Sunday, March 27, 2011

Republicans, Democrats, Independents; A Power Struggle?

Grandpa was sitting out on the back porch with a couple of his old cronies one Sunday afternoon taking in the first real warm days of the Spring season and talking politics, their favorite pastime. One of them was talking about how the two biggest political parties of this nation were not as big as one would believe from what was said about them. He stated that neither party was large enough to carry an election alone thus was dependent upon persuading the Independents of the nation to vote for them.

Upon getting an agreement from the others grandpa piped up with these remarks;

“You always hear about the Democrats, Republicans as well as the Independent voters in the polls. And when these polls add up their numbers they run pretty evenly so as to total all of the voters. Based on this source, Democrats are about 30%, Republicans number about 27% and Independents make up about 38%. this add up to around 95% of the registered voters.

Another source gives the numbers at 32.8% for Independents, 35.4% for Democrats and 31.8% for Republicans. This totals up to 100% of registered voters. Whether or not you consider either one of these source numbers as valid is up to you, the reader. You can probably go do your own research and come up with numbers that are biased in any direction you seek to use if you wanted to.

The primary point I want to make is the fact that regardless of your source the total will be very near or exactly 100% of the registered voters when you add up the numbers of the three political factions. And all of MSM will report any political news using these type of numbers including those news sources that you do not agree with regardless of your own political affiliation or self-designation.

While there may be a general agreement of what constitutes a Democrat or Republican we do need to understand the meaning of what constitutes an Independent. Based on this source an Independent is defined as;

“ An independent voter, often called an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter that is not clearly aligned with a political party. An independent may be variously defined as a voter who votes for candidates and issues rather than on the basis of a political ideology or partisanship a voter who does not have long-standing loyalty to, or identification with, a political party; a voter who does not usually vote for the same political party from election to election; or a voter who self-describes as an independent. “

This is a fine definition as far as I'm concerned and I'm guessing that you are probably thinking along the same lines when you hear stories about this voter. Some sources will even go as far as seek to determine towards which party the Independents lean as if to create a strong perception that we are a two party political system.

The problem being is the fact that in accordance to this source there are fifty-three national political parties. There are also many political parties that have been designated as regional parties also. Of these fifty-three national parties only four were founded before the twentieth century.

They be the Democratic party which was founded in 1828 and the Republican party which was founded in 1854. the other two parties are the Prohibition party founded in 1869 and the Socialist Labor party founded one hundred years after this nation was founded in 1876. they all have their own web sites and can be seen as evenly divided up into the two factions of the right and of the left.

There are thirty political parties that were founded in the twentieth century. The oldest of these is the Communist Party of the United States which was found in 1919. the youngest being the Working family Party and the Independent American party, both founded in 1998. Of these thirty parties twelve of them openly declare themselves as being socialistic or communistic in ideology.

In the twenty-first century there were nineteen political parties founded. The last being founded just last year.

The question that has to be posed is that if the Democratic and Republican parties along with the Independents make up 100% of the voters in this nation then who makes up the membership of all of these other political parties of the nation and regions? Are the numbers so insignificant as to discount them from consideration?

I personally don't have the answer but, Boy, it sure sounds as if it would be a nice research project that you might take on for extra credit for your American History class.

It would be my prediction that with research we would be able to trim this list down and really see just how many political parties of influence there might be. Of course we know that pollsters have already taken this into consideration, don't we? And we know that the two big ones would never allow these smaller ones influence their ideas, don't we?"

I just nodded with a grin but as I thought on it I cringed at the thought of all of the research that a project like this would entail.


BB-Idaho said...

That is an interesting list of political parties.
Some seem very narrowly focused: the United States Pirate Party for example,
interested in tradmark, copyright and patent reform
(I thought they were skull & bones pirates prior to
looking them up!), then the reformers like the Prohibition Party, who apparenlty would like to
invade my booze stash with
axes...but most seem to be
'fringe' outfits. It will
be interesing to see if the
Tea Party coelesces into
a separate party, or continues to harrass the
moderate GOP, or take over
that party. My favorite
party is the Birthday Party which I have coming up soon (if the local fire
code permits that many candles on one cake!)

The Griper said...

yes it is an interesting list, i agree, BB. that is why i thought it might make an interesting post also. i was especially surprised at the number of them too. you very seldom hear anything about them.

BB-Idaho said...

Sort of a given about these
minor 'movements'. They cannot win, but folks feel compelled to throw their
vote away, simply in frustration. My Dad, years ago became enamored of Estes "coonskin cap" Kefauver, who was buried in the Eisenhower/Stevenson
election. Later, I committed my vote to a
presidential campaign
maverick rather than cast it for an ex-actor or ex-peanut farmer. In essence, it is more of a protest, a signal to the two party system that some are disatisfied with their offering..recall Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and the like.

The Griper said...

why do you consider that a vote for one of these minor party candidates is a "wasted" vote?

BB-Idaho said...

Such votes are wasted in the sense that they are cast knowing that the candidate cannot win: hence, as you may well suspect, folks often will
vote for the lesser of two a vote AGAINST the greater evil.

The Griper said...

i was never an advocate of the idea of voting against someone. i was always taught that democracy was the idea of voting for someone.

the idea of the need to vote against someone is, in my opinion, one of the reasons we have so much voter apathy in this nation.

voting for our representatives is the only way that the ordinary citizen can actively and directly participate in governing process of this nation.

thus, voting against someone instead of voting for someone, to me, is a wasted vote. for it is a vote that a person is unlikely to defend or be proud of.

BB-Idaho said...

