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entspeak
I believe that some people may be choosing Independent not because of a Party Affiliation but because of a personal view of themselves as an independent even though they are unaffiliated. In fact, I know this is happening. Some may do it because they feel that it best reflects their personal view of themselves as an independent, some may do it to take advantage of the Party Specific sections of the site because unaffiliated members are restricted from participating in Party specific portions of the site if they identify themselves as unaffiliated or choose not to identify their party affiliation. Some may do it for both reasons.

There is an American Independent Party, it has had a candidate on an official ballot. It has a website. That party has very specific views.

I had a friend who was shocked to discover that he had joined this official party believing that he was registering as a "little i" independent. The National Voter Registration Form warns against writing in "independent" for this very reason.

Questions for debate:

If Independent refers to various Independent parties of some form or other, then what's the difference between Independent and Other?

How does one make the determination whether to say their party is Independent as opposed to simply Other?

What does this do to the statistics for the American Independent Party - which based on the choices available best fits in that category.

If unaffiliated members are choosing the Independent category because of how they define "Independent", members of various Independent parties are choosing the category because it comes closest to their party affiliation, and those members whose party affiliation may more closely fit the description of Other are choosing Independent because they view their party as independent - meaning not one of the major political parties... what does is the Independent Party Affiliation category statistic reflect?

This topic is not intended to request a change to the category. I'm simply hoping to get some answers to these questions. I put this topic in this forum because of it seems to be the appropriate forum for debates about the things related to the site itself.

*edited to include the last sentence.
*edited to remove a sentence.
*edited to put that sentence back in.
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Amlord
Typically, declaring oneself "Independent" means that you are engaged politically, but not attached to any party. Functionally this might mean that you vote for Republicans sometimes and Democrats sometimes. Generally, this is your typical swing voter, although not always.

In fact, they may vote for one party the vast majority of the time, but do not want to be labeled because of one reason or another (partisanship or special interest aversion, for example).

"Other" connotes belonging to a party, but not one that is listed.

"None", to my mind, indicates someone who is more apolitical, or wants nothing to do with either major party.

In 2006, 38% of voters self-labeled themselves as "Independent".

What does this category on ad.gif mean statistically? Nothing at all. It is a self identification and nothing more.
entspeak
QUOTE
Typically, declaring oneself "Independent" means that you are engaged politically, but not attached to any party.

So, it is your belief that choosing Independent under Party Affiliation does not mean that your are affiliated with Independent parties (of some form or another)?

Despite the definition of affiliate:
QUOTE
From Merriam Webster:
affiliate -
1 a : to bring or receive into close connection as a member or branch b : to associate as a member <affiliates herself with the local club>
2 : to trace the origin of
intransitive verb : to connect or associate oneself


Despite Mike's public statement that,
QUOTE
Clearly our members affiliate themselves with Independent parties of some form or another.

Despite the fact that the heading for that pulldown menu states:
QUOTE

Party Affiliation:
I am a member of/
belong to...

Despite the fact that declaring oneself affiliated to a party gives you access to the Party Specific Debate forum which clearly states in its subheading in bright, red italic letters: Declared Party members only! - with an exclamation point no less... and also clearly states that if you do not affiliate with a party you may not post in that forum...

Despite these facts and public statements, are you saying that:

In response to Question #1:

The Independent category does not refer to an Independent Party (of some various form or other)?

In response to Question #2:

The difference between Independent and Other is that the former refers to a member that is not affiliated with a party and the latter refers to a member that is affiliated with a party that happens not to be referred to in the list?

And, in response to Question #3:

The statistic tracking Independents under Party Affiliation doesn't reflect anything while, for example, the statistics tracking Democrat, Republican Affiliation reflect the number and percentage of people affiliated with those parties?

Do you believe that the statistic tracking the None category under Party Affiliation reflects the number of people on this site who are apolitical? That 578 members or roughly 18% of the participants on this site are apolitical?

