Partisanship is Real

Yet another example.

In case you were wondering:

It is quite stunning the degree to which a public health issue has been made into a partisan one.

h/t: Aaron Rupar on Twitter.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, COVID-19, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    And yet there were members of the media suggesting this week that Biden should publicly thank the person most responsible for the partisan divide on public health for his handling of the pandemic.

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  2. Michael Cain says:

    Do they have any state level numbers? Quite frankly, I would be astounded if Colorado’s large unaffiliated block tracked closer to the Republicans than to the Democrats on anything

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  3. Tony W says:

    Self-selection for COVID will, I suppose, benefit the world in the long run. It will be painful getting there.

    We’re still getting stories about folks who are rabidly anti-mask 8 days ago, and have COVID today – side by side.

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  4. Argon says:

    Nature doesn’t care about people’s fantasies.

    It is not ‘partisanship’ in a way we’ve encountered in the recent past. It’s cultist and tribalist beliefs.

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  5. grumpy realist says:

    What will be interesting to see is if any of the health insurance providers are going to start sticking their oars in: “sure, you can decide to not get vaccinated, but if you do, we’re not going to pay for any medical treatment of yours if you develop Covid.”

    I also wonder how the vaccines will stand up against this new Covid variant we’re seeing in Brazil which is hitting young people much more drastically.

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  6. Gustopher says:

    @Moosebreath:

    And yet there were members of the media suggesting this week that Biden should publicly thank the person most responsible for the partisan divide on public health for his handling of the pandemic.

    I wonder what would happen if the Biden Administration tried rolling out their own Big Lie — either that the Republicans are pro-mask, or that “other than a few vocal white supremacists, Americans — even Republicans — are eager to get the vaccines.”

    Just start painting the vaccine hesitancy as mostly people worried that it will pollute the purity of their white blood, and react with statements about how this is a crazy argument, both offensive and wrong.

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  7. @Argon:

    It is not ‘partisanship’ in a way we’ve encountered in the recent past. It’s cultist and tribalist beliefs.

    But, it actually is. That is part of the point.

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  8. Scott F. says:

    What I find most striking is that the number of Independents confidently saying “yes” is only nominally better than that of the Republicans surveyed. The general public’s trust in science and expertise has been degraded significantly further than can be explained by mistrust of the other political party.

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  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Argon:

    It’s cultist and tribalist beliefs.

    I think you’re right that it’s more extreme now, but it’s been conventional wisdom that people vote on a perceived tribal affiliation since I started paying attention to politics, which was around Goldwater/Johnson. And the Young Republican types were pretty cultish about Goldwater.

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  10. Jax says:

    @grumpy realist: Airlines and insurance companies could really do humanity a solid if they required vaccinations before flying or coverage. The only time Republicans listen is when it hits their pocketbook and their vacation time.

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  11. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Then they’ll have to start denying coverage to all behaviorally-induced illnesses/conditions/disorders.

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  12. Teve says:

    Republicans Act Stupid On Scientific Topic, Story at 11 😀

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  13. Scott says:

    At some point, I stopped caring whether these people get vaccinated or not. My wife, being the better person, has chastised me when I express this thought.

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  14. SC_Birdflyte says:

    The anti-vax theater in the media reminds me of a quote from one of the classic Greek dramatists (can’t remember which one): “Boys throw stones at frogs in jest, but the frogs die in earnest.”

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  15. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Partisanship is a symptom, not a cause. We are a nation with a large percentage of stupid in our population, and one of the ways it shows itself is partisanship.

    I’d like to see some comparisons with other countries on this: the UK, Germany, France, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. What are their views and who holds them? What are their divisions? That would tell us something about us, too, in comparison.

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  16. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:
    Bion of Borysthenes. Philosopher.

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But, it actually is. That is part of the point.

    By this do you mean that vaccine skepticism is correlated to Party affiliation or caused by it?

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  18. DeD says:

    Meh. I suspect the answers given to the vaccination poll are equivalent to the answers to an abortion poll: They say they refuse to get it until they are traipsing their happy @$$3$ into a clinic to get one. Surreptitiously, of course.

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  19. James Joyner says:

    @Scott: Aside from their humanity, you should care because we can’t achieve herd immunity if this number of people opt out.

