Why Do Voters Remain Loyal to Political Parties?
Though political parties have fallen somewhat out of favor, the majority of voters in every election identify themselves as either Democrat or Republican. Neither party has close to 50 percent of registered voters, but the two parties together account for 59 percent who say, “I’m a Democrat” or “I’m a Republican.”
A much smaller number of these voters have the time or inclination to understand and evaluate election issues. There are no reliable statistics to measure this group, but it’s fair to estimate it at about 10 percent. Another estimated 20 percent have limited understanding. They hear the general themes from advertising or occasional news clips but don’t evaluate issues before choosing a candidate. Members of this group often believe that promises and claims of politicians are composed only of partial truths and seldom translate into actions.The remaining group, estimated at nearly half of party loyalists, have virtually no knowledge of political issues. Nevertheless, these voters automatically cast ballots for their parties.
Regardless of their knowledge or political engagement, many party members defend their party as though the party is a religion. Most can recite at least one positive headline about their party, such as these examples:
“My party favors working families.”
“My party defends the Constitution.”
“My party is for women’s rights.”
“My party is for law and order.”
“My party fights for social justice.”
“My party provides jobs by growing the economy.”
Most can recite a negative headline about the other party, such as:
“The other party raises taxes so they can spend more.”
“The other party ships jobs overseas.”
“The other party strangles small business with regulation.”
“The other party is composed of angry old white men.”
“The other party gives away middle-class tax dollars to buy votes from minorities.”
“The other party wants to control women.”
To strengthen that belief, voters of either party often “make stuff up,” fabricating wild statistics, suppositions, negative snippets, and vague fears. At times, members of each party sound desperate, in supporting their party’s supposed high-ground. Under scrutiny, however, most of these support statements or attacks offer questionable statements with little value for choosing a candidate. Nevertheless, individuals on social media repeat them, quote them out of context, create graphics and fictional information to support and enhance them.
Why are so many voters wedded so strongly to a political party? As compared to religions which usually offer spirituality and community, the parties themselves offer virtually nothing to their members. Religious organizations accept donations to help the sick, poor and downtrodden. In contrast, political parties solicit donations and use the funds to strengthen the power of their leaders.
Every four years at the national conventions, a group within each party writes a so-called “platform,” a series of principles which candidates claim to support. Most of these principles—often called platform “planks”– are vague and not actionable. Many require Congress to consider laws that would never pass through the legislative process. Candidates, however, usually follow pragmatic strategic paths and therefore ignore much of the platform. In the end, the platform is only a “feel-good” document, soon forgotten.
Logically, most people would vote for a candidate that would be best in running the government and making their lives better. But a huge number of voters automatically vote for a candidate only because he or she is a Democrat or a Republican.
Apparent experts—sociologists, behaviorists, and journalists—offer a variety of explanations for this extreme party loyalty. One theory is that young people register and select a party affiliation around age 18 and then hear only their party’s views forever after. Others choose the same party as their friends and family members. In fact, many political choices are passed down through multiple generations. Though young people may no longer know why a great grandparent chose to become a Republican or Democrat, the original choice can remain as a family tradition. Democrat ward heelers in New York City helped settle immigrants entering from Ellis Island. Their support caused tens of thousands of people to register as Democrats, and initiated Democrat majorities that remain strong five generations later.
Why should we care about politicians who win due to people who vote only by party?
Blind loyalty to either of the two parties permits a few very powerful people to make decisions that affect the lives of every American. When poor or middle-class voters vote by party, instead of by candidate qualifications, they surrender their rights to a handful of established politicians who may not care about anything other than personal power and wealth. People who want their country to prosper and improve life for themselves and their families should vote carefully from knowledge. Blindly supporting parties that do nothing for them keeps potentially more effective candidates out of power and lowers opportunities for all Americans.
Clinton Campaigns Against Sexism
With less than 100 days remaining before Election Day, both candidates—Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—have been struggling to find more effective strategies. Both candidates worry about polling that indicates a majority of voters reject both of them. Looking at demographics, Hillary Clinton has decided to court young women voters, many of whom were previously Bernie Sanders enthusiasts.
To begin targeting this group, the Clinton campaign scheduled a rally at Columbia University, for women only. And to create a different feel for the event, she invited Rachel Maddow of MSNBC to act as emcee. The theme of the evening event was “The Fight Against Sexism.” Discussing the subject from armchairs, instead of the usual speaker’s podium, the program included three Columbia women who related their personal stories.
Following opening remarks by Clinton and Maddow, the three young women entered the stage and prepared for discussions led by Maddow.
Maddow: “We’re pleased to take this opportunity to expose the ugly underbelly of blatant sexism, as practiced on a typical American campus. Though we’ll hear from each of these young women, we will omit their names to maintain their privacy.”
“Beginning with Woman Number One: Please tell us how sexism has affected your life on campus.”
Woman Number One: “When I arrived here as a freshman, I heard sexist language from the very first male I encountered. He said, ‘Hey girl! You’re looking good. What’s your name?’ I couldn’t believe my ears! Did he call me GIRL? And did he comment on my appearance?”
