Back in 2012 I wrote an article explaining why I planned to vote the straight Democratic ticket as I plan to do on November 6. The following excerpt still holds true today, in my opinion :
Parties are a fact of political life whether we like them or not. The great American historian Gary Wills put it well in a New York Review of Books essay when he chastised a liberal friend for abandoning support for the President:
“Obama was never a prince. None of them are,” he wrote. “The mistake behind all this is a misguided high-mindedness that boasts, ‘I vote the man, not the party.’ This momentarily lifts the hot-air balloon of self-esteem by divorcing the speaker from political taintedness and compromise. But the man being voted for, no matter what he says, dances with the party that brought him, dependent on its support, resources and clientele. That is why one should always vote on the party, instead of the candidate. The party has some continuity of commitment, no matter how compromised. What you are really voting for is the party’s constituency.”
This, I believe, is the hard truth behind all democratic elections. It’s a tough one for those of us who value our independence to swallow.
Parties are vehicles for putting ideas into action. And ideas that drive public policy matter a great deal to millions of people at the margins of society – the poor, the sick, the unemployed. They matter to our soldiers and our veterans, to women, to our seniors and to our schoolchildren.
And I believe that for every one of those groups Democratic ideas are better than Republican ones. By contrast, when I read the GOP platform, I don’t see myself, my community or my values there.