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  20. James Joyner says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: We’re seeing markedly variable rates of hesitancy in Europe. It’s much higher in France than here and Germany is comparable. But I’m not seeing polling with partisan or ideological breakdowns.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    I happened to listen to 10 minutes of “Latino USA” yesterday and came in to the middle of a piece on a Catholic community in Texas (?) with a local priest as a primary focus. It really bought into focus for me that however frustrated we get that people are trusting poor leaders, the result is that real people suffer real tragedy. They have my sympathy and even empathy.

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  22. Teve says:

    @DeD:

    Meh. I suspect the answers given to the vaccination poll are equivalent to the answers to an abortion poll: They say they refuse to get it until they are traipsing their happy @$$3$ into a clinic to get one. Surreptitiously, of course.

    LOL. Yeah, totally opposed to abortion, but when 17-yro Tiffani gets knocked up, they disappear for a sudden Mother-Daughter Weekend.

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  23. Teve says:

    Biden Chooses Prosperity Over Vengeance

    Who on God’s Green Earth would think Joseph Robinette Biden would go for Vengeance???

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  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yep, it’s just standard partisanship like we always see when one party decides to attack the Capitol, try to overthrow an election, and literally die and condemn their loved ones to death because: party loyalty. You know, like all the other times in American history when party loyalty caused insurrection and suicide.

    In fact, turns out Jim Jones and David Koresh? Not cult leaders and their followers were not cultists, just really into their political affiliations. Who knew?

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  25. Teve says:

    @stuartpstevens

    While standing in line to get vaccinated, I was thinking about the 8 million ads I’d made about how government involvement in medicine was socialized hell. Maybe, just maybe, it was all a lie.
    1:51 PM · Mar 14, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

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  26. @Michael Reynolds: Indeed, what the poll likely demonstrates is the way in which leaders influence followers in a group. A lot of people who identify as Republicans were influenced by the leader of the party.

    Although, I would note, not all. (This undercuts your point, BTW–almost half of GOP types said yes and the combined yes/maybe is ~70%).

    Likewise, a lot of Democrats are following their leaders (and, also, engaging in negative partisanship because they are so set on rejecting Trump that they are likely more prone to take the vaccine).

    It is quite obvious and has been going back to at least last March, that the entire issue of response to Covid became highly politicized and partisan, owing almost entirely to the way the then President of the United States responded. (I recall debating a commenter on this point while waiting for a plane at an airport, so a year ago last week).

    The differences in the poll are reasonably attributed to partisan identification and the messages from those different parties.

    Now, you can hyperbolize this as “suicide” if you like, but that really isn’t helpful. (It certainly isn’t analytical).

    And, you are doing what you frequently do in these comments: you are taking the worse example (such as the Capitol Insurrection) and pretending like that means all Republican voters stormed the Capitol.

    If your whole “it’s a cult” thesis is that followers often follow leaders, then you are closer to my point about partisanship than you realize or want to admit. I continue to note that your position falls apart (at least as I understand your claims) because you have to go to exaggerated claims like “when one party decides to attack the Capitol, try to overthrow an election, and literally die and condemn their loved ones to death” because those are not happening at the mass level needed for your position to actually be accurate. (And, of course, Jim Jones and David Koresh).

    Again, your position would have more strength if you applied the cult frame more judiciously instead of trying to universalize it for dramatic effect.

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  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m going to re-ping my comment above: By this do you mean that vaccine skepticism is correlated to Party affiliation or caused by it?

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  28. @Not the IT Dept.:

    Partisanship is a symptom, not a cause. We are a nation with a large percentage of stupid in our population, and one of the ways it shows itself is partisanship.

    See my comment above to MR: we are seeing partisanship in the D numbers as well.

    I’d like to see some comparisons with other countries on this: the UK, Germany, France, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. What are their views and who holds them? What are their divisions? That would tell us something about us, too, in comparison.

    In the sense that we should be able to see a linkage between what party elites are saying and those party-identifiers are doing, yes.

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  29. @DeD: This is quite possible. But it would also fit my point: that the “right” answer to a question is determined by one’s partisan affiliation.

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  30. @MarkedMan:

    By this do you mean that vaccine skepticism is correlated to Party affiliation or caused by it?

    Well, it is clearly correlated.

    But yes, I am arguing it is largely caused by it (but will admit I am inferring this–but also would note that repeated polling on this going back for over a year have shown a partisan divide on Covid response.

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  31. steve says:

    Wife read the actual poll, not sure it is the same one TBH, and claims that among GOP men the % who say no is 49%. It is not just Republicans but it is focused among Republican men.

