Derek wrote:While this is certainly true, how would you compare the current political climate to ten or twenty years ago? Do you think we're more or less partisan than back then?
If we are more partisan now than then, the question might be "what about 20 years ago made us particularly non-partisan?"
Basically, I'm not sure there is a feasible baseline for how partisan politics is or should be.
LaserGuy wrote:I feel that this has more to do with a sort of "tribalism" than any of the underlying political philosophies of the various parties. It isn't that Obama's policies are better than Romney's or vice versa, for most of the electorate. It's that "we" want our guy to win because he's our guy. They identify with the party, not necessarily with the policies. In this context, being seen working with the other side is a weakness, a betrayal. And if your guy makes a mistake or does something really stupid, it's not going to make you switch sides. It will make you swear and curse and get defensive much like your goal missed a big save or your star quarterback threw an interception that cost the game. You might want to see the guy benched, but you aren't going to give up on the team.
The same is true of a lot of the culture war issues. Abortion, gay marriage, etc. don't affect the lives of a lot of the people who are very passionate about these issues. There's no reason for them to care one way or the other. But they care about it because it's been framed in the context of "their side" winning or losing.
You're right, I think, but I'm not sure if that's a bad thing. I'm unashamedly partisan, but it's not out of the same motivations as I root for my favorite sports team. Case in point: I did some footwork for Sheila Dixon's mayoral reelection campaign. It later came to light she was corrupt and stealing from a city program. She was straight up, a pretty horrible person.
My reaction was not to vote Republican. It wasn't even to vote for a drastically different candidate. I agreed with Dixon's views. Her scandal isn't going to cause me to change my political views. I'm still loyal to Democrats but it's not because DEMOCRATS 4 LYFE DONKEY 4EVER. It's because fuck, Republicans are still wrong.
If it were revealed tomorrow that Obama was taking bribes from the cupcake industry, you can be sure I'd still be voting Biden 2012. If he did something truly horrible politically that I totally disagree with, his wrongness wouldn't make Mitt Romney any less wrong himself. And it wouldn't make all the other Democrats wrong.
Yes, I identify with the party, but that's because I identify with its policies. To be fair: that's not always the case, nor is it fully true with me. Surely some of my identification as a Democrat is because I'm relatively poor or because I'm female. Though that too is deeper, and policy-oriented. I think Democratic policies are better for me as a women.