The Problem with Labels

The Problem with Labels

I have a problem with political labels. One common question I often get is: “Are you a “Conservative” or are you a “Liberal”?”. I have a real problem with the question. I know folks that consider themselves a “Conservative”, but who are very pro the environment (usually considered a more Liberal leaning). I know folks who others consider themselves to be a “Liberal”, but who are more fiscally conservative than many of my “Conservative” friends.

My experience is that most folks have opinions that vary regardless of their political affiliation. A Republican can recognize that climate change is a reality and a Democrat can espouse capitalism as a valuable approach to a stable and efficient economy. My point is that just because a person identifies with a label like Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal or Progressive it is a fallacy to believe that you know where they stand on a specific issue. Unlike our elected representatives, individuals have the freedom to call it like they see it and do not feel compelled to tow a “party line”.

I find it interesting that there is quite a difference in the number of registered voters by party when compared to the opinion polls. Altogether, there are 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) with party registration; in the others, such as Virginia, voters register without reference to party. In 19 states and the District, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. In 12 states, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats. In aggregate, 40% of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, 29% are Republicans, and 28% are independents. Nationally, the Democratic advantage in the party registration states approaches 12 million.

Otherwise, an opinion poll indicates different results. As of December 2019, Gallup polling found that 28% of Americans identified as Democrat, 28% identified as Republican, and 41% as Independent. 

My opinion is that labels are dangerous and not helpful to our country. They tend to promote dissension and polarization. At a time when we need to come together to resolve important issues like Healthcare, the Budget, Infrastructure, and Climate Change we need to put aside labels and focus on Resurrecting Respect for our country.