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Most likely you've heard lots of pundits bemoaning the increased polarization of American politics, complaining that nothing gets done any more because the two political parties have moved so far apart from each other. You may even have seen articles that go beyond mere Broderism to looking quantitatively at how the two parties have moved further apart over the decades.

But that polarization isn't limited to the politicians and what they do; instead, it's happening with all of us. As the political parties become less about regional differences or class differences, and more about ideological and values differences, the disparities between the parties and their members have gotten clearer. Moderate suburban northeastern Republicans and conservative rural southern Democrats are dwindling species, but it goes deeper than that; people are also less likely to pick and choose from an ideological buffet, and instead are becoming more and more down-the-line liberal or conservative on the entire spectrum of economic and cultural issues.

And it goes beyond that. With a more mobile society that's less rigidly based around family ties, people are increasingly free to move around and associate as they choose with like-minded people. That results in people increasingly sorting themselves along ideological lines in terms of who their friends are, what groups they join, even where they choose to live, all to enjoy the security of being around like-minded individuals (and avoid the cognitive dissonance of constant interactions with the oppositionally minded). It's not a totally new idea—it's been described well in many books, maybe most definitively in 2008's The Big Sort—but it's never been the subject of as wide-ranging and thorough (with a sample size of 10,000) a poll as the new study from Pew Research Center, "Political Polarization in the American Public."

Maybe the central finding of the Pew study is that Americans in recent years have tended to become much more "ideologically consistent." Pew asked respondents a number of policy and political values questions; in past years, people would have tended to take a more "a la carte" approach, maybe supporting a more populist economic policy but being opposed to abortion, for instance. Today, though, there's much less of that, as you can see in the graphic above, showing significant ideological overlap between the parties in 1994 and much less now, and showing the median Democrat and median Republican much further apart now.

In 1994, 10 percent of the population fell into either the "consistently liberal" or "consistently conservative" segments. That's more than doubled in 2014, to 21 percent. While 49 percent of the population took a roughly equal number of liberal and conservative positions, in 2014 that's down to 39 percent of the population.

Another way to look at that is in terms of where people fall in relation to the median members of each party. In 1994, only 64 percent of Republicans were to the right of the median Democrat, but in 2004, 70 percent were to the right of the median Democrat, and by 2014, 92 percent of Republicans are now to the right of the median Democrat. Meanwhile, in 1994, 70 percent of Democrats were to the left of the median Republican. That actually fell in 2004, to 68 percent of Democrats to the left of the median Republican, and by 2014, it had shot up to 94 percent of Democrats being more liberal than the median Republican.

There's more discussion, and more charts, over the fold ....

Watching the news in dismay from day to day, it may not seem like we're becoming more liberal, or that we're even going backwards. But that's not what Pew analysts see—they point out that the shift toward consistency in the last two decades has been greater among Democrats than among Republicans. In other words, the number of "consistently liberal" Democrats has grown from only 5 percent of Democrats in 1994, to 23 percent of Democrats in 2014, more than quadrupling. By contrast, 13 percent of Republicans were "consistently conservative" in 1994, and that's up to 20 percent of Republicans today. (Granted, that 20 percent still tends to be the loudest fifth of the party, which does a lot to affect our perceptions.)

You can see that at work when you compare the notoriously fractious Democratic Party of the 1980s and 1990s with Democrats in Congress today, who tend to put up a pretty united front with little Blue Dog resistance any more. On the other hand, that growth in consistency isn't so much about economic issues as it as about cultural issues. Pew attributes most of that to two issues that have evolved greatly over the last two decades: increased tolerance of gays and lesbians, and mostly positive sentiments about immigration.

One other thing worth noting is that being "consistently" liberal or conservative correlates with being more politically engaged. In other words, if you're a higher-information voter who pays a lot of attention to politics, you're more likely to commit fully to one camp or the other. The muddled middle who pick and choose aren't the best-informed, most-reasoned voters, despite what the Ron Fourniers of the world might tell us; instead, the pick-and-choose voters are the less engaged, less-informed ones. The middle-dwellers are also much less likely to vote or to give contributions than the ideologically consistent.

In the above graphic, you can also see the disparity between the parties grow over the last two decades when you ask specific policy questions. You can see increasing numbers of Republicans take the conservative stance on questions while Democrats increasingly take the liberal position. There are two exceptions, as you can see, where both parties moved relatively parallel, and both in a more liberal direction: again, it's homosexuality and immigration.
The downside of this increased consistency is an accompanying increased antipathy. Partisan animosity has increased in the last two decades, with the number of people with a highly negative view of the opposing party doubling in that period. For instance, 17 percent of Republicans reported "very unfavorable" views of Democrats in 1994, but that's up to 43 percent now.

In fact, as you can see above, Pew has had to add a new category that goes even beyond "very unfavorable"—those persons who feel that the opposing party is a "threat to the nation's well-being." A total of 27 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans fall into that category. Among people who give political contributions, the existential threat numbers rise to 46 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans.

That antipathy is also changing the way we live, as people increasingly assign themselves to ideological "silos." Pew asks its 2014 respondents how important it is to live in a place where people share their political views (it doesn't look like they asked this question in 1994 or 2004, unfortunately, so they don't have trend lines on that question). In general, 28 percent of people agree with the idea that "it's important to me to live in a place where most people share my political views." However, that number rises to 50 percent of "consistently conservative" people, and 35 percent of "consistently liberal" people. Thirty-five percent of people agree with the statement that "most of my close friends share my political views," but that rises to 63 percent of the "consistently conservative" and 49 percent of the "consistently liberal."

Interestingly, people seem to instinctively know what kind of community they can find their like-minded brethren in, as you can see in the graphic above. Seventy-seven percent of "consistently liberal" people (but only 21 percent of "consistently conservative" people) would like to live in a dense, walkable neighborhood. On the other hand, 75 percent of "consistently conservative" people, but only 22 percent of "consistently liberal" people, would like to live in a spread-out neighborhood where large houses are the main attraction. People seem to know in advance where they're likely to fit in, based on the types of people they already see living in those types of environments. That kind of knowledge only speeds up the "Big Sort," and the growing gulf between the cities, and the rural areas and exurbs.

Finally, Pew also asked questions about the nature of compromise, and how people feel about compromising in politics. For the most part, people are supportive of compromise, with 49 percent of all respondents saying that the ideal outcome is a 50/50 split in terms of each party getting what it wants. However, the more ideologically consistent one is, the less likely one is to accept 50/50; the average "consistently liberal" or "consistently conservative" person sees getting two-thirds of what they want as being ideal.

