In voting, it doesn’t really matter which party you register with on paper.
Besides, 18 states don’t even register voters by party. What really matters is what political scientists like myself call your “political identity” – your psychological attachment to a political group, such as a party or an ideological movement.
That’s why political scientists ask people, “Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or what?”
Our goal is to find out how you see yourself – essentially, which team are you on? This is how many people make sense of the political world.
According to the Gallup polling firm, the identity that people choose most often is actually “independent” – not Democratic or Republican. In 2017, 42 percent of Americans chose this label – up from the low 30s just 14 years ago, in 2004.
However, three-quarters of these “independents” admit, when asked, that they lean toward favoring the Democratic or Republican Party. Judging by how they vote or what they think of national political leaders, the truth is that these “leaners” really are partisans rather than independents. Apparently, many people who like to think of themselves as independent-minded and free of party influence just aren’t.
Only about 10 percent of Americans are what we call “pure independents” – that is, people who identify as independents and claim not to favor either of the two major parties. Nor has that percentage grown in recent years. This means that the vast majority of Americans – consistently around 90 percent – are partisans.
And which party do they favor – Democratic or Republican?
The Democratic Party.
In a 2017 Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans either called themselves Democrats or admitted leaning toward the Democratic Party, versus 42 percent for Republicans and 11 percent independents.
In fact, there have always been more Democrats than Republicans in the American electorate – with rare and very brief exceptions – ever since Gallup began polling party identification in the 1930s.
It’s important to remember that identifying with a party is not the same as voting for that party. In fact, Democrats are less likely than Republicans to turn out to vote – particularly in midterm elections. This is because young people and other Democratic constituencies tend to be more engaged by the spectacle of a presidential election.
As of last month, though, two-thirds of Democrats say that they are “more enthusiastic than usual about voting” in 2018. Fewer Republicans express such enthusiasm about voting in this year’s midterm, for the first time since 2006. In that year, a “blue wave” swept Democrats back into control of the U.S. House and Senate.
Democrats hoping for another “blue wave” in 2018 have plenty of company.
Republican Doug Collins demands Democrats be charged with obstruction of Congress in unhinged rant
On Wednesday, ranking House Judiciary Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) shouted down the impeachment effort against President Donald Trump in a bizarre rant that ended with him calling for House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) to be charged with obstruction of Congress.
"This is the articles that we wrote after all of these hearings and all these grand pronouncements and grounds in plain sight, we get abuse of power with no real dates on this is the abuse? Just generic, vague statements?" said Collins. "You know why I believe that is? Because the Democrats can't come up with the argument for it. They don't know who knew it and when they knew it. We'll give you abuse of power and pick something you don't like about the president, and there is the abuse of power, and this is about expediency as much as anything else, and that should never be in articles of impeachment and anybody who does that is treading on very thin ice."
McConnell shuts down Trump’s demand to make Democrats testify in impeachment: ‘Mutually assured destruction’
President Donald Trump has made his position clear on how he wants the impeachment trial to be conducted: A partisan parade of Republican-approved witnesses the Senate GOP can publicly smack down, like Hunter Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower who originally filed the complaint.
According to the Washington Post, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has put his foot down on that idea, and has instead been urging for the Senate to call no witnesses at all — both to prevent the proceedings from becoming a circus and to prevent Democrats from being given opportunities to present evidence against the president.
Trump is ‘increasingly agitated and aggravated’ as he watches television coverage of impeachment: report
President Donald Trump is frustrated as the impeachment inquiry dominates media attention.
CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta was interviewed Wednesday by Wolf Blitzer.
"The president is getting closer and closer to being impeached, we're told he's privately agitated even as he publicly mocs the allegations against him," Blitzer said. "What are you hearing, first of all from the White House?
"One thing we should point out, just in the last hour or so, we heard from President Trump from a Hanukkah celebration at the White House. He has been busy in a social media bunker, posting some 70 tweets and retweets over the last 24 hours, many of those on impeachment," Acosta explained.