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Voting for someone "like me"...what's wrong with it?


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Isn't it reasonable to expect that someone "like me" is going to represent my values and interests in politics better than someone who is different? Could an atheist from inner-city Los Angeles who came from parents working in a manufacturing plant and who had been active in unions all of his life represent a predominantly white, rural, upper middle class southern district where 80% of the people where Christian?

What's wrong with politicians communicating to voters that they know and share their interests/values, and what's wrong with voters basing their choices on those considerations?

Here's an example From Johnny Isakson's website:

Johnny Isakson is a family man, businessman, and public servant. He served as President of Northside Realty for 22 years. Johnny served 17 years in the Georgia General Assembly and 3 years as Chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. In 1999 Johnny was elected to the United States House of Representatives for his first of three terms before being elected to the United States Senate in November of 2004. Johnny and his wife, Dianne, have three children and four grandchildren. Johnny and Dianne have been married 36 years, and they attend Mount Zion United Methodist Church where Johnny has taught sixth grade Sunday School since 1978.

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Only thing that bothers me is people not knowing where the candidates stand on issues and vote just depending on skin color, gender, etc.

Last election a friend of mine voted who her friend told her to. Ridiculous. Another friend voted because P.Diddy wanted her to. She didn't even know anything about either candidate except she knew black people are "supposed" to vote democrat so she voted for Edwards. I'm a girl but I don't want Hilary to win. Why can't people just take a few minutes to look at the issues and see who they want to vote for :

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There is nothing wrong with you voting for someone that is like you..

That is why you have a vote to cast as you please..I see the media bringing race into matters more these days. They were just carrying the water for the Clintons is all.:Whistling:typical,typical,typical

Do not let the media cause you to see everything through race. The average person does not until lead in that direction. That goes for race,religion,creed,nationality and last but not lease , how bad the candidates feet smells. We all cannot have a POTUS with rank ##### feet under any circumstance..

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raven reborn (1/27/2008)
Only thing that bothers me is people not knowing where the candidates stand on issues and vote just depending on skin color, gender, etc.

Last election a friend of mine voted who her friend told her to. Ridiculous. Another friend voted because P.Diddy wanted her to. She didn't even know anything about either candidate except she knew black people are "supposed" to vote democrat so she voted for Edwards. I'm a girl but I don't want Hilary to win. Why can't people just take a few minutes to look at the issues and see who they want to vote for :

What if race, religion, gender, marital status, and so forth give clues into the types of policy positions that candidates have?

And how do you find out "where the candidates stand on issues"? Do you blindly trust them to tell you the truth about what positions they support? Romney said just a few years ago that he strongly supported a woman's right to choose. Clinton supported the war initially.

Perhaps a person's personal background gives better insight into where they stand on policies, especially those most important to different groups of people. Evangelicals seem to think that other evangelicals will better represent their values than atheists. What if they're right?

People who vote solely on race, gender, religion, and so forth might actually be making MORE informed choices than those who rely on what the lying politicians tell them.

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july425 (1/27/2008)
I think the vast majority of voters DO vote for those reason I seriously doubt most people think outside of their own specific circumstances when it comes to policy issues.

very true, unless they are unaffected by it, which is usally the case for many things, but not all.

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Ramen, you bring up an excellent point. Where a moral code or personal background is shared, it's reasonable to assume that person would better understand your situation, and be more attentive to your concerns. I don't think gender and race fall into the same category, though. No way I'm voting for someone just because we both have ovaries (still not sure if Hillary actually has them). While I find Edwards' background admirable, I'm not in total agreement with many of the solutions he proposes.

The difference is whether people vote for the best candidate for themselves, or for the country. I don't want to give up my right to carry a concealed weapon. But, my personal paranoia doesn't outweigh the negative impact I believe an NRA-friendly candidate would otherwise have if elected. And while I have no intentions of changing my faith, I don't believe it should be imposed on anyone else. Mainly because the idea of politicians imposing morals is just...I can't stop laughing long enough to finish that sentence!

As for how to find out the real truth on politicians, I wish I knew. I try to read everything I can (which I know isn't enough) and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

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morphy (1/28/2008)
If you want to elect someone "like you", then you are implying that you want someone who will impose and legislate your world view as opposed to someone who will impose and legislate someone else's world view.

I don't want a politician to impose a world view at all. I just want them to leave me the #### alone.