If you have a nagging sense that Democrats are hampered somewhat in negotiations with Republicans by being more willing to compromise, or at least instinctively feeling more comfortable with compromise ... well, you're right. When offered a choice between leaders who "are willing to compromise" and leaders who "stick to their positions," consistent liberals overwhelmingly prefer compromisers, 82-14. Consistent conservatives, however, prefer position-stickers, 63-32. (Operationally, rather than ideally, though, consistent liberals still prefer getting more of what they want. Sixty-two percent of consistent liberals still say that the ideal deal between Republicans and Democrats would give Democrats more of what they want.)

There's much more detail to the study, and I urge you to click through the whole thing to see more. However, there's one thing that Pew doesn't really cover, and that's why this polarization is happening. That may be unanswerable because it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. Did the politicians sort themselves out first, and the people followed them? Or did voters start becoming more consistent first, and the parties followed the realignment from the grassroots up? And for that matter, how big a role did the mass media play in the shift? One of the defining characteristics of the period from 1994 to 2014 was the return of partisan media (something that was prevalent 100 years ago, but dwindled in the mid-20th century as the canon of "objectivity" took over).

There's one other important question about the study: What can we, as liberal activists, take away from it? The main thing that I would observe is that it really underscores the need, as has been said over and over at this site, to focus less on chasing elusive swing voters and more on activating base voters. There just aren't that many persuadables left, with more voters solidifying into the "consistent" camps. And moreover, the remaining swing voters are the ones who are the least informed and the least likely to vote, making them a riskier bet. Instead, especially as Democratic-friendly demographics (non-white and/or well-educated people) continue to be a larger and larger part of the population, the trick is to activate them and turn them into reliable voters.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Has the widening shifted more one... (0+ / 0-)

    direction than the other? Are the progressives and conservatives moving apart equally in their respective directions?

  •  Bull Crap Yet Again. (6+ / 0-)
    why this polarization is happening. That may be unanswerable
    Of course it's unanswerable from the Village and mainstream media perspective, because it's forbidden both to question the 50 year political process and to examine & compare the beliefs and philosophies across the spectrum.

    Another golden invitation to Simpson and Bowles.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:26:27 PM PDT

    •  Reagan (5+ / 0-)

      This was his dream—divide the US along party lines.

      Thanks Ron, hope hells hot enough for you.

      I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

      by roninkai on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:54:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought it was earlier, with Nixon's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AJayne, xaxnar, scott5js

        "Southern Strategy" being an attempt to amputate the right-wing Democrats, giving him a winning margin.

        Some might say Goldwater, with his praise for extremism prepared the way.

        The real shift seems to have come in '68.

        Reagan rekindled it after Watergate and all the rest of Nixon's scandals tarnished the Republican brand.

        If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness. President Obama

        by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:17:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reagan (6+ / 0-)

          Ron let religion into politics, which was way worse for the country.
          There was a reason the founding fathers did not want "those" people involved in our government.
          (hint: it's because they are fucking nuts, you can't reason with "God told me".)

          I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

          by roninkai on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:29:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Religion is the insanity (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            White Buffalo, scott5js

            That fuels a lot of the Republican extremism.  The biggest demographic shift I see is that more and more people are abandoning organized religion.  "Nones" are the fastest growing religious group.  

            Notice that the Republicans had only one Jew in the entire congress.  They made his district more conservative and they took his job.  Now they have none.  Lamentable?  Yes.

            But probably more lamentable is that there isn't a single atheist from either party elected to Congress.  At least, I couldn't find one.

            We have slid backwards a long way from the Deist type leaders that founded the country.

            •  Just to note carefully (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Had Enough Right Wing BS

              Deists were/are not atheists (by the very definition of each word.)
              If indeed Franklin, Jefferson & Madison et. al. were thorough-going Deists, and if, indeed, "religion is the insanity that fuels...extremism" and also that it is "lamentable...that these isn't a single atheist from either party elected to Congress" then
                 A) does that mean Deism is also a mark of insanity?
                 B) are the Declaration and the Constitution both the products of insane minds?
                 C) is there a working, historical example of an atheistic and non-self-aggrandizing government that resembles a democracy?
                 D) or did a group of "insane", "religiously influenced" politicians meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 produce a governing document that established a working democracy for the first time (with the partial exception of 18th century  England and the Swiss example) since the succession of Julius Caesar to depose the Roman Republic? (And Caesar was a devoutly religious man of his day as well.)

              Just hoping not to be painted with your very broad brush...


              "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

              by WineRev on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 02:36:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This isn't 1776 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                zamrzla, mdriftmeyer

                Science isn't very old.  But even then Jefferson thought the miracles of the bible were "dung".  Deist then would be atheist today.  There isn't much difference between an uneventful non participating deity and none at all.

                You ask...  " or did a group of "insane", "religiously influenced" politicians meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 produce a governing document that established a working democracy for the first time ..."

                In Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, we see Ben playing his best role - trying to help people get along.  It was a contentious battle.  Tempers were short and voices were loud.  At one point Ben thought maybe they cold start every session off with a prayer to perhaps bring about a more conciliatory tone.  Put these demigod participants in a state of awe of something grander.  It was discussed.  Hamilton thought people outside would see right through the ploy.  He thought the people would know that "embarrassments and dissensions within the convention had suggested the measure."

                Franklin makes the following written notation..."The convention except 3 or 4 persons thought prayers unnecessary."

                It is still unnecessary.

                While we are talking about insanity... I watched ABC with George Stuffituphimself.  It was all about sunnis and shiites.

                Free yourself.  The bronze age was a long time ago.


              •  Technically it was at least the second time (0+ / 0-)

                Everyone forgets the Icelandic Althing, because it had no direct impact on European or American history.

                And only the real hardcore experts know how much the structure and politics of the Six Nations Confederacy inspired the thinking of the Founding Fathers....

                If it's
                Not your body,
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                And it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 03:02:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Deism of 1776 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mrick, abgin

                Is the Agnostics of 2014 who share 95% of the thinking of the Atheists.

                Sorry, but today's Founding Fathers would have put explicit language into both the 1st and 2nd Amendments leaving no doubt that gun rights would be very narrow and religion would be barred from influencing the Laws.

                Then again, they'd be more in agreement that Corporations are not People and Lobbying would be banned.

                •  What? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Lobbying is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment:

                  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
                  What did you think lobbying is? If you really want to ban it, that's very foolish. That would mean a ban on lobbying by MoveOn, the Sierra Club, and the NAACP as well as right-wing groups. Lobbying is not the problem; capture of government by corporations through the power of campaign donations and lucrative sinecures for retired politicians is the problem.

