well as 99.7% of the Navarrese electorate, fail to see what their problem is.

  9. My tax bill has been going up consistantly, it’s called “making more money.” I do consider the feasibility of tax and benefits related promises, rather than how pretty they sound.

  10. I don’t understand the question. What is an activist judicial system? Something like Judge Garzón only more?

  1. Social Liberal, Fiscal Mishmash

  2. Have never voted (British citizen, lived in the US for my entire adult life). Probably would have voted D many many times and R very occasionally.

  3. See above.

  4. None. Would be happy to register as a Democrat, generally.

  5. Local - 5%, State - 20% (issue politics only, though, don’t care about the candidates), National - 25%, Int’l - 50%

  6. a. Civil Liberties - don’t infringe on any of them; although I personally believe gun control is the way to go, you have to deal with the Constitution as written
    b. Taxation - reform the tax code so it’s less than 10 pages
    c. International Law - respect its authoritah, the Iraq invasion was illegal, etc.

  7. Whether a candidate puts his hand over his heart, who they sleep with, etc. Also, fuck farm subsidies.

  8. No, but I’d never vote for a “God’s law” candidate like Huckabee

  9. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

  10. Depends. In the UK, sure. In the US, no, in general, although I think the majority of judicial activism has had good results.

Why do you feel the need to label the “conservatives” here? Why not consider arguments on the merits? Why is one’s “self-identification” at all relevant to the cogency and logic of their arguments on a particular issue?

Might be interesting to see what the people who hug the party line self-identify as relative to those who pay lip service to it. Anyway, it’s not just for conservatives.

  1. What would you call yourself politically, in a word or two: Liberal, Conservative, Independent, LIbertarian, Communist, unaffiliated, Dem, Republican, Centrist, etc.

Independent with libertarian leanings. I’m opposed to controls on personal behavior without direct victims and opposed to government support for individuals and corporations.

  1. What percentage of the time you’ve voted have you cast a ballot for a D, an R, a 3rd party (and if so, specify by name and by percentage of your votes)?

About 50 % R, 25% L and 25% D

  1. Are you an American citizen? If not, what country are you a citizen of?
    Yes

  2. What Party are you registered with, if any? If your registration has changed, from what to what, and when?
    Originally registered D in 1988, switched to L in 1994 and have been PND (party not declared since 2000)

  3. Are you concerned with local, state, national, and international politics equally? If not, indicate by percentages adding up to 100 which emphasis you place on each on these?

I tend to go 50% national 30 % international and 20 % local, although the latter two can eat into each other depending on the issues at hand.

  1. Name three political issues that are very important to you and briefly summarize your position (i.e., “2nd amendment–strong supporter of gun-owners’ rights”)

2nd Amendment - 100 percent supporter of gun rights for citizens

Anti-child abuse - 100 percent opposed to “cognitive dissonance/family reunification” practices and 100 percent in favor of strict, long term incarceration for child abusers

Anti-welfare/redistributions: 100 percent supporter of doing for oneself if able-bodied.

  1. Name three political issues that are unimportant to you (i.e. “Death penalty–kill 'em or not, who cares”)

Abortion - it’s a moot issue that won’t be overturned or expanded in any significant way by either party

Marriage definition - it’s a cultural issue that’s gradually swinging toward greater human rights and I see it best left to individual states

The war on drugs: I support legalization, but it’ll never happen given the massive budgetary gains law enforcement organizations have enjoyed in the last 25 years.

  1. Are there any issues that you consider as litmus tests when considering voting for a candidate?

See above, particularly on 2nd amendment issues, as supporters of gun rights generally share my views about my other issues.

  1. How important has the prospect of your tax bill going up or down been in considering voting for a candidate?

In this election, given the scope of the negative impact Obama’s plans would have on the general economy and my own personal (nowhere near $250,000) income, it’s been of a higher priority than usual.

  1. Do you favor an activist judicial system?

I favor a strict constructionist judicial system, which, in some circles, is considered an activist stance.