Maddow: “OMG! I’m so sorry you had to experience that sexist behavior. I’m sure Secretary Clinton will be fighting for you! How about you, Woman Number Two?
Woman Number Two: “I’ve experienced terrible sexist remarks while dating. One guy asked me whether I took responsibility for birth control, within five minutes of meeting me. After one or two hours, he got what he wanted from me, but his language and his aggressive sexist assumptions were still repulsive.”
Maddow: “Incredible! So sad that you had to hear those words. I know you’d be happier in a women’s safe place on campus. Let’s hear from Woman Number Three.”
Woman Number Three: “I was enjoying dinner with a man who couldn’t contain himself. He continually talked about unspeakably perverse acts he wanted us to perform. I was beside myself with disgust. I reported him to the University Provost, but she said that they could do nothing to stop him. Because he’s my husband. Some excuse!”
Maddow: “Wow! I’m personally so offended I can hardly speak. Thank heavens we have THE FUTURE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT fighting for us. Secretary Clinton, please tell us how you plan to address blatant sexism.
CLINTON: “Thank you ladies, and especially you, Rachel. We have lots of work to do, and I can’t wait to take the oath on January 20. Until then, let me be clear. Sexism is wrong! We cannot and will not tolerate it! EVER AGAIN!
When I am President, my highest priority will be to protect young women from enduring the incredible sexism that still exists in 2016. I will ask Congress to pass laws that will govern this behavior on every college campus in America. Campuses must build and maintain safe spaces for women every 500 feet. If a male attempts entry, he will be subject to expulsion and a 90-day prison sentence.
Every college campus will provide free birth control products of requested brand and type to every enrolled woman. Women may also request partners to provide birth control. And any man refusing that request will be subject to a $500 fine.
College administrators must investigate complaints of sexist language and punish male perpetrators within 24 hours, or they will automatically lose all federal grant money!”
Former President Clinton and Campaign Chairman John Podesta listened to the program from backstage and whispered their comments:
Podesta: “Can she legally do those things, Mr. President?”
Clinton: “Of course not. But these cute little bimbos are too dumb to get it!”
Secretary Clinton had prepared additional remarks but stopped speaking when a group of fifty or more young women entered the room, carrying signs and chanting: “Women’s Honor Matters!” Signs included that wording, along with ‘Rich Chicks Matter,’ and ‘All Men Must Beg Forgiveness.’”
New Trump Businesses Aim to Excite Millennials
Apparently concerned with negative poll numbers, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been working on a bold new strategy. To address deficits with millennials he has been preparing a campaign to capture Bernie Sanders voters. This new campaign has been in preparation mode for weeks, but the Trump camp has maintained a tight embargo on details. A handful of friendly advisors and reporters have had partial briefings, but until now few have seen the entire picture.
Trump recently explained that his new strategy involves extensive behind-the-scenes planning among his top business managers and attorneys. It involves the creation of new companies and new businesses.
“We know that Mr. Trump will win if he captures 45 percent of the Bernie vote,” reported campaign chief Paul Manafort. “We’ve analyzed voter attraction to Senator Sanders and identified three driving factors. Initially, the most compelling factor was a rejection of Hillary Clinton. The second was ‘Social Justice,’ the idea of the government providing free things like healthcare and college tuition. The third was a rejection of the current political system. Mr. Trump already represents an alternative to Clinton and rejection of the current system. So his newly created strategy will concentrate on free services, especially attractive to Millennials.”
This week, in the most detailed briefing yet, Trump explained that the traditional political speeches and advertising don’t work well because both candidates are working on what he termed the “negative side of the ledger.” His new strategy will not include further attacks. It will instead be an offer of the things Millennials want most.
Though Trump did not confirm actual details of what he will offer, the most prominent pieces are based on three initiatives.
The first initiative is to reopen and expand Trump University, offering free tuition to all students. The new version of Trump U. will begin with three
campuses. One will be in Colorado, one will be in Maryland, and one will be in California. The university will purchase campuses of unsuccessful colleges in other states, refurbish them to Trump standards, and offer free tuition.
The second initiative will be a new company called Trump Adult Entertainment. This business will provide free admission to campus theaters, exclusive to students with a Trump University ID card. The company will present new performances every week, with some designated for males, some for females, and some for each part of the LGBT community.
The third initiative will be free campus clinics, with licensed doctors specializing in conditions requiring medical marijuana. The clinics will also provide pharmacies to provide cannabis-based prescriptions.
“With these three businesses, we will offer students the things that they most value, according to polling,” Trump proclaimed.
Following Trump’s statement, Manafort spoke confidentially to a few reporters to answer questions about the credibility of the new offerings. “Will he really do this?” “Who will provide the funding?” “Will the voters believe him?”
Manafort answered, “Everything depends on the outcome of the election. If Trump doesn’t win, voters will still remember his ideas, which will become a national crusade. If he wins, no one knows what he’ll do on this and a hundred other things. Of course, voters will believe him. They believe he’ll build a 2,000-mile wall and get Mexico to pay for it. If they buy that, they’ll buy anything!”