Are you a staunch conservative or a main street Republican, libertarian, disaffected or post-modern, a new coalition Democrat, a hard pressed Democrat or a solid liberal, or just a bystander? The Pew Research Center has a category for everybody, with detailed descriptions of key beliefs, defining values, and even typical lifestyles. Want to know where you fit in? Just take their quiz here.
The whole 100+ page study [PDF] is interesting, and touches on many of the concerns that people are thinking about in this election year. Here at the Daily Planet, we hope to spark some discussion of key issues during 2012, at the local, state and national levels. One of our first steps has been to convene a diverse group of smart, thoughtful, politically engaged citizens. So far, we have met twice. While the ten people at the March 5 meeting tilted heavily toward the progressive side of the spectrum, there were lively disagreements in the discussion of our underlying assumptions about government. We hope to see more such disagreements, and to increase the diversity of the group in future gatherings. If you’d like to join the discussion, please email me at email@example.com.
The group launched with some commitments from Republicans, but not enough — and one has decided to stop coming because he is planning to run for office. That’s fair. This group is not a platform for candidates or officeholders. (But we do want Republicans, whether “main street” or “staunch conservative,” as well as people of every political, economic, ethnic, and age group.)
At the first meeting in January, housing was nominated as a key issue for discussion. Looking at the Pew Research report, that makes us different than people in any political category, almost all of whom ranked financial/housing markets last in a list of economic concerns that included job situation, rising prices, and the budget deficit. It’s difficult to identify the top issues for people. The Pew Research list seems idiosyncratic, looking at everything from opinions on the budget deficit to attitudes on legalizing marijuana, interracial marriage, and government’s role in combating obesity in children. Those don’t even appear on the list for anyone we’ve heard from.
In addition to housing and the foreclosure crisis, the list generated by our election circle at their first meeting included:
- the economy
- food and biodiversity
- war and empire
- Wall Street and the Occupy Movement
- the prison-industrial complex
- government’s disinvestment in national, state, and local programs
- urban development
- lawmaking through constitutional amendment
- support for the arts
- gay marriage
- rural economies
- electoral participation
- re-stabilizing communities.
What issues are at the top of your list as you look at legislative candidates this year? Which ones are crucial in choosing a U.S. congressmember or senator? And what issues are most important to you in voting for president? Add a comment via Facebook or the comment link below, and we’ll look at all of the issues as possible focuses for future election circle conversations.