That may be alright at the federal level, but it doesn't hold for state and local elections.

Also, considering the current state of politics (e.g., even Ron Paul asks for earmarks for his district), why isn't it better to have someone who is looking out for your interests instead of someone else's interests? Who knows your interests and values better than someone with a common background?

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etifan (1/28/2008)
Ramen, you bring up an excellent point. Where a moral code or personal background is shared, it's reasonable to assume that person would better understand your situation, and be more attentive to your concerns. I don't think gender and race fall into the same category, though. No way I'm voting for someone just because we both have ovaries (still not sure if Hillary actually has them). While I find Edwards' background admirable, I'm not in total agreement with many of the solutions he proposes.

The difference is whether people vote for the best candidate for themselves, or for the country. I don't want to give up my right to carry a concealed weapon. But, my personal paranoia doesn't outweigh the negative impact I believe an NRA-friendly candidate would otherwise have if elected. And while I have no intentions of changing my faith, I don't believe it should be imposed on anyone else. Mainly because the idea of politicians imposing morals is just...I can't stop laughing long enough to finish that sentence!

As for how to find out the real truth on politicians, I wish I knew. I try to read everything I can (which I know isn't enough) and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

I don't know, I happen to think that women have specific interests due to their gender (e.g., have to fight for breast cancer funding, reproduction rights, etc) that they would like protected. I also think that demographics in combination are probably more commonly used than any single group; a southern, rural, middle class businessman who is a Christian shares the values and interests of most southern districts more than any of those groups by themselves. I suppose I'm talking more broadly about political culture than voting based on a single group, which I think is fairly rare.

I think most Americans are just trying to live their lives and only care about a handful of issues that personally affect them. They don't go sticking their nose in everyone else's business, but they do want someone in Washington looking out for them. They want the country to do well as a whole (e.g., peace and prosperity), but ultimately it comes down to how their personal well-being.

Ironically, it's almost a libertarian philosophy--greed is good for the country. The "invisible hand" allows each person to engage in selfish behavior knowing that the country as a whole will benefit from that selfishness. Adam Smith was onto something. ;) :cool:

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So by that logic Ramen am I correct in saying that you think White people should only vote for white people and blacks for black people since they are "like me"? If so that's a nice way to continue to make sure a black man will never be president considering that whites out number blacks. However then you will get screwed over in the near future when the Mexicans even out number the white folks.

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Anansi (1/28/2008)
So by that logic Ramen am I correct and saying that you think White people should only vote for white people and blacks for black people since they are "like me"? If so that's a nice way to continue to make sure a black man will never be president considering that whites out number blacks. However then you will get screwed over in the near future when the Mexicans even out number the white folks.

I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different.

My point is that the similarity of backgrounds is a moderately reliable way to infer what policies the candidate will promote in office, and considering how frequently politicians pander and lie, might even be a more reliable insight than looking at the candidate's website and public statements.

The ideal would be for people to be informed about where each and every single candidate (local, state, congressional, senate, presidential, etc.) stands on each and every single issue of importance. That's not going to happen because people don't have time and frankly the payoffs of gathering all that information are pretty low. So it makes sense that people will rely on shortcuts to make inferences in lieu of more detailed information. I think voters who use those shortcuts are more informed and make better decisions than most people realize. Voting based on race and gender may not be stupid and mindless, after all.

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Ramen (1/28/2008)
Anansi (1/28/2008)
So by that logic Ramen am I correct and saying that you think White people should only vote for white people and blacks for black people since they are "like me"? If so that's a nice way to continue to make sure a black man will never be president considering that whites out number blacks. However then you will get screwed over in the near future when the Mexicans even out number the white folks.

I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different.

My point is that the similarity of backgrounds is a moderately reliable way to infer what policies the candidate will promote in office, and considering how frequently politicians pander and lie, might even be a more reliable insight than looking at the candidate's website and public statements.

The ideal would be for people to be informed about where each and every single candidate (local, state, congressional, senate, presidential, etc.) stands on each and every single issue of importance. That's not going to happen because people don't have time and frankly the payoffs of gathering all that information are pretty low. So it makes sense that people will rely on shortcuts to make inferences in lieu of more detailed information. I think voters who use those shortcuts are more informed and make better decisions than most people realize. Voting based on race and gender may not be stupid and mindless, after all.

maybe i am just that jaded, but I don't think it really makes a difference. I think that the politicians (especially on the federal level) are so far removed from the 'average joe' that race and religion take a far back seat to 'politician'.