                  Besides which, all this talk about Founding Fathers and Deism is irrelevant to this thread.

                  Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                  by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:51:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Gotta give an AMEN to that (0+ / 0-)
            •  I would add to WineRev's comment (0+ / 0-)

              a question. Was the Civil Rights movement a work of "insane" or "extreme minds?

              I wonder, too: Did the fusion of the Religious with the Right corrupt the politicians more than it tarnished the believers?

              My own answer, I was not raised to be a bigot, but until recently I could see very little difference between people of faith--even when they were every bit as progressive as I am.

              Religion is not my thing, but the pews are filled with people as good as I will ever be. Plenty of really nasty ones, too.

              We weaken ourselves when we generalize.

              If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness. President Obama

              by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 03:02:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good question (0+ / 0-)

                My answer is I think I would like a christian.  I hope to meet one some day.

                Yes Martin Luther King did good things in the name of religion.  If you want to see some not good things in the name of religion, I recommend "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to you.  It is still a wonderful book.

                Or you could just watch the news on just about any day of the week.

                It is past time for a more rational world.  Science gives us airplanes.  Religion gives us people who fly them into buildings.  Our footprint on earth is way too big for the variance produced by fervent belief.


                •  I just can't see the world as such (0+ / 0-)

                  a binary place.

                  I can love science and still admit that while it makes airplanes possible those planes weren't first used destructively on 9/11. I may be able to justify dropping atomic  bombs to end World War 2, or maybe I only think I can--but I can't pretend this gift of science away.

                  I am an atheist. Yet there are aspects of religion which I find inspiring (I'm not talking about any particular brands here). All too often faith has been misused and abused, treated as yet another way to manipulate. It does have its beautiful side as well.

                  I am certainly not the best person to defend religion, having none myself. As a machinist, I know that the same tool in different hands can produce vastly different results.

                  Some may object to me comparing faith to a tool. The late George Carlin used to say that religion is like a lift in someone's shoes--if it was good for them, fine, but he didn't need one. I'd agree with that, but I'd add if religion gives people strength and hope to go on, to do good things, I'm not one to blast them for wherever they get their inspiration.

                  If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness. President Obama

                  by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 03:32:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Rationality (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Had Enough Right Wing BS

                    I went to Las Vegas with friends of mine.  I played a little blackjack.  Got a few free drinks.

                    One lady friend developed a compulsion.  She lost a fair amount at slots but not overly amount.  But she was convinced that if she played that afternoon, the slot machine would pay off.

                    It didn't.  She had to at some point explain the loss to her husband.  It caused a lot of strife.

                    Horoscopes, lucky charms, and holy books are not inspiration.  They are false hope.  And while good can be achieved with them, it is in-spite of them... not because of them.  Can I get an Amen?

                    •  Certainly. (0+ / 0-)

                      And the hope that faith may have provided a slave wasn't, strictly speaking, rational either. Out of the beliefs they considered part of their religion came the movement that eventually led to freedom, then to fuller civil rights.

                      Eventually we may live in a society where a man with more recent ancestry from Africa can hail a cab or unlock his own front door without arousing any more suspicion than I do.

                      We are nearing a point where two people can marry simply because they love one another, no litmus test required.

                      On issue after issue, people of faith contribute and sacrifice as much or more than I do.

                      I don't need to share anyone's belief system to understand that people have different needs.

                      I would be perfectly fine in a world devoid of opera. Does that mean opera has no value? Not to me it doesn't.

                      If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness. President Obama

                      by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:31:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice work. (7+ / 0-)

    The anecdotal and scientific evidence definitely supports the notion that the public is indeed more polarized. Try holding a civil political conversation with someone on the other side these days and it usually turns into a shouting match.

    The election results from the past six presidential elections seems to bear out how polarized the country has become. There was a time when a presidential candidate would pull 60 percent of the vote or close to it. That hasn't happened in 30 years. IMO, what was once an electorate where about 20 percent of the voters were persuadable, is now an electorate where that number hovers around 10 percent.

    I think much of the polarization comes from gerrymandered districts, the media and what seems to be an increase in demagoguery on the right. As bad as it is at the moment, I think it could still get worse.  

    Guns are never the principal in the commission of a crime, but they are usually an accomplice

    by MadGeorgiaDem on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:28:24 PM PDT

  •  stronger polarizing shift on right than left (6+ / 0-)

    It's not simply the case that "both sides do it" -- as the extremism and antipathy is stronger on one side, with the right having shifted somewhat more rightward than the left has shifted leftward in the past 20 yrs. The actual size of the ideological right is also much punier than its fervor would make it seem. So in an absolute sense (ideologically and by the numbers, if not the passion), the left probably now owns the reasonable ideological middle.

    •  Democrats compromise more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AJayne, sulthernao

      Saw that in the study - see that in the reality.  The right keeps moving away.  So the Heritage Health Care Plan was once conservative but now as Obamacare it becomes socialism.

      I am tired of pretending conservatives are rational.  I want a bumper sticker that says... "If you are a conservative, consider my middle finger raised".

      Just sayin....


  •  If this process continues at the same rate,... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...the top graph will be two separate mountains with a small ridge between them, within 10-15 years or so.  Very interesting study.  

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:34:01 PM PDT

    •  The graphs are totally subjective (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfarrah, Theretherethere, sulthernao

      and have no marker for actual political positions. If they did, they would show an extreme rightward shift on far too many issues, with the "extreme left" occupying the position once held by "reasonable moderates".

      When a country goes that batshit usually doesn't end well.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 03:05:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Liberal and conservative labels do not serve us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    well, particularly when they lead to exclusionary groups that refuse to associate with or interact with someone whose opinion doesn't conform to group think.

    A more respectful tone toward all and improved listening toward more than those who simply agree with us is needed across the board, including on dKOS.

    •  the problem with that is even if you don't "label" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadGeorgiaDem, Aquarius40, gabjoh

      them, they will still have different views.

      We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

      by James Allen on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:39:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So then you would have respectful liberals (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AJayne, DQKennard, har

      And disrespectful conservatives.  Let's rewrite your post...

      The rational and irrational lead to exclusionary groups that refuse to associate or interact.   Conforming to either rationality or irrationality is group think.

      A more respectful tone toward all and improved listening  toward the irrational is what is need.

      We should lessen our insistence on civil rights, allow for a bit of creationism in our public schools, perhaps not insist on reducing our carbon footprint and allow that climate change is all a big hoax... oh... and I guess we need CSI to have a look at that birth certificate.