QUOTE

Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: apo·lit·i·cal
Pronunciation: "A-p&-'li-ti-k&l
Function: adjective
1 : having no interest or involvement in political affairs; also : having an aversion to politics or political affairs
2 : having no political significance


*edited to add bold codes and the phrase "and public assertions". - assertions was then changed to "statements" to maintain consistency.
*edited to remove the last portion of the original post because it might be perceived the wrong way. smile.gif
*edited to add the statistics for None in order to further clarify my question to Amlord and to add a definition of apolitical.
*corrected the percentage regarding the number of registered members who elect to choose None as Party Affiliation - from rougly 1/3 (the percentage of members who chose None compared to others who have also chosen a Party Affiliation) to rougly 18% (a percentage of the total registered members.) and to fix a broken bold tag.
Amlord
Again, it is a self identification tool.

If individual participants choose to identify wrongly (for instance, if they have communist views, but are not an actual member of the Communist party) there is nothing we can do about that.

I simply pointed out the actual usage of the term "Independent" which generally does not entail membership to any actual Independent party.

By the way, I do believe a significant number of ad.gif participants are apolitical from the standpoint of non-partisan.
Lek
WOW!! Congratulations entspeak, it's a great post, with an opportunity for stopping much "gaming of our systems"! I can't answer your literal question (apologies); but my beliefs "around the issue" are that:

1. It is in part a privacy issue, so an answer meaning "Not Declared" meaning:
A. I choose not to answer,
B. The answer is private and none of your business,
C. I object to the use you will/could use with this information so choose not to answer,
D. I object to the party system form/part of government that seems to just have evolved, so I choose not to respond,
E. I back a party that is not within your realm of naming or understanding, so can't give you an answer that you will understand,
F. Go to.....!

2. However, some word other than "other" needs to be found for the meaning of the other, name and concept that I think you are suggesting we clear up; because, I believe it has negative connotations that should not be accepted by those wishing to mean other.

3. "None of the above", has some connotations I like; and is better than "other", but still misses the mark for me.

Thanks again. I personally was completely ignorant of the American Independent Party, or any other that could be confused with my wishing to answer: independent.
overlandsailor
There are two different kinds of Libertarians out there. There are people who describe themselves as "little L" libertarians in that they support the ideals but do not belong to the party. Similarly, there are "little I" independents out there. Ultimately since it label is chosen by individuals based on their view of themselves with no requirement to produce a party membership card, the category will likely be broadly applied.

I agree that this is merely a self Identification tool. It is provided for two reasons. One, to allow people to let others know how they see themselves (within the limits of the categories provided). Two, to allow interesting and possibly useful site statistics to be developed based on how people see themselves (within the limits of the categories provided).

One solution to this apparently ongoing issue is to eliminate the drop-down boxes and allow people to plug in whatever they like (within the rules). However, this would likely kill all the statistics (or at minimum make them far less useful).

Another solution (and the one I prefer) is simply to stick to what exists currently. Users have the ability to have signatures which could be used to clarify the issue if they feel it is necessary.

Ultimately, the decision of what is done on this issue (or any other for that matter) is up to the site administrator(s) (and it seemed to have been clearly decided here). As with any site, users can either accept the decisions made by the administrator(s), or they can "vote with their feet".

Personally, when you consider that in most of America your ability to self-identify politically is limited to:
  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Other
I think we have it pretty good here. thumbsup.gif

Edited: because everyone is doing it these days wink.gif
entspeak
Perhaps, what I'm asking isn't clear. How can I clarify? Hmmm hmmm.gif

I understand that the Party Affiliation menu is a self-identification tool. But Party Affiliation refers to something particular - those words have a very particular meaning.

Take a look at what happens when you actually place the term Party Affiliation after each of the choices.
  • Undisclosed Party Affiliation
  • Communist Party Affiliation
  • Democrat Party Affiliation
  • Green Party Party Affiliation
  • Independent Party Affiliation
  • Libertarian Party Affiliation
  • Natural Law Party Party Affiliation
  • Reform Party Affiliation
  • Republican Party Affiliation
  • Socialist Party Affiliation
  • None Party Affiliation
  • Other Party Affiliation
  • Private Party Affiliation
Maybe this sheds some light, I think.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe "Undisclosed" is the default. If you ignore the field or choose not to select an answer, you are identified as having an Undisclosed Party Affiliation. Makes sense. And Private Party Affiliation may read strange, but it seems apparent to me that choosing it does reflect a conscious choice to make it known that your party affiliation (or lack there of) is a private matter - or as Lek puts it, "the answer is private and none of your business." I would assume that opting for one of these two choices prevents you from participating in the Party Specific Debate Forum. Am I right? Is that true? Perhaps someone can clarify that for me.