    Steve

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  32. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Well, I am not going to fight about it but there was nothing like this political fighting over masks, shut-downs and vaccines when the disease was polio and the Salk vaccine was rolled out. Long time ago for sure. Maybe not a valid comparison. Maybe the proper comparison is not Davidians but Christian Scientists?

    But it’s weird to stand back and watch dispassionately.

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  33. @JohnMcC:

    there was nothing like this political fighting over masks, shut-downs and vaccines when the disease was polio and the Salk vaccine was rolled out.

    Right, because to my knowledge the elites of the two parties weren’t pushing different messages.

    Indeed, in the past, as I understand it, public health issues tended not to be partisan.

    That’s kind of the point: that leadership influences behavior.

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  34. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Thanks!

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    but will admit I am inferring this–

    I suspect some of the discord stems from this exactly. Where on the spectrum between correlation and causation does Replubican vaccine skepticism lie?

    On the one extreme is, say, the medieval wars fought over transubstantiation. The belief or disbelief in transubstantiation is definitely “partisan” in the sense that people followed their leaders, having no real understanding of the issue itself and not really receiving any input from elsewhere.

    For the other extreme, I’ll use a hypothetical. If it turns out that most American executives in Fortune 500 companies identify as Republicans and they follow the party line that corporations should be given wide leeway to “create jobs”, I would contend their Republicanism is largedly correlated, not causal.

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  36. Barry says:

    @Scott F.: ” The general public’s trust in science and expertise has been degraded significantly further than can be explained by mistrust of the other political party.”

    Why do you think that? We’ve seen one party 100% against science and expertise.

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  37. @MarkedMan: Based on numerous surveys and other facts, it would seem to be highly likely that there is a causal link and not just a correlation.

    Indeed, this seems fairly obvious (and my only hedging is the scientific type, wherein one should allow room that one is wrong).

    I interpret much of the pushback to be more along the lines of “this is more than just regular partisanship.”

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  38. Monala says:

    @Moosebreath: I read an excellent tweet in response that said something like, “Do they really think Biden praising Trump would somehow persuade Trump supporters to take the vaccine? I doubt it. Instead, they should pressure Trump to do some vaccine support videos. *That* might make a difference.”

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  39. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I can’t agree with this at all:

    Likewise, a lot of Democrats are following their leaders (and, also, engaging in negative partisanship because they are so set on rejecting Trump that they are likely more prone to take the vaccine).

    The first part is in large part true. Democrat leaders support the vaccine, so Democrat voters do as well.

    But I think the second part is nonsense. You really think a lot of Democrats are thinking, “Let me get the vaccine to stick it to Trump!”?

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  40. @Monala:

    But I think the second part is nonsense. You really think a lot of Democrats are thinking, “Let me get the vaccine to stick it to Trump!”?

    That’s not what I said.

    However, I have zero doubt that some level of enthusiasm for following Covid rules (e.g., masks) and getting vaccinated is driven in part by negative partisanship.

    This doesn’t seem controversial to me in the least.

    Consider the way so many Dems (including here at this site) make being “pro-science” part o their partisan identity.

    Note that I am not saying they are only pro-science because they are Democrats, but start paying attention to the degree to which people clearly make these links. (Note, too, this is often done as a delineator that they aren’t like Reps in this regard).

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  41. Put another way: we do things both to positively reinforce our own identity/views/position and we also do them to differentiate ourselves from the other group(s).

    For example, I suspect we could determine that some level of mask-wearing is done by some people to some the world that they “aren’t like those MAGA people!”

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  42. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I still don’t get it, maybe because it is foreign to my way of thinking. I wear a mask and am desperate to get the vaccine (still not eligible) because I don’t want to get sick, possibly chronically, and I don’t want to die. Yes, I am more likely to believe that Covid is this serious and that masking and the vaccine can help prevent it, because I trust the leaders (political and scientific) who have reported that. But what Trump or Republicans think about it has no bearing on what I choose to do.

    To the extent that I think about them, it’s anger at Trump and other Republican leaders for being so reckless and leading to so many deaths, and frustration at the ordinary Republicans who are following in their path. But I’m not trying to “differentiate myself” from them by masking and getting the vaccine as soon as I can. I’m doing that because I think those are good and necessary things in and of themselves.

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  43. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I interpret much of the pushback to be more along the lines of “this is more than just regular partisanship.”

