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Citizen Voices

Blue, Red or Purple?

A funny thing happened on the way to the polling booth in San Diego County. People got lost. I don’t mean they couldn’t find their polling place, although that happened a lot, too. They couldn’t find their political party.

Sure, most everyone had registered to vote under the patriotic flag of their choice, but many I talked to were feeling disenfranchised by their party and wondering where they really belonged.

People are describing themselves as a mixture of parties these days, saying something like “I’m fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” So does that describe an elephant or a donkey or some new creature?  What do you get when you mix blue states and red states? You get purple. It seems a new purple voter is emerging. A lot of people I talked with on election day expressed frustration with their party and wanted to know how to change their official voter registration card. America is clamoring for change and voters are beginning with whom they want to align themselves.


Some Republicans, for example, claim that John McCain is really a Democrat in disguise. Has the party left the voters or is it the other way around? 

Chuck from Escondido, CA
February 21, 2008 at 05:50 PM
Assuming you're right (and I think you are) about the problems Californians have identifying with the two major parties, do you think the correction is toward a non-partisan process, like San Diego tries to do with local offices, or a more vibrant multi-party system (red, blue, green, pink, etc)?

Trina from Carlsbad
February 21, 2008 at 06:19 PM
Good question! I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about that. A rainbow would be nice, if each color really did have a fair shot at the candidacy. Right now the candidates of only the 2 largest parties are considered viable by most. Do they really represent the majority of Americans? Would too many colors make everything more complicated? Are the other parties just fringe groups representing a few non-conformists or will it simply take more time for the others to build momentum and actually have a seat at the table?

Dave from Oceanside
February 21, 2008 at 06:38 PM
McCain is no Democrat.. I'm guessing somewhere in the strategy rooms someone wants to lure Democrats that don't want to vote for a black man or a woman to their candidate.. Sure.. he's beats another 4 with Bush.. but anything would do that. A Multi-party system would be great.. but it ain't happenin.. the last few presidential elections have shown that a vote for a "third" party is basically a vote not had by a Democrat thus.. a vote for the Republican... Make your voting statements for a third party before the election.. by all means!! But when it's time to pull the lever, I suggest picking one of the two that will do least harm to your ideals.. The Green Party shot themselves in the foot by letting "W" get another 4.. Nader should have told his supporters to vote Dem... Only 333 days left until someone new is sworn in... Oh.. and I guess I'm an "other" for your pole.. I do have a party.. Yes they support many of my views.. No they haven't shifted course.. they just aren't a perfect fit... Maybe that's it... the Republican and Democratic parties fit like old clothes.. they aren't perfect.. but we feel comfortable in them... the other parties fit like new clothes.. the look good on the surface.. but they bug us with the creases and tags..


Danyelle Ferguson from Kansas
February 22, 2008 at 03:13 AM
Trina Excellent blog. It covers many issues I dealt with as an officer for my voting precinct and also as a poll worker. Your points aren't new issues, but they are coming into media attention more frequently this year. I personally feel like both the Democratic and Republican parties make themselves "sound" too much the same - when really their charters and standards are quite different. I totally agree with the statement that on voting day, you need to vote for the "person" you think will do the least amount of damage to the country. Since Romney dropped out, I'm really not thrilled with the choices left.

Keith from La Jolla
February 24, 2008 at 03:15 PM
I don't think your survey results will be meaningful. Your second question misses what I think is turning people purple: in an effort to get people out to vote, both parties are playing to their edges. This leaves centrists choosing a party because they dislike the other more.