None Party Affiliation looks strange, it seems clear to me that choosing None means that you are identifying yourself as someone who is not affiliated with a political party.

Most of the items make sense when looked at in this manner. Republican Party, Socialist Party, Communist Party, Other Party.

Some others in the list while not flowing as easily, still make sense. Democrat Party affiliation might get some feathers ruffled wink.gif, but it serves to show that this selection refers to a party. Likewise, the double "Party Party" of the Natural Law Party and Green Party choices looks weird, but it does give an indication that one is choosing to identify as affiliated with a party.

Now we come to Independent. Put this way, it appears as though Independent refers to an Independent Party. The fact that Independents are allowed to participate in the Party Specific Debate forum also makes it appear as though Independent refers to a party. And there are a couple official Independent Parties. In fact it is believed that the American Independent Party remains on the ballot because people join the party mistakenly believing that they are registering as independent. I actually have a friend who made this mistake. He was shocked when he started receiving mail from this party.

As I stated in my original post, I'm not asking for anything in the Party Affiliation category to be changed.

Does the Independent category in the Party Affiliation refer to a party affiliation?

QUOTE(OverlandSailor)
There are two different kinds of Libertarians out there. There are people who describe themselves as "little L" libertarians in that they support the ideals but do not belong to the party. Similarly, there are "little I" independents out there. Ultimately since it label is chosen by individuals based on their view of themselves with no requirement to produce a party membership card, the category will likely be broadly applied.


You state that "little L" libertarians support the ideals of the party but do not belong to the party. Do you - as a "little I" independent - support the ideals of the Independent American Party or the American Independent Party and just aren't a member?

QUOTE(Amlord)
By the way, I do believe a significant number of ad.gif participants are apolitical from the standpoint of non-partisan.


I don't understand this response, could you please clarify?

*edited to remove some things that might have been added after overland's response. I have done my best to try to be aware of when someone else is posting and have failed... yet again. apologies.
overlandsailor
I can't say that I support the ideals of the American Independent Party or not because I know nothing about that political party. To be clear, many "little L" libertarians support many ideals and policy stances that are considered to be libertarian, but for one reason or another they do not belong to the party. Some because they do not support all of the ideals of the party, others because they take issue with the Libertarian party itself for one reason or another.

Your question as to what the "Independent" party affiliation is supposed to represent was already answered by Mike when he said:

QUOTE
Clearly our members affiliate themselves with Independent parties of some form or another.

This is really insignificant. If you disagree with the choices, pick Undisclosed, Other, None, or Private.


Since Mike is one of the founders and administrators, as well as the designer and programmer here at America's Debate, it seems like he should know why this category was added.

There are people on this site and elsewhere who self-identify as Republicans, but have never sent a dime to the RNC, their state level, county level or municipal Republican parties. There are people like myself who have been members of political parties, got tired of partisanship and left who now call themselves Independent because to us in means we address issue independent of party ideology.

Why do I call myself an Independent when I am not a member of any Independent Party? Because I can. Because I think the description better fits be, and because in my eyes in helps identify that I take each policy issue on its own, without party based political blinders defining my position.

I am not saying this is your intent, but take a look at your reasoning on this issue for a second. Could it not easily be taken as saying that people like myself who say they are Independents, but do not belong to a political party are either trying to be deceptive, or are just ignorant?

My question to you is why is this such a big issue? Why are you so concerned with how I choose to identify myself here on America's Debate?

If Independent refers to various Independent parties of some form or other, then what's the difference between Independent and Other?

Whatever the particular user perceives that difference to be. If a user feels that their party description needs further clarification they have their signature space available to present those clarifications. If a member is confused by another member's choice of party affiliation, a simple solution would be to send them a PM and ask for a clarification.

How does one make the determination whether to say their party is Independent as opposed to simply Other?

Personal preference. Similarly, how does one determine if the are slightly conservative, conservative, or very conservative? It is simply a matter of personal preference and self identification.

What does this do to the statistics for the American Independent Party - which based on the choices available best fits in that category.

Do you mean the statistics on America's Debate or in America in general?

If you are referring to America's Debate, then you will have to show me where the sites statistics show American Independent Party instead of Independent.