  •  Only twice there has been this polarization (6+ / 0-)

    During the Vietnam war and during the Civil War.

    Based on the graphics, it seems that the Repugs have drifted towards the right more than the Dems have drifted to the left.  I want to drift to the left even more but I believe the Dem leadership doesn't get it.  They live in the area of possible compromise.  No compromising with Repugs anymore.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:39:26 PM PDT

    •  This is the civil war (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The groups are still the Union and the Confederacy.  The south still celebrates Robert E. Lee.  Southern Congressman still refer to the Northern War of Aggression.  Civil war statues still decorate the lawns of red state court houses.    And  a black man in the White House really pisses them off.

      •  Umm.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mrick, Justanothernyer

        there are PLENTY of Civil War statues that decorate the lawns of BLUE state court houses as well.

        Like, for instance in
        Woodstock, VT


        Central Park, NYC


        Nashville, TN, honoring the US Colored Troops


        Portland, OR

             There are PLENTY of of us "hard-handed Yankees" who face down the "War of Northern Aggression" fools. We call it the "War of Southern Treason" to their faces, and will cheerfully advocate for burning the Confederate flag whenever it is displayed publicly.
             In the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary (McCain vs. Bush the Lesser) the hot local issue was the display of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the state capitol. Those in favor waxed endlessly about "honoring/respecting/uplifting our HERITAGE."
             My answer to them was and is, "I'm from Ohio, born and raised. Ohio is the birth place of Phil Sheridan, Ulysses Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. And I'm here to remind y'all in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that MY HERITAGE kicked the ever-loving crap out of YOUR heritage...and for ALL the right REASONS!"

        Just needed to get that off my chest...


        "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

        by WineRev on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 02:55:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  From a Pew survey of Millennials (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, hbk, nextstep
    Millennials in Adulthood

    ... this generation stood out in the past two presidential elections as strikingly Democratic. According to national exit polls, the young-old partisan voting gaps in 2008 and 2012 were among the largest in the modern era, with Millennials far more supportive than older generations of Barack Obama. As Obama’s approval ratings have declined in recent years, however, Millennials have joined older adults in lowering their assessments of the president.

    Yet Millennials continue to view the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party. And Millennials today are still the only generation in which liberals are not significantly outnumbered by conservatives.

    This heralds the demographic death spiral of the Republican Party and conservatism.  

    "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:47:59 PM PDT

  •  Caesar's strategy was "divide and conquer." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's a time-tested strategy for getting what you want in a complicated situation.

    We know who the agents of the division are.  We can guess as to their goals, as to why they want to divide, and what they'll do when they conquer.

    What we don't seem to know how to do, is change our legal system and media landscape so as to prevent the dividers and conquerors from hiding.

    They are secretive, "dark", deliberately hiding so that no-one might identify them and drum up legitimate outrage about what they're doing.

    We need to prevent their being able to hide.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:51:06 PM PDT

  •  I live with a "middle of the roader" although I... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, wishingwell, hbk

    I live with a "middle of the roader" although I have seen him become more polarization on certain things in the past couple of years. My husband is a weird one when it comes to politics. Both of us consistently vote democratic but he considers me a crazy liberal and thinks I am far too left on everything.

    He calls himself independent but he is has always voted for the democratic candidates but he has never seemed to have hard lines in the sand issues that made him get very involved over it, like I do. Social issues, race relations, and union issues are his strong left views but on gun rights and certain economic issues (taxes, social programs) he leans more right. Lately he has moved even more right on immigration and become very vocal over the 2A. We disagree a lot over politics even though we vote the same way. It's crazy when you think about it but we don't discuss politics over dinner much.

  •  More movement on left than right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, Lefty Coaster

    From Pew Report

    The rise of ideological uniformity has been much more pronounced among those who are the most politically active. Today, almost four-in-ten (38%) politically engaged Democrats are consistent liberals, up from just 8% in 1994. The change among Republicans since then appears less dramatic – 33% express consistently conservative views, up from 23% in the midst of the 1994 “Republican Revolution.”

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:57:57 PM PDT

  •  I wonder how the numbers reflect those who no l... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, nextstep

    I wonder how the numbers reflect those who no longer call themselves republican anymore but still vote that way. My parents used to be republicans but now they say "conservative" or "independent". I think they have a lot of anger toward the rank and file establishment GOP.

  •  True, With A Caveat (4+ / 0-)

    It's obvious to me that with the Internet and social media, people with one sort of politics now have a echo chamber to constantly reinforce what they already think.  Whether I choose to watch MSNBC, or read the Daily Kos, or the feeds I have on Facebook.

    It's very comforting and "both sides do it."  Both sides get information to affirm how they're right and how the other side is cocking everything up.

    However....where and when has the "left" been as wrong as the right?  Where is our Birther movement?  Who was correct, in the end, on WMDs in the Iraq?  There is no science to refute climate change, as we know.  And the economic lethargy we've been going through has been predicted by critics on the left for decades as we keep applying right wing policies.

    Point is, when is someone going to take this data and add in "but one side is wrong about the facts more often"?

    •  Our Birther movement is the imbecilic Naderites (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40, gfv6800

      who threw the 2000 election to Bush, and who will throw the 2016 election to Ted Cruz if we let them, in order to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

      American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

      by atana on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:20:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As opposed to the 11 Democrats who confirmed (4+ / 0-)

        Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall?  Thomas, of course, was the last confirmed of the 5 Justices who threw the election to Bush.  Not many Naderites in that group.  Two other justices appointed under GOP presidents voted for Gore.  Had we insisted on replacing Marshall with someone fit to lick his boots, W would never have been president.  We have regular failures in party cohesion.  That's because we have a big tent.  If you want to march in lock-step this is the wrong party.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:52:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You touch on one of the circumstances... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, benamery21

          ...among elected officials and party spokespersons, at least, that's allowed the rightward drift of what constitutes "the center:" Democratic timidity.

          It still seems to strike terror into their hearts to be accused of partisanship, much less extremism. We constantly hear (R)s openly praising and advocating "conservative" judges, but the most (D)s can muster are somewhat apologetic calls for "moderate" ones, let alone "liberal" or "progressive."  

          When (R) policies are publicly repudiated, it increases their resolve to regroup and charge ahead far more often than it induces them to back down. By contrast, (D)s have been playing a largely defensive game for 30 or more years, and that Thomas committee vote was symptomatic: they were still smarting from the spanking they got over "borking" Bork.