    Inasmuch as I have pushback, that’s not it. I question whether the majority of Trumpers (I’m talking the motivated hardcore) see themselves as Republicans first. My suspicion is that if Trump joined the Whosiwhatsis party they would follow him there.

    I recognize that you are more focused on overall numbers, while I am more focused on the hard core committed.

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  44. @Monala: But, of course, my argument was never that Monala (or any other specific person) did what they did because of X.

    The question is: do these things matter in the aggregate?

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  45. Monala says:

    @Monala: @Steven L. Taylor: to add to my point, there was some moment last summer, I think, where Trump wore a mask for the first time and said people should wear them. That moment didn’t last long, but before it ended, many Republicans were saying stuff like, “I bet now the Democrats will start saying that masks aren’t necessary!” But that never happened.

    Likewise, many Republicans, Ted Cruz most noticeably, said that “Covid will suddenly go away” in Democrats’ minds and public pronouncements after the election, because they thought (or at least pretended to think) that we were only talking about Covid as a partisan wedge against Trump. Again, that never happened (to which Cruz responded with some nonsense like, “I guess they’re more committed to using Covid to turn this country socialist than I thought!”).

    Why didn’t Democrats turn against masking when Trump said to wear them? Why didn’t we stop talking about Covid after the election? Why did virtually all Democrats vote for the two Covid relief bills last year (in contrast to the zero Republicans voting for the recent one), when that could have potentially helped Trump? Why did virtually all Democrats vote for the criminal justice reform bill in 2018, even though again, that gave Trump a win?

    Because we actually have principles we stand for, and we don’t support those principles just because the Republicans don’t, nor do we turn against certain principles or policies we believe in when Republicans decide to support them.

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  46. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Even in the aggregate, the type of negative partisanship you are referring to, where you support/don’t support something simply because it’s the opposite of the other party, just isn’t happening among Democrats. See my reply above for specific examples.

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  47. @MarkedMan:

    I question whether the majority of Trumpers (I’m talking the motivated hardcore) see themselves as Republicans first. My suspicion is that if Trump joined the Whosiwhatsis party they would follow him there.

    Would some Republicans jump ship? Yes. Would most? No.

    Most didn’t even vote for him in the 2016 primaries, but they definitely did in the 2016 and 2020 generals.

    And all of this misses my most fundamental point: partisan rank-and-file respond to party leadership. If Mitt Romney was president from 2016-2020, the GOP numbers in the graph above would be different. That’s the key point.

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  48. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Michael Reynolds:

    Somehow, you accused me of mischaracterizing the debate, but here we are again, still talking about partisanship. I’ll tell you what Michael, I’ll meet you on the ground you (dubiously) claimed in the other thread–personal agency and responsibility.

    Which of these more resembles agency:

    Cult members who cede their agency to leaders, often after being inundated with subtle and overt forms of direct manipulation and outright coercion; or

    Using a heuristic to differentiate between political candidates at multiple junctures?

    The former is an example of totalizing, unidirectional influence. The second is an example of a bidirectional relationship between constituents and political representatives.

    Hint: that’s why Graham and Cruz made the about face, once Trump was the nominee, their constituents supported him and they had to follow along or risk their career. Romney was able to get away with taking stands, because Utah is by far the least Trump red state.

    In the thread I linked to in my response, Steven made the point that Trump’s hold on the party resulted from his nomination. If he had not won the nomination, he doesn’t have that amount of influence.

    I’ll take it a little further, if Trump was like Koresh or Jones, Cruz would not have had that level of the support that he did for as long as he did through the primaries. People were still voting for Kasich even after Trump clinched the most delegates.

    Oh, and Trump certainly would have won more than 44.9% of the vote. But I’m sure that Koresh would just eke out a victory if he had to win the most votes at Waco.

    In one of these threads a while back, you said you’re always right. I took at it as a throwaway line–a joke. But after all this, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe you really think that. That’s unfortunate. You’re better than that.

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  49. Monala says:

    I’ll add this: Democratic leaders most definitely influence Democratic voters. A key example is when many African-American Democrats became pro-marriage equality after President Obama came out in favor of it.

    We also, like Republicans, give our leaders more of a pass regarding foreign policy (and are often hypocritically critical of Republicans for taking the same actions), but I think that’s because of something Mike Reynolds said recently: neither the left nor the right has any good ideas about what to do with regard to foreign policy. Add to that that most foreign policy decisions don’t affect most voters on a day to day basis, so we tend to support “our team” regardless of what they do in that arena.