If you mean America in general, well I have no interest in researching this, but I would imagine that if I lived in a state that allowed independent registration, and I was a public relations person for the American Independent Party, I would gladly publicize the number of register Independents, just as the Republican and Democratic Parties publicize the numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans even though far fewer people have taken the step to formally join their parties, pay dues, etc.
entspeak
Okay. I will tread as lightly as I can.

QUOTE
Could it not easily be taken as saying that people like myself who say they are Independents, but do not belong to a political party are either trying to be deceptive, or are just ignorant?


I am an independent myself and I don't consider myself to be ignorant and I am not intentionally being deceptive about it. I've allowed my posts to reflect my politics and until this morning never chose to identify those politics in my profile apart from my lack of party affiliation. I am not affiliated with a party... I am an independent. us.gif

And since you bring it up publicly, would you considered it to be deceptive for a person who is not affiliated with a party to choose a Party Affiliation in part to gain access to the Party Specific Debate forum which is restricted to those of us independents who have openly declared on this site that we are not affiliated with a party? I didn't really think that people did that until someone pointed out to me in a PM that it is what they do. Of course, it might only be deceptive if Independent referred to a party affiliation.

QUOTE
One solution to this apparently ongoing issue is to eliminate the drop-down boxes and allow people to plug in whatever they like (within the rules). However, this would likely kill all the statistics (or at minimum make them far less useful).


You mentioned statistics and this was also mentioned in the other thread, so I will begin to adress this issue again in a constructive manner.

Statistics are used quite a bit on this site to support assertions and put forth arguments... the accuracy of those statistics is often debated. You imply as does Mike that the tracking of the statistics tracking is useful. I agree. If you look at the statistics for Party Affiliation, the only two categories not tracked are Undisclosed and Private - makes sense. Actively choosing to identify yourself as not affiliated with a party appears to be tracked through None. Now, let me put forth a hypothetical:

A newspaper decides to write an article about debate sites and the parties that make use of them. They cite that 12% of ad.gif members - who have chosen to identify a party affiliation - identify with an Independent Party like the American Independent Party. If the Independent category under Party Affiliation does track a party or similar parties, would you say that this assertion would be accurate based on those statistics?

I will reiterate... I did not ask, nor am I asking anyone to remove or alter in any way the Independent category from Party Affiliation. I am only asking if it refers to a party affiliation. I keep asking, because there has never been a clear answer to that question. I have been told why it was included... okay, but registering as an independent means in many states that you are joining an Independent party. People on this site affiliate themselves with Independent Parties of some form or another. Okay, but do they choose the Independent category because that is meant to refer to their party?

I am pointing out that if the Independent category is meant to refer to these Independent parties... then the microcosm is reflecting the macrocosm. If not, then the statistics for Party Affiliation are confusing and, possibly, wildly innaccurate. That's it. I'm not asking anyone to change anything. My Party Affiliation is none and will remain so.

I love participating on this site. I chose it because I feel it is the best one out there (and I have participated in many). That doesn't mean I understand it completely, and that doesn't mean I don't have questions about things such as what particular statistics mean or categories refer to. It doesn't mean it's perfect.

Thanks. flowers.gif
overlandsailor
QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 24 2007, 10:55 AM) *

And since you bring it up publicly, would you considered it to be deceptive for a person who is not affiliated with a party to choose a Party Affiliation in part to gain access to the Party Specific Debate forum which is restricted to those of us independents who have openly declared on this site that we are not affiliated with a party? I didn't really think that people did that until someone pointed out to me in a PM that it is what they do. Of course, it might only be deceptive if Independent referred to a party affiliation.


OK to start with according to the announcement box at the top of that forum:

QUOTE
This forum is for declared Independents and 3rd Party members ONLY. If you have not declared yourself as such, DO NOT post here. If you have "None" listed as your party affiliation, DO NOT post here. Threads in this forum may have specific rules, please check the first post of the thread before posting.


It seems to me that since I am a declared Independent (I "declared" it when I selected it cool.gif ) then I would fit the bill here. Or at least that is how I saw it prior to these discussions.

Now, I can see that perhaps that forum is not meant for the likes of me. This in not that big of a deal because my prior use of that forum was limited to discussions of platforms and the like of third parties I was considering joining. Since I am now a devout "little I" independent, I don't really have a much call to post in that forum.