        •  The conservative Democrats who voted for Thomas (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Any 3 of whom could have blocked his 52-48 confirmation


          Two GOP Senators did vote against:
          Packwood-OR, and Jeffords-VT.  Numerous ostensibly moderate Senators did not.

          A trivial reminder for those of us old enough to remember...

          Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

          by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:14:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But moderate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and even some traditionally conservative Republican senators were among the opponents of the Bork nomination, let's not forget that.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:19:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bork lost 42-58 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              2 Dems for (Boren and Hollings), 6 GOP against (i.e. not enough to change the outcome).  Packwood is the only GOP Senator to vote against both.  Chafee, Specter and Warner voted for Thomas, and Stafford-VT and Weicker-CT were out of office.

              Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

              by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:29:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Warner was a traditional conservative (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                He voted against Bork because he couldn't in good conscience move the country back to the 60s on civil rights.

                I think you're overlooking the fact that Republican opposition made it a lot easier for fairly conservative Democrats to also vote No.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:36:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  John endorsed Mark this year (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  He also refused to back Ollie North over Chuck Robb back in '94.  Not sure he's as conservative as implied by traditional GOP conservative.

                  His DW-Nominate in the 110th Congress was the 10th least conservative GOP on the first dimension.

                  Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                  by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:57:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, he considered himself a traditional (0+ / 0-)

                    conservative, not a radical one, who respected the Constitution (North obviously didn't) and represented a kind of patrician continuity. He was a hawkish, military-oriented counterpart of his friend, Sam Nunn.

                    I take your point, in other words, but I doubt he become more liberal; I just think his party became more of a radical right-wing party and less one of continuity, keeping comity, and not reopening what he felt had been settled questions, like civil rights.

                    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                    by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 08:05:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  8 conservative Dems (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Voted against Bork but for Thomas, 3 'moderate' GOP did the same

              Chuck Robb is the only Democrat not also in the Senate for the Bork hearings who voted for Thomas.

              Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

              by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:42:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Our birther movement is (2+ / 0-)
        Our Birther movement is the imbecilic Naderites
        people who say shit like this. Stolen election deniers are just as deluded as global warming deniers and just as dangerous.
        And Naderite bashing is just the modern version of hippie bashing - just as counterproductive and just as wrong.
        I also think it's telling that I almost HR'd you rather than responding.
        •  44 presidencies, only 43 presidents (0+ / 0-)

          and 57 terms.  Grover Cleveland is messing up your count by serving a term on either side of Benjamin Harrison.  7 men served less than a single full term, 4 of whom were never elected as President in their own right.

          Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

          by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:47:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oops, make that 10 and 5 (0+ / 0-)

            10 less than full term Presidents, 5 of whom were never elected President.  Wow, it's been a while since i thought about that.

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:56:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with this analysis.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40 that many of the questions have a social aspect, and the U.S. as a whole has drifted leftward on most social issues over the past 30 years.  

    Watching the median Democrat drift leftward is just mirroring the average American, whereas the median Republican is swimming against the tide and argumentatively moving right, which is a much more telling  change.

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. - George Orwell

    by Wayward Son on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:12:03 PM PDT

  •  The middle class may be mobile enough to "sort" (3+ / 0-)

    but the poor are stuck in whatever hell holes they are stuck in.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:15:17 PM PDT

  •  Lots of Insights from reading results from survey (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, MichaelNY


    See the rapid adoption of favoring marriage equality, changing views on government in healthcare, interracial marriage, etc.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:18:02 PM PDT

  •  I guess it is true in politics, too. "Birds ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...  of a feather flock together."

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:25:01 PM PDT

  •  It's Fox, pure and simple. If you're looking fo... (0+ / 0-)

    It's Fox, pure and simple. If you're looking for something that has polarized the populace outside the Beltway, just one name jumps to the front of the line.

    Some of the shift can probably be blamed on epistemic closure on both sides of aisle, but that's not a majority of people. Some reaction on the left to families warped by Fox. But I think it's sufficient explanation.

  •  So the 1%s Media is making progress on divide and (0+ / 0-)

    conquer. What a surprise!

    A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned. -- Firefly

    by Jim P on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:46:58 PM PDT

  •  Simple Answer: FOX News effect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RedwoodGirl, ahumbleopinion

    Conservatives have created a media machine that places them in a bubble of their own facts and their own interpretation of them. They reject anything that challenges that world view they've created; they even have their own language. "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

    Andrew Sullivan dipped a toe into those waters, and here's what he found:

    ...But here’s the gist: the president is a lawless dictator, abetting America’s Islamist foes around the world, releasing Taliban prisoners to aid in his own jihad on America, fomenting a new caliphate in Iraq, and encouraging children to rush the Mexican border to up his vote-count, while effectively leaving those borders open to achieve his “fundamental transformation of America.”

    I watched Megyn Kelly, who is regarded as more centrist than Sean Hannity. You could have fooled me. The guests were Brent Bozell, far right veteran, and Andy McCarthy, pro-torture activist touting his book calling for Obama’s impeachment. The only pushback Kelly provided to a relentless stream of hysteria was to ask whether the president sincerely wanted another terror attack on America – since it would hurt his approval ratings. And that provided the only qualification to the picture of a Jihadist in the White House determined to destroy the America he loathes. The “chaos” at the border and the emerging caliphate in Iraq may have been merely the unintended consequences of fecklessness rather than a deliberate attempt to destroy everything valuable in the United States.

    Kevin Drum also looks at the Pew findings, and has some charts he pulled out of it that he thinks are key elements. To grab the takeaway points,
    ...Among consistent conservatives, dislike of the Democratic Party just goes up and up and up. These are the most rabid Fox watchers, and I'd submit that this is the most likely explanation for their skyrocketing hatred of Democrats.

    ...As every liberal has insisted forever, and as every conservative has vociferously denied just as long, conservatives are much more likely to be open racists. The more conservative you are, the more likely you are to be unhappy if a family member marries someone of another race. This is in the year 2014.

    Third, here's yet more confirmation that atheists are still the most distrusted people in the country. An astounding 73 percent of consistent conservatives would be unhappy if a family member married an atheist. Hell, even 24 percent of consistent liberals would be unhappy at the prospect. Jeebus.

      In the days before cable news and the Internet, everyone pretty much got their news via newspapers and more importantly, CBS - NBC - ABC, none of whom were perceived as being especially slanted politically. We all got a pretty uniform view of the world, and we didn't have the 24/7 news cycle that has to be won constantly.