Not necessarily wasted, for
any number of elections involve school bonds and various bills wherein one
is either for or against.
If the voter is placed in a position of voting for
a distasteful candidate rather than an even more distasteful one, if mayhaps reflect on the candidates as well as the voters. You rightfully note that another alternative is apathy.
Instructive, along those lines, when I was a college freshmen, some
poly sci types ran a hugely successful campaign for student council....and
a non-existent person won!

The Griper said...

we were discussing the "wasted" vote specifically in regards to voting for persons of minor parties not in regards to the other issues that might be on the ballot.

you, yourself, limited it to that by declaring that a vote for a minor party candidate was a wasted vote.

BB-Idaho said...

Very well. Let us consider an example.
Grandpa much admires candidate C of the
Federalist Free State Party. He detests candidate
B of the ProgressiveSocialCommune Party
and finds candidate A of the Conservatives
United for Conservatism to be acceptable,
if lacking in a couple of areas. Media polling
has A and B in a dead heat, with C trailing far
behind with less than 1%. Grandpa is concerned
that B might win, and tells Grandma that if that is
the case, they will pack up and move to Khazakstan.
Grandpa goes to the polls and votes on
principle as always, for candidate C, aware
that public opinion has C with less than a 1%
following. When the polls close, it turns out
to be a cliff-hanger indeed: B has won by 1 vote!
Did Grandpa waste his vote? Will he move with
Grandma to Khazakstan?

The Griper said...

he laughs, very good argument BB. but let's take it backwards.

will Grampa and grandma move? the answer is no. grandma would not allow it. her children are here and as any woman she will not part from them. ask your wife. :)

was his vote wasted? you're forgetting one segment of voters, the apathetic voter. did B win as a result of grandpa's vote or did B win as a result of the apathy of some voters?

myself, i'd place blame on that apathetic voter for not taking advantage of his opportunity to participate in the government process. he has no excuse for not voting. and then, there is no way to be assured of a win for A.

besides under that scenario if grandpa had voted otherwise it would have resulted in a tie vote not a win for A. and a winner would be ascertained as determined by the laws governing that election and there is no way to be assured that A would win anyways unless the election was rigged in favor of A.

besides, you are a scientist, so, what are the odds that such a scenario will occur?

another thing to consider is the fact of the probability that someone voted for B because he followed your line of thinking rather than mine thus giving him the one vote edge. and if he had voted for someone instead of voting against A then we'd have the same results, a tie vote.

so, it comes down to the idea of voting for someone or against someone.

my way assures that whoever is the winner is a winner as a result of everyone voting for someone who they thought would make the best candidate and that the greater number of persons considers the winner as the best candidate for the position of election. and everyone can feel pride in their vote because they voted their conscience even if their candidate lost.

the most that can be said of voting your way is that we get the lesser of two evils as you said previously if the candidate you voted for wins.

and even then, there is no assurance that the man you voted against will not win.

and in either case we have a situation where a man has not voted his conscience as it told him to. can a man be proud of his vote under these circumstances?

remember, a man goes into that voting booth with foresight and cannot know that the scenario you presented would occur. the scenario you presented depends upon hindsight and your question is asked based on the end results.

in other words, grandpa may end up detesting the winner of the election but he can still hold his head high in pride at the thought of his own vote.

The Griper said...

to add to my previous defense we must remember that a representative is elected by a collective not by an individual and the person who has the greater size of a collective wins elections. the individual vote only adds to the size of any collective. no one individual can claim responsibility for a loss or a win even under your scenario.

another thing to think about too is that when we vote for someone because we are against his apponent we are actually voting for someone that we are against also only to a lesser degree.

the ultimate question that must be answered is; did the people elect the best man for the job of representing the people?

remember that john kerry was nominated and one of the arguments for voting for him in the primaries was not that he was the best man out of all of the nominees but that he was the one with the best chance of winning the election. he lost.

Obama won the last election and a big reason for it was how much people detested Bush. yet when we look at Obama's record we see a lot of his actions emulating Bush's policies in contradiction to his own promises of change.

BB-Idaho said...

Still fighting with Blogger, Griper. Your site
is one of a few which removes my comment and says
"you are not signed in" or
"your browser cookie is disabled" etc. I have to go back, delete cookies and resign in. So, electoralwise, I'm voting against Blogger!

The Griper said...

yah, i'm having the same problem over at RN's too. i've learned tho, to copy my comment prior to trying to post it. that way i have the comment saved in case it does get deleted.

BB-Idaho said...

We've talke of movie stars and we've talked of politics: Can we blend this by comparing Jody Foster to the new Australian leader
Julia Gillard? Kinda
look like twins, IMO.

The Griper said...

geeez, i agree wholeheartedly on this one, BB. in fact i would have thought it really was Jody.

Ryan said...

A couple of years ago I changed my affiliation from Republican to independent (NY calls it blank).
While I still consider myself conservative for the most part, I no longer consider myself a Republican. Besides I found myself crossing party lines when I began to pay attention to the issues at hand. In fact I have been voting for third party candidates in recent years. A prime example would be my voting the Libertarian candidate for president in 2008.
When it comes right down to it, the republicans lost their way and I didn't always agree with democrats.
I respectfully disagree with BB about wasting my vote. I will agree that a third party candidate doesn't really have a chance.
But to me a vote is wasted when you vote for a candidate you do not support. If I have to choose between one of two candidates just because they have the best chance even though I do not support either of them, I may as well stay home. But I registered to vote and I believe it is my duty to vote.

The Griper said...

we are thinking alike on this issue, ryan.

Ryan said...

By the way this was an interesting blog posting and you made I look forward to visiting again in the future.

The Griper said...

why ty Ryan and we will be looking forward to your visits again.

Ryan said...

Hello Griper,

I have been wanted to post on this issue for some time, but I never got around to it until today.


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