That said, I am willing to bet that more people who declare themselves Republican or Democratic (Democrat or whatever is the least offensive these days wink.gif ) are not actual dues paying party members. Should they be posting in those party specific forums? Since the declare their support of those parties and more often than not, support the majority of the view points of those particular parties I would think they would be able to do so.

As for statistics, their use and how beneficial they are are really up to the Administrators of the site. They are the ones who use these statistics and I highly doubt that they purposefully suggest to anyone interested in them that the "Independent" statistics means people who are members of an Independent party. For that matter, I doubt they suggest that those that declare themselves "Democrats" or "Republicans" are official members of those parties either. It is far more likely that the statistics here are presented as they are gathered. "X% of our members describe themselves as: (fill in the blank)". Thus, the statistics would be completely accurate.

QUOTE('entspeak')

I will reiterate... I did not ask, nor am I asking anyone to remove or alter in any way the Independent category from Party Affiliation. I am only asking if it refers to a party affiliation. I keep asking, because there has never been a clear answer to that question. I have been told why it was included... okay, but registering as an independent means in many states that you are joining an Independent party. People on this site affiliate themselves with Independent Parties of some form or another. Okay, but do they choose the Independent category because that is meant to refer to their party?


I'm curious, why no comments or reference to my specific answers to the questions asked in this topic? You say these questions have not been clearly answered, yet I don't believe my answers were cryptic in anyway.

QUOTE('entspeak')
That doesn't mean I understand it completely, and that doesn't mean I don't have questions about things such as what particular statistics mean or categories refer to. It doesn't mean it's perfect.


For personal experience I find that nearly no users will ever completely agree with 100% of any website policies, procedures and rules unless that user is also the site creator and administrator. Similarly, it is extremely rare for supporters to agree 100% with everything a political candidate supports unless they happen to be that candidate. With websites, like candidates, we find the one that best matches our personal needs. Nothing will perfectly match what we want, but there will be some that are close enough that nothing else is better.

When it comes to political debate, there is no better site than America's Debate and it's various idiosyncrasies IMHO.

I am curious, why no simply accept that these designations are subject to personal preference and thus mean different things to different people?


Edited for clarity
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entspeak
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 24 2007, 11:39 AM) *

I'm curious, why no comments or reference to my specific answers to the questions asked in this topic? You say these questions have not been clearly answered, yet I don't believe my answers were cryptic in anyway.


I will address this first. In the quote that you use to make this statement, I stated:

QUOTE
I am only asking if it refers to a party affiliation. I keep asking, because there has never been a clear answer to that question.


You did not clearly answer that question either. You said it refers to what ever anyone wants it to refer to because it is a matter of self-identification. This doesn't answer the question.

But when it comes to the other categories, you are clear... they have something to do with a party... Democratic, Republican, Libertarian. They refer to affiliations to political parties - whether it be membership or simply choosing to associate oneself with them because of their views. But the category does refer to something very specific... a party affiliation.


QUOTE
Since the declare their support of those parties and more often than not, support the majority of the view points of those particular parties I would think they would be able to do so.


Exactly. They affiliate - connect or associate - themselves with those parties in some way shape or form even if they aren't actually members.

QUOTE
If you mean America in general, well I have no interest in researching this, but I would imagine that if I lived in a state that allowed independent registration, and I was a public relations person for the American Independent Party, I would gladly publicize the number of register Independents, just as the Republican and Democratic Parties publicize the numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans even though far fewer people have taken the step to formally join their parties, pay dues, etc.


Perhaps you don't understand the power of officially registering a Party Affiliation. One of the ways in which a Political Party qualifies for consideration on a ballot is through registered Party Affiliation. If you register as an independent in a State that has a Political Party with the word Independent in the name, you may be officially registered as affiliated with that Political Party.

If enough people register as independents then that Political Party becomes qualified to be placed on the ballot. In some States - like California, you, having registered an Independent Party Affiliation, would only be able to participate in this particular Political Party's primary and the general election. If, however, you choose not to declare a Party Affiliation, you are officially considered independent and are allowed to choose which party's primary you would like to vote in.

So, it isn't simply about publicizing registered Independents. You actually throw your political support behind a political party when officially register your Party Affiliation as Independent as opposed to simply choosing not to be affiliated. The political impact of Independent as a Party Affiliation vs. None as a Party Affiliation.