    However, since reality has a well known liberal bias, conservatives realized they needed to make the 'librul media' media the enemy, because they kept ending up on the wrong side of history. FOX News was the answer, along with their proliferation via talk radio. (It's also why they keep trying to kill off or negate PBS and NPR.)

    In a way, this is a sectarian conflict, because it's a collision of belief systems - and those are always nasty.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:55:14 PM PDT

  •  The swing voter question and base mobilization (0+ / 0-)

    I think the swing voter question needs to be approached with a lot more nuance than what this diary indicates.  The message here is, swing voter mobilization is pointless, activate your strongest partisans.  But what that omits is what "base" Democratic issues also happen to appeal to Republican voters, of whatever stripe, leaners, partisans and so on.

    This is of crucial importance because an astonishing number of Republican voters, at least by the standards of other center-right parties in industrial democracies, are disadvantaged, both economically and educationally.  And Democrats are vulnerable on both issues; they've been too corporate and too Wall Street on economics for these voters, and they've been been too beholden to bad procedures in education advocated by special interests (e.g. teachers' unions limiting accountability, school administrators and their poor quality Ed.D training and often terrible management skills and cack-handed treatment of parents, standardized testing advocates and their snake oil) for these voters' liking.

    The answer is to develop a strategy that throws out the bathwater and keeps the baby.  With economics, this is quite straightforward; hold the corporate crowd back, and emphasize the little guy, the Democratic way.  End the big business pork and "tax expenditures" (i.e. giveaways), provide rewards for all.  ACA is a model example.  With better marketing, the same could have been true of the stimulus.    Education is a little more complicated, because you don't want to throw teachers overboard, you want to fix a deeply troubled system, and that means complexity; additionally, too many Democrats still view standardized testing as a solution, not a problem, in part because the improvement in inner-city schools from terrible to merely poor is seen as progress compared to what has gone before; and there are serious problems in the training and development of education administrators that will require upending some seriously entrenched forces if they are to be fixed.  But present a coherent agenda for sorting these problems out and you have a potent appeal to a lot of people currently pulling the GOP lever.  

    The compelling need to do this is very simple; the GOP in its current condition is a threat to democracy, for two fairly basic reason; revolt against the system by elite economic interests, and right-wing populism amongst often former Democratic voters who have been failed by the Democrats on material issues.  In order to tackle the revolt of the elites, we need any populist who is willing to join with us in addressing economic and material issues the non-corporate way and does not demand denial and bigotry in return for their support.

  •  One difference I'm curious about probably has (0+ / 0-)

    no statistical collection.  Specifically, my impression is that whenever someone in the public eye reveals that they've been receiving "death threats" the recipient is most likely to be on the left.  I don't recall reading of those on the right announcing such threats.

  •  I blame the internetz (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people

    Instead of bringing people together in an orgy of sharing, caring, and understanding, it has splintered us into echo chambers that reinforces our ideologies in a manner far more stringent and unforgiving. I guess, then, it has brought people together, but only like-minded ones.

  •  Median Democrat vs Party platform and leaders (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, ChadmanFL

    Surveyed "rank and file" may be drifting Leftward (from the "centrist" 90s), but the Party platforms, policies and leadership continue to lean Rightward in their continued perception that the country leans Right, and in their continued attempts to compromise with and attract what remains of moderate Republicans.

    When my Father started voting Democrat, he surprised himself, but I pointed out that modern Democrats tout policies of '70s Republicans.

    The "leadership" can continue to do this, because Liberals don't have a good alternative. If I take away a vote from the Democrats to vote some alternate candidate, it's effectively a vote for the Republicans.

  •  backlash from the liberal base , (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or as they call them around here, the "Obama haters".  

    by 2014, it had shot up to 94 percent of Democrats being more liberal than the median Republican.
    In other words, the number of "consistently liberal" Democrats has grown from only 5 percent of Democrats in 1994, to 23 percent of Democrats in 2014, more than quadrupling. By contrast, 13 percent of Republicans were "consistently conservative" in 1994, and that's up to 20 percent of Republicans today.

    This clearly demonstrates that Hillary is the wrong nominee.  
    The GOP was all but dead in 2004.  Instead of delivering the reform he/they promised, which was decidedly left then,  Obama breathed life back into the GOP's carcass with his BS bipartisanship.    

    Hillary can promise a chicken in every pot, and after Obama's lies, nobody is going to believe a word.   Recycling Clintons, GS CEOS, and Rubinites proves they're out of touch. If they run Hillary, the base will stay home on election day.  

    I will not vote for Hillary.

    by dkmich on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 02:33:48 PM PDT

  •  I welcome polarization. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, ahumbleopinion

    I'm tired of bipartisan support for War and Wall St. I'm tired of Triangulation and the DLC Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. The Democratic Party should be clearly and unambiguously supportive of the 99%.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 02:46:54 PM PDT

  •  I think the study underestimates tribalism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, ban nock

    Our views are primarily top driven and group driven. Our leaders tell us what they've decided and we fall into line or we leave - our group tells us what they think and we adjust or leave - eventually this leads to consensus, for good or ill.
    Look at the influence of corruption - for the Republicans it led to the purging of the moderates - anyone who did not follow the lead , say of fear and bigotry and greed, was not supported, and so they were shunned, and eventually the rank and file became increasingly fearful and bigoted and supportive of greed. (even if they could never satisfy their own greed)
    As for us, we responded by purging the blue dogs. Generally a good thing, but it led to a continuity of views. A corrupt Democrat who does not hide behind social liberalism could not survive; a corrupt democrat who camouflaged his corruption behind social liberalism survived, some at least, but that's another diary. Here it means that corruption led to polarization along certain lines.
    Take also my analysis of immigration: I drove a taxi for 15 years, then moved on to management. I know, because I was there, two things - first, immigrants lead to wage erosion, (don't tell me the sky is green, I have the tax records to prove it) and this is because the business people make it that way. We, I, had a choice - support immigrants and pay for our moral decision, or oppose immigration and defend ourselves at the expense of innocents. Democrats have chosen morality, and today have pretty much forgotten that it was a moral decision. We even actively deny that it wasn't, claiming, ridiculously, that it was not against our own interests. Republicans, on the other hand, chose their own interests, regardless of the morality, but were unable to defend that decision morally without denialism and bigotry. And by the way, since they cannot defend their morality, and we do not accept that their assessment is accurate, they get angry and defensive, thus polarizing the situation.
    To find a coherent point, I think that our present polarization is much like the polarization of the 60's. In fact, it is essentially the result of our failure to resolve the 60's. Today our leaders have chosen to camouflage their greed and corruption by reviving the polarization of the 60's, simply replacing the Viet Nameese and black people with immigrants and the poor. (and black - some things just don't change)

  •  Important to note re compromise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, ahumbleopinion

    While people at both "extremes" prefer compromise in theory, and while Democrats are somewhat more likely to accept compromise when pushed, the reporting in the MSM on this study makes it seem that actives in both major parties are about the same. But think about this:

    Even if activist followers are roughly interested in the same amount of compromise from their preferred representatives, that finding pays NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER to what the lawmakers themselves are actually doing. And it's clear from widely shared past reporting that GOP lawmakers are quite willing to obstruct Democrats and refuse to compromise far more often than the Democratic lawmakers. That's realpolitik. And yet, media mouthpieces are again going on about how the problems of obstructionism and do-nothingism are more or less equally the fault of both parties; in other words, from the media and mainstream political "analysts," more of the usual, lazy and/or premeditated BS.