    However, when it comes to domestic policy, Democrats across the board have strong consensus and values (although we disagree among ourselves about how to carry out specific policy ideas), and we tend to support those values regardless of what Republicans think or do.

    There are also hotly debated topics in the Democratic party, such as what to do when a Democratic leader is accused of sexual harassment. Part of that is tightly linked to partisanship, in that since our margins of leadership are so thin across this country, that losing any leaders due to such accusations feels risky, because their replacement might be a Republican or someone more likely to lose to a Republican. So again, partisanship play a large role in those cases.

    But when it comes to the things Democrats value: helping working class and middle class families, promoting public health, expanding access to affordable healthcare and education, reforming our criminal justice system – there is a remarkable consensus among Democrats (again, our disagreements with each other are about the “how”), and Republican actions or beliefs don’t sway it.

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  50. @Monala: Look, this is not above one day or one event. There was a clear dominant narrative out of Trump on this entire pandemic, and a different one from Democrats.

    Those narratives influence behavior.

    And it isn’t like Trump radically altered his narrative on masks (and Democrats never did).

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  51. @Kurtz:

    Hint: that’s why Graham and Cruz made the about face, once Trump was the nominee, their constituents supported him and they had to follow along or risk their career. Romney was able to get away with taking stands, because Utah is by far the least Trump red state.

    In the thread I linked to in my response, Steven made the point that Trump’s hold on the party resulted from his nomination. If he had not won the nomination, he doesn’t have that amount of influence.

    I’ll take it a little further, if Trump was like Koresh or Jones, Cruz would not have had that level of the support that he did for as long as he did through the primaries. People were still voting for Kasich even after Trump clinched the most delegates.

    Oh, and Trump certainly would have won more than 44.9% of the vote.

    So very much this. Ding ding ding.

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  52. @Monala:

    We

    This is the root of our different approach. You are talking about all of this from the perspective of being part of one of the groups under discussion and it is driving your perception and assessment.

    Nothing wrong with that, but it cannot, by definition, render an unbiased assessment.

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  53. @Kurtz:

    Oh, and Trump certainly would have won more than 44.9% of the vote

    To take this a step further–his 44.9% of support in the 2016 primary became far larger support of Republicans because the primary made him the leader of the GOP.

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  54. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I mentioned more than just masks/vaccines. I also mentioned Covid relief, and criminal justice reform (the latter especially important here given that it occurred before Covid). Republican responses to those issues didn’t change Democratic responses.

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  55. JohnMcC says:

    Dr Taylor: Again, I am not in actual argument with the location of this phenomenon as ‘partisanship’. That’s the language that you seem committed to and you certainly have more right/authority than I on the proper use of the terms in your profession.

    I am trying to imagine the D-party (into which I was dragged kicking and screaming by the Clinton impeachers) accepting a centralized leader like Mr Trump became after he won the ’16 primaries and the nomination. It’s honestly difficult for me to imagine a more-than-50% segment of Democrats march in lockstep when the size of the Inauguration crowd became an alternative fact. To name one small example. Usually, the D’s are described as a coalition, a ‘big-tent’ party. Which gives Dem’s a veritable smorgasbord of policy and opinion and leaders.

    For whatever reason and by whatever name, the R-party does not act this way. They self-purify and require public auto-de-fe for heretics. The most recent action of the supreme leader is always totally correct.

    It’s hard for me to recognize this as politics at times. It feels like a larger cultural movement that has sort of captured a political party because that is the particular whirlpool in the larger flood that those particular participants ended up swimming in.

    But it’s hard to think of what we have in ‘politics’ today as having anything to do with policy, really. So we arrived at the Pat Buchanon point. Thanks, Republicans. Thanks FNC.

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  56. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I agree with everything you said, and recognize you have the numbers to back it up. So I t’s not that I disagree with you but rather I’m not sure what it means. The interesting thing to me is what drives the leaders to do what they do. And it seems to me the Republican Party Leadership is being led by the hardcore Trumpers, not the other way around. In fact, I think the polarization of the two parties over the past half century wrt what they spend their capital on has come about because of the growing power of an extremist faction within the base of the Republican Party, and the attempt by Republican politicians to ride that faction into power. (Whether this faction should be labeled a cult is of no interest to me.)

    Because of your interests you are focused on what motivates the majority of Republicans and less interested in what the tail ends of the bell curve do. Because of my different, admittedly amateur, interests I’m focused on those two tale ends.