Which brings us to the question and why it was asked.

Now, knowing the real world power of Independent Party Affiliation, having seen first hand the lack of knowledge and confusion about the implications of declaring Independent as a Party Affiliation in the real world and noting that on this site, Independent appears to be treated as though it refers to a political party, I asked for clarification on what the category refers to.

Now, sure we may choose whatever affiliation we feel describes us best. But, I for one, like to know exactly what it is I'm choosing when I choose a Party Affiliation. Am I saying that I am a member of/share the views of/support the beliefs of a particular political party (as everyone seems to agree occurs with Democrat, Republican and Libertarian) or am I simply saying I am an Independent?

Now, members may believe that they are saying it is simply a self-identification. But people in the real world also believe that by registering Independent they are not supporting a party but simply self-identifying as independent, but this isn't officially true.

So, does the Independent category refer to a political party?

microcosm... macrocosm.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 24 2007, 05:12 PM) *

QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Mar 24 2007, 11:39 AM) *

I'm curious, why no comments or reference to my specific answers to the questions asked in this topic? You say these questions have not been clearly answered, yet I don't believe my answers were cryptic in anyway.


I will address this first. In the quote that you use to make this statement, I stated:

QUOTE
I am only asking if it refers to a party affiliation. I keep asking, because there has never been a clear answer to that question.


You did not clearly answer that question either. You said it refers to what ever anyone wants it to refer to because it is a matter of self-identification. This doesn't answer the question.


Please refer back to my post in question:

How does one make the determination whether to say their party is Independent as opposed to simply Other?

QUOTE(overlandsailor)

Personal preference. Similarly, how does one determine if the are slightly conservative, conservative, or very conservative? It is simply a matter of personal preference and self identification.


Personal preference IS my answer to the question. You might no accept that answer, but that doesn't make it a none answer.

QUOTE
I am only asking if it refers to a party affiliation. I keep asking, because there has never been a clear answer to that question.


On this version of the question I have pointed out that according to the site's administrator it is intended to reflect party affiliation. However, that is not the way everyone chooses to use it.

QUOTE
Perhaps you don't understand the power of officially registering a Party Affiliation.....


I did not get intend to get into this issue because based on the questions used to start this debate and where this debate was posted on the site I assumed this discussion was about Independent party affiliation and the like as it related to America's Debate. I did however mention what I would do if I ran the American Independent Party, but that was intended as a humorous side note for the most part. Sorry, I didn't intend to take this debate off topic or cause confusion, but I did, the fault is mine on this one.

QUOTE

Now, knowing the real world power of Independent Party Affiliation, having seen first hand the lack of knowledge and confusion about the implications of declaring Independent as a Party Affiliation in the real world and noting that on this site, Independent appears to be treated as though it refers to a political party, I asked for clarification on what the category refers to.


I believe you received a rather clear answer to that from the site's administrator that created the category. People like myself may be misusing it, but that does not change it's stated purpose. The point I (and others) have continually made here is that many users treat these things as personal preference. I understand your personal preference differs from mine, I accept that. I assume you can do the same?

QUOTE

So, does the Independent category refer to a political party?


Again, according to Mike, the administrator of the site it is intended to refer to party affiliation. According to several others, including myself, many people choose to use it differently, as a way to better self-identify in their own eyes. We can either accept this, or we can start policing peoples profiles and demanding they present up to date party membership cards to ensure that they properly filled out their profile. Personally, I see no point to the latter.

This debate feels very circular to me at this point. You ask why people choose a particular party affiliation in their profile. I answer it's "personal preference", you ask again. It appears clear that on this issue, we should just agree to disagree and move on to another topic. flowers.gif
slim
The title "Independent Party" is funny to me to begin with.

The definition of "Independent" with regards to politics is :

"free from party commitments in voting"

The definition of "Party" with regard to politics is :

"a group of persons with common political opinions and purposes organized for gaining political influence and governmental control and for directing government policy"


That's why my Politics section states "Independent" and my Party Affiliation section states "None". I admit that I lean more liberal on most topics, but I really do consider myself independent in my thoughts and beliefs, and that's why I refuse to declare a party or political leaning. I evaluate each choice on it's own merits and make a decision.