  •  Fascinating stuff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RedwoodGirl, David Jarman

    I'm especially interested to note that LIBERALS "prefer dense, walkable neighborhoods" and CONSERVATIVES say they see "space" and "room" as desirable.

    Actually, I've long prized "walkability" as a key factor in my sense of well-being in a place. In the 1990s, I moved to the suburbs, to very pretty, scenic surroundings. From my kitchen window, I looked out on a vista of hilly parkland. I could hear frogs croaking. And what I recall is that I hated having to drive 2 miles to the grocery store. I disliked having to drive to the next community for a proper bookstore, or a proper this or a proper that. Pretty much, the distance cast a pall over everything. I felt really isolated. I was glad to get from there to my current, urban surroundings. I have parkland nearby, yes, but I'm a 5 minute walk from a large grocery store. There's a great thrift store that same distance away, as well as a drugstore, and numerous smaller businesses including cafés.

    If I had kids? Forget the "big yard for them to play in" crap. I'd want them to have this.

    Did my political liberalism "cause" my need for walkable surroundings. Was it the other way around? Who knows?

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 03:22:24 PM PDT

    •  The lifestyle preferences are fascinating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ahumbleopinion, karmsy

      The lifestyle preferences that came out of that study are fascinating. I also spent some time in the suburbs, not far from some beautiful open space - and I HATED feeling so far away from an urban area, and I hated how white-bread it was, and I hated having to take the freeway to get anywhere. I'm back to an urban area and while there's some crime issues in my town, I'm way more comfortable with living in a diverse area and close to bookstores and ethnic restaurants. My sister lives in a small-ish town and doesn't miss any of the things about urban life that would drive me crazy not to have. I vote liberal, she votes conservative. We have nearly identical values though! I'm sure living in a small town makes her vote more conservative.

      •  I would love to see a study or two more (0+ / 0-)

        that examines the relationship between urban vs. rural surroundings and political preferences. Did the petrochemical magnates who basically engineered the car culture and suburbia following WII know that they were also creating a conservative voting bloc?

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:46:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with the notion of dems' disinclination (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to compromise of late. O's naivete was to me so glaringly evident and discouraging early on in his presidency - it was a bitter pageantry on a grand scale and a classic example of the epic interaction between a good soul lacking awareness and a cabal of avaricious sociopaths - the former always gets conned by the latter.  O wanted to be "the president of all Americans" first, rather than do what his instincts told him was right, and unfortunately, he chose to the "cut the baby in half", thinking that he could appease the RW thugs into listening to their better angels. Completely wrong-headed. Not only did he end up with two halves of a dead baby, it was even worse - his enemies, having no "better angels" were fully emboldened by his willingness to be rolled - so they gladly and enthusiastically repeated their success in rolling him again and again. I believe O has only half-learned his lesson, because he still talks about "compromise" as if it were some great virtue - and inexplicably more desirable than progressive policy and choices benefitting the largest constituencies. His willingness to flirt with the idea of selling out pieces of Social Security and Medicare prove my point. Fortunately, wiser heads have thus far prevailed. The moral of the story - you get cooperation from thugs when your boot is on their neck.

  •  "Liberals" (0+ / 0-)

    One of the things that has interested me over the years is how the word “liberal” (as applied to politics) has moved from its former meaning of being an urban moderate on social issues and oriented toward big business (i.e., there were both liberal Republicans and liberal Democrats, once upon a time), to its current meaning, as a sort of synonym for “progressive”. As I recall it, the shift began as part of a language purity movement within the Republican party, one of the leaders of which was Newt Gingrich. The word “liberal” was used pejoratively by Newt et al. primarily because he wanted to kick out the Rockefeller/Lindsay liberal Republicans. Basically, it was those guys who made it synonymous with Democratic, not because it had been used that way before, but because the liberal Republicans, because of their wealth, had had an elevated position within the GOP. But this position was anathema to Newt et al., because they were seeking to return to an imagined “true” republican status quo ante of rugged, conservative frontiersmen, pioneers, and cowboys.

    But, after Democrats tried for a while to avoid using the term, they embraced it, not in its former meaning, but in the new meaning that had been imposed on it by Republican extremists.

    It's not a big deal, but sometimes I do chuckle about the irony of the situation. I imagine that Newt himself occasionally gives in to uncontrollable giggles when he hears progressive Democrats referring to themselves as liberals.

    •  Progressive and liberal (0+ / 0-)

      My take on this is that people were proud to call themselves liberals until Reagan and George HW Bush made that a bad word. Then, whoever would have formerly called themselves "liberal" instead used the word "progressive."

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:29:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  americans who listen to rw radio and those who don (0+ / 0-)


    25 years of unchallenged repetition and the alternate reality is getting more and more ingrained

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 04:40:59 PM PDT

  •  And yet as people are growing more polarized (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And attached to voting for one single party most of the increase in voter registration is "independents."    We see this all over the country.  Here in Florida Republican and Democratic registration is stagnant and nearly all the increase is independents.  Weird how people are so much more solidly in one camp or the other but like to call themselves "independents."

  •  I looked at those polls specifically at the (0+ / 0-)

    overwhelming majority of the population that sat at neither the extreme left or right.

    The edges of our society have grown further apart but most of us are tolerant of others.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:18:40 PM PDT

  •  Want to see where we're headed? Check Iraq. (0+ / 0-)

    Sunni, Shia, Kurd, and on top of it all, a Kleptocracy. I hear some folks are planning a new theme park: Bundyland! Should  be a real blast!

