The votes are in. They’ve been tallied. And there’s a new winner. According to the latest Gallup Poll, more Americans now consider themselves conservative (40%) than moderate (36%), or liberal (20%). Two recent Rasmussen Polls demonstrate important trends as well: 59% of Americans are angrier now than during the Bush presidency and 58% of Americans believe politics had an influence on the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. These polls suggest that, finally, America is beginning to come to its senses. Thank God.However, these polls suggest something more subtle though nevertheless vital with regard to America’s future ‘“ the power of party affiliation.Through the years, I’ve heard many people say, ‘I don’t care about the party, I vote for the best person.’Such statements appear intuitively meaningful and often leave the speaker with feelings of moral and intellectual superiority ‘“ after all, voting for the ‘best’ person just seems to make sense. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Here’s why.In deciding for whom to vote, the voter must first decide to what core set of moral and civic virtues he or she ascribes: Does the voter believe in the right of self protection or should the government take away the personal right to own a weapon to defend oneself? Does the voter think America should project an aura of strength on the international scene in order to make our enemies think twice about attacking us or our interests or should we travel the world bowing to foreign heads of state in the hopes they will like us and therefore decide to play nice? Does the voter believe that abortion is morally wrong or that it is an acceptable form of birth control which should be subsidized by the government in order that citizens of lower socioeconomic status can abort their unwanted children?Why must the voter first answer these questions about his or her core values and beliefs prior to considering which candidate to support? Lots of reasons. First of all, and most important, the value of a vote rests in the likelihood that the values of the voter will be expressed by the candidate receiving the vote. After all, what sense would it make to vote for someone we know opposes everything we believe in as a person? None.Next, we must consider the core political philosophy with which the candidate is affiliated. For instance, no matter how much a voter likes a particular candidate, and no matter what he or she says on the campaign trail, when that person is elected to office, he or she will be strongly influenced by the political party peer group to which he or she belongs. Therefore, if you are opposed to paying higher taxes but you vote for a democrat because he or she seems like the ‘best’ person, then you are going to pay higher taxes sooner or later regardless of what the candidate actually said while campaigning because raising taxes is a core democratic precept.The same holds true for nearly all important issues of the day. If you vote for a democrat, no matter what the candidate says, you will be promoting many of the following positions ‘“ special gay rights such as gay marriage, confiscation of lawfully owned guns, abortion on-demand, increasing welfare roles, wealth redistribution, higher taxes, government take-over of the American healthcare industry and various other industries such as the financial markets and automakers just to name a few.Knowing this, it is incumbent upon the voter to consider what the party itself stands for just as much as the candidate. Of course, all voters should want to vote for the candidate they feel is the ‘best’ person. But we must be certain in deciding who is best, that we agree with the basic philosophy of the party to which that candidate is affiliated. Therefore, the most important vote you make in an election isn’t the vote you cast on Election Day but, rather, on primary day. Why? Because that’s the day you pick the ‘best’ person from the party that ‘best’ promotes your political and ideological philosophy. If you vote democratic during one election cycle and republican the next, the net result is the cancelling out of your two votes.In light of the growing discontent among American voters with the direction the democrats are taking the country, many democrats attempt to distance themselves from the liberal, pro-socialist ideology aggressively promoted by the Democrat Party. They call themselves ‘blue-dog’ democrats or ‘old time conservative’ democrats. However, one shouldn’t be fooled by these monikers of political expediency. All you need to do to see through the ruse is to examine their voting record. What an elected democrat says to his or her constituents and the way he or she votes is often two entirely different things. Don’t be fooled by a politician who says he or she isn’t really a democrat but that they had to run as one to get elected. Those people lack the power of their convictions and sacrificed principle merely to get elected. If you are an elected official with a D beside your name, you’re a democrat whether you like it or not and you can bet the Democratic Party will make sure of it.Therefore, in voting for the ‘best’ person, decide first in what you believe and then seek the ‘best’ person from the party that promotes your beliefs. What candidates say is often only important within the context of the party philosophy which is why party matters.