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Ramen (1/28/2008)

That may be alright at the federal level, but it doesn't hold for state and local elections.

Also, considering the current state of politics (e.g., even Ron Paul asks for earmarks for his district), why isn't it better to have someone who is looking out for your interests instead of someone else's interests? Who knows your interests and values better than someone with a common background?

Because our "interests" are not just held by people like us. Our "interests" are the same interests that all humans have: the desire to be free. Personally I'm interested in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So is a slave in the Sudan, or a serf in North Korea. No matter what color you are, what sex you are, or what your favorite color is, freedom is an interest. And it also holds true that any other guarantee that a politician has to offer is at the expense of those rights from someone else.

Granting political favors and special rights to people based on their color, creed, or sex is tribalism.

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Ramen (1/28/2008)

I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different.

My point is that the similarity of backgrounds is a moderately reliable way to infer what policies the candidate will promote in office, and considering how frequently politicians pander and lie, might even be a more reliable insight than looking at the candidate's website and public statements.

The ideal would be for people to be informed about where each and every single candidate (local, state, congressional, senate, presidential, etc.) stands on each and every single issue of importance. That's not going to happen because people don't have time and frankly the payoffs of gathering all that information are pretty low. So it makes sense that people will rely on shortcuts to make inferences in lieu of more detailed information. I think voters who use those shortcuts are more informed and make better decisions than most people realize. Voting based on race and gender may not be stupid and mindless, after all.

It is stupid and mindless, so basically what you are saying is before this year, women and non whites should not have voted? Hispanics still shouldn't be voting this year? Homosexuals are just SOL cause none of the people running for president are ever openly gay. And I (and people like me) who grew up poor and in the inner city would never be able to vote either because the candidates are never people who grew up poor, in the inner city having to fight for everything they get in life. So I guess the only people who would be able to vote on a consistent basis would be Heterosexual white males.....(Sounds like the early foundation of this country don't it). To me Ramen it sounds like you are looking to try and justify why YOU only like to vote for people "like you".

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And the worst part is that they aren't even really "like you". They didn't grow up on a farm like they show on their campaign ads. When they show up for a rally in Kansas wearing a polo and jeans they are dressing down for the first time in their life. When they were kids they rode to their little league games in limousines. They never held a part time job where half of their pay went to payroll taxes. They never started a small business and had it buried in stupid useless regulations. They never had a union screw them over and tell them it was for their own good.

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morphy (1/28/2008)
And the worst part is that they aren't even really "like you". They didn't grow up on a farm like they show on their campaign ads. When they show up for a rally in Kansas wearing a polo and jeans they are dressing down for the first time in their life. When they were kids they rode to their little league games in limousines. They never held a part time job where half of their pay went to payroll taxes. They never started a small business and had it buried in stupid useless regulations. They never had a union screw them over and tell them it was for their own good.

Amen, that's what us normal Americans go thru in life. These guys never deal with stuff like that. So how are they "Like Us"?

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morphy (1/28/2008)
Ramen (1/28/2008)

That may be alright at the federal level, but it doesn't hold for state and local elections.

Also, considering the current state of politics (e.g., even Ron Paul asks for earmarks for his district), why isn't it better to have someone who is looking out for your interests instead of someone else's interests? Who knows your interests and values better than someone with a common background?

Because our "interests" are not just held by people like us. Our "interests" are the same interests that all humans have: the desire to be free. Personally I'm interested in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So is a slave in the Sudan, or a serf in North Korea. No matter what color you are, what sex you are, or what your favorite color is, freedom is an interest. And it also holds true that any other guarantee that a politician has to offer is at the expense of those rights from someone else.

Granting political favors and special rights to people based on their color, creed, or sex is tribalism.

A new train station needs to be built in a state. Where do you put it? What if the train station threatens the property values of surrounding neighborhoods? What happens when other areas see their shipping jobs and other businesses leave their town in order to be closer to the train station? How do you account for the increased traffic on the local communities?

If you're in the town where politicians are considering putting the station, wouldn't you rather have someone who grew up in your area rather than the son of a railroad tycoon representing you in the state legislature?

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Anansi (1/28/2008)
Ramen (1/28/2008)

I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different.