I believe that when the header is "Party Affiliation" and you chose "Independent", you are stating that you are a card carrying member of the Independent Party (as dumb as that title is to me). If you are not a member of a specific party, you should chose "None".

If someone doesn't like that, tough. It's not the end of the world.

QUOTE
How does one make the determination whether to say their party is Independent as opposed to simply Other?


Are you a registered member of the Independent Party? If not, and your party is not on the list, chose "Other". AD cannot be expected to list every darned party in the history of the world. They already have a total of 13 choices, which is outstanding. It doesn't seem that hard to me to figure out which to pick.

People on here can change their party affiliation every day if they want, it doesn't matter. I quit looking at their choice a long time ago and started listening to their words. That's what we should all be judged by on here, not what party they identify with the most at any given time.
entspeak
Slim... thank you.


OverlandSailor
QUOTE
Sorry, I didn't intend to take this debate off topic or cause confusion, but I did, the fault is mine on this one.


Discussing the manner in which one self-identifies via registered Party Affiliation in the real world is not off topic. It is why I asked the question in the first place. In fact, the site adminstrator very clearly stated that the Independent category was created because of real world registration.

In response to my original post in the Adding Categories thread:

QUOTE(me)
I've always wondered about the Independent listing in the Party Affiliation. There is the Independent American Party - http://www.usiap.org/. Is this the party referred to? I chose none because I am undeclared. Perhaps an Undeclared selection would make this clearer.


he stated:

QUOTE(Mike)
Independent made the cut because many states (such as Alaska, Maine, Delaware, and New Hampshire) allow their citizens to register as independents.

Undeclared would be covered by None, Other, Private, or Undisclosed.


I took independents to mean "little I" independents - which would mean that the Independent category under Party Affiliation did not refer to an actual party or parties.

In my response to this, I was trying to point out - perhaps clumsily - that one "registers independent" in the states he was referring to by registering Undeclared (or as having no party affiliation) - which he clearly stated would be covered under None, Other, Private or Undisclosed.

As a registered "little I" independent, the Independent category was created for people like me, but, because I consider myself Undeclared (the manner in which I registered "little I" independent), I would be better covered under None, Other, Private or Undisclosed?

I was confused and asked for further clarification.

The site administrator then responded:

QUOTE(Mike)
Clearly our members affiliate themselves with Independent parties of some form or another.


This appears to contradict his original statement that the Independent category was created because people register as "little I" independents.

This issue would be insignificant if we simply were able to choose our Party Affiliation on this site without consequence... if it were simply "self-identification" for self-identification's sake... if we were able to say, "I'm a Republican today and I will be a Democrat tomorrow" and choose those Party Affiliations on this site without consequence.

But - as in the real world - on this site there are consequences for choosing a Party Affiliation. There are rules governing Party Affiliation on this site. As many states (according to FairVote.org, just over half) have closed primaries in which registered "little i" independents can not participate in party primaries, so ad.gif has "closed forums" - if you will - in which "little i" independents - those who have chosen no party affiliation on this site - are not allowed to participate. That is the impact of choosing None as your Party Affiliation and it is similar to officially registering as a "little I" independent in real life.

Can you simply change your Party Affiliation and say, "I was a Republican yesterday, but today I am a Democrat" in order to participate in these forums? No:

QUOTE(Mike from the Archives of the Party Specific Debate forum)

Switching your party affiliation simply to post in another party-specific forum is not appropriate.


Now, I am not complaining about the rules... I am not disagreeing with the rules... I am not dissing anyone for their Party Affiliation.

If Independent refers to a party, cool. If it does, I don't understand why people, like the site administrator or yourself, would choose Independent under Party Affiliation when they are "little I" independents. But, it is true that this is none of my business.

If it doesn't refer to a party, but refers to "little I" independents... cool. that does, however, raise another question regarding the rules of the Party Specific Debate Forum. I as a "little I" independent choosing None - a category that the site administrator has clearly stated best fits me - am not allowed to participate in the Party Specific Debate forum, but "little I" independents who choose Independent are allowed to participate. I don't understand why that is. I'm not disagreeing with it, I just don't understand it.

Of course, that point is moot if the Independent category under Party Affiliation refers to a party. But I don't know. Does the Independent category under Party Affiliation refer to a party?

*edited for clarity
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