    You said, “ If Mitt Romney was president from 2016-2020, the GOP numbers in the graph above would be different”, and my immediate reaction was that if the Republican establishment could have motivated a significant number of that middle 70% then Romney would have been President. But it is the highly motivated extremists faction driving the Republican Party, not the establishment.

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  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: While I mostly agree with you, I’m reluctant to say that the types of partisan divides Dr. Taylor is talking about “don’t” happen among Democrats (or more accurately in my mind, across the Liberal to Progressive arc of the continuum). I would say that those types of divides are less likely to be predominantly (or even significantly) partisan.

    And yes, I’m splitting hairs here, too many years of trying to teach students to say what they mean with greater precision by bringing up the same kinds of objections you and Dr. Taylor are engaging to ask “is that what you really mean.”

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: “I am trying to imagine the D-party (into which I was dragged kicking and screaming by the Clinton impeachers) accepting a centralized leader like Mr Trump became after he won the ’16 primaries and the nomination.”

    My disconnect is imagining a D-party in which Trump wins the primaries and nomination, but I have no problem at all with a D-party standing unreservedly behind the candidate it nominates. That’s what happened with Hillary in 2016 even while Democrats were responding positively to the idea that they would have preferred more choices early in the process and polling at close to 50% in favor of having other choices even though they acknowledged that she was the likely candidate. I was still in Korea then and seeing these types of poll results were my first inkling that she was not “inevitable.” I didn’t believe that she would lose to Trump, but I could see her losing to Pence or Cruz or Kasich.

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  59. JohnMcC says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Fair enough. Somewhat different than making up new facts and making these into beliefs normative to the tribe than agreeing to support a common candidate. But, yep. You’re right. Good point.

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  60. @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    My disconnect is imagining a D-party in which Trump wins the primaries and nomination,

    But let me ask: is that because as someone who identifies as a D can’t imagine (and don’t want) your group behaving that badly or is it because you really think it is impossible (and let me add all of human history as to where to look for potential answers to that question).

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  61. Also: Trump is an outlier, so it is not surprising that in these counterfactuals it is difficult to conceive of another Trump, let alone a Democratic version.

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  62. @MarkedMan:

    I’m focused on those two tale ends.

    There is a legit discussion to be had about the tails. This is the point I keep trying to make to MR: that he wants to act like the tail of the curve is the entire Republican Party, when that isn’t the case (and that isn’t a defense of the Rs en masse, but it is nonetheless still true).

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  63. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But let me ask: is that because as someone who identifies as a D can’t imagine (and don’t want) your group behaving that badly or is it because you really think it is impossible (and let me add all of human history as to where to look for potential answers to that question)

    I think part of this is due to the structural backstop that Rs currently enjoy. The other part is the composition of the two parties.

    Rs are a coalition of what, three groups? Libertarians largely concerned with economic rights, white evangelicals, and rural working class whites. The D coalition is a much larger quilt that clashes.

    As the GOP moved right, Ds picked up center-right voters. If a Trumpish D won the nomination, all of the fissures between groups would come to the fore.

    A lot of that tension can be seen quite clearly in the comments at OTB during the 2020 primaries. You have some commenters here who transitioned from arguing for one of the center lane candidates during the primaries to arguing that Dems wanted radical change once Biden won the election.

    These are smart people, but they still suffer from some delusions about how they think. Part of that delusion is thinking that a Dem Trump couldn’t exist because Dems are more scientific or virtuous.

    It’s ironic because the more they fight with you about partisanship, the more they prove your point. But if you hold a mirror up, they’ll swear it’s distorted.

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  64. @Kurtz: I think a cogent argument can be made that the structure of the Democratic Party makes a D version of Trump to be less likely (as do the rules they use to allocate delegates in the primaries). My point is that it not as impossible as many seem to think.

    It’s ironic because the more they fight with you about partisanship, the more they prove your point.

    It may be impolitic of me to note, but this occurs to me on a regular basis 😉

    Of course, I realize that by agreeing I may be causing folks to further harden their own positions.

    There is more to say (and I typed out so much that I realize it is a whole other post that I will hopefully get to later today.

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  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Not my party–I consider myself disenfranchised–but I accept your first alternative and lean toward believing that NOTHING is impossible for humans in behavior–the banality of evil, and all that. Democrats don’t appear to be likely to go the way of the GOP at this point, but the party was racism headquarters–at least as the South goes, IMO–until the GOP decided winning the South was the key to political suicide success.

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