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:43:29 PM PDT

  •  you can see the void in our representatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when Cantor is called a "centrist"

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:57:20 PM PDT

  •  "Blacks who can't get ahead" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman

    The responses to that question indicate that 79% of Republicans/Republican leaners and 50% of Democrats/Democrat leaners are racists. That's very dispiriting.

    One thing I wonder about is how much Republicans change their views about government activism when there's a Republican in the White House, as there was in 2004 but not in 2014 or 1994. Did anyone consider that factor?

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:32:17 PM PDT

    •  Look at the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, sulthernao

      second chart, and specifically at the questions "Government is almost always wasteful and efficient" and "The government can't afford to do much more to help the needy." There were huge dips in the number of Republicans agreeing with those statements in 2004, compared with 1994 and 2014. What's the difference? W in the White House. So, yes, Republicans become much more sympathetic to big government... when they're in control of said big government.

      The takeaway is that we can probably expect the tea partiers to mysteriously fade into the woodwork without a peep next time there's a Republican in the White House, just as Clinton derangement syndrome faded away in 2001 and resurfaced worse than ever in 2009 under a different name. Problem is, the Republicans have gotten so loud and extreme that, combined with the direction of demographic change the nation is taking, it's hard to imagine when there ever will be another Republican in the White House, which means that the safety valve is plugged shut and the pressure is just going to keep building and building in their crazy little pressure cooker.

      Editor, Daily Kos Elections.

      by David Jarman on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:58:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  People become reactionary under stress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, benamery21

    I think you can look at these charts and see an increase in polarization since Regan, because he began the assault on the middle class.  As jobs have melted away and 2 earner couples find they can't make it, people look for someone to blame.  They blame people who are not like them, and that increases antipathy in the political parties.

    Now with the turn to "on-demand" scheduling, where many low wage workers must be willing to report any day, any time on 3 hours notice even the chance to plan family down time has ended.

    People react to stress and scarcity by becoming more defensive and sharing less.  Anything that would make average working people feel more secure will lower polarization.

    The best thing the D's could do to increase their vote is to favor policies that would bring more job security, income and free time to people that make $50,000 per year or less.

    Since $50,000 is about the average income for Americans, if we'd get most of the under $50K crowd we'd win.

    Women's reproductive rights, larger childcare and dependant tax credits, expanded earned income credit, reform of Social Security through expanding low-income benefits and increasing the taxable income threshold all poll well.

    Increasing corporate tax rates, ending the carried interest loophole, taxing capital gains as income would all be favored by this group.

    Any move to prosecute and jail any of the "Big Shots who get away with murder" will be welcomed.  Bankers, tax cheats, CEO's of polluting corporations, rich drunk drivers and murderers, ordained sex offenders, the list is endless. It really doesn't matter who gets thrown in jail, as long as someone does.

    Increases in the minimum wage is generally thought to have an upward ripple effect, and most working people have contact with minimum wage workers during the course of their day, so they support a pay raise for the fast food workers, daycare and nursing home aides, and store clerks.

  •  Well, an extremely intersting report (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, sulthernao

    I could write at leat 10-page paper with quite different interpretation of these numbers then made by David, though.. But  comment format is not the most proper thing to do it.  So i will stop on one aspect ONLY. As David writes:

    "In 1994, 10 percent of the population fell into either the "consistently liberal" or "consistently conservative" segments. That's more than doubled in 2014, to 21 percent. While 49 percent of the population took a roughly equal number of liberal and conservative positions, in 2014 that's down to 39 percent of the population."

    I will limit myself to one note - 39% is a lot. And, obviously, such people are not uniformly distributed by congressional districts - there are few of them, say in CA-13, NY-15, or (on other end of ideological spectrum) - TX-13 ,or AL-06, or  UT-03. In SUCH districts it's really enough to "turn out base" with as radical candidate as possible - and, volia, you get him/her elected. But there are no 218 such districts in the country neither for Democrats, nor for Republicans. To get a "magic number" they must win quite substantial number of quite different districts, in which number of people holding "mixed" position will be above average. And for thesedistricts they need quite different candidates. A simple example - quite recent primary in ME-02: republicans nominated far-right candidate in swingy slightly Democratic district, and Democrats immediately breathed much easier. So, yes, polarization is real, though not at to a degree as it's in Congress (and it's really a question  of what's a cause and what's an effect here), but an approach - "to turn out a base with highly ideological platform and forget about everything else" seems faulty to me...

  •  Coalescence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, sulthernao

    They can call it what they want, but this is simply liberals having a cultural awakening in the way the conservatives did earlier.  "Liberal" is less and less a dirty word and that's a good thing, not a troublesome trend.  In a two party system, we're actually having a choice between two parties, instead of a choice between a bat-shit crazy party and a party that just didn't like the bat-shit crazy party's tone but largely agreed with their policies.


    Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos.

    by MetroGnome on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:46:06 PM PDT

  •  I wonder what the ideological consistency measure (0+ / 0-)

    is like.  Because now I'm curious how I'd have scored on it.

  •  These questions drive me nuts (0+ / 0-)

    The questions in the survey don't strike me as conservative vs. liberal.     Or am I crazy?     "Blacks who can't get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their condition"     That's a conservative position?    That doesn't strike me as a conservative or liberal position:   it strikes me as a measure of racism, not a measure of ideology.    The questions like "Poor people have it easy..."   etc. seem to be a measure of how effective Rush Limbaugh and Fox News at propaganda rather than a measure of ideology.

  •  It's an interesting idea, (0+ / 0-)

    and I have seen a number of strong reactions to it.  And some of the strongest are from those assigning blame.

    Blame can be useful, but really shouldn't be the first thing to look for, IMO.

    How about instead looking for cause, and for responsibility?

    I put a lot of the blame (heh heh) on the media.  they get ratings by stressing races and contests and fights and conflict.  They don't care as much as they should about the end result or the long-term effects (which, to me, is more of a liberal POV anyway - liberals tend to think more in terms of long-term change, while conservatives... want to conserve the past (even if it is an imagined one) and look at things for the next fiscal quarter instead of the long term), and so push the contest and the divide, which adds to the division.

    The internet is also a problem.  It allows (sometimes encourages) polarization.  You can get only the news and views you agree with, and many of those (sometimes, but not always) on both sides deriding the other side for various reasons.  So people only read/hear/see things they agree with, and hear a lot of people saying 'the other side is always wrong" instead of saying "let's look for a way to make it work."

    And, of course, money always pays into it.  People with money push their views.  I would do the same if I had the money.  But might also push the "why can't we work together?" meme, which seems to be critically wounded.

    I wish I had some answers.  :(

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:44:40 AM PDT

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