Is there a common denominator in partisan issues?

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QFT
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07 May 2020, 11:58 am

How come some of the partisan issues don't have a common denominator? Like what does global warming have to do with abortion? And what does gay rights have to do with COVID 19? Here is a sample of the partisan issues I am thinking of:

1. Democrats are in favor of abortion, Republicans are opposed to it
2. Democrats are in favor of gay marriage, Republicans are opposed to it
3. Democrats in favor of gun control, Republicans are opposed to it
4. Democrats believe in global warming, Republicans do not
5. Democrats are in favor of quaranteen, Republicans are not
6. Democrats are pro-vaccine, Republicans are anti-vaccine
7. Republicans are in favor of gender roles, Democrats are not
8. Republicans want free market, democrats want taxes
9. Republicans are the ones that say USA is the best country in the world
10. Democrats are more in favor of racial minorities than Republicans
11. Democrats are in favor of getting higher education, Republicans are not
12. Republicans are Christian, democrats are secular
13. Republicans tend to be pro-Israel, democrats tend to be pro-Palestine
14. Democrats are in favor of globalisation, Republicans are opposed to it
15. Most animal rights activists tend to be democrates

Me personally, I go issue by issue. So the issues where I side with Republicans are 1,2,6,8,10,12,14 and the issues where I side with Democrats are 4,5,7,9,11,15. Now you might say I am centrist but I disagree since my opinions on some of the listed issues (particularly 1 and 11) are very strong. The point is that I simply don't see the relation between these issues. So since issues 1 and 11 have absolutely nothing to do with each other, the fact that I take "republican" side on 1 and "democrat" side on 11 won't make me a centrist. Saying that it would, is like comparing apples to oranges.

And then there are other examples where I would expect the correlation to be opposite. In particular, look at 1 and 15. When I feel bad for the embrio (issue 1) and when I feel bad for an animal (issue 15), I experience exact same feeling. So the reason I am Republican on 1 is EXACT SAME reason why I am Democrate in 15. So why is it -- when it comes to other people -- they are the opposite to that: the people that feel sorry for the embrio (Republicans) are NOT the people that feel sorry for the animal (Democrat) and vise versa. It just makes no sense.

But -- regardless of my opinions on anything -- I have a genuine question. Is there a logical connection between these issues that I simply don't see? I want a "neutral" perspective on it.



Fnord
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07 May 2020, 12:04 pm

QFT wrote:
Is There A Common Denominator In Partisan Issues?
Simple.

"We" are always right, no matter what.
"They" are always wrong, no matter what.
And if "We" and "They" accidentally agree on anything, then either "They" are right for the wrong reasons, or "We" must change our minds completely.


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The_Walrus
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07 May 2020, 12:31 pm

Well, firstly, this whole approach is a gross simplification. Most Republicans are pro-vaccination, and actually I’m far from convinced that antivaxxers strongly align with either party over the other. Nearly all of these issues are not black or white, and when they are, they don’t divide exactly along party lines.

All political parties are coalitions between people of different views, and the US is one of the starkest examples.

The Republican Party is a coalition between three main groups: free marketeers, cultural conservatives, and nationalists. These groups overlap, but not perfectly. The free marketeers tend to be relatively socially liberal compared to the other two groups but have calculated that they’re more likely to advance their agenda by joining up with them. Similarly, cultural conservatives might hate abortion but love education, but their hatred of abortion might outweigh their desire for affordable college and well-funded schools. So as a whole, the Republican Party is in favour of a government that doesn’t provide services, avoids regulating businesses, upholds cultural conservatism, and pursues nationalism.

The Democratic Party is a coalition between social democrats (think Bernie supporters), liberals and progressives (people who want to see great social equality without necessarily being against capitalism), and most people from most ethnic minorities in the US. Some Democrats, particularly from that last group, are actually rather conservative. As a whole, the Democratic Party believes that you should be allowed to do what you want as long as you don’t hurt other people, and that the government should help citizens thrive. This means they support regulation of business, civil and social liberty, government provision of essential services, and strong relations between the US and its allies.

Now there are elements of both those platforms that arguably don’t make sense when combined. It is weird for the Republican Party to oppose invasive regulation of businesses while also supporting invasive regulation of wombs and marriages. It is weird for the Republican Party to support free enterprise but not free movement. It is weird for the Democratic Party to support social freedom but not economic freedom. That’s just the result of the coalitions they form and many decades of context.

So ultimately, most people will have some areas where they disagree with the conventional party line of either party. People are not coalitions, we are just individuals. We can make our own minds up without needing to compromise with another version of us who thinks very differently. Even most elected officials will have areas where they quietly wish their party thought differently.



Wolfram87
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08 May 2020, 6:57 am

This is likely a consequence of the US effectively having a two-party system: whenever one side takes a stance on a potentially divisive issue, the other side seemingly must take the opposing stance in some sort of demented strategy game. This is a criticism I've seen of Al Gore's climate activism: he made the climate change question a partisan issue, and therefore the Republicans had to oppose it on principle.

Guns are another fun one. Which party do I support if I like guns? The Republicans. Which party do I support if I'm in favour of some gun control? The Democrats, presumably. Which party do I support for if I think the Democrats ideas for gun control was written by a gaggle of not particularly bright monkeys? Errr….


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08 May 2020, 9:36 am

Well based on the list you made, I'd say there is a common factor: the republicans want to stick to older ways, to the way things were done in the past. I'm not sure about number 13, but the other ones sound like something where you could use "but that's how it's always been done!" as an argument.



naturalplastic
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08 May 2020, 9:48 am

Fireblossom wrote:
Well based on the list you made, I'd say there is a common factor: the republicans want to stick to older ways, to the way things were done in the past. I'm not sure about number 13, but the other ones sound like something where you could use "but that's how it's always been done!" as an argument.
Thirteen is a perfect example of "that's how its always been done". The US has supported Israel since Israel was founded in 1948. So continued support would be the American default setting.



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09 May 2020, 2:33 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Fireblossom wrote:
Well based on the list you made, I'd say there is a common factor: the republicans want to stick to older ways, to the way things were done in the past. I'm not sure about number 13, but the other ones sound like something where you could use "but that's how it's always been done!" as an argument.
Thirteen is a perfect example of "that's how its always been done". The US has supported Israel since Israel was founded in 1948. So continued support would be the American default setting.


Got it. I'm not at all familiar with that matter so I didn't know.