The Partisan’s lament: Condescending the other side’s voters.
Stop talking down about people who dont vote your way…
Politics demands successful coalition building. That’s political consultant-talk for bringing together different interests, ideologies and groups of people together to achieve a common goal, get policies passed and getted candidates in office. In America, we have to distinct coalitions that in other democracies might as well be considered as many as five or six different political parties. Coalitions shift over time but the ones we have now have looked about the same for the
Last generation or two, with no realignment in sight.
On the left we have the democratic coalition. Of which consists of unions, feminists, environmentalists, educated urban professionals, voters of color and young people and some of those groups can overlap each other.
On the right we have the republican coalition. Made up of free-marketeers, Evangelical social conservatives, defense Hawks, libertarians, and working class populist whites and some of those groups can overlap each others.
Some of those groups are more loyal to the coalition than others. White Evangelicals gave about 80% of their votes to the GOP, across the aisle African-American women cast 94% of their votes for the democratic party.
This makes pundits, politicians, and casual observers in both parties very curious. “Why don’t they vote for us?” “Why are they so loyal to them when they take their votes for granted” “If they just listened to us, they’ll see that we are so right about everything and start voting in their best interest, which is for us”
Many left-of-center pundits lament about how rural working class whites “vote against their interests” and are being “taken advantage of by republicans”. On the right, commentators complain how African-Americans are “brainwashed” and are trapped on the “Democrat Plantation”. This line of thinking almost always goes down the route of condescension as if certain demographics are brainwashed and can’t think for themselves.
Condescending people who don’t share one’s views only backfires. It is never persuades anybody and only causes further resentment and division in an already divisive political climate.
Perhaps this isn’t a well thought out strategy by politicians but a source of venting by self-righteous commentators who think their viewpoint is right and just and that anyone who doesn’t see it their way is just stupid. It’s understandable because it’s a reflection of the fact that american politics has reached such a divisive point that the two sides are alien from each other. In fact, so alien that they don’t even live near each other, with liberals preferring dense-walkable urban cores, while conservatives like the open spaces of suburbia and the country-side.
For a less divisive political climate, we as a society must stop talking at or about each other and start talking to each other.