My point is that the similarity of backgrounds is a moderately reliable way to infer what policies the candidate will promote in office, and considering how frequently politicians pander and lie, might even be a more reliable insight than looking at the candidate's website and public statements.

The ideal would be for people to be informed about where each and every single candidate (local, state, congressional, senate, presidential, etc.) stands on each and every single issue of importance. That's not going to happen because people don't have time and frankly the payoffs of gathering all that information are pretty low. So it makes sense that people will rely on shortcuts to make inferences in lieu of more detailed information. I think voters who use those shortcuts are more informed and make better decisions than most people realize. Voting based on race and gender may not be stupid and mindless, after all.

It is stupid and mindless, so basically what you are saying is before this year, women and non whites should not have voted? Hispanics still shouldn't be voting this year? Homosexuals are just SOL cause none of the people running for president are ever openly gay. And I (and people like me) who grew up poor and in the inner city would never be able to vote either because the candidates are never people who grew up poor, in the inner city having to fight for everything they get in life. So I guess the only people who would be able to vote on a consistent basis would be Heterosexual white males.....(Sounds like the early foundation of this country don't it). To me Ramen it sounds like you are looking to try and justify why YOU only like to vote for people "like you".

Please read my post again:

"I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different."

I'm not sure how you got the notion that the implication of my argument is that "women and non whites should not have voted".

What part of "I NEVER SAID THAT THEY SHOULD "ONLY" VOTE FOR PEOPLE OF THE SAME RACE" did you not understand?

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Ramen (1/28/2008)

A new train station needs to be built in a state. Where do you put it?

I don't put it anywhere. The company that wants to build it puts it on the land that they own. Unless my local politician is a Republican or Democrat (probably is), in which case somebody's land gets seized to make it.

What if the train station threatens the property values of surrounding neighborhoods?

Oh no! Not property values! :crying: Quick, suspend the rule of law!

What happens when other areas see their shipping jobs and other businesses leave their town in order to be closer to the train station?

Gee, it sounds like they should have done more to attract industry and commerce in their community instead.

How do you account for the increased traffic on the local communities?

Through user fees (highway taxes) which are used to expand infrastructure.

If you're in the town where politicians are considering putting the station, wouldn't you rather have someone who grew up in your area rather than the son of a railroad tycoon representing you in the state legislature?

If he will promote freedom, I dont care if a blind albino from Abu Dhabi is my elected representative. When towns compete for development, I dont pick up my gun and start using force to take what I want for my town. So why would I commission, endorse, or support my local politician to use the police force of government to do that for me? if I wanted that, I would just blow up a bunch of their bridges or something.

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morphy (1/28/2008)
And the worst part is that they aren't even really "like you". They didn't grow up on a farm like they show on their campaign ads. When they show up for a rally in Kansas wearing a polo and jeans they are dressing down for the first time in their life. When they were kids they rode to their little league games in limousines. They never held a part time job where half of their pay went to payroll taxes. They never started a small business and had it buried in stupid useless regulations. They never had a union screw them over and tell them it was for their own good.

Way to generalize. There are certainly a lot of Ivy League people pretending to be the "common man", but there are also a lot of people who came from average backgrounds who wind up going into politics.

It seems like your objection is NOT that people are voting their interests using a candidate's demographic background as an inference about the candidate's policy positions. It seems like your objection is actually that they ARE voting their interests, which are adverse to the interests of other groups, which violates your libertarian principles. The latter is fine, but you're essentially saying that anyone who votes for any non-libertarian candidate is stupid and mindless.

My point is that, whether it's right or wrong for people to vote based on their religious values and socioeconomic interests, demographic characteristics of a candidate gives pretty good insight into how the candidate is likely to vote relative to those interests.

Do you see the difference between the point I'm making and your objection to the notion of people voting this way?

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Ramen (1/28/2008)

Please read my post again:

"I never said that they should "only" vote for people of the same race, and "never" vote for someone different."

I'm not sure how you got the notion that the implication of my argument is that "women and non whites should not have voted".

What part of "I NEVER SAID THAT THEY SHOULD "ONLY" VOTE FOR PEOPLE OF THE SAME RACE" did you not understand?

Ok, so then sir how do you propose that somebody vote for somebody "like them" if Race and Gender aren't part of the equation? Are you saying using their back ground information like how they came up in life? Seeing as most of them had a silver spoon in their mouths how do us hard working blue collar people vote?

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