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Member since: Thu Jan 23, 2020, 03:36 PM
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The only thing we have to fear is [Republican voters'] fear itself. Great Vox article on clashing

worldviews of Republican and Democratic voters.

In short, the Vox article (from December 2018) describes how Republican voters view the world as a scary place and see societal changes as highly threatening. Democrats see the world as safer and are not as threatened by societal changes, such as the changing demographics in the US.

A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently
Our political divisions arenít red versus blue, but fixed versus fluid.

ďOf the many factors that make up your worldview, one is more fundamental than any other in determining which side of the divide you gravitate toward: your perception of how dangerous the world is. Fear is perhaps our most primal instinct, after all, so itís only logical that peopleís level of fearfulness informs their outlook on life.Ē

Thatís political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, writing in their book Prius or Pickup, which marshals a massive trove of survey data and experimental evidence to argue that the roots of our political divides run so deep that they make us almost incomprehensible to one another. Our political divisions, they say, arenít about policy disagreements, or even demographics. Theyíre about something more ancient in how we view the world. . . .

The ideological conflict that used to divide the parties was the size of government. The Democrats said bigger, the Republicans said smaller. Importantly, most Americans didnít have intense commitments on this question. In addition, party elites could compromise across it. Hence, the political conflict spawned by it wasnít rancorous most of the time.

That changed in the late 20th century, accelerating into the present day. The dividing line between the parties was no longer a philosophy about governing (a political ideology ó more or less government). It evolved into differences in philosophy about life (a worldview ó is the world a basically safe place to explore, or is it a dangerous snake pit to hunker down against).

If you think the world is dangerous, safety is always the No. 1 concern. When it comes to physical safety, letting your guard down against adversaries could be disastrous. If you think the world is safe, however, discriminating against groups that have generally been down the racial, gender, or sexual orientation hierarchy is the real sin.

The article goes on to explain why Republicans are so susceptible to right-wing propaganda and hate mongering:

Sure, there is partisan media on the left, but its audience is much smaller and it lacks misinformation peddlers like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones. Why the much higher demand on the right? We think the answer must lie partially in the individual differences between liberals and conservatives.

The most likely reason would be a differential need for what psychologists call cognitive closure. Those we consider having fixed worldviews have a greater need for closure which suggests a greater need to avoid cognitive dissonance. They therefore are more likely to believe information that confirms their worldview. These differences may drive the supply of misinformation coming from political elites to some degree.

Whatís for certain is that those who hate their opponents will be more willing to believe the worst about them. And Republican leaders have been bolder about exploiting that hatred of the other side than Democratic leaders have.

The article is not very optimistic about combatting Republican politicians' manipulation of their voters' fear, anger, and hatred, but suggests:

For things to change, something must supplant these primal worldviews as the dividing line between the parties. That impetus must come from the top. Leaders set the grounds of debate. Ordinary people follow their lead. Democrats, for their part, seem to be trying. In focusing on health care and wages in 2018, they are making the dividing line about the size of government. It is a winning strategy.

Long article, but worth the read:


Thank you for my final heart, my fellow DUer!!!

Very much appreciated.

Thank you for the hearts, fellow DU members! I'm so glad to have found this community!

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