I’ve been traveling a lot lately for work and during a break from meetings last week, a colleague of mine and I killed some time by talking politics in a semi-quiet corner of the MGM Grand casino.
He’s a lifelong “eyes open” Democrat. A verbatim snippet of our conversation:
Colleague: You know, I was still considering voting for Obama up until this Benghazi thing but there’s no way I could do it now. I’ve never liked the Republicans-
Me: I hear you there.
Colleague: -but Jesus, are the polls really correct? How can this many people still be supporting Obama? Jesus Christ, I feel like I’m in an alternate reality where everyone has their heads in the sand. How in the HELL can someone vote for the guy after this whole thing?
Me: I guess it’s a lot of things. This President has gone out of his way to divide people in terms of class, race and politics. He’s convinced a lot of Liberals-
Colleague: Don’t fucking call me a Liberal-
Me: I’m not, but you know what I mean.
Colleague: Yeah, okay.
Me: Anyway, he’s convinced a lot of the Left that Tea Partiers and Republicans are utter monsters. Something that backfired on him in a big way during the first debate. Once people saw that Romney wasn’t this evil Mr. Burns type character, the polls shifted a LOT. The stupid thing is that he fucking KNEW that Romney wasn’t what he was making him out to be so if he thought just a single step ahead, he’d know that the “real” Romney would be revealed at some point.
Colleague: Plus he got his ass whipped at that debate.. that changed things too.
Me: lol it certainly did.. But I’m getting off track.. So, you’ve got a group of people that have been convinced that anyone right of center is an abject monster. They’ve accepted it and have completely turned off any critical thinking skills or willingness to be persuaded. You’ve got another group in the far left that are basically Communists who hate America, hate the military and genuinely get off on our soldiers being slaughtered.
Colleague: I would have called bullshit on you for that until I saw the Ted Turner interview.
Me: Yep. Then you have a very large group of people on the Left in an echo chamber. They consume news from sources that tells them what they want to hear, something the MSM is doing these days to the point that you might as well just lump them all together and call them Pravda. More importantly, they’re around people all day, every day that have the same views as they do. They avoid people that challenge their ideas and when they do run into someone that does, they quickly dismiss them and their opinions as un-informed or absurd or racist or they simply subconsciously deem that person an outsider to their oh so intellectual club.
Colleague: lol yes, even I have to admit that MSNBC goes a bit overboard.
Me: A bit overboard?
Colleague: (rolls eyes)
Me: I think there’s one thing that you could add to the list that definitely has some effect.. or maybe it’s the primary reason. I honestly don’t know how much of a contributor it is-
Colleague: What? I have a call in five minutes.
Me: I read a book a long time ago on evolutionary psychology that touched on voting habits. Specifically in relation to an observation made in many, many psyche studies. We’re basically hardwired for consistency. There’s a lot of theories as to why we evolved with this trait being almost ubiquitous among the human population. But there’s a pretty good case to be made that this hard wiring leads us to picking a party, often the one our parents belonged to and then following that party to the ends of the earth no matter how much it changes.
Look at the Democratic party! It doesn’t even resemble what it looked like back when JFK was president! I hear all the time on MSNBC and other Liberal commentators about how the evil Republicans have moved SO FAR to the right. Their platform is damn near identical to what it was 50 years ago. The ONLY difference now is that you have Tea Partiers that have been elected in the past couple of years that are actually doing what they say they will and work to shrink the size of the Federal Government. Christ, most of these “ultra right wing” Tea Party legislators are left wing when it comes to social issues. At the very least they’re in the mold of Barry Goldwater’s “I might not like what you’re doing but the government has no right to stop you” attitude.
I’m willing to bet that if you could somehow go back in time ten years and poll a group of modern day Dems on today’s Democrat party platform, a majority would blanch at some of the planks. But they never vote for anyone without a “D” next to their name. Yes, some of them will get disenfranchised and they may not even vote. But there’s no way that they’d ever seriously consider voting for a Republican or an Independent under any circumstances. If that’s not hard-wiring, I don’t know what is.
Colleague: I have to go, dude. You should write a book on that consistency hard-wiring/voting idea.
Me: I’m too lazy to write a book.
Colleague: Sounds like you’re hardwired for consistency, then?
